Monday, April 25, 2011

The King's STICK

I watched The King's Speech this weekend. It's a great film. I also finished reading the ARC of STICK, by Andrew Smith, on Thursday. It's a great book.

I couldn't help but notice some similarities. Okay, yes, sure, there are few plot related commonalities between King George VI struggling with his stammer in 1930s England and 13 year old Stark McClellan struggling with saints, angels and sinners in what I can only assume is the early 70s, all up and down the west coast of the United States.

There are no similar characters. No similar occurrences. Yet I can't help but think that these stories are about the same thing, underneath everything like plot and character and so forth. I guess they call that theme.

For me, both these stories are about the things we do to each other. The human condition. The way we treat our fellow man. Mostly they're about the abuses. The mistreatment of each other, the horrid things we do when we don't know how to deal with something, or someone.

In that way these are both sad, tragic tales, but they're also about something else. The little kindnesses, the caring gestures, the giving that is also human nature and that somehow finds a way to balance all the evil out.

These acts might seem innocuous if they weren't pressed up against the face of so much evil, but when rendered in such a light, they gain an almost holy quality.

Anyway, I don't have time to analyze this any deeper, but what I can tell you is that you really ought to experience both these stories. The King's Speech is available now, on NetFlix, for purchase, and probably on demand on cable, I can only assume.

The bad news is that Stick will not be available until October 11th, later this year, but you can pre-order it from Amazon, here.

In the meantime, if you have time, please scroll down and take a look at Michael G-G's query. He's got an awesome idea going there, and could use our help to tighten up his query.

34 comments:

Ted Cross said...

It's great when you can see those similarities in otherwise disparate works. I recently watched that movie with my wife. I enjoyed it okay, while my wife loved it.

Sarah said...

Whoa. What a post. I'm really looking forward to STICK, and now I'll have to go check out The King's Speech. I completely agree--it often seems like small kindnesses are just raindrops in an ocean of suffering, but to the recipients of those kindnesses, they often make all the difference.

Hannah Kincade said...

Man, I want to read STICK so bad!!!

Chris Phillips said...

I saw a commercial for King's Speech and it seemed like they bumped it down a rating so more people could watch it. I hope I can get the original cut. I hadn't even heard of Stick though.

Kelly said...

Sometimes I wonder how people can act so cruel to one another. What makes them do that??
I don't watch a lot of movies, but I do want to watch King's Speech.

Shain Brown said...

Until I read your blog this morning I was unaware of this story and the film. I found a trailer for The King's Speech, and I have to say I was drawn in by the story.

Thanks, Now I have a new movie and book to add to my watch and read list.

Brent Wescott said...

By the time I was able to see The King's Speech in the theater, they had released the PG-13 version where the king spouts off a whole string of s-words instead of f-words. It kinda ruined the movie. Not that I need the king of England to spout profanities in order for me to enjoy myself, but it was poorly dubbed and you would have to be an ignoramus (or a younger child) to not know what he was really saying. It was still a good movie (though not as great as The Social Network), but I couldn't figure out why they would bowdlerize such a film.

Michael G-G said...

Way to start the week, Matt, with your usual well-expressed profundity.

I saw the K.S. and loved it; didn't realize it had been downgraded to PG-13 (I saw the 'f-bomb' version.) And thanks for turning me on to STICK. It sounds like a tremendous read.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

wait - The King's Speech is available for Netlfix already? It just came out on tuesday! I'll have to jump that up to the top of my queue since i wanted to see it in theaters but didn't get a chance

aspiring_x said...

ohmygoodness! my hubby netflixed the king's speech this weekend, and watched it while i was at work! now's it's gone byebye! ugh! i really wanted to see that. i guess at some other time.
i'm totally planning on preordering stick this summer when i get birthday book money. and buying the marbury lens and about a bajillion other amazing reads people keep talking about. man alive! sometimes i wish our little town had a bigger library! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My hubby and I plan to watch The Kings Speech next weekend. Wow, that will be the first time in forever since we've watched a movie together on the couch. :S

Joanne Brothwell said...

This post reminds me of a workshop I attended last week - the speakers were with an organization called St8t Up - former gang members helping people get out of gangs.

They said cruelty all comes back to one thing: pain. Trauma, abuse, torture all leads to pain, and later, anger. How do we cope with pain? Turn it off. And with turning pain off, we turn off our ability to feel at all. Add in some substance abuse to dull the pain even more, and human empathy disappears entirely.

Great post.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

I really enjoyed the speech, but now I want to see the STICK, to see if I come to the same conclusions you do.

Way to hook me in!

LTM said...

never heard of STICK, but I'll check it out. I really want to see The King's Speech. They were showing the PG-13 cut when we went to SF last month, but I didn't watch it then.

Maybe something good to rent leading up to Friday~ :D <3

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

The King's Speech looks amazing, and I can't believe I still haven't watched it. Looking forward to it!

Justine Dell said...

Sometimes I feel so out of the loop when I don't know what's going on in pop culture right now. However, I HATE it when something I DO know about doesn't come out until much later than I NEED it. LoL.

~JD

Old Kitty said...

Oh I loved the King's Speech!! I thought it deserved all these accolades it got!! It was a seriously good film!!!! Yay for themes!!!

Stick sounds amazing!!! Thanks for the review and heads up on it! Take care
x

Jemi Fraser said...

October seems like an awfully long time away - I'd rather not wait that long! :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Thanks for the review, MacNish,Stick sounds awesome and I will click over to pre-order it.

I will also try to round up a copy of The King's Speech. Thanks pal.

Glad the evil is balanced out. That's really as it should be. :-)

Linda Gray said...

You are a lateral thinker, aren't you? Love those connections. Also, The King's Speech was such a great film, and I thought it was significant that it got SO much applause and it really is a 'little' story in the sense that it's about one person's struggles set in a grand context. Little is good. Little stories, little kindnesses. Little is huge.

Jo Schaffer said...

Astute observation.
The Kings Speech was a very well written movie. But the overall "triumph" over self that is the obvious theme did not strike me as much as the underlying one that you pointed out.
What caught my attention was the tragedy of abuse and neglect in a "royally dysfunctional" family and the poor little prince lost in the shuffle-- left to the mistreatment of unstable hired help. Touching and tragic.
Firth and Rush kicked acting trash in that movie.

Anita said...

Husband doesn't want to watch K Speech because his mom recommended it to him. :) Will go to query now.

Lindsay said...

I've not seen The King's Speech yet, but I will when it comes out here on DVD in two weeks :) Now to pre-order STICK.

Lydia K said...

I have a date with my hubs to watch the King's Speech on pay per view tomorrow night. Can't wait!
I haven't heard of Stick, but will keep an eye out for it now.

Christina Lee said...

OOh, I like how you call it amost "holy"--lovely! AND it's available on Netflix now?!?!? YEE HAW!

Paul Joseph said...

I really want to see this movie. I've been trying to get to it since it appeared in the On Demand menu, but I'm always so tired I don't think I could pay attention. I definitely don't want to miss things.

Jess said...

I still haven't seen The King's Speech, but this post was a great reminder. STICK sounds thought-provoking as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I really want to watch that movie, and the book sounds like fun. :) Books like that are great - totally different, yet totally the same. :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I so want to watch The King's Speech. I've got to rent it soon. Thanks for reminding me.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Just watched The King's Speech on the weekend, and we really liked it. Great performances by all three central characters. Made me want to work on my enunciation...

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love when I find common themes like that. Making connections is something I think we're programmed to do, so it satisfies something deep inside of us.

Nicole L Rivera said...

Love the King's Speech...sounds like an great book :)

mmshaunakelley said...

A very timely, astute observation about kindnesses in the face of evil.

I know from caring for a terminally ill parent that, even in the absense of evil (unless you want to call the monumental unfairness that is cancer evil), it is sometimes the smallest thing someone does that counterbalances all of the crap sitting on your shoulders... giving you a good parking space, a hand on the shoulder and a smile.

I am going to take your message to be that a little good can counter-balance a lot of bad, even though I'm betting that is not how you intended it ;) It's the message I need to derrive today... So thank you!

February Grace said...

Rented The King's Speech over the weekend on In Demand and LOVED it. LOVED it. Right down to the Anthony Andrews cameo as the Prime Minister (paying homage I'm sure to the film he made for TV years ago where HE played the king who abdicated to be with "the woman he loved", Wallace Simpson...and wow that guy was portrayed as a much different man in that film!)

Colin Firth was incredible. The Oscars were will deserved in this case.

And knowing that it was written by a man who had battled speech difficulties and who said in his acceptance speech 'now we have a voice' just brings back to me a point I was making in a comment on another blog just before- that the best people to write people facing challenges, and characters with disabilites and difficulties to overcome- are the people who have lived with them, themselves.

Yep. Have to see that movie again!

~bru