Last Friday, I celebrated a birthday – and I will egotistically say that I appreciate the prominence of the date in Stephen King’s bibliography. Among other things, January 19 is the day of the final showdown in Christine, it’s the deadline for Barton George Dawes to move out of his house in Roadwork, and it’s the day that King finished writing The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (per the author’s journal entries featured in The Dark Tower VI: The Song Of Susannah). But there’s no time to go over all of the appearances of the date, as there are more significant stories and developments in the world of Stephen King from the past week to discuss.
In this week’s edition of The King Beat, there is a brand new Dollar Baby Film you can watch for a limited time, and news of a King short story that will be published this spring and won’t be included in the new collection You Like It Darker. But before we dig into those stories, let’s first put a spotlight on Stephen King’s multi-Tweet reaction to this week’s Academy Award nominations.
Stephen King Is Evidently Not Too Happy About The 2024 Oscar Nominees, Particularly The Barbie Snubs
While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences recognized a number of phenomenal films with the nominations that were announced this week, the cries of celebration were arguably overshadowed by those of outrage. In particular, the fact that Barbie’s Greta Gerwig didn’t get a nod for Best Director and Margot Robbie likewise didn’t get recognized for Best Actress earned widespread scorn and condemnation. Stephen King hasn’t gotten as heated as some have on social media, but he did share a level of displeasure with the choices that were made for the 2024 Oscars.
In the wake of the Academy Award nominations being announced, Stephen King posted a pair of Tweets, and neither of them suggested he was a big fan of the results. In the first post, he questioned the distance between the opinions of Academy members and average movie-goers, writing,
The Oscar nominations and moviegoing tastes have pretty much parted company.
To play devil’s advocate here, Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer collectively earned 21 nominations, and they also collectively earned $2.4 billion at the global box office. That being said, it has been a while since the Academy Awards actually gave the Best Picture trophy to a true populist hit, the last time arguably being Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (which made an impressive $430.1 million during its worldwide theatrical run).
It was with Stephen King’s second Tweet that he specifically targeted his biggest gripe about the 2024 Oscar nominations:
No nom for Greta Gerwig? Can that actually be true?
As noted, Stephen King is not alone in his indignation here. A lot of great directors did phenomenal work last year, and those artists are being celebrated with Best Director nominations, but movie-goers who love the biggest blockbuster hit of 2023 wanted to see Greta Gerwig get her flowers for her major cinematic achievement.
Though it may feel like a backup prize given the consternation about the Best Director category, Gerwig is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay along with her co-writer/husband Noah Baumbach.
The Academy Awards are set to air on ABC on Sunday, March 10, and CinemaBlend will be very active covering the biggest stories of the night.
You Like It Darker Is Coming This Spring, Another Stephen King Story Will Be Published Outside The Book As Well
The best thing about being a Stephen King fan is that it never feels like he isn’t providing his audience with enough to read. In addition to the dozens of novels he’s written since the mid-1970s, there is always new material right around the corner. Since the release of his latest book, Holly, last September, Constant Readers have been anticipating the publication of his latest collection, You Like It Darker, but it turns out that won’t be the only new fiction we get from King this spring.
We learned back in November that You Like It Darker will be made available from retailers on May 21, but that book won’t include “The Extra Hour,” a new short story by Stephen King. Instead, the only way you’ll be able to read that is by getting your hands on a copy of the 79th issue of Cemetery Dance magazine. The publication hasn’t revealed any kind of a logline, but it’s promised to be “a brand new classic tale of terror from the master of horror.”
“The Extra Hour” is the big sell for Constant Readers on Cemetery Dance #79, but it’s not the only treat that will be featured between the covers. There will also be an interview with Stephen King by Stephen King scholar Bev Vincent, and there are multiple pieces about Gauntlet Press’ Hope and Miracles: “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile” (including an interview with writer/director Frank Darabont).
A specific release date has not been announced for Cemetery Dance #79 (the website simply says “Spring 2024”), but the magazine is available for pre-order in two forms: the standard magazine and a limited edition hardcover signed by Cemetery Dance editor Richard Chizmar (who co-wrote the books Gwendy’s Button Box and Gwendy’s Final Task with Stephen King). I have already put my own pre-order in, and you can be sure that I will make room to write about “The Extra Hour” in The King Beat when it’s released.
For A Limited Time, You Can Watch One Of The Last Dollar Babies
At the end of 2023, the sad news was delivered that Stephen King’s Dollar Babies program has ended. For decades, the author made select stories available for adaptation at the price of $1 (with specific conditions attached), but Margaret Morehouse, who King calls “Margaret, the Mistress of Dollar Babies,” is retiring. The one silver lining to the news was the promise that existing contracts would be honored – which means that there are still short films that can be made.
This week, one of last Dollar Baby films has been uploaded online – but the catch is that you can only watch it for a limited time.
Thanks to Stephen King’s program, writer/director/producer Julia Marchese has made I Know What You Need, a 45-minute movie based on the short story of the same name from the 1978 collection Night Shift, and it is presently available to watch as part of the Movie Play International Film Festival. It’s available to stream on the MovieplayIFF website, and it will only be until January 27 when the festival concludes. (You can access the Vimeo embed on the site using the password that is included at the bottom right of the video).
Constant Readers will appreciate that I Know What You Need is faithful to the source material (albeit with a few changes), but what makes the movie particularly enjoyable for King fans is the wide array of Easter eggs that you’ll be able to spot. Nozz-A-La Cola is the main beverage of choice, both Derry and Castle Rock get name drops, and the number “19” is everywhere. Stylistically, there are hints of John Carpenter and George A. Romero, and the cherry on top is that the production shot on location in Bangor, Maine (if you’re paying attention, you can even see Stephen King’s house at one point).
It’s because of stipulations in the Dollar Baby contract that I Know What You Need is only going to be available to watch for a limited time, so do yourself a favor and check it out now.
Recommendation Of The Week: “I Know What You Want”
I think my reasons for this Recommendation Of The Week are pretty obvious. I had a weekly series here on CinemaBlend called Adapting Stephen King which was entirely dedicated to comparing and contrasting King adaptations and their source material, and I’m suggesting that you give it a try yourself by checking out the short story on which Julia Marchese’s movie is based.
“I Know What You Need” begins with college student Elizabeth Rogan cramming for an exam in the university library when she is approached by a strange young man named Ed Hamner Jr. The title of the short story is his opening line, and while Elizabeth is doubtful that the weirdo with mismatched socks can deliver on his suggestion, she is floored when he suggests a strawberry double-dip ice cream cone. Over the course of the next few months – and following a personal tragedy – she comes to find that Ed always seems to know what she needs… and she is ultimately horrified to learn the secret as to why.
This edition of The King Beat has reached its end, but be sure to come back here to CinemaBlend next Thursday to find my latest column. Meanwhile, there is plenty more about Stephen King to read here on the site, including my guide to Upcoming Stephen King Movies and TV shows and my features both hailing the best Stephen King films of all time and the best of Stephen King on TV.