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We can add IT to the growing list of 2017’s massive creative let-downs.

[Spoiler alerts for the new IT adaptation.] The long-anticipated and much-hyped adaptation of Stephen King’s monster opus IT opened yesterday with a lucky September 7 at 7 showing. Since my corner of Florida is in Hurricane Irma’s devastating path and the other local movie theaters were closed, this first official public screening was packed — and with a really fun crowd of clappers, screamers, and talk-backers who like me, vocally interacted with the madness on-screen. The woman across the aisle from me even pulled out two bottles of wine and uncorked them with gusto. Tensions are high and we all needed some welcome relief and a couple of hours of escape. Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of IT definitely provided a brief getaway from the potential devastation en route here in real life. But unfortunately the film didn’t provide much else but sanctuary from storm worries. King’s novel is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it when I was 11 and in the almost-thirty years since, I’ve revisited its pages 8 or 9 times. While the evil force behind Pennywise the Clown is indeed terrifying, what is scarier in the novel is the unequivocal theme that humans are ultimately the monsters and architects of the horrors of childhood abuse, domestic violence, racial and sexuality-motivated crimes, and generational apathy that allows justifying looking away when terrible things go on. These themes only marginally made it into the new IT film, and while the 1990 TV movie fields much criticism, all these important messages from the book are front and center there.

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