It is Kathy Bates' birthday today! Huzzah! Any reason to celebrate one of our favorite actresses is always welcome, and so I thought today we'd take a look at... well, yeah, the obvious one. I know I've talked about Misery til the cockadoodie cows came home, but (in my best Jerri Blank voice) I got somethin' new to say.
Specifically -- how great is Annie Wilkes' little Paul Sheldon shrine? It's all in the details -- I love that she has the Misery Chastain novels in both hard and soft cover (like any proper Number One Fan would) and I love her choices in photographs. I mean why the hell would this crappy pulp fiction writer have met the queen? But that was a real picture of Jimmy Caan that they had access to...
... since he really did meet Queen Elizabeth, alongside Barbra Streisand (oh my god Babs, that outfit) and Jimmy Stewart. Anyway those are all obviously real pictures of James Caan that they adopted for the movie; I suppose that was simpler in 1990 than crudely photo-shopping him into anything (today's fun fact: Photoshop was invented in 1988.) All that said...
... the pièce de résistance up there is clearly the
Cat Frame that looks like it is violently devouring him.
What I love about Annie's stalker shelf is it's the second All Paul Sheldon Shelf that we see in the movie -- his editor (played by some blonde woman, I don't know) also has her own Paul Sheldon Stalker Shelf in her office. But she's even fancier - she has a French Edition Poster! Ooh la la, Betty.
Anyway a second before we see Annie's shelf we get this great sight-gag of Paul looking around the house - the framed picture of Liberace makes me bust out laughing every time I watch the film, and then the stuffed pig, and then the great big red (I might have known it would be red) photo-album with the words MEMORY LANE stamped across it that is propped up proudly on Annie's desk - and of course it's filled with every sordid detail of her ol' villainous baby-murdering lifestyle...
... because that's how bad people do. And that banner on the second page that says "ANOTHER BABY" is spectacular, truly spectacular. I can only imagine the good black-comedy cackling the set decorator (Garrett Lewis, who also did the sets for Beaches and Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman! I wanna hang out with him!) had when he dressed up that bit.
Later on when Annie & Paul have dinner together Paul is placed so he's become a prop himself inside of Annie's Paul Sheldon Museum - a perfect subtle choice from director Rob Reiner, in a movie that, well, isn't always so subtle.
Happy birthday, Kathy Bates!!!