It’s the end of an era: After seven years of jotting down his thoughts on pop culture for a back-of-the-book column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King has penned his farewell note. “It’s time for Uncle Stevie to grab his walking cane, put on his traveling shoes, and head on down the road,” the horror author wrote, and that was King’s column in a nutshell: Oddly folksy in a way recalling Dan Rather, it was dictated by “Uncle Steve,” who — much like an actual uncle — told interesting stories and made embarrassing revelations in equal measure. Here is just a sampling of the things we learned about the cheerfully candid King during his EW tenure; feel free to contribute your own.
He’s a huge fan of ”Who Let the Dogs Out,” by Baha Men.
“I want to share that my wife once informed me that she would disembowel me with her sharpest Ginsu knife if I played the extended version one more time,” he wrote. “I waited until she was running errands, then played it … not once but several times.”
He isn’t necessarily the most contemporary reader.
You can ask Stephen King to put together a top ten list of the best books of 2010, but you’d better let him include galleys he’s read of novels that haven’t even been published yet (Karen Russell’s Swamplandia) and books written in 2008 (David Benioff’s City of Thieves) or even 1996 (David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which topped his list). In fact, only four of the novels King cited were actually published this year.
He would be an interesting person to sit next to in a theater.
“My candy of choice is Junior Mints,” wrote King. “And while I don’t bring bootleg food into the movies, I do bring bootleg toothpicks. Then, as I relax in my seat, I take a toothpick and poke five or six Junior Mints onto it. It ends the dreaded Chocolate Hand, and it’s also kind of fun to eat candy off a stick. I call them Mint-Kebabs.”
He is not afraid to love junky movies.
King had admitted that his movie tastes are not to be trusted, and indeed, you’d never mistake his 2009 best-of list for Manohla Dargis’s: It included such movies as 2012, Law Abiding Citizen, The Last House on the Left, and The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. (Somehow, this made his declaration of the Sam Mendes drama Revolutionary Road as “the worst of the year” even more of a delicious “oh snap” moment.)
Maybe we should all be reevaluating Takers, though?
This year’s eclectically cast crime drama (Hayden Christensen! Chris Brown! Paul Walker!) has now received end-of-the-year acclaim from both Armond White and King, who rated it the fifth best movie of 2010: “The characters feel real, and the armored-car heist is the best action sequence I’ve seen this year.”
Height = cool.
“Remember, cool is not a way of life; it’s a state of being,” King once noted, after provocatively informing the reader that Charlize Theron and Friday Night Lights were “uncool.” “Like your height. I can’t help being 6’3”, and I can’t help being cool. Same way Michael Crichton can’t help being 6’9” … and not cool.”