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YMMV / It (1990)

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: James Rolfe argues that rather than being a genuine threat to the Losers, IT actually serves more as an escapist fantasy that distracts them from the Real Life problems they face like Henry's gang and neatly wraps all their fears about growing up into a terrifying, but vulnerable enemy.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Although accurate to the book, the infamous stop-motion spider is widely considered a very lame climax and totally deflates what little tension might remain at that point. It shows up, they literally push it over and rip its heart out. The end.
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  • Cant Unhear It: Just try to read the book and not visualize everybody as from the mini-series, especially Tim Curry.
  • Complete Monster: Curry's Pennywise is as bad as in the book. See It.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Pennywise disguises himself as Bev and starts making out with Ben only for the latter to see who his partner really is in a mirror. Pennywise then says "Kiss me, fatboy!" and leaves Ben alone, even though he would have been an incredibly easy kill.
  • First Installment Wins: The first half, with the teen versions in the 1950s, is widely more remembered than the one with the grown ups (the widely mocked climax listed below helps).
  • Foe Yay: It's movie only, but the scene where Adult Ben thinks he's kissing Beverly when it turns out to be It (specifically, Pennywise) in drag, who then shouts "Kiss me, fat boy!"
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • During Pennywise's final appearance before the spider form appears, Tim Curry's Fake American accent begins to falter a bit, causing him to accentuate certain phrases in Curry's natural British accent (e.g. how "all" is pronounced). This isn't just Curry's accent slipping; This is It finally dropping the Faux Affably Evil persona of Pennywise (who never appears again after this scene) and showing his true colours to the group (or at least, the truest colours their minds allow them to see).
    • Applying the logic of the novel to the film applies this to It's Pennywise incarnation, which is far more comical and goofy than It's other forms, playing the part of a capering, trolling jester to the point of Narm and Funny Moments for the audience. In the book, It is subjected to the weakness of whatever form It takes due to the children's beliefs in monsters' weaknesses. If a similar rule applies to the It of the 1990 miniseries, then It's clownish behavior in It's Pennywise form could well be because the children's beliefs of how clowns are supposed to be are influencing It to be Laughably Evil as Pennywise.
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  • Ham and Cheese: While Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise, is viewed as pretty scary by many, he also gives it a healthy dose of this, and it is ever so glorious.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The special stars both Jonathan Brandis and John Ritter, two actors who would have untimely deaths in 2003 (the former from suicide, the latter from an undiagnosed heart condition). Eerily, Brandis was 27 years old when he died.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Olivia Hussey lampshaded this in her autobiography, stating that the bike ride scene between Bill and Audra would end up being repeated for her in real life. Years later, while she was recovering from breast cancer, her husband came home one day with a new bike and had her go out for a ride. She describes the experience as being the start of her overcoming the worst parts of depression associated with the disease - much as riding on Silver helps shake Audra out of her catatonia.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Hollywood Pudgy: In the novel, Ben Hanscom is dangerously overweight as a child, but in the mini-series he's played by a stocky actor who has the build and weight of a young football player. Despite this, everyone still acts as if he's grossly fat.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Eddie mentions that he could never be with anyone he didn't love, and he's never loved anyone but the rest of the Losers. Beyond that, he and Richie have several... rather affectionate moments together. Due to some adaptation changes, such as he is unmarried and still living with his mother, has prompted some fans to wonder if Eddie was actually gay.
    • Richie's feelings towards Eddie are also unstated, but he clearly cares deeply about his friend and is single at the time of the Losers' reunion, whereupon he spends most of his time with Eddie, similar to Ben and Beverly. After Eddie's death, Richie goes into a cold rage towards It he hadn't shown even over Stan's death and Mike's near-death. Despite leaving Derry forever and losing his memories of his friends, his new partner in comedies is said to be suspiciously similar to Eddie.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • While having a modestly positive reputation overall, fans and critics alike agree the main reason to watch is Tim Curry's performance.
    • Jonathan Brandis's heartfelt performance as the young Bill in the first part is considered a close second in terms of reasons to watch.
  • Memetic Molester: GUESS.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moment of Awesome: "This is battery acid, you slime!"
  • Never Live It Down: As seen many times This Very Wiki, the sequence of It's true form is a frequent target of mockery.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • The scene where Pennywise appears in the form of a dog in a clown suit. It is far too silly to be considered scary.
    • The reveal of It's true form. From the book's Eldritch Abomination that sort of resembles a giant spider (that's the closest the Losers can come to describing it) to a gangly stop-motion spider that wouldn't scare a five-year-old.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Seth Green is Young Richie. Also check out young Emily Perkins and Chelan Simmons. Both would have plenty more horror credits as they grew up.
    • William B. Davis has a small role as the high school principal, just a few years before becoming embroiled in all sorts of supernatural goings-on in The X-Files.
    • And of course Tim Reid would be better known to 90s kids as Ray from Sister, Sister.
    • Annette O'Toole would reach a new generation of fans as Martha Kent in Smallville.
  • Signature Scene: The sewer sequence in the opening.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The giant spider at the end of the movie. The true metaphysical nature of IT is only vaguely referenced. It looks very cheap and results in quite an Anti-Climax. Partially justified in that the cosmic elements of the novel would be tough to replicate on the screen. The stop motion effects are pretty cheap too. Even Tim Curry himself is not fond of the spider.
    • During the flashback to Georgie's death, he's sailing a paper boat on the water during a pretty intense rain - yet it's obviously a very sunny day with patches of intense sunlight between the trees. When Georgie leans over the sewer where It is, and we see Georgie from It's point of view, there's a perfectly blue sky with not a single cloud despite the "torrential rain" behind him. Mind you, rare as this is, "Sunshowers" are real occurrences.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Georgie's death, of course. Immediately followed by Bill looking at an old photo album and finding an old picture of Georgie. Of course, the moment turns to Nightmare Fuel when the photo of Georgie winks at Bill, revealing the photo was an illusion made by Pennywise.
    • Stan's suicide, too scared of Pennywise to even live anymore..
  • Tough Act to Follow: For some, the first part with the child actors is much more solid at building the atmosphere that the second part can't really follow. The second part features the infamous stop-motion spider.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: It's an odd decision to cast Olivia Hussey as Bill's wife Audra. Not only is she Not Even Bothering with the Accent (in the book she's an American like Bill who has lost some of her accent living in the UK but regains it as soon as she returns home) but there's no resemblance between her and Annette O'Toole. It's a minor plot point in the book that Audra resembles Beverly, hinting that Bill married a Replacement Goldfish. The miniseries keeps the sexual tension between both of them, making it odd that they don't reference this in Audra's casting.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Fans have often laughed at the irony that Bill goes bald as an adult in the book, and in the miniseries not only has a full head of hair, but the most 90s grunge ponytail ever.


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