Friday, August 20, 2010

I Know My Name is Stevie


I thought I'd start this blog with a review of an old "favorite," I Know My Name is Stevie (also known by the lamer title "I Know My First Name Is Steven"). This was one of those movies I saw as a kid that I really shouldn't have been watching (I must have been like 11 years old. I have no idea what my parents were doing that day), and, like The Big One, a TV movie about the supposedly inevitable LA earthquake, it left such an impression that I still bring it up as much as possible today, hoping someone else has seen this landmark piece of cinema and can remember the image of little Stevie with his arms crossed over his thin frame, covering his nipples with his hands. If you can't get a mental picture of this, perhaps I should tell you that Stevie was played by the same kid who played the Nintendo genius in The Wizard.

The film, made in 1989, is based on the life of Steven Stayner, a boy who was kidnapped in California and held captive for 8 years, where he was subjected to all sorts of horrible sex acts. When his "father" finally abducted another boy, Stevie had finally had enough and up and went to the police.

The movie version of the tale, which is 3 hours long, doesn't stop there. It continues, showing how once Stevie (who now insists on being called Steven) is reunited with his family, he doesn't really like them very much, resists their rules and Christian values, and knocks up his girlfriend and goes and lives in a tralier. It's really quite sad, and as I sat in my living room watching all 3 hours of the story (plus a good hour of commercials for tampons and cleaning products) I could kind of see why Steve put up with his captive father. Sure, being invited into bed with "Dad" and Dad's cackling girlfriend seems awfully weird, but when you're 10 how are you supposed to know any better? Especially when "Dad" just told you that your parents don't even care that you're gone.

Sadly, the real Steven Stayner had an even more depresssing life than the Lifetime movie let on (unsurprisingly, as Lifetime movies always seem to end on an upbeat note)--his brother became a murderer and Steve died in a motorcycle crash before he could see any royalties from the film. In any case, now that I've got this traumatizing movie over and written about, I promise the rest of my posts will be less depressing and slightly more hilarious.

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