TV Review: The Stand (Part Two: The Dreams)

Posted: April 12, 2010 in Movie Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Part One: The Plague

The Stand (1994 ABC Dir. Mick Garris)

Now we see another reaction to “Two Girls, One Cup”

Anyway, back to the story (About some girl named blah-blah-blah that adored me) where we open to find Fran’s father has died. While I don’t remember everyone’s tale from the book really well, I know that Fran’s story is greatly truncated in this version. How much her character development is stunted; compared to say Larry’s I’m not prepared to say, but a lot of her stuff is cut out. It’s not that Fran is made into a non-entity, it’s just that she’s a primary character in the book and she’s sort of lowered to the roll of a secondary character like Harold is. Some people didn’t like Molly Ringwald’s performance, but I think she did a good job here. She and Harold decide to travel to good old Stovington (where they keep the really sane people), but they don’t actually leave yet. They’ve got to listen to a Crowded House song before the plot can move any further.

Oh dear, it’s like everything I ever worried about.

The song leads to Larry hanging out in Central Park, looking for anyone who might be left. He meets up with Nadine Cross, who will turn out to be important later but only starts being a romance for Larry. This leads to them deciding to leave New York, but they don’t actually do it yet because we haven’t check up on Lloyd Henreid in a while and he must be hungry, right? Well, yes he is. He’s even got a rat under his cot if he needs it. As the show has been going, we then switch to someone else. We now meet Trashcan Man, another of Flagg’s acolytes, the firebug who sits in the background for most of the story. We never get to know the people who go over to Flagg’s side, even in the book they’re mostly just a collection of unsympathetic faces. After a short scene with Mother Abagail (age 106, bakes bread), we finally get a clear view of Randal Flagg’s face and learn his name. Flagg gets Lloyd out of jail and recruits him into the army of Flaggness.

It’s… beautiful.

Now we get to one of the better scenes in the book, and which is one of the more effective pieces in the miniseries. Larry, in an attempt to get out of New York City (where that other salsa that wasn’t Pace Picante sauce used to be made) heads down the Lincoln Tunnel, which is sort of chocked with cars. Nadine decides she can’t go in the tunnel and he carries on alone. The problem of course is that every car has a dead body rotting away in it. That and the dark starts to get to him and the fear winds him up. He has a hallucination that one of the corpses says his name, which causes him to drop and break his flashlight. He then tries to light the way with a cigarette lighter, and eventually the headlights of a car. The scene in the book is extremely paranoid as everything is in Larry’s head. In the movie, it’s a short scene but it works quite well for me. I think because, besides the amount of time it takes, it’s exactly how I pictured the scene playing out in my head. Eventually, he ends up shooting his gun off into the darkness at nothing because he thought he heard a noise. It’s just a guy being alone and scared in a dark room, reverting to childishness. As a result of this, he almost shot Nadine, who came back to join him after all.

I’ll kill you! Even if you don’t exist, I’ll kill you all!

So now we go back to Stu, who meets Glen Bateman for the first time, as we do. It’s nice how that works out, isn’t it? Bateman is played by Ray Walston, who is recognized by a lot of people, but they can never seem to remember what they’ve seen him in. A lot of people in TV mini series tend to be on this level. Solid actors, good actors, but never people who are considered big stars. They’re big enough in their own rights, but mostly they have to slog through a lot of middle ground work like this. Still, like the rest of the cast, he plays Bateman to a tee. As I’ve said before though, most the actors in this play their parts quite well. The end result of this scene is that Stu and Glen are instant friends who decide to hang out together and wait for Monday Night Football to make a comeback.

This means something… this is important.

So what happens next? Larry dreams about Mother Abagail, age 106 years. Nadine dreams about Randal Flagg, who doesn’t bake his own bread, but does tell her to leave Larry. Then Nick ides his bike into what looks like a massive art installation, but turns out to be the result of one of my favorite characters loneliness. Tom Cullen is played by Bill Fagerbakke, who I can’t help but think was hired because he was Dauber in Coach. He has sort of been typecast as an idiot, even though he’s played a lot of other parts. I like Tom, even though he’s a stereotype and an example of the sort of annoying leveling authors regularly use to make someone with a disability magical. We’ve got the magic old black woman, the idiot with a muscular frame and psychic powers, the deaf-mute with an incredibly keen mind, all we need is a wheelchair bound person who is great with computers and we’ll have the whole set. Point being, Tom and Nick hook up and decide to ride away together, which I’ve just realized sounds way more gay than it comes off in he show. They aren’t gay, they’re just traveling companions. No, wait, how do I put this? Okay, screw it, they’re gay.

He just did something horrible in his pants.

Glen and Stu discuss to heading out to Nebraska, talking about how Mother Abagail is 106 and still bakes her own bread. Before they can take any action they meet up with Fran and Harold, who wants to go to Stovington so he can see the research center that Stu escaped from in the last episode. Harold also proves to be sort of a prick, but considering what he does in the next two nights, being sort of a prick here is actually not very bad. Harold doesn’t enjoy his trip and throws up all over a dead nurse, at 9 o’clock on ABC, on a school night. And then, right after he does it, they cut to a commercial so you can think about him puking while Procter & Gamble try to get you to buy Bounty Paper Towels, which cleans up spills… like Harold’s puke! Now, whenever you think of Bounty, you’ll think of Harold Lauder puking on a dead nurse with worms on her legs. Awesome! Just be glad it wasn’t for Summer’s Eve. That would give a new meaning to “feeling not so fresh” wouldn’t it?

M-O-O-N! That spells typecasting.

We then catch up Nick and Tom, the later of whom has a tummy ache, which leads the former of whom to go to a drug store and find our next future celebrity. Shawnee Smith is well known now because of the Saw Movies, but at this time she was doing some seriously small parts. The part of Julie Lawry isn’t exactly huge, but it’s well played and pretty memorable. After being chased off by the insane Julie, they come across the much nicer Ralph Brentner, who gives them a ride in his pickup truck. So that’s nice, it’s good to see there are still people you can trust in the world, isn’t it?

He offered his love on a note, but she continued to deny him.

So the next scene starts, which has Larry meeting Lucy Swan and Joe. Then we shift over to Mother Abagail (106, Bread) who greets Nick & Company before rolling off to Nebraska. We then get a look at Flagg’s Las Vegas, where the first few of the bad people have started to gather. Trashcan Man arrives and we see that Lloyd has sort of taken over running the place. It’s a short scene like, a lot of this program’s scenes are. The final scene in this night is another short one that shows the first travelers arriving in Boulder. At that point, the episode ends and either our tape shows us a commercial for the ten o’clock news or our DVD asks us to flip the disc despite the fact that this is a two disc set and flipping the disc over would do no good. The original DVD was a flipper disc, and they never changed it despite making it a two disc later. Doesn’t bother me though. I’ll pop out disc one, put in disc two and watch episode three. See you in a bit kids.

Too cool for military school.

Part Three: The Betrayal
Part Four: The Stand

Official Score For This Episode:
20 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.
Official Score For the whole Movie:
26 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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