TV Review: The Stand (Part Three: The Betrayal)

Posted: April 19, 2010 in Movie Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Part One: The Plague
Part Two: The Dreams

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The Stand (1994 ABC Dir. Mick Garris)



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Best CGI city EVAR!

So, where were we? Ah yes, everyone was just starting to show up to Boulder and Las Vegas respectively. Well, Stu and his group hasn’t because we open with them trying to perform an appendectomy in Ohio. It’s rare that you start a show with your main character’s hands covered in blood, particularly when they’ve got massengill and pampers to sell. A little romance has been building up between Fran and Stu, and they go tell Harold about it, who finds his heart filled with hate and probably non-dairy cheese products. While I’m talking about this section, why is Fran always in a skirt? Almost every scene with her, shows her in a skirt, she almost never wears shorts or pants or culottes or jodhpurs or even a skort. Skirts, all the time. Sorry, I just find it sort of annoying that they choose not to have women in pants so much in this program. Pants make for much more sensible traveling clothes than skirts do, but so many of the women are seen with skirts. I guess if they didn’t wear skirts, we wouldn’t know they were supposed to be females or something because network executives believe sexual dimorphism is when you molest both boys and girls.

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Not much funny to say about this shot, which is a shame. Flagg should have a funny line.

Anyway, we see that Flagg is getting Las Vegas on its feet, we also see that Trashcan Man thinks he’s in some CGI paradise. Computer effects were very primitive at this time and they didn’t have a lot of money for them. As a result they aren’t all that great, but in Trash’s case, the artificialness is actually helpful since he’s a few sandwiches short of a circus. He meets up with Flagg, who tells him he’s got some work for Trash to do. Trash nearly looses it in admiration for old Randy. Trashcan Man is probably the strangest character in the movie, and he’s the one that I think is least understood in the film. He’s supposed to be a tortured soul, wracked with visions and suffering from schizophrenia, but he comes off as almost comic until the end. I think we’d have to have spent more time with him to really get the character down, but there are only six hours to play with and you have to get over 100 characters with speaking parts into the show. There just isn’t enough time to develop the character as well as maybe he deserves, but Matt Frewer plays him with a fair amount of sympathy so it balances out in the end.

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This opening band SUUUUCKS!

We then find that Nadine has come to Boulder, with… is that Stephen King? Why yes it is! Rack up another cameo, and continue with the story. There is a problem here that pertains to the fact that it was made for TV. Nadine’s arrival is treated really weirdly. Mother Abagail stops baking her own bread for a moment and snaps at Nadine, who in turn says she’s just cranky what with being 106 years old. Larry acts like she’s come out of nowhere, Stu even hold him back and tries to stop him from talking to her for a moment. All of these things are done mainly because TV has to have a series of rises and falls to fit the commercials. As a result, some of the emotion seems badly misplaced at times, because it was meant to fit a time and place within that frame. This was sop far away from any commercials from panty liners or other such products that require a sound mind that they could afford to fly off the handle a little. Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, Fran was wearing a skirt. The Boulder group gets the power turned back on, has a mass meeting where almost all the women wear skirts, and elects our main characters as rulers of the city. While all this is going on, Mother Abagail (age: bread, makes her own: 106) decides she’s sinned and has to go out into the wilderness. This news is treated like the death of both JFK and the end of Cheese Wiz in the movie, despite the fact that it doesn’t last very long and they find her after only fifteen minutes or so. Between her vanishing and them finding her, a few things do get done though. Nadine and Larry have a reunion. Again, this is treated like the end of birdsong and hand jobs. People are pretty rough on Nadine really. Pretty much everyone treats her like crap and uses her. It’s not hard to see why she acts like she does in the end.

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It’s like the Heidelberg Project, isn’t it?

The newly elected council decides to send Dayna Jurgens, Tom Cullen and Judge Farris west to spy on Flagg. This, despite the fact that Judge Farris’s head is filled with sand and his brain is in a jar in Washington. They hypnotize Tom and send him off to spy telling him to come back when the moon is full, which brings a cap to the M-O-O-N business. After this we see Harold humiliate himself by puking again. I like how Mick Garris and Stephen King keep having scenes together. Makes me think King kept grabbing Garris by the arm and telling him to come and be in the scene. Anyway, Harold comes home and finds Nadine in his house. See, Nadine is here to seduce Harold without loosing her virginity. It’s done in an unspecified manner because this is network TV and there are still wholesome things like Monistat 3 and Vagisil to sell. You can’t talk about sexual specifics when there are people who want to buy fine American products like these. Good Americans only have man on top, get it over with, missionary sex, so we can’t talk about anything else lest it upset the bluehairs and the pearl clutchers. Anyway, she seduces him to her side and convinces him to join her quest to destroy the people of Boulder and get to Flagg.

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Do zombies pray to Zombie Jesus?

Harold decides that his part will be played with the application of dynamite as a party favor. He builds a bomb and gets Nadine to plant it in the house where the council meeting is being held. The explosion blows up half the council, but not before the other half is saved by a healthy does of deus ex machina in the form of a psychic message from Mother Abagail (bakes her own age, 106 loaves of bread) who just got back into town. Fran has a dream, and even in her dreams, she has to wear a dress, where Momma Abby (106 years old) tells her that Stu, Larry, Glen and Ralph have to go to Las Vegas. She then tells her they have to “Staaaand” before the dream ends. I’m not sure why Fran has to be the messenger, particularly when Momma Abby (106, bread) wakes up to give them a few more instructions before saying “Staaaand” and dying an extremely convenient death. Sorry, she just says it the same way every time. “Staaaand.” By the time she dies, I really, really hate Mother Abagail (died aged 106, no longer bakes any bread) since I find her both a symbol of the white guilt magic minority thing, but also because I honestly despise her brand of unthinking, simpering, unquestioning, toadying, unbending view towards religion. When she says “God ain’t in the habit of explaining himself to the likes of Abagail Freemantle.” I keep thinking “Well the bitch can come down and explain himself to me. Otherwise, I am prepared to staaaaand here with my hands in my pockets and whistle while the thunder comes down. He can explain or staaaand in amazement when he notices that I don’t intend to blink first.” Sorry, but it really bugs me. I come to hate Mother Abagail even more in the book, since there she represents everything that was going wrong in the old world as much as Flagg does.

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KA-BOOM!

The last scene for tonight has the four men walking away to the west. Fran acts like an annoying weepy bitch, which is a serious shame. She’s been progressively reduced from the loving, supporting, intelligent character that’s presented in the book to this whiner. We should take her concerns more seriously than we do though. At this point, Fran is the only one who seems to be talking anything like sense. Think about it, four guys should walk off into the west to do battle with the darkness and no one complains? Only one of them out of the whole society says “Screw this, lets have tacos instead” through all that? And she has to wear a dress the whole damn show? At least Lucy Swan (Larry’s sweetheart) gets to wear a pair of jeans, but not our Franny. I might be making too much out of this, but I’ve never seen women wear skirts as much in real life as I do on TV and in movies. It really bugs me that we seem to deny women the joy of a pair of pants. Fran is also the one who really doesn’t seem like the character in the book. Everyone else seems to have really gripped their book counterpart, but Fran is just… given a disservice in my mind. I’m not sure if it’s in the writing, or the acting, or even the directing, but she just doesn’t come across for me. Anyway, this is where night 3 ends, with our heroes walking off to the strains of some really excellent music by W.G. Snuffy Walden. King requested this music, asking for something that sounded like real American “Blue Jeans” music. It’s a nice mix of American folk and new age sort of music, with a bit of spiritual thrown in. The soundtrack is out of print, but you can still find it on the internet if you look.

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Caw!

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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