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MICK GARRIS DIRECTS STEPHEN KING'S SICK SAGA 'THE STAND'

Adam Storke sits out a song in THE STAND Year: 1994

Miniseries for Stephen King's THE STAND directed by King's SLEEPWALKERS collaborator Mick Garris is an epic's epic centering on an eclectic band of survivors from a deadly plague known as "Captain Tripps," eventually uniting around shared dreams of an old black Christian lady on a farm, playing an out-of-tune guitar, sharing a divine vision to lead the Chosen Ones; except for a few chosen rotten apples including a jealous teenage virgin, a sexy pill popper and a spastic psychopath: two are female, and both.... especially a fiendishly sympathetic Laura San Giacomo as this baby's targeted Rosemary... act better and far more realistic than Molly Ringwald's too-subdued and rather dull (yet genuinely sweet) performance as an old-fashion yet unwed, knocked-up ingenue... 

Despite her eventual significant-other Gary Sinise's fantastic role as a wise "country don't mean dumb" strong-silent East Texan, one of the coolest, most relaxing, subtly bad-ass heroes in television history. When some (not many) story-lines exceed their limit, it's always Sinise's anchoring Stu Redman who puts the puzzle back together... but in the cool dude department, he's got some beyond-capable assistance/competition...

Gary Sinise starring in THE STAND Rates: ****

Particuarly Adam Storke as the reluctant, glib, black sheep good guy Larry Underwood...

His part's the most involving when he wanders through New York's citywide desolation: a popular but fledgling rock star whose one hit wonder is referenced throughout; a funky, glossy, disco-meshed pop tune that even The Devil himself, Randall Flagg, sings with irony: "Baby Can You Dig Your Man... He's a Righteous Man!"

Enter Jamey Sheriden, a Michael Madsen type of grungy-handsome blue-jeans wearing villain who intentionally chews up the scenery... 

Sometimes even literally while, alas, his face morphs ala gooey-looking mid-90's television-budget CGI (resembling Michael Jackson's "Black And White" video, directed by John Landis who makes a cameo here). But it's Flagg's number one man played by Miguel Ferrer (an antagonistic yet realistically vulnerable b-side to Storke's dependable rogue) who provides a logical, down-to-earth realism to the "other side," fitfully gathered in Sin City itself: a collection of "scum and villainy," and beyond...

Miguel Ferrer rules

The best scenes occur when particular characters travel either alone or in small groups within the now nothingness of America, from cities to small towns, the kind of searching through nothingness story Stephen King said he loves to write and watch... 

These eclectic nomads are nicely, pretty much equally developed through a combined tension that exists even outside the realm of expository dialogue, providing THE STAND a palpable horror movie vibe with the heart of a Disaster Flick that eventually served its purpose, and, divided in four parts (and is, unlike the horrible 2020 remake, linear), the good guys eventually wind up in one of Stephen King's favorite states... No not Maine but Colorado...

Bridgit Ryan, Larry's girl

And in the final act shifting back and forth from the green grass and fresh air to the sinister/sweltering Las Vegas heat is a neatly balanced handing-off of survivor perspectives, a few of them spontaneous and interesting and edgy enough... like Shawnee Smith as a downright psychopathic freak-girl who bullies intrepid deaf-mute Rob Lowe and his slow-witted gentle-giant companion Bill Fagerbakke... to be chilling/creepy enough to make up for a lack of overall scariness...

Cameo by John Landis

Making this apocalyptic melodrama intriguingly diabolical with enough tension and random bouts of action despite an abundance of what can either be called flaws...

Or, perhaps, in the Stephen King fashion, intentionally campy b-movie homage... Or maybe even genuinely classic nods OR ELSE directorial coincidences, from Stanley Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY (the imprisoned squashed cockroach) to BLACK SUNDAY (an annoyed Corin Nemic making his basement bomb) to  CHINATOWN ("Summer colds are the worst") to The Rolling Stones' Sympathy for The Devil: But what this STAND goes for, works...

Only rabid fans of King's thousand-plus-page novel may find reasons to be disappointed. Others, most likely, are pleased by the immense-yet-contained, popcorn-on-the-couch mostly non-corny entertainment value and the (as it's now referred to as) binge-worthy aspect. Although just about everyone will agree that the Finger-on-The-Button finale is pretty anticlimactic (and dated... even then... resembling if James Cameron made a 1980's Elect Walter Mondale ad had likewise digital-effects existed). But that's but a whimper compared to the big, wonderfully addictive BANG leading up!

Rob Lowe and Bill Fagerbakke in THE STAND
Miguel Ferrer arrested in The Plague from THE STAND
Adam Storke in his Digyoman vehicle from THE STAND
Had the world not been so rudely interrupted, Brittney Lewis as Arlene would be Larry Underwood's dream
Adam Storke with Laura San Giacomo in THE STAND
Laura San Giacomo as the damned sexy Nadine in THE STAND
Full-lipped beauty Bridgit Ryan's Lucy Swann wins the award as the cutest girl in THE STAND dammit!
Bridgit Ryan as Lucy Swann w/ a lucky Adam Storke as Larry Underwood in THE STAND
Mick Garris said this was NOT a Black Sunday homage; but Nemic's attitude matched Bruce Dern; and 1977 music is played
Cutest of The Stand are Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens with Bridgit Ryan as Lucy Swann
Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens with Lloyd played by Miguel Ferrer in THE STAND
Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens in THE STAND with Jamey Sheriden as The Devil Randall Flagg
Kellie Overbey as Danya Jergens in THE STAND as the sexiest dashboard in the Rockies
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