October 14, 2020
(The Channel Awesome logo plays, followed by the 2020 NostalgiaWeen intro)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. You clicked on the video, you know what time it is! Play that cheesy-ass graphic!
(The title "Stephen King Time!" appears, which means, yep, NC is reviewing a Stephen King movie, as per NostalgiaWeen tradition. Then cut to a montage of Stephen King movies, several of which NC looked at previously)
NC (vo): Ah, Stephen King, you've brought so much joy into our lives. Not that his creativity hasn't delighted and inspired several generations now, but he's one of the few writers where his bad works are just as entertaining as his good works. When he goes for something, he goes big with it. And even though there's more Stephen King stories than there probably are (A shot of every Pokemon in exist is shown) Pokemon, people forget that a Stephen King project, even if it was bad, was often a big event. Yeah, some didn't get a ton of press, but I can't tell you how many times I've heard people hyped for the latest film or series that had his name attached to it.
(Posters of the following King movies are shown...)
(The poster for It: Chapter Two is shown)
NC (vo): Three times...uh...
(Cut back to the first two It posters)
NC (vo): Twice!
NC: And by far, one of the most hyped miniseries, if not the most hyped miniseries: The Stand.
(The title for The Stand is shown)
NC (vo): Based on his book about the size of five Bibles...
(As he says this, a shot of five copies of the Holy Bible is shown, alongside a shot of the original book, which has a comparably thick size to it)
NC (vo): ...with notes from Fox News... (The Fox News logo is added to the top of the stack of Bibles) ...The Stand was an instant hit when it premiered in 1994. And, unlike some of his other hit miniseries, which received mixed to negative reactions after watching them, The Stand was phenomenally well-received. Yes, this is one of the few Stephen King miniseries that audiences and critics liked from beginning to end. And with the series running a whopping six hours, and that's taking out commercial breaks, that's no small feat. The series was directed by Mick Garris and penned by King himself. And while their collaborations have been... (Shots of the posters for Sleepwalkers and The Shining are superimposed) memorable, to say the least, this truly is among their best work. So, you might be wondering, how am I gonna get that much material out of such a universally-beloved series?
NC: (shrugs) It is still Stephen King and Mick Garris, guys.
NC (vo): One of the things I love about these two is they go all out, which means they take more risks, which means there's always great, hilarious head-scratching moments. And God bless every one of them. But at six hours, I gotta stop yapping and hop right into this.
NC: So let's jump right into it. This is–
(He is interrupted, however, by the sound of a voice)
(It's an old woman (played by Malcolm) standing by her door)
Old Woman: You must make your way to my home!
NC: No, sorry, Mother Abigail, I got too much series to review.
Mother Abigail: But it's very important! I waited minutes in makeup for this. Minutes!
NC: Sorry, but I got way too much to get through. And that includes you, too, Tamara.
(Cut to Tamara, who is writing something behind her computer. She looks up)
Tamara: No, that's fine. (goes back to writing)
NC: (looking up to see what's going on) Um...What are you working on?
Tamara: I thought you said you were busy.
NC: Right, right! This is The Stand. (beat) Early taxes?
Tamara: Six hours, man!
NC: (hastily) You're right, you're right!
(The series begins with a black screen with the phrase "This is the way the world ends" written on it. The phrase appears a second time, then a third)
NC (vo): Aw, great, Jack Torrance wrote the screenplay. I thought this property had a restraining order against Garrus.
(As he says this, a shot of Jack Torrance is shown with a mallet, while another phrase appears at the bottom of the stack: "Not with a bang but a whimper.")
NC (vo): The film opens with a deadly virus being released and the government trying to downplay it...
NC: Ha! Fiction!
NC (vo): ...as one of the last surviving guards [Charlie Campion, played by Ray McKinnon] at a U.S. Reservation is told to lock up the gate, but he chooses to get his family out.
Voice on speaker: Use the manual override, Campion! Do it now! DO IT NOW!!
NC: (as Campion) Sorry, I can't follow unless you say that in your Arnold voice.
Voice on speaker: All right, fine. (as Arnold Schwarzenegger) DO IT NOW!!
NC: (as Campion, nods) Got it! (starts to leave)
(Campion and his family flee the reservation in their car as the gate rapidly closes ahead of them. He barely manages to get through the gate in the nick of time, the gate closing on the back of the car, causing the opening/closing mechanism to short out in a shower of sparks and stop dead)
NC (vo): Their child throws a doll out the window...
NC: (shrugs) Dumb kid.
NC (vo): ...and the credits roll to this very eerie imagery of all the people on the base dead while the radio plays.
(The song that plays on the radio happens to be "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult)
NC (vo): Half of them were rushing to shout, "Ha-ha! More cowbell!"
(That night, Campion's car careens down the road and spins out, crashing into some pumps at a gas station, knocking them over and attracting all the attendants at the station, who come running over)
NC (vo): Later that night, the car is out of control, crashing into a nearby gas station.
(One of them tends to the barely-conscious Campion, covered in gas. It starts to rain)
NC (vo): Yeah, he looks safe to touch.
(Campion starts crying out and coughing)
Attendant 1: Put your head down!
Attendant 2: Maybe it's food poisoning. You know, he's got California license plates here, man.
NC: (as this attendant) To be fair, we did just eat at Boston Market.
NC (vo): The guard dies, but another base is trying its best to keep the virus under control. It's helmed by General Starkey, played by Ed Harris.
Gen. Starkey: (to another officer) This stuff as a communicability level of over 99%. Most people are gonna think they've got the plain old nonlethal flu right up to the very end.
(Cut to the Cinema Snob, who is stunned)
CS: (sarcastically) Boy, am I glad this has taken my mind off the news!
NC: (shaking head) I couldn't come up with something funnier than that, so I just stole it from the Snob's review.
NC (vo): I so want a King project just titled "Southern Accents".
Sheriff: Then there's been three more big transport planes land over Starland in Arkansas.
Store owner: Was Carl! I knew it was!
NC (vo): A nearby town in Texas is told about the deadly disease and how they have to quarantine.
(The store owner sneezes and another man stares at him)
Store owner: Maybe I oughta close up the station for the rest of the day.
NC: (as sheriff) All right, but don't you wear a mask. That's how you catch the communism!
NC (vo): As expected, the town goes into lockdown, and the man who helped the sick driver, named Stu, played by Gary Sinise, is forced into quarantine.
Solider: I insist that you get into the truck right now or...
Stu: (turning sharply to the soldiers) What? (seeing guns held in the soldiers' hands) Shoot me?
NC: (as soldier) No, your name's...
(The opening credits are shown, displaying Sinise's name)
NC (vo; as soldier): ...in the opening credits.
NC: (as soldier) If you had...
(The credit is shown again, with the words "And" and "With" shown above Sinise's name, in order)
NC (vo; as soldier): ...an "And" or a "With" on top...
NC: (as soldier) ...then your ass would be applesauce! (nods)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, an upcoming singer named Larry Underwood, played by Adam Storke (pronounces it "Stroke"), is visiting his mother because despite his song rising in the charts, he's still financially struggling. This will clearly be the worst problem of his week.
Larry: You heard it, right?
Alice Underwood (Mary Ethel Gregory): Of course I have. You sound black.
Larry: Huh. (speaks in a "black" voice) That brown sound sure do get around!
NC: I get the feeling they're gonna cut that from the remake. (nods)
Alice: How deep a hole are you in? Don't lie.
Larry: About 40,000.
Alice: Jesus wept.
NC (vo; as Larry): Hey, how'd you what the album's called? (normal) At a nearby base, doctors observe the last breaths of patients with the virus.
Doctor: (to a second doctor, seeing a bedridden male patient) Ah, this is interesting. Now watch this.
(The man throws up his arms, knocking his tray off, and jerks his head around)
NC (vo; as first doctor): Shouldn't we help him? (as second doctor) He doesn't have health insurance. (as first doctor) Ah.
(Suddenly, the man falls over as the flatline sound goes constant. He is dead)
Doctor: (looking at his watch) It's so damn quick!
NC (vo; as this doctor): Well, we suck as doctors! Want to see if that ALF specimen ate those kittens yet? (as second doctor) Sure. (as first doctor) Let's be horrible vets, too.
(We then cut to a waterside town elsewhere in the country)
NC (vo): Meanwhile in... (The words "Ogunquit, Maine" appear on the screen) Ah!
NC: I knew you'd make it!
(A car drives up with the map of Maine in it)
NC (vo): A young woman named Fran, played by Molly Ringwald, and her father, played by Ken Jenkins, are somewhat put off as the local geek, Harold, played by Corin Nemec, keeps trying to hit on Fran.
Harold: I was wondering if you would care to accompany me to the Redwood Cinema. They've having a Bergman festival. I always thought Cries and Whispers to be especially moving.
NC: (as Fran) I'm a Seventh Seal kind of girl.
Fran: I really–
Harold: Hey, don't worry about it. It's okay.
Harold: I understand, really. I hope you enjoy the poem...
Fran: I will!
Harold: ...and the rest of the magazine, of course.
NC: (waving dismissively) Oh, get out of here, pizza face! I'm...calling you that...
(The camera zooms in on Harold's face, which seems like it's covered with red splotches)
NC (vo): ...because you have literal pizza on your face. Those aren't supposed to be zits, are they?
NC: You won an Emmy for Best Makeup!
(He grins and nods as an Emmy for this miniseries pops up, for "Outstanding Makeup For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special". We then cut to Shoyo, Arkansas (again, courtesy of convenient subtitles))
NC (vo): Elsewhere in Arkansas, a young deaf man named Nick, played by Rob Lowe, is beaten up by some bullies with not the best choreographed fighting.
(The fight is shown, looking rather uncoordinated)
NC: When the fights on...
(Cut to a clip of the original Star Trek, showing the famous scene of James T. Kirk battling a Gorn)
NC (vo): ...Star Trek are looking more real...
NC: ...you might want to do a few more takes.
NC (vo): Nick is knocked out and dreams that he's in a cornfield where he can talk. Asshole, don't look behind the rose! Ha! Some reviews are above making a Children of the Corn reference, but I'll always be that desperate!
Nick: I can hear! I CAN TALK!
Offsceen voice: (singing) I can siiiiiiiing!
NC (vo): Thus, we're introduced to easily the most memorable character: Mother Abigail, played by Ruby Dee.
Abigail: You come see me, Nick, you and all your friends. You got to hurry, though.
NC: There's...a lot to discuss about her.
(Cut again to Malcolm's Mother Abigail character)
Abigail: You must make your to the–
NC: (holds up hand) But we'll do it when they reveal more about her character.
Abigail: Aw, shoot!
(Cut again to Tamara at her computer)
Tamara: Mother Abigail, you're...what, five feet?
Abigail: And shrinking, darling.
Tamara: Thank you.
NC: (confused) I still don't get what you... (Tamara makes a shooing noise with her hand) Okay.
NC (vo): Nick wakes up in the local jail where a sheriff and a medic try to find the people who jumped him. Did I mention the series is a flame to every '90s character acting moth?
Sheriff: (holds up fist, which has a ring on it) One of them had a ring like that?
Medic: Ray Booth, our town bad boy.
(The sheriff laughs, then coughs as he sits back down)
NC: Laughing and coughing, always a great duo for a long life in horror.
NC (vo): Back in Vermont, doctors in their dinosaur cookie suits continue to study Stu who is 100% healthy, despite him testing positive for the virus.
(Stu is watching, with some contempt, Gen. Starkey give a press conference on the TV)
Starkey: I don't know how many different ways I can say this: this so-called super flu does...not...exist!
NC: (as Starkey) And if it did, it would probably wipe itself out by Easter!
(Stu lashes out at one of the doctors in their suits)
NC (vo; as Stu): How many times do I have to tell you? I don't have the measles!
Doctor: I'm not responsible for you being here.
Stu: Then who is?
Doctor: No one. Everyone. God.
NC: (scoffs) Spoilers!
Stu: We talk about this thing in here like you were outside of it. I just want you to get a little taste of what it's like on the inside.
NC (vo): So one of the things you'll notice in this miniseries is the acting is...actually pretty good. Don't get me wrong, it's still...miniseries acting, but as miniseries at the time go, it's pretty engaging and believable. Whoever casted this should have gotten an award of some kind.
NC: But with that said, it does make the more hokey actors stand out a bit.
Larry: (bumping into "Ratty" Erwins in an arcade) I'm sorry.
Ratty: The Rat Man forgive you – this time...
NC (vo): Never mind him, he's late for a sketch on In Living Color. And speaking of random people appearing...
(Outside, a robed man lunges at Larry, grabbing his shirt and talking straight into his face)
Robed man: He's coming for you, Larry!
NC: (recoiling) Wha-ha-ha-hat?!
Robed man (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar): The Man With No Face!
(Cut to a clip of Airplane)
Joey (Rossie Harris): (to Roger Murdock) I know you! You're Kareem Abdul-Jabbar!
(Cut back to the robed man in The Stand)
NC (vo): No shit, kid! At least in that movie, they call attention to it and he was one of the major players! Here, he has this scene and a few brief moments where he's just yelling about the apocalypse. That's it! It's one of the most hilariously distracting cameos seen in anything!
Robed man: (ringing a bell he has) Bring out your dead!
NC (vo): No, no, I don't see a performance at all! I only see a homeless man who's completely believable, screaming on the street– I SEE KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR! How in God's name am I not supposed to see that?! He just doesn't have the chops to disappear that well into a role!
(Cut again to Airplane)
Murdock: The hell I don't!
(Cut back to The Stand again)
NC (vo): Back in Arkansas, the men who beat up Nick are arrested and Nick himself has been promoted to...deputy?
Medic: (to Nick) Sorry, John and his wife are dead.
NC (vo; as medic): Welp, I guess you're the Sheriff now!
NC: (as medic) And here I thought politics would work a little different in Arkansas– No, I didn't.
NC (vo): The medic tells him they should take off out of town before the virus gets to them, but Nick is nice enough to let the inmates go before he leaves. As the medic predicted, the world starts going to shit as more and more people die and those who want answers start riots.
(During the riot, a group tries to physically push over a police car, while another group tries to push the car back the other way, resulting in a rocking motion. Cut to a clip of an episode of The Simpsons, showing Chief Wiggum reclining in his police car as it's being rocked back and forth by the rioters)
Chief Wiggum: Ah, this is the life.
(Cut back to the movie)
NC (vo): Filled with grief, the General shoots himself for lying to the people; Nick is forced to shoot his attacker with no gun flash...
(As Nick and the attacker struggle, a gunshot is heard, and the attacker reacts)
NC: You should have seen the director's cut.
(As the scene replays, a black label reading "EFFECT ADDED LATER" is shown as the gunshot is heard)
NC (vo): ...and even radio hosts from Cameo FM are under siege.
(Soldiers smash into a radio station)
Soldier: (aiming his gun at a female radio speaker) Shut it down!
Radio speaker: You ever heard of a little number called "freedom of speech"?!
(We cut to Fran's radio as the sound of gunfire is heard on it as the soldiers mow the radio speaker down in a barrage of gunfire. Fran reacts in horror and covers her mouth. Her father also reacts in shock)
NC (vo; as radio speaker): Okay, cancel culture's definitely gone too far– (Another gunshot is heard)
NC: And that was The Stand. Like any King miniseries, it has its corny moments, but honestly, it’s pretty good.
(Footage of the miniseries plays out as NC gives his final thought)
NC (vo): A lot of that I think comes down to the acting. The majority of performers sell the hell out of this. This is a project that so easily could’ve been too ridiculous and over-the-top, but this surprisingly finds a good balance so that it doesn’t come across like God’s Not Dead 5. The characters are interesting, the pacing is steady, and it remarkably keeps your attention. Despite it being six hours, I was never bored. So, yeah, I know it sounds strange saying a King series about the Rapture with a pro-God message is actually pretty decent, but it truly is. Check it out and see why it's deserving of all the attention.