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Thread: The Stand/Stephen King

  1. #61
    Iguana Mama GreenGuysMama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belfastgirl
    I began reading The Stand a few months ago, the unabridged version. Yet another attempt to find a Stephen King book I liked. I saw Misery, years ago and then read the book. Loved it! Then I looked for other King novels to read. I started one about a shop with a weird owner. Can't remember what it was called, but it was "wick" to use an Ulster phrase. It means really bad! Strange how some people can really "get" an author and others can't.
    Anyway was bored stupid by The Stand. Ended up filicking to the last chapter to find out the ending!
    Belfastgirl, I believe you are thinking of "Needful Things". Not one of King's best books, but still creepola. King himself has admitted to having "diarrhea of the word processor" - meaning he is so full of stories and words that he puts almost anything down on paper. Luckily for his readers, most of it is gold. His non-fiction is wonderful; and you might enjoy that more. I believe that as time goes on, King will be regarded as one of the most influential authors of the latter half of the twentieth century, whether or not you enjoy his books, or whether or not he is regarded as a great author. Due to his popularity, he helped revamp authors' contracts. Most of the big-name authors you see today get those big money contracts because of King. In part, they are reaping millions because he proved himself to be so popular, and was able to command tens of millions for his books. The other side of the coin is that publishing houses sometimes have less to spend on new, untried authors. So, he has had a great influence on popular writing and the publishing of popular fiction. And many untried authors would die to write like him.

    "The Stand" is a great book. It is epic in scope, complex in its characterizations, subtle in its context. It is one of the great apocalyptic books. It is too long for many, but for King fans, it's almost too short.

    It was a serious mistake to make it a television movie. Too many constraints, including salaries for actors, which caused improper casting. Jamey Sheridan is a wonderful actor, but all wrong for Flagg. Not dark or sinister enough. Gary Sinise, normally, is to die for, his voice and eyes would melt butter, but he was too old for Stu. Laura San Giacomo, usually a captivating actress - all wrong, wrong, wrong, for Nadine. And Molly Ringwald, always adorable, but as Frannie, could not have been more miscast. That hair! That wardrobe! The stuff nighmares are made of! All great actors, but so poorly miscast! They all seemed to do their best, but it was all just so mistaken. On the good side, the wife and husband team of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis along with Miguel Ferrer were great. Rob Lowe had a great turn as Nick, and Bill Fagerbakke, in an odd turn of typecasting as Tom Cullen (if you remember his dim-witted character from the TV series "Coach"), also did a fantastic job. Ray Walston, a true workhorse of cinema and theater (1914-2001, RIP, Sir) since the 1950's, a four-time Emmy winner and Tony winner, was extremely well-cast and turned in his usual excellent performance.

    Walston, along with Dee and Davis, gave a bit of true class to this production. Miguel Ferrer, a handsome and compelling - yet unappreciated - part of Hollywood royalty, as the son of Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer and cousin to George Clooney, lent his stolid presence and unforgettable voice as Lloyd Henried. All had been in radio, theatre and movies for decades. I'm sure they taught the young pups a thing or two! Dee and Davis had been respected actors for fifty plus years and their casting was genius. Ruby Dee was an inspiration.

    In fact, I don't think any of them has ever turned in a less than excellent performance in anything they've done. All actors of integrity no matter what they were cast in.

    However, the television movie leaves much to be desired in the minds of fans of the book. Perhaps the book is so epic that no movie can do it justice. It might have fared better as a two-movie deal.

  2. #62
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Hi there, GGM.

    That was a great post, and those were very well thought-out arguments about The Stand, both the book and the TV series.

    I've mentioned before on this message board that I think The Stand is a clever political satire. I also think that Boulder was every bit as politically treacherous as Las Vegas, but in a different, more subtle way. What do you think?

  3. #63
    Proud Grammy Dinahann's Avatar
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    Hi phat32. I'm not GGM but I'd like to comment.

    Flagg was a despot with an absolute form of government. Those that didn't agree with his proclamations/cruelty or who somehow stumbled when carrying out his orders were quickly dispatched. On first reading The Stand I was horrified that so many decent people gravitated toward someone who was obviously so evil. Upon rereading I discovered what I think was an intent of King's: to show that there are always people, call them weak and powerless (in perception) if you will, that are drawn to powerful leaders. Christianity says that when people turn away from God they will suffer; this is the basis for the good/evil theme between Flagg and Abigail, the servant of God.

    If our American government were decimated today we as a Christian nation would probably regroup, at least initially, as a theocratic form of government especially because we would be grateful - "God spared me from the terrible event that took millions for some purposeful reason". And the problem with that is that there would be no valid argument if a person were to do something because God told them to. How're you gonna argue with God?

    I think in the end Frannie and Stu had the right idea when they decided to take off on their own. If the slate were wiped clean, the country unpopulated and no one to tax, regulate or limit me that's what I would do, too.

    I would love for King to write a sequel to The Stand to address some of the unanswered questions from the book and carry on with the characters he left, however, it couldn't be a "King type" book because good won over evil... or did it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenGuysMama
    The Stand" is a great book. It is epic in scope, complex in its characterizations, subtle in its context. It is one of the great apocalyptic books. It is too long for many, but for King fans, it's almost too short.
    I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...

  4. #64
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Dinahann,

    You've raised some excellent, thought-provoking points.

    I've read The Stand (both versions) about three or four times, and it really is a very clever political satire/parable.

    It wasn't until a second or third reading that the Boulder government started to make me feel as uneasy as the Las Vegas government. Yes, Flagg was a tyrant, but was Boulder any better? Personally, I have a problem with any government whose leaders justify their actions because "God told them to." Just look at the current administration in the U.S.

    Were dissenters punished as harshly in Boulder as they were in Las Vegas? No, but if memory serves, Boulder's leaders never fully trusted Nadine after Abigail expressed misgivings about her. To me, that says that anyone who disagreed with Abigail (or whom Abigail mistrusted) ran the risk of being ostracized. Boulder is a system in which the biggest, most important decisions rest on the whim-whams of a single person: Mother Abigail. (The fact that Abigail's misgivings about Nadine proved to have merit doesn't change my outlook of Boulder.)

    Also, who can forget Stu and Glen's grumblings that a dissenter should be "silenced"? Also keep in mind that Stu, Glen et. al. worked hard at manipulating the "elections" to keep the results in their favor. So, what's better? A tyranny? Or a sham democracy? I could never live under the yoke of Flagg, so I know which one I would choose. (Although, interestingly enough, King never presents where the survivors live as their choice--apparently, they were chosen. An argument, maybe, that we are tied to our government/our nation by fate, by the accident of birth?)

    Although King obviously likes Boulder and hates Flagg and Las Vegas, I think even he, too, wanted to explore the question of whether Boulder was "better" than Vegas. (One of the more telling elements was the Boulder spies' surprise at the fact that the Vegas residents seemed content, and things seemed to be well-run.) And, here, I think you're right that Vegas attracted the weak-willed. I think people need leadership, and both Boulder and Vegas's residents needed to be told what to do, even if that meant turning a blind eye to their leaders' crimes.

    Would turning your back on both Boulder and Vegas be the answer, given the circumstances? Maybe. But I think people naturally feel inclined to be with other people--safety in numbers in this Brave New World where there obviously would be so many dangers left out there.

  5. #65
    Proud Grammy Dinahann's Avatar
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    Ah, another King fan! Thanks for your insight!

    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    (Although, interestingly enough, King never presents where the survivors live as their choice--apparently, they were chosen. An argument, maybe, that we are tied to our government/our nation by fate, by the accident of birth?)
    Some people dreamed only of the dark man, some only of mother Abagail, but most dreamed of both. They were pulled to go to one place or the other, but I think this is King exploring free will vs. destiny. It seems to be an ongoing theme of his, more overtly evinced in The Dark Tower series. Most people seemed to go where they were drawn, but remember that travelers were still coming into Boulder in the spring, after everything had been resolved with Flagg. Some may have been waiting to see how the crisis would be resolved, thus having their choice made for them. Free will or destiny?

    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    Although King obviously likes Boulder and hates Flagg and Las Vegas, I think even he, too, wanted to explore the question of whether Boulder was "better" than Vegas. (One of the more telling elements was the Boulder spies' surprise at the fact that the Vegas residents seemed content, and things seemed to be well-run.)
    I think King was a little ambivalent about siding with a theocratic government. He showed us the bad when we saw the rigging of the first elections, and he showed us that Boulder could get along without a leader (once secular law had been established) when mother Abagail sought solitude in the wilderness. King wants to be good but has a healthy amount of skepticism. I like that; it makes his writing more textured.
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  6. #66
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann
    I think King was a little ambivalent about siding with a theocratic government. He showed us the bad when we saw the rigging of the first elections, and he showed us that Boulder could get along without a leader (once secular law had been established) when mother Abagail sought solitude in the wilderness. King wants to be good but has a healthy amount of skepticism. I like that; it makes his writing more textured.
    It also occurred to me, Dinahann, that King may be asking us: "Is there such a thing as a pure (that is, unadulterated) democracy? Can such a thing truly exist?"

    Just as Communism/Socialism sounds good in the classroom, but in practice could never truly exist outside a Marxist dinner-table ideology.

  7. #67
    Proud Grammy Dinahann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    It also occurred to me, Dinahann, that King may be asking us: "Is there such a thing as a pure (that is, unadulterated) democracy? Can such a thing truly exist?"

    Just as Communism/Socialism sounds good in the classroom, but in practice could never truly exist outside a Marxist dinner-table ideology.
    Good point, phat32! Of all the interviews I've read about King I don't remember reading about his political views... interesting.

    I was going to ask you about your views on The Dark Tower. Guess I'll go to the right thread!
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  8. #68
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann
    Good point, phat32! Of all the interviews I've read about King I don't remember reading about his political views... interesting.
    Read somewhere that King donated money to Bill Clinton's defense fund. Wasn't satisfied with the rumor itself, so I Googled "stephen king" and "clinton" and came up with the following:

    "...The problem is that Bill Clinton is married, simple as that. The man is married. But whether he's married or whether he's single, it's not an impeachable offense. It's not the end of the world."

    You can read the entire Slate interview here.

    It's funny you should bring up politics. I often play "Guess the political party" of authors whose books I enjoy.

  9. #69
    Proud Grammy Dinahann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    I've read The Stand (both versions) about three or four times, and it really is a very clever political satire/parable....Just look at the current administration in the U.S.
    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    Communism/Socialism sounds good in the classroom, but in practice could never truly exist outside a Marxist dinner-table ideology.
    Quote Originally Posted by phat32
    It's funny you should bring up politics. I often play "Guess the political party" of authors whose books I enjoy.
    Oh, phat32, you are such a hoot! I brought up politics? I'm just a lowly democrat.
    I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...

  10. #70
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann
    Oh, phat32, you are such a hoot! I brought up politics? I'm just a lowly democrat.
    No worries. So am I. Stand tall, be counted, and let's dump this chump come November. To hell with today's polls.

    But I digress...

    (And if you want to know where I think some NY Times best-selling authors stand, just let me know, even if it's a threadjack with nothing having to do with SK/The Stand. )

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