The first episode of Disc 2 from Stephen King's Nigtmares & Dreamscapes (2006), the TNT cable series, is The End of the Whole Mess.
A documentarian, Howard Fornoy (Ron Livingston), is making a video on why the world is ending.
The story is slow off the mark because the main actors aren't good enough to invest the characters with sufficient character, despite that the script prattles on about who the family members are & attempts feebly for some depth of character.
One of this dull lot, Howard's brother Bobby (Henry Thomas), we're supposed to believe is the genius of the generation. The problem with scriptwriters of the subgenius trying to convey super-genius is they just can't do it. Bobby grows up to remain unconvincing as a genius, proof of his greatness being how bad he felt about 9/11.
By means not indicated or shown, Bobby discovers magic water that is supposed to cure humanity of violence. It's "concentrated" water, we're told, & it's hard to know if that sort of claim is an author's joke or just more evidence of dopiness fobbed off as genius by pathetically ignorant screenwriters.
All the terrible padding to stretch this out to episode length is heading for a truly lame punch-line. The magic water is spritzed worldwide by an equally magic volcano & world peace breaks out. The "surprise" ending I shan't specify in case you want to watch it for yourself, but if the "surprise" had been that peacefulness caused everyone to turn into big green pickles it couldn't've been any dumber.
The Road Virus Heads North has a novel title at least. Will it tell a novel story? Richard Kennell (Tom Beringer) is either a horror writer or Stephen King's belly button. He's harrassed by butt-crazy fans & seems to be a little depressed. Then the doctor discovers he has cancer in his ass.
He goes to a yard sale where a crackhead twenty-something committed suicide & all the young man's stuff is being sold cheap by the lady of the house. Kennell buys a amateurish comic-book style painting of the dead kid driving a car.
If the painting is supposed to convey the talentlessness of the dead painter, that at least works. If it's supposed to be an interesting eerie painting, how sad is that for the pathetic dorks who made this little film.
The painting is changing, but who cares, the viewer sure won't. The scriptwriter didn't care, & decided to spice up the show by having a psycho chop off the head of the woman at the yard sale, just so something neato would have happened before getting back to the crappy story.
Kennell throws the painting away with no reason given. It magically reappears in the back seat of his car. Collective eye-rolling from the audience. The guy in the painting comes for Kennell as the stalker-slasher.
Though very well acted by everyone & especially Berringer, there's ultimately just no story to this story, & whoever they got to do the sundry versions of the painting is either talentless or was asked to do too many versions too quickly so was unable to deliver anything with mood or interest for what had to have been visually interesting if the film was going to work even a little.
So, Disc 2 began with two fairly awful stories. Will the third episode The Fifth Quarter justify the time spent or the resources used up?
The majority of the episodes of the whole series are afflicted with bad casting, but this one stars Jeremy Sisto, who can be good if the material gives him a chance.
Sisto plays Willie, an incarcerated man during his last six weeks in prison, after which he'll be reunited with his wife (Samantha Mathis) & daughter.
The part of the story about a long-imprisoned dad loved by his son & reconnecting with his wife isn't badly done. They're the best characters to come out of the first six episodes, & by the time we reach the last episode of the last disc, they'll have been the only interesting characters.
Out of jail a day, his pal Barnie shows up with a bullet in his belly, having just been in a crime gone wrong. When the gangsta action bits begin, it becomes a fair to ordinary crime tale. It runs its course & ends, without the expected supernatural ever occurring. Wasted characters. Oh well.
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