Nightmares & Dreamscapes 7/19

Umney’s Last Case
Pretty thin premise for an hour-long show. However, William H. Macy did the best he could. The whole kid-drowning thing was very upsetting to me…was that in the original story? N&D isn’t one of my favorite collections, so I probably read it through just one time before finding it a place on the shelf.

The End of the Whole Mess
This one was a bit better. At least, there was a plot to work with and the characters were interesting. However, my husband “distracted” me before the Alzheimer’s set in…was that well handled? If anyone’s still watching after the Crouch End debacle, please let me know what you thought!

I thought these two episodes were much stronger than last week’s. I actually really liked Umney. We thought it ended kind of abruptly, and that it could have gone on for longer. William H. Macy did really well in playing the two roles. I also really enjoyed it visually. The scene where they pan the street was pretty stunning in HD.

The second one was even better, though I’m a huge Ron Livingston fan so that may make me a little biased. I also thought this premise could have been carried on longer. The end was really disturbing in a satisfying way (does that make any sense?). It was enough to make me squirm a little.

What part did you miss about the Alzheimer’s or prior to it?

I only made it up to the part where he showed the effects of the water on the bees and wasps.

Bobby (who I almost just called Elliott) got Howard (who I wanted to call Peter) to agree to fund dropping the concentrate into the volcano. They dropped it in and he said everything went as planned. They showed videos of how people around the world were interacting peacefully with one another. That lasted for about three years before they started to realize something was wrong. The first person the brothers saw the effects on was their mother. Then there was a newscast about how it was spreading like a virus. As the newscaster was talking about it, with all these zombie-looking people behind her, she began talking gibberish herself. Bobby and Howard managed to keep the effects from setting in on themselves by drinking bottled water, avoiding rain, etc. Most of this was just Howard talking about it into the camera, with scenes interspersed here and there. Then Bobby came to Howard and wanted him to inject him. He refused at first, but eventually gave in, and there was a very sad and touching scene as Bobby was dying.

I hope that fills in the blanks. I’m sure I missed something … maybe someone else will happen along and be able to fill in more details. I thought it was all very well done.

“The End of the Whole Mess” was the best story so far in this series. Not only was the acting top-notch, but it was the only one which didn’t struggle from being stretched out to an hour.

I was a bit dissapointed by Bobby’s plane. In the book, he had designed it with backward-facing jet wings, and I never pictured it so DaVinci-esque. In the book, it was remarkable because his design showed a deep understanding of the principles of flight-- the plane in the show looked like something any curious/crazy kid could build.

In “Umney,” did anybody else think Landry (the author) more than a little bit resembled Stephen King now that he’s slimmed down (they even had similar hairstyles)? I’m wondering if the resemblance was intentional, and assuming that it probably was.

I actually thought it was SK for a second and I was thinking “Cool, a cameo”.

IIRC, the son died of cancer and the wife killed herself. Then Sam “Job” Landry came down with shingles, and that finally pushed him over the edge to take Umney’s place.

I thought it was really well done, for the most part. Macy was fabulous, and yes I think he resembled King and was meant to. I actually liked that they set up Umney’s world more before destroying it. However, the show had some false starts and unsatisfying angles when it went “off-book.” The mercurial reaction of Landry’s wife was jarring (though I think Jacqueline McKenzie did the best she could), and I think maybe there’s a discarded version where Landry saves the day and even rewrites his own life so his son is still alive - there were indications, but they led nowhere.

I think my favorite thing, other than WHM, was the great cinematography and use of color. Very atmospheric and effective.

I have yet to watch TEOTWM, but I’m encouraged by the comments here. Love the story, love Ron Livingston, what could be bad?

Umney: Great atmosphere, and tour-de-force performance. Macy made me forget both chracters couldn’t possibly be in the room at the same time during shooting. And they left out the ham-fisted description King gave in the story about how Landry got the edge on Umney, a plus.

The whole mess: Near-perfect. The best one so far.

The son died of AIDS, acquired through a blood transfusion.