Do you remember when I made my list of some of the best Stephen King book-to-movie adaptations? Well, the mini-series, Bag of Bones, which aired this past weekend on A&E, definitely does not belong on it. The movie, which starred Pierce Brosnan, was very slow, cheesy, and overall, unsatisfying.
The movie opens with writer Mike Noonan (Brosnan) finishing his latest novel and making the rounds on his book tour with his supportive wife, Jo (Annabeth Gish). While Noonan is at the signing, Jo leaves to buy a pregnancy test–without telling her husband– and is tragically struck by a bus and killed. This scene actually shocked me because although I knew she was going to die, I was totally not expecting it to be in the way that it happened. The moment when Jo is dying in her husband’s arms is very sad because you can see that he truly loved her, and he couldn’t do anything to keep her with him.
Following his wife’s death, Mike is harassed by his smug agent, Marty (Jason Priestly), who urges him to really market the book well in order for it to be at the top of the bestsellers list. Noonan has a hard time coping with his wife’s accident and ends up taking himself out of his work, inevitably causing his book sales to plummet. So, in order to concentrate on writing a new book within a few months, Noonan decides to go back to the lake house he shared with his wife.
It is once he is at the lake house, on Dark Score lake, that he begins experiencing paranormal activity, hallucinations, nightmares, and interactions with some really weird characters. Almost immediately, Mike begins to receive messages from his dead wife through fridge magnets and the ringing of a bell in his living room. Simultaneously, the writer meets a beautiful young woman, Mattie (Melissa George), after he rescues her daughter from the middle of the highway.
Mike’s brief interaction with the stranger automatically drags him into her troubled world (don’t ask me why), which involves a custody battle with her creepy old father-in-law, Max Devore (William Schallert), who is a very rich and powerful figure within the small town. As the novelist quickly becomes wrapped up within the town’s business, he slowly begins uncovering its terrible past, with the help of his dead wife.
Quickly, Noonan realizes that his late wife is not the only person who is trying to contact him; he begins receiving messages from a blues singer named Sara Tidwell (Anika Noni Rose), who was murdered years ago. As the story unfolds, Noonan discovers the huge revelation of what’s really going on in Dark Score lake–Max Devore and his friends raped and murdered Sara, along with her daughter, years ago. But, not before Sara could spit a curse on them and their sons, that would make them kill their children the way that the men killed her child.
You see, the problem with translating King’s books to film is that his stories are usually super weird and complicated and they almost always include an in-depth and unique set of characters. I felt like this movie was just bunched together and so many different things–that didn’t really make sense–were thrown at us within the four hours.
One of the biggest problems that I had was Brosnan’s accent. I didn’t realize that he wasn’t supposed to be British until about the second half of the series, when I remembered that his brother Sid (Matt Frewer) didn’t speak with an accent. Another thing is, I don’t really know if I like Brosnan as an actor because he really only has two facial expressions: squinty eyes with pursed lips, or squinty eyes with a sly smile.I mean, his performance as Noonan was okay, but, it wasn’t great.
Another problem I had with this movie was with the story itself. I kept watching and waiting for what the big revelation was going to be, and how the hell Jo and Sara were connected and what it had to do with Noonan. It was just a letdown to find out that it was all because Sara had been murdered years ago and Jo was just trying to figure out how to stop the curse. REALLY? Boring.
I felt like the movie has been done before and the ending wasn’t really shocking to me at all. There were parts of the movie that were laughable, and they definitely weren’t supposed to be. For example, when Noonan and Mattie are embracing, she gets her brains blown out in front of his face. My initial response was a gasp of laughter, like, WHAT? It was just such a weird scene that came out of nowhere and almost seemed pointless.
The characters within the film were almost cartoonish and I felt like some of the actors who portrayed them had overdone it. If I had met a lady on the side of the road and proceeded to get a threatening phone call from her father-in-law, followed by a supenia, I’d tell them to get f#cking lost and I’d go back home. Um, why the hell are you sticking around Mike Noonan? You definitely don’t need to deal with all of the drama after losing your wife, but whatever. I guess he HAD to stay to learn what Jo was trying to tell him, which wasn’t much.
Another laughable element was after Noonan saves the little girl in the end, and her dead mother visits her to tell her that everything is okay because Mike is going to take care of her. There’s a “sweet” and cheesy moment between Brosnan and the young girl, where she tells him that he’s finally ready to be a father and that he’s basically her new daddy. Well, that’s all sweet and dandy little girl but I’m pretty sure the law doesn’t work that way. Her little ass would be in foster care the moment the police arrived and creepy Brosnan would not be allowed to just take her home with him. And, how the hell did he get stuck with her anyway?!
And what was with all the old people makeout sessions? GROSS. There was too much of it, from Brosnan to Schallert and his creepy old lady-servant; I was becoming nauseous. Kissing is not something I’d like to physically hear because if I can hear how much spit is being passed between your two mouths–that’s too much. But, I digress.
I’ve never read the book so it’s probably a little unfair for me to call this movie unoriginal, considering the story was first published in 1998. I don’t really know how to compare the two but if I was basing this all off of the movie, and I am, I wouldn’t want to read King’s book. If his book is as bad as this movie was, then I really don’t understand how he’s had over 50 bestselling novels.
The movie was extremely boring and unintentionally comical. The characters did not seem very realistic and the story was a complete letdown. I would advise you to skip this movie, although, by now, if you were planning on watching it, you would have. There isn’t anything special here, unless you’re into mouth to mouth action between some old timers.