Thursday, March 22, 2007

LOST The Man From Tallahassee, first thoughts

I have got to talk about the episode of LOST that aired tonight. While many of the episodes this season have been weak (especially in view of the heights this show reached in its first season) tonight's episode blew away (like an exploded submarine) anything this show had ever done previously. I'm truly at a loss for words, but as a writer, I will attempt to fight through it and say a little bit about what I thought.

There are spoilers ahead, so if you're behind on LOST you should stop reading.

Okay, first of all, the big question that was actually answered this week (because lately the show has been promising answers while delivering crap, the security system you just have to go over instead of anything on the smoke monster, or stuff we pretty much already knew, Claire's dad is Jack's dad) is how Locke got paralyzed, and there was potential for this to be a big letdown. To put it mildly this was the exact opposite of being a big letdown. First of all, we got more of the Locke and his father storyline which is one of the best flashbacks the show has to offer. To have his father be directly responsible for his paralysis and through trying to kill him, no less, added a huge dimension to Locke's character. One we will get to see through due to the fact that Benry Gale has Locke's dad locked up. I haven't been this excited about the show after an episode's conclusion since the first episode, which I watched on DVD, allowing me to go ahead and immediately watch the next one when necessary. Man I wish it was already next week.

Secondly, Benry Gale told us a little more about the island. I don't know if we can take the idea of the "magic box" that manifests your every desire 100% literally, but the idea at least is intriguing. It would also explain quite a lot, the Horse Kate saw and Charlie's miraculously undamaged guitar to name just a couple. One of the things that I've wondered is if this were strictly a sci-fi premise, in that there is a scientific (if possibly far-fetched) explanation for everything on the show, or if some part of the island was in some way mystical, I'll get to that in a bit.

Taking just the first two seasons into account, I was beginning to lean towards a completely scientific theory. In fact I put the beginnings of one forth earlier this season. I argued that the show was a purgatory themed experiment, troubled people (and every character is certainly that) are forced to face their mental demons and come to terms with who they are, after which they were given their freedom in the form of death. I made this argument based on the belief that there is no other way off of the island. We still aren't sure that there is another way off of the island. It's possible to get to the island, but are we sure that anyone has ever left it? In the "Not in Portland" episode that brought us back from hiatus, we saw Ethan off of the island, but isn't it possible that he was a recruit that had yet to get to the island when he was working on getting Juliet there? Benry Gale told John tonight that the submarine was a comfort for those he had recruited, a sign that they could leave if they wanted, even though, he hinted, that was a lie. Maybe it isn't that Benry feared he would appear weak if he let Dr. Jack go, but he feared the mutiny that would occur if the non-native Others then realized that they could never leave. The real hitch in this theory of course is Michael and Walt. What is their fate, a question that from what I've read won't be resolved until next season, but until the show tells me otherwise I'm sticking with the belief that they did not get safely away. I still like this theory, but now I believe that the island plays a larger (and more mystical) role.

I believe that Darmha planned on using the Island for experiments of some kind, but when they started their experiments, they were unclear on A) exactly what they were dealing with in terms of the island, and B) the fact that the island was already inhabited. The island allowed Darmha to set up its stations, including somehow tapping into the electromagnetic force of the island which caused the need for the button, but retaliated after Darmha's usefulness had ended by releasing some sort of virus that wiped out the remaining Initiative members, as well as the rest of Russeau's team.

Whether the Purgatory like experiments are taking place on behalf of whoever is in charge of the Others (Benry's hinted at boss) or by the Island itself remains to be seen, but the fact that the Island is somewhat mystically sentient seems clear to me now. (However each week everything has the potential to change.) The Island has its own purpose, as evidenced by John being out of a wheelchair, and Benry Gale being in one. It seems to either answer to a higher power then Benry Gale or to be a higher power into and of itself. Desmond's flashes and even Hurley's getting the van to start through pure faith could be further evidence of the Island's mystical power. Maybe Desmond needs to unlearn what he thinks he knows about the certainty of his visions in order to finally save Charlie's life; maybe he, like Locke before him needs to believe in the power of the Island.

These are some of the things tonight's episode caused me to think about. An interesting theory I read, which I believe gained credence in tonight's episode, is the theory that Locke's father is the real Sawyer, the con-man who caused the death of Cast-away Sawyer's parents and turned him into the man Sawyer/James Ford is today. While in earlier episodes we saw Locke's father perpetrate cons, he was never specifically referred to as a con-man until tonight. Not only that, but we also learned that he's changed his name at least once, so why couldn't he have at some point gone by the name of Sawyer? If this is true, then I fell like this character has some tough times ahead of him, because not only will he have to answer to Locke for his past deeds, but I have to believe Sawyer will get a shot at him as well.

Until Next Time, This season took a huge turn for the better tonight, and I am greatly looking forward to see where it is headed next. If you are behind on, or God forbid have never watched, LOST, what are you waiting for? The first two seasons are on DVD and the entirety of this season is available at

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2nd Annual, My Thoughts As I Had Them During the Oscars

Sorry for the lateness of this blog, one might almost say it is pointless now, but I'm putting it up for posterity.  Otherwise, next year, I won't be able to call it the Third Annual My Thoughts as I Had Them During The Oscars.

So, without further ado (is that how you spell that?)...
Ellen's starting off nicely, and with an Al Gore joke, I wonder how many of those there are going to be tonight.

Hey, it's Ellen's mom.  I've met her.

BOO!! BOO!! Daniel Craig.  Where did all the Daniel Craig haters go.  Before the movie they were everywhere, now you never hear from them.  I'm the lone voice.  Daniel Craig is not Bond.  I wonder if he's going to pause before he announces the winner.  He doesn't when he says Bond James Bond.

Pan's Labyrinth.  It was a beautifully shot film.

The good thing about watching the Oscar's on "tape delay" last year is that I didn't have to watch the damn commercials.  Remember when commercials for this thing were good?  Remember when commercials for the Super Bowl were good?

Will Farrell.  It's already funny and he hasn't even done anything yet.

Sweet, Jack Black.  Could this get any better?

Just did, John C. Reilly has joined them.  Genius.

Okay, I could turn off the TV now, it won't get any better then that bit.   Man, those guys are funny.

2 for 2 for Pan's Labyrinth.  Why didn't this film get a best pic nod?

How many names did the Fresh Prince give this kid?

Okay, animated shorts, I haven't seen any of them, but from what they just showed I can tell you what won't win.

And it just won.  Maybe it's better if you see the whole thing, but that animation looked pretty crappy.  Oh, who am I to talk, I can't draw.  I wonder if I can win an Oscar with a stick figure animated short?

"Stick-to-it've-ness"  Is that really a word?  Good speech, though, even with the made up word.

Damn.  More commercials.

Okay...  This is weird, I'm not gonna lie.  A special effects choir?  I don't get it.  When everyone complains that the Oscars are too long, do we really need time wasters such as special effects choirs?

Wow, they found two seconds of Mark Walberg dialogue without curse words in it.  Impressive.

Alan Arkin was by far the best part about this film.

More weird stuff going on, interpretive dancers becoming a penguin?  What is the world coming to?

I could really do without the song performances.

Please tell me they aren't going to do all five in a row.

A line in that song was "I think I need to break up."  What the hell does that have to do with the environment, Mellissa?  Couldn't think of anything else to rhyme with "wake up", could ya?  Or did you just write the song in like five minutes?

Thank goodness, a break from the songs.

That was funny.  If Al Gore had been this funny six years ago, W and his team wouldn't have been able to steal the election.

"Maybe you should have uglier friends"  Nice.

Already positioning to win best Animated Feature next year, Shrek the 3rd.

WHAT?  Happy Feet?  I mean Cars wasn't as good as some of the other Pixar films from the past, but it has to be better then Happy Feet.  Oh my, that guy actually looks like a penguin.  Am I the only one who thinks the penguin thing is getting way over done?

This guy just said three major surprises.  I'll give him Happy Feet, but I wasn't at all surprised by Alan Arkin, and don't you have to actually see the Animated Shorts in order to be surprised by which one wins.  I'm just saying.

Ohh.  The Wes Anderson AmEx commercial.  I apologize for everything bad I said about having to watch the commercials.  The brilliance of this one makes up for all the other crappy ones.

Tom Cruise.  Did anyone bring a couch for him to jump around on?

Ellen is doing a great job.  And who wouldn't want Spielberg to take the picture?

Did you hear that huge cheer Children of Men got?  Way louder then the other nominees.  People really loved this movie, justifiably so.

And Pan's is 3 for 3.  The only thing more of a lock for a win is Hellen Mirren.

Pirates.  Humph.  The only good thing about this movie was the effects.  Too bad they couldn't create a storyline to go with them.  Hee hee.  That one made me laugh.  Bad form Josh, laughing at your own jokes.

Hey, they brought back the blind kid from the Bronx bit that Ellen did earlier, nice.

Holy Shit.  Now THIS  is a surprise.  Pan's was 3 for 3 coming in and it doesn't win Best For. Film?  Did not see that coming at all.

Ah, Jerry doing comedy.  All is right with the world again.

Al Gore finally won!  Take that W.

God, I hate Celine Dion.

Did they just say "Volverine"  Tell me that I misheard that.

Pan's is in a slump.  Now 3 for 5, 0 for it's last 2.  (man I miss Baseball.)

Well, no clues.  Both Departed and Little Miss Sunshine won in their respective screenplays.

Pan a big winner?  Yeah it has 3 Oscars, but it missed out on the big one it was up for and is now 0 for it's last 3, I don't like this behind the scenes guy.

Let me guess.  We have to hear 3 straight songs.

Well, at least these songs are good.  I still have nightmares from 3 6 Mafia.

Did that commercial just show Ally McBeal with Sam Seaborn?  Weird.

A lot of introspectives this year.

Sweet, Thelma!!  That makes me feel better about Marty's chances.

Hey, Jodie Foster.  She also got her start thanks to Martin Scorsese.

Damn it, this part always makes me cry.

Scotty died?  How did I miss that?  I will refrain from the "Beam me up" joke in honor of his memory.

What?  Now Sam Seaborn just said he's a Republican?  What the hell show is this commercial for?

Anti-climactic much?  They should have just given Helen Mirren the award at the beginning of the show.

I find myself really rooting for Peter O'Toole.  There have been bigger surprises tonight.

Oh well, Congrats Forrest.  Let's see how the speech goes.  He's been getting ridiculed for the ones he's given thus far.

Wow, along with Jennifer Hudson's, I have to say that might be the best of the night.

These are the reasons I want to make movies, right there on stage.  (Mainly Lucas, I'm sure that's why they included him.)
Drumroll.  I am so nervous right now.  Come on Marty!


I'm currently envisioning a blue see-through Jedi-like Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick up on stage with Copella, Spielberg, Lucas, and Scorsese.  The greatest Directors of all time in one place.

I'm crying.  I'm so happy for him right now.  I really hope Departed wins.

YES, again!!!

Look Spielberg is congratulating Marty for beating him, that's awesome.

Good Oscars.

Until Next Time, it's nice to see that occasionally, the films that deserve to win Oscars do.