Sunday, May 11, 2008
The God Of Animals B+
Duma Key C
The Time Traveler’s Wife A
My Horizontal Life A
Forgetting Sarah Marshall B
Baby Mama B-
Iron Man B+
Ep. 4.9 "The Shape of Things To Come" A
Ep. 4.10 "Something Nice Back Home" B
Ep. 4.11 "Cabin Fever" C+
My Music In April
Chris Brown- Forever
Boys Like Girls- Thunder
Hilary McRae- When Will You Be Mine
Mariah Carey- Bye Bye
Jack Ingram- Maybe She’ll Get Lonely
David Cook- Always Be My Baby
MIA- Paper Planes
Dave Barnes- Until You
Kylie Minogue and Mims- All I See
Julianne Hough- That Song In My Head
Brooke White- Let It Be
Leona Lewis- Take A Bow
We The Kings- Check Yes Juliet
Jason Aldean- Laughed Until We Cried
Keyshia Cole- Heaven Sent
Mariah Carey "E=MC2"
I'll start writing next time.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Sgt. Brandon King, Ryan Phillippe, had been a good soldier, fought in Iraq, done everything his Army and his country had asked. He held up his side of the bargain. Stop-Loss, an emotional film about a war that has divided the country like no conflict since Vietnam, delves into what happens when the country doesn't do as well for its soldiers as they do for it. The latest in a long line of films about the war in Iraq, it asks hard questions about the price that fighting men and women are asked to pay, and dismisses any suggestion that the answers will come easy.
From its opening scenes, of a group of soldiers at an Iraqi checkpoint trying to decide in just a few seconds whether that car speeding toward them is someone about to shoot or a civilian too scared to realize how hard he's pressing the accelerator, Stop-Loss is set in a world where realistic confusion is prominent. Decisions filled with life-threatening consequences are an every day thing. Brandon knows that far too well, especially after a brash decision to chase some attackers into an alleyway leaves several members of his squad dead or wounded. In retrospect, he made the wrong decision. But at the time, it seemed like the only option.
Sadly, Brandon is going to spend the rest of the film facing similar situations. Few of his decisions are going to win him any popularity contests. As shitty as his time in Iraq, it's when Brandon returns home that the real tragedies start to unfold. He and his high school buddies, who had enlisted together to fight in Iraq, can't function in small-town Texas anymore. They drink too much, fight too easily, despair too openly. They're wounded in ways even they don't understand and changed in ways that frighten those around them. But for Brandon, at least, the war is over. His enlistment is up. He can stay home and fight to return to some sort of normalcy. Only the rules change, and Brandon finds himself "stop-lossed" - forced by the Army to serve another tour in Iraq, when he only enlisted for one.
Desperate and unable to imagine a return to the hell he thought he'd left behind, Brandon goes absent without leave - just another one of those last-minute decisions with consequences. This one puts him on the run, a fugitive in the country he once served. Phillippe is consistently believable as a soldier trying to do what's right, as well as a civilian trying to do what is right - which is, after all, the central conflict his character faces. As a soldier, he's taught to obey rules and trust his instincts. But when the rules no longer apply and his instincts start failing him, what's left?
Channing Tatum, however, needs a bit of a lesson in over-acting. Tatum, a long way from the break-dancing streets of Baltimore he inhabited in Step Up, is Steve, a square-jawed warrior who runs his life as a matter of honor and duty, and doesn't understand how Brandon can profess to do the same, even while going AWOL.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tommy, by contrast, has no real concept of anything. All he knows is rage and that the Army has given him a place to vent. Remove him from that environment, and he's nothing. Keep him there, and he's a danger to everyone, himself included. He ends up killing himself.
Stuck in the middle of all this twisted situation and conflicted allegiances is Michelle (Abbie Cornish). She begins the film as Steve's fiancee and ends it as Brandon's partner in flight. Michelle is the damage in this fight, a stand-in for all of us struggling to make sense of Iraq and the ever-changing rules. Her face drained of any joy, her eyes pleading for a moment of clarity, Cornish never lets us forget for a moment how confused and overwhelmed she is by all of this.
Writer-director Kimberly Peirce, in her first film since 1999's Boys Don't Cry, is guilty of painting perhaps too bleak a picture; the rural Texas town these soldiers return to seems only marginally more civilized than the war zone they left in Tikrit. It's a little over-done at times and can all be a little over the top, but at the same time, the facts show that over 80,000 soldiers have been stop-lossed and over 2000 returned soldiers have commited suicide. So how over the top can it be if this is really happening? But this doesn't really take away any of the film's power to see a depressing and realistic depiction of returned Iraq soldiers.
Friday, March 28, 2008
2. Grace Potter and The Nocturnals- Apologies
3. Missy Higgins- Where I Stood
4. Missy Higgins- Steer
5. Alanis Morisette- Underneath
6. Newsboys- Something Beautiful
7. Sheryl Crow- Detours
8. The Veronicas- Everything I’m Not
9. Needtobreathe- Shine On
10. Jesse McCartney- Leavin
11. Natalie Walker- Waking Dream
12. Jaymay- Gray or Blue
13. Sara Bareilles- Morningside
14. Panic at the Disco- Nine In The Afternoon
15. Danity Kane- Sucka For Love
Monday, March 24, 2008
Seven Types of Ambiguity - if you can read over 600 pages - is described on the blurb as a "tale of obsessive love" but I think that's too simplistic a summary. It's about an unemployed teacher briefly abducting Sam, the seven-year-old son of an ex-girlfriend, and the consequences of that one misguided incident and how it impacts on so many different lives in so many different ways. It's also a psychological thriller, a court room drama, a romance, a satire, an insightful commentary on modern day existence, morals and values, and a kind of literary juggernaut that borrows the title of a well known non-fiction book by William Empson on literary criticism. Throw in politics, big business and prostitution and pretty much every genre and theme is covered here.
The tale is told from seven different perspectives: Simon Heywood, the kidnapper; Dr Alex Klima, the psychiatrist who treats Simon but crosses a professional line to become his patient's best friend bordering on obsession; Anna Geraghty, Simon's ex-girlfriend and mother of the kidnapped child; Joe Geraghty, Anna's stockbroker husband; Angelique, the prostitute who is Simon's current girlfriend and through coincidence (and book contrivance) is also linked to Joe, one of her clients; Dennis Mitchell, an analyst and colleague of Joe's, who later hooks up with Angelique (are you following me?); and Rachael Klima, Alex's daughter, who, through another coincidence, becomes Sam's girlfriend later in life. Strangely enough the only person who does not narrate his side of the story is Sam, the central figure of the book.
As one would expect from the novel's title, the theme of ambiguity is a constant. Indeed Perlman plays many literary tricks so that upon reading each new part it takes two or three pages for the reader to figure out who the new narrator is. I initially found this annoying, but I grew to like the surprise.
Perlman also has his characters constantly misunderstand each other in conversation through the use of ambiguous language. For instance, when Anna is called to discuss Sam's misbehaviour at school as a result of the kidnapping, the teacher treads softly and then completely misunderstands everything Anna says to her.
'What's he done?' I asked. (...)
'Well, he's been calling out a lot...lately.
''What do you mean, lately?' I asked the young teacher.
'Well, since the...since the troubles.
'Since 'the troubles', she had said, not being able to even say the word 'kidnapping', so afraid, as the school had informed us in a carefully worded letter, were they of saying anything that might cause us offence and provoke litigation.
'What, he's been calling out since the beginning of inter-religious hostilities in Ireland?' It was an off-the-cuff smartarse remark of the kind Simon could've made.
(...)'Pardon me?' the young teacher asked, completely at a loss.
'I'm sorry, you said since "the troubles", which is the name given to the Catholic-Protestant conflict in Ireland. I'm sorry. I was just being flippant. Things have been--
''No, I'm sorry, for my insensitivity. Geraghty? Of course, Sam Geraghty. I have to admit I'm not always up to date with my world events. Have you lost family recently in Northern Ireland? Did Sam know the deceased directly or is it a sort of...vicarious pain? We can schedule grief counselling if you like. It can be for the whole family if you would think it would help everyone...or anyone.'
The book is littered with many, many more examples - too many to list here. But the overriding message of Seven Types of Ambiguity is the ambiguity of human relationships and how two people in a relationship can interpret that relationship in entirely different ways through the prism of their own needs, desires and maturity. For instance, we learn early on that Simon is obsessed with Anna, his ex-girlfriend, whom he is stalking. They have not been romantically involved for more than 10 years and yet he is still very much in love with her. It is creepy and skin-crawling stuff, although somewhat understandable. Later, when Anna narrates her part of the story, we get to find out exactly what she thinks of Simon.
Despite my glowing five-star review, the book isn't perfect. Sometimes the rehashing of scenes and conversations, albeit as seen from different points of view, grew tiring. The voice and tone of each character was also remarkably similar, and some of the sentences were confusing and overly clunky. I also had trouble with the first chapter, not quite being able to work out who the narrator was, much less who he was addressing.
That said, I loved this book. I found the story gripping, the characterisation impressive and the literary 'acrobatics' haunting. Each character reveals some sort of past which we never completely figure out. The scariest and most impressive feat of the author is that he gets you to relate to all of these people, as ridiculous and absurd as they are, and allows us to see that in similar circumstances, we are all very close to these characters.
Friday, March 21, 2008
On the freighter, Sayid and Des get the story from Michael. He had made it back to the mainland, and was never able to successfully commit suicide. Mr. Friendly approaches Michael in New York and says that if he goes on the freighter and kills everyone, he will save the lives of all the islanders, and win back Walt's love (who hates him now that he knows that Michael is a murderer. But seems to overlook that your dad just got you off the fucking island. Spoiled prick.) Locke holds a lame meeting. Ben tells Alex to escape to the Temple Station. Frenchie and Carl go with her, and they are both shot from the woods.
Here's what we learn:
1. This episode was really dark.
2. Michael and Walt made it back to the mainland but they can't tell people their real names. Was this part of the deal they made with Ben? I'm guessing it is.
3. Carl should be psyched that he's dead. He would never have landed a hotter girl than Alex. Quit while you're ahead, dude. Im kidding Carl is nice.
4. Is that what "going to Temple" means? I'm not Jewish, but I thought it was more about prayer and less about getting shot in the jungle.
5. Michael can't kill himself. The island won't let him.
6. When Mr. Friendly showed up I still wasn't sure what the timeline was. I jumped off my couch and said "HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!" MAN.(I didnt really jump.)
7. I feel bad for Emilie De Ravin. Bitch has nothing to do.
8. Mr. Friendly was able to travel to and from the island.
9. Michael was supposed to kill everyone on the boat. But then Ben tells him to just avert them. Why is he trustung Ben so much?
10. Mr. Friendly claims that Widmore faked the crash. But the Captain had claimed that Ben did. 11. Libby's back. In visions, at least.
12. Mr. Friendly is gay.
13. WTF? April 24th???????Ugh.
Are Karl and Rousseau really dead? I'm thinking Karl is, Danielle isn't. Cause God forbid they leave a couple in tact on this show. Plus the writers have said we're getting a Danielle flashback at some point.
Did Ben set them up? He claims he's not about killing innocent people. Dude you shot Locke and ordered Mr Friendly to kill Jin, Bernard and Sayid last season.
What is the sanctuary?
Did Sayid make the wrong decision by selling Michael out?
How can the island prevent Michael from killing himself? This is a little too much for me.
Who are the innocent people from the freighter? I'm thinking the four we've met in flashbacks.
How did Miles know Michael was lying?
Why haven't Alex and Danielle been added as regulars already?
How will I survive for the next 5 weeks without Lost (Tries to kill self but cant becuase the island wont let me.)
Michael's suicide attempts, Mr Friendly's gayness, Alex alone in the jungle made for a pretty solid episode. It's always nice not seeing Jack or Kate. But I still dont really understand how Michael got from the boat he left on, back to the the actual real world. I also find it hard to believe that not one single person recognizes him from his life. I understand he didnt live in New York before the island, but like..cmon. And Walt is just supposed to hang out in a room the rest of his life. What happens when he, you know, goes to school and grows up? Maybe I'm being picky but it seems like these things haven't really been thought out.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Here's what went down this week, in a giant Korean panda toy purchased for a Chinese businessman:
Sun doesn't trust the "new" others (i.e. the people from the boat), and she convinces Jin they should join Locke's group. Juliet adamantly opposes because she knows Sun and her baby will die if she doesn't get off of the island. In a last ditch effort to get her to stay, she tells Jin about Sun's affair. SLAP!
On the boat, Sayid and Desmond are still kind of prisoners. They meet the captain, whom they were told via a note "not to trust." The crew is going nutty and one girl kills herself (awesome creepy scene) Sayid and Des meet Kevin Johnson, a janitor on the boat who is actually MICHAEL! ...duh
A flash forward reveals that Sun is the last of the Oceanic 6, she delivers a healthy baby girl back home, and Jin has died. Or is he just still on the island?
Here's what we learn:
1. Babies count as whole people; Aaron is counted as one of the Oceanic 6 I'm guessing if Jin is dead? We weren't really sure if they were counting the baby, but according to last week's preview, we learned "the last of the Oceanic 6" this week. The uncertainty about Aaron's status allowed us to think that maybe Jin was the 6th "survivor" for part of this week's episode. The new status of Aaron, however, allowed us all to rethink abortion.
2. Sun is racist and thinks that all Asian people look the same. (She thought the dude in the suit was Jin).
3. Jin's English is getting kickass (we knew that would happen), and he forgives Sun for her affair. Tears.
4. Jin's dead. But, c'mon! We all know he's still on the island!
5. Bernard needed a little "dude time." He reveals to Jin that he and Rose stayed with Jack because it was the right thing to do. (Love this scene. I actually almost cried during this for some reason. It was so genuine for Lost.)
6. The Captain is a douche. Also, he implies to Sayid and Desmond that Ben staged the crash. But was it Ben, or Widmore?
7. Michael is on the boat. Duh. If you didn't see that one coming.
8. Someone will die next week. My money's on Claire.
10. Scary boast people are trying to freak out Desmond and Sayid. Re: Big Blood Stain: "That shouldn't still be there." Hi, Larious! How ya doin'?
11. The helicopter left the boat. Where'd Frank go?
Is Jin actually dead?
Who staged the fake 815 crash?
Did I really get all excited for Death Proof star Zoe Bell to appear, only to have her kick the bucket in her first episode?
So, the Oceanic Six are: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and...who? The promos told us that we'd discover the last of the Oceanic Six tonight, but that only adds up to five, unless they're counting Aaron. This is just another reason why ABC promos make little sense.
Why didn't Jack come see the baby? Is there a division between the Oceanic 6?
Bottom Line: Probably the most heart-wrenching episode of Lost ever. That scene when Regina jumped off the boat was AWESOME! They tricked me with the Jin flashback, Sun flashforward. Did not see this coming at all. What I did see coming (insert sex joke here) was the "reveal" of Michael on the boat. Some fantastic scenes between Sun/Jin, Sun/Juliet (that whole sequence when bitch TOLD JIN about the affair, yowza) and Sun/Hurley (he showed up lookin all nice, but there was a split second when I thought Sun and Hurley were fuckin post island, creeped me out a little.)
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Faraday and Charlotte take off and Juliet and Jack go find them. It rains. Juliet runs in to her old therapist Harper,who may or may not be real and tells her that Ben wants Juliet to kill Faraday and Charlotte because they are going to deploy deadly gas. Harper let us in on an interesting tidbit when she mentioned that Ben was infatuated with Juliet because she looked just like somebody else. Who is the somebody she was referring to? The only person I can think of is Ben's childhood friend Annie, but if you have another theory feel free to share it. Did he have a wife at some point? Maybe his mother?
Charlotte and Dan bump into Kate and injure her. She doesn't stop them. Because she's Kate and can't do anything right. Juliet gets to the Tempest, we're supposed to know what this means and is apparently, and learns they are actually trying to stop the gas. Jack and Juliet kiss. I thank the writing god's that he's not kissing Kate. After Claire challenges Locke's authority, he makes a deal with Ben. I curse the writing god's, because the chance for a Claire plot point was broken. Now Ben can roam free and Locke learns that Widmore wants to find the island for personal gain. There better be another reason, cause that's kinda lame. In a Juliet island flashback, we see that Ben is cookoo for cocoa puffs over her. It was completely creepy and sickening, though props to Michael Emerson for pulling off "lovestruck" just as easily as he pulls off "psychotic."
Here's what we learn:
1. It's official. I love Juliet. This episode clarified that she really is multi-dimsensional. Her sister was sick. She was tricked onto staying on the island. Her lover was murdered. Shes taking Jack away from Kate just like she took Goodwin from Harper. She's twice the other woman.
2. The Tempest is a station near the water that controls power on the island and has a poisonous gas supply that could kill people? Why would the Dharma Initiative (which I'm assuming was good) even have that capability installed on the island?
3. Charlotte and Faraday, it seems, really were trying to dismantle the gas mechanism so that Ben wouldn't use it in the future. But, why? Why were they trying to save our islanders, who have already killed one of them? Can someone answer that?
4. Re: "Render the gas inert." No need for fancy science talk in an emergency situation, Dan.
5. Kate sucks: she gets hit in the head by Charlotte. We saw that coming.
6. The Ben/Juliet relationship was clarified. They never dated, but he's obsessed with her. She had an affair with Goodwin, whom Ben inadvertently let die. Look out, Jack! Or don't, whatever.
7. Ben is not a smooth dater. Way too excited about that ham, dude. I don't think Hitch ever made it to the island.
8. Ben's got people all over...on the boat (Michael maybe?), and back home following Widmore around. But we sort of knew this.
9. Ben may have been somehow communicating with his people on the island. Or maybe the therapist made up the story because she hates Juliet.
10. In the flashback, the therapist said to Juliet "You look just like her." I'm guessing Ben had fallen in love with someone else.
11. The whispers in the jungle are back. Kickin' it old school!
12. What was up with that Charlotte/Kate look exchange?
13. The flashback references the kids on the plane (Zach and Emma )being on "the list." Remember Jacob's list? We still don't know what's up with that. Or why Juliet was so ready to believe in it.
14. It's very stressful being an Other.
15. It turns out that Ben is even scarier when he cares about someone besides himself.
Who was the man being beaten by Widmore?
Did Ben actually tell Locke who the man on the boat was?
Does Juliet remind Ben of Annie or someone else?
Why is toxic gas being stored in the Tempest? (say this sentence out loud, it's impossible not to sound like a complete dork.)
We definitely know by now there are two types of Lost episodes: there are the kind that are so densely packed with mythology that they leave your head spinning, like "The Constant" or "The Man Behind the Curtain." Then there are the slower episodes that tend to be character studies, such as tonight's installment. I've talked to a lot of Lost haters in my day and most of them complain they don't like the show because of episodes like "The Other Woman." "Who cares about the characters?" they rant. "We want answers!" Obviously this plea for a constant bombardment of mythology is ridiculous for a number of reasons. Not only because character development is, you know, kind of important, but also because the show would be over in a season if every episode only focused on answers. These character episodes are a nice, enlightening diversion, even if they don't always offer up meaty revelations, especially when they center on Juliet.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Oh, sure, you've seen those Saturday Night Live routines that suggest the press is orgasmic over Barack Obama, and hostile to the noble and martyred Sen. Clinton. And with her Daily Show appearance, it's starting to look like Hillary's locked down the all-important comedian vote.
Has it ever occurred to the Comedy Bloc that, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, the facts have a pro-Obama bias?
The fact is that the bias isn't one-sided, in either direction. I love Chris Matthews, but his treatment of Hillary Clinton is reprehensible, and has been for years. And the questioning in those debates has seemed tougher on Clinton...lately.
But do you remember the early debates? The ones where Clinton was placed in the center, as if the other seven or eight candidates were her supporting cast? The ones where she was often given the first question and the last question -- and most of the ones in between? Where was the outrage then?
The treatment of the other candidates in those early debates was a reflection of a long-standing pro-Hillary bias among reporters covering the campaign. Reporters, who no doubt thought a Hillary candidacy would make great, faithfully pushed the themes the Clinton campaign wanted them to push.: That Hillary was the most "experienced" candidate, that she was the "front-runner" and almost "inevitable," that the accomplishments of Bill's Presidency were her accomplishments...
The press has spent the last year pushing so many pro-Hillary ideas that it's almost...well, comic.
That's not a reason to vote against her, of course, any more than his relatively soft treatment in the last couple of debates is a reason to vote against Obama. (Although Obama was certainly grilled about Louis Farrakhan, who he doesn't associate with, while Hillary was able to skate on her endorsement from Ann Coulter. )
Don't vote for candidates based on their press coverage, pro or con. Vote for them based on whether they voted for the Iraq war "with conviction."Vote for them based on whether they're irresponsible in reacting to ethnic slurs about their opponents. Vote for them based on whether they provide talking points John McCain can use against their opponent. Or find some other reason to vote for the candidate of your choice. Just don't pick a candidate based on how the press behaves.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Thematically, “The Other Boleyn Girl” is a story of sibling rivalry, pitting a pair of sisters against each other, each competing for the one man in her life. While director Chadwick falsifies history to some extent—you’ve gotta tell a good story and delete some facts when they get in the way—“Boleyn” is clearly more an accurate history than historical fiction. This is a tale fitted into a film with two actresses—Natalie Portman as Anne and Scarlett Johansson as Mary—whose principal ambitions come across to the audience loud and clear. Most of us moviegoers are going to cheer Mary, because when she carries on an affair with King Henry, she has learned to love the man whom she considers tender, handsome and well-educated. As for Anne, she’s the sort who would intimidate some of us on a date or in the office. She’s headstrong, she knows what she wants, and she will let nothing and nobody stop her, not her father, not her sister, not even the king.
All this makes for an intriguing story with soap-opera undertones, told well on the screen, with all the betrayals, sell-outs, envy, and the aforementioned rivalry. Kieran McGuigan films the panorama on sites around England with its renovated and reconstructed castles, Sandy Powell dresses the women in costumes symbolizing their separate personalities (soft colors for Mary and bolder tones for Anne), while Paul Cantelon’s music is never overbearing. (Thanks IMDB.)
We pick up on the idea that people have not changed, not since 10,000 B.C. We human beings have always been envious, ambitious, and betraying devils but also angelic when love kicks in to our relationships. The Boleyn family of the Sixteenth Century is not unlike our families today. The Boleyn girls’ father, uncle and brother use the sisters as pawns in their groping for power, position, and wealth. Taking advantage the king’s search for a mistress after his aging wife, Katherine of Aragon (Anna Torrent, who is awesome in this), fails to produce a male heir, Sir Thomas arranges for the king to come to his household to check out his two daughters, thinking that Anne would be favored. He ultimately pimps out Mary for the mistress position, the deal going down despite Mary’s preference for the simple life of the country with her husband. Though Mary learns to love the man, Henry tires of her, summons Anne back from an exile in France, only to be given an option: Anne will not “lie” with the king unless he marries her, making her queen. Henry abandons the Catholic Church in order to get rid of Katherine and marries Anne, making everyone happy except Katherine, Mary, one Jane Parker (Juno Temple) and to some extent the Boleyn matriarch, Lady Elizabeth (Kristin Scott Thomas).
As they say, "be careful when you wish for" power and position. Those of us who know history understand how this family drama turned out. As for others, there will be surprises. The story of “The Other Boleyn Girl” has been done before, though without the strong emphasis on the sibling rivalry. As for the relatively minor distortions of history, who cares, I hate history. Mary never did go to Anne’s defense when the situation got life-threateningly intense, but writer Peter Morgan wants us to believe that ultimately, sisters will stick together when the going gets tough. Eric Bana nicely plays the king with all his contradictions—his tenderness and fury, his culture and his barbarism. Scarlett Johansson convinces as the simple girl who wants only love, Natalie Portman as the far more urban type who cares as much for what’s on her head as what makes her below the neck, hello boobies. If nothing else, this film is a showcase for Natalie Portman. While the first half hour of this film is borrrrinngggg, altogether, “The Other Boleyn Girl” satisfies where satisfaction is demanded: in performance (most noteably Natlie Portman's), production design, costumes and direction.
Is there anything better than time travel? That question is rhetorical, of course, because there isn't, and this week's episode may or may not have proved that time travel is in fact, the fucking shit. I've been in quite the situation with a few friends about Lost recently. I have been accused of blindly loving Lost in the same way Elisabeth Hasselbeck loves the war in Iraq, and that, my friend, is not a comparison I am willing to accept. Not only because I don't blindly follow senseless wars, but because the day I am compared to Elisabeth Hasselbeck in any way just scares me.
So, instead of simply writing a review on this weeks episode, the same episode in which my friend is quoted as saying "I want this episode gutted." I will go into the deep thoughts of why I enjoy Lost so much, the "easter eggs" as all the Lost freaks know. I actually took notes during this episode because I was prepared to defend not the show itself, but where it takes my mind, and why it is the only show on television that delves into so much mythology.
In “The Constant,” Desmond became “unstuck in time” once again and it provided the Lost team an opportunity to confirm many of our assumptions. Time is perceived differently on the island and the exploding Hatch and the release of the electromagnetic pulse is the cause of Desmond's visions. More importantly, the episode gave plenty of clues about many origins. We know more about the Widmore/Hanso connection, we learned about Daniel Faraday's experiments, and we finally got to visit the infamous freighter. Overall, for people who love to be challenged mentally while watching TV, this episode of Lost was the cat's meow.
#1 Literary Allusions
Let's begin the Easter eggs for “The Constant” with a literary lesson. If you're familiar with Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, then this episode may not have been as impressive, technically. That's because the entire premise of Desmond jumping between timelines is a direct lift (or homage) to that classic novel, in which Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time." Now I haven't actually read this book, but of course I've read about it. In fact, Lost didn't even try to hide this fact, having Daniel Faraday use that exact expression in describing what he does to Eloise the rat. This show is very fond of literary allusions, though it often sticks to Alice in Wonderland. What's important is that, while deciding how to portray time travel in this series, the Lost writing staff has chosen perhaps the greatest fiction book about the subject to lift from. Interestingly enough for Desmond, former member of the Royal Scottish Army, this is yet another World War II literary reference. His last flashback episode was called "Catch-22," title of the classic Joseph Heller novel.
#2 The Black Rock
If you’re not an avid follower of the dense online mythology surrounding people named Hanso and Widmore, the auction scene may have seemed a bit dull. Yes, we all recognize the Black Rock as the slave ship on the island. But when you start looking into the details of who these people are and you start to question their motives, you feel tantalizingly close to having all the answers to the entire show. Charles Widmore purchased the Black Rock journal at the auction. What his fascination is with the Black Rock is unknown, but it’s obviously more than just a hobby. The big question is: what is Charles Widmore’s obsession with the Black Rock? Perhaps it has to do with the Hanso Foundation. Magnus Hanso was the captain of the Black Rock during its expedition and is believed to be buried on the island. His great grandson is Alvar Hanso, founder of the Hanso Foundation who went on to help fund the DHARMA Initiative. At this time, it’s unclear who Tovard Hanso, the seller of the Black Rock journal, is, but it’s a safe assumption he’s related.
Appreciating the show for its simple merits is enough. After all, there’s a decent chance we’ll never know the full truth about Widmore and Hanso. But for those of you who want to delve into the deep, dense mythology of Lost, it seems as though the purchase of the Black Rock journal by Charles Widmore was slightly more than an eccentric, expensive novelty purchase. As a companion to this Easter Egg, the item on sale at the auction after the journal belonged to Charles Dickens. This is yet another familiar literary figure for Desmond, as the one book he waits to read is Dickens' Our Mutual Friend.
#3 The Numbers
Once again, the Numbers were everywhere. Penelope’s new address was 423 Cheyne Walk. The correct frequency for Daniel Faraday’s device is 2.342. The lot number for the Black Rock journal was also 2342. Going further, the time lapse between Desmond’s two times is 8 years. As always, I warn you against reading too much into any of this. It’s just a fun little thing Lost likes to do, and if you haven’t realized by now that the Numbers are a giant red herring with no actual bearing on the plot, then you’re a fool. And don’t go writing about the Valenzetti Equation. I’ve read a bit about it, and it’s my humble opinion that The Lost Experience was one giant wild goose chase meant to keep rabid online fans busy over the summer so they wouldn’t have to go outside.
#4 Daniel Faraday
The end of this episode wasn’t as shocking a twist as the last few episodes, but it still gave us plenty to think about. Since Desmond Hume is Daniel’s “constant,” it’s safe to assume that Daniel Faraday is, himself, unstuck in time. The question is: when and how? Was it just when he arrived on the island, or was it a long time ago, and he’s been hopping through time ever since. Daniel did not recognize Desmond upon first meeting, so does this mean Desmond actually changed the future by meeting Desmond in the past? If so, who else's futures could he possibly affect? Faraday being unstuck in time would definitely help explain the card test Charlotte gave him last time, as she was trying to keep him grounded. In fact, it could also help to explain Daniel’s original flashback. When the wreckage of Oceanic 815 is pulled out of the ocean, Daniel sees it on the TV and cries without knowing why. Did that take place AFTER he came to the island, at least in his own mind? Perhaps the time traveling back and forth thing that killed Minkowski is the "sickness" that killed Rousseu's crew.
#5. Who Opened the Door?
One central question audiences were left with was who opened the medical bay door to let Desmond, Sayid and Minkowski escape? If you’ve put all the clues together thus far this season, the answer is very obvious. Almost too obvious. I’ll give you fair warning right now that this is not based on any spoilers. I have no idea if this is actually going to happen, nor am I spoiling a big twist. I am simply putting together the clues and coming up with the logical conclusion. First, we know that Ben has a spy on the boat. Second, we heard Minkowski say that Sayid and Desmond “must have a friend” on the freighter. Third, anyone who attended or read about Comic-Con or who simply watches the opening credits every week this season knows that Harold Perrineau is returning to the show. It's painfully obvious that Michael is the “friend” who opened the door. He’s Ben’s spy on the freighter. We know that Ben made a deal with Michael to get off the island. We learned in “The Economist” that Oceanic 815 survivors are prone to aligning themselves once off the island. We know that, in some way, shape, or form, Michael will reappear as a series regular, thus meaning he must return to or near the island.
That is all. This is how I watch Lost. It's like a fun game. Yea, it pisses me off and I completely understand the negative feedback. But I prefer to just go with it as I would a very involved novel, or even a videogame. If in the end, the outcome isn't worth it and there isnt much of a payoff, it wont take anything away from the inredible journey in geting there.
Bottom line: Even though I just said all that shit, this episode was entirely too confusing to get anything above a B. Desmond-centric , Faraday unfolds, with a dash of classic Sayid ....Sawyer who?
Is Daniel also moving back and forth through time? If so, has he been to the island before? (This may explain his crying when seeing the crash on TV.)
Is the person who opened the sick bay door Ben's man on the boat? (Duh, its Michael.)
Why does Charles Widmore want the Black Rock journal?
Why weren't the freighter people allowed to answer Penny's calls?
Is the sickness that Minkowski described the same sickness that Rousseau has described?
P.S. It's too exhausting to write this much about one episode every week. Also, if you write on your hand, that shit doesn't travel through time. Someone should invent an ink that does.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
2. Get Fucked
Two Parts of Your Heritage:
Two Things That Scare You:
2. Religious freaks
Two of Your Everyday Essentials:
Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Should I give up?
2. Grey T Shirt
Two of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists (at the moment):
1. Missy Higgins
2. Leona Lewis
Two Things You Want in a Relationship (other than Real Love):
1. Lady In the Water is the worst movie ever made ever in the history of everything.
2. Life is boring without all emotions.
Two Physical Things that Appeal to You About the Opposite Sex:
Two of Your Favorite Hobbies:
2. watching tv
Two Things You Want Really Badly:
1. A new focus
2. Verizon Voyager
Two Places You Want to go on Vacation:
Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die:
1. your face
2. write a good book
Two Ways That You are Stereotyped:
2. uninterested in videogames or anything stereotypically masculine
Two Things You Are Thinking About Now:
1. why I didnt take off work over spring break
2. I will never get apologies I deserve
Two Stores You Shop At:
Two people you haven't talked to in a while:
Two favorite web sites
1. my blog
2. Jess' blog
Two pets you had (or have):
1. I had 2 hampsters
2. always wanted a dog.
Two Favorite Sports:
Two People who will fill this out:
1. Your face
Two things you did last night:
1. Watched Curb Your Enthusiasm
2. Went to the arena with Michelle and Sarah
Two shows you like to watch (current):
2. Americas Next Top Model
Two places you like to go "out" to:
1. The movies
2. Jill's couch