Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Girl Who Owned a City

Call me obsessed with revisiting my childhood and I probably wouldn't call you wrong. I mean, I just saw Toy Story 3 for the second time yesterday, I just finished the final installment in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series that I first picked up in my early teens by the suggestion of a friend, and I just reread The Girl Who Owned a City for the first time in nearly ten years.

When I first read The Girl Who Owned a City, I was 11 years old and in sixth grade. We read it for class, although I don't remember the why. I loved the book but it terrified me as well. I mean, I was eleven and the book depicts the story of an adult-less world where the oldest people still alive are twelve. I would've been the older generation. Not to mention that as much as my parents sometimes frustrated me, I didn't want them to die. I remember, after finishing the book, going up to my mother, crying and hugging her and telling her that I didn't want a plague to kill her.

Well, luckily it hasn't and now being well over the age of twelve, if the plague came true, I'd be dead. I expected this to be a reassuring thought, but honestly, the book still struck me just as much as it did when I was eleven. I won't be crying and hugging my mother not to die, but... wow, what a depressing book.

There were two major thoughts that ran through my head after I finished it. Firstly, where was the sequel??? I mean, what a cliffhanger! Lisa is returned to power in her city of Glenbard, but only after provoking a far-away army who is off to join the King of Chicago and his army of roughly 5,000. Even Lisa acknowledges that the army of Chicago was bound to come after them sooner or later at the end of the book. I'm just left there wondering what the hell happens next in this post-apocalyptic world.

The second, of course, was how much I want this book to be a movie. It would be such a glorious failure. The problem, of course, is that it is such a dark book, really. Dead bodies are never explicitly stated to be anywhere, but their presence is implied. Not to mention small children learning how to fire weapons and make molotov cocktails. Tom Logan gets oil burned down his face, Lisa gets shot, and Jill has to remove the freakin' bullet. The Girl Who Owned a City is an R-rated movie, but all of its characters are children. The thing is, not a one of them is innocent.

Which is simply twisted and hard to forgive. I love the story and, though it isn't the best-written thing in the universe, I think it is fascinating and I want to read it again and again. Not everyone, however, can appreciate children being violent and doing adult things. Just take a peek at the uproar over Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass and multiply that times a thousand because The Girl Who Owned a City is full of hundreds of Hit-Girls, all trained to kill and torture. I mean, they literally mention torture in the book! Children torturing each other for information!

The Girl Who Owned a City reminds me of The Road, unsurprisingly. I mean, they're both these post-apocalyptic stories of the fight between "good" and "evil" but the lines are really blurred. The only thing that truly separates The Man and his son from the rest of the survivors is their refusal to turn into cannibals. Aside from that, they are equally violent when need be. All the children in The Girl Who Owned a City have to turn violent, whether it is for attack or defense. And though The Girl Who Owned a City gives a supposedly brighter future, the last page is so depressing that I can't help but wonder how long the city of Glenbard can last before the world turns into a world not unlike The Road where civilization is too far gone for anyone to even dream of rebuilding it the way Lisa does and instead all they can do is what the gangs do - steal and kill to survive. Both tales are incredibly depressing and though The Road is much more wonderfully written and definitely more depressing and incredibly inappropriate for children, The Girl Who Owned a City also tells a compelling take and is still quite depressing and is a bit inappropriate for children. Granted, I heartily appreciate having read it when I was young enough to fit myself into the story.

I don't normally dedicate this blog to books because, not going to lie, I do not do a lot of book-reading anymore. I was a much more avid reader when I was younger (although, to be fair, I did just read three books in less than twenty-four hours). But, my goodness, do not make the mistake of thinking that I don't love them. The Girl Who Owned a City does not need to be a movie, of course. My only inclination to bring it in that direction is to make up for some of the weak writing in the book. And I love the book so much, I would just want to work on a project with it, whether it be a sequel or a movie, because I simply want to continue to live within that sad, awesome world.

Again, that brings me back to my earlier point, about how a movie version would be a total failure. I cannot see an audience who would want to watch children suffer and toil in a world with no help and little hope. They would call it insensitive and cruel and depressing. But this is one of those moments when I really feel like a filmmaker, like an artist rather than an entertainer. I don't care about the audience, to be frank. I'd want to make this movie because it is a beautiful story, whatever you say, and it deserves to be told over and over again.

Lisa, for all her bossiness, never would have made me think of myself when I was younger. I was whiny and did not want to live in her world - most of the time. Maybe it was after reading the book, maybe it was before, but I tried to imagine a harder world where I would have to fight to survive. What if my parents died? What if we had a fire and lost everything in our house? What if I lost my voice or my hearing or my sight? All these "what if"s and more plagued me and I would make secret loots in case of anything. A "just in case" bag filled with things if I needed to run away. Hotel shampoo bottles that had been cleaned out and filled with water hidden around the house "just in case." And Lisa's attitude, her beautiful, brilliant attitude, that if she can toughen up then everyone can toughen up, reminds me so painfully of myself that it hurts. It is not an uncommon flaw, but it is a harsh one, to forget that it is hard work to grow and some people just have not gone through it. It is also not uncommon and just as harsh to forget that no matter how much we've grown, there is so much more growing to do. Both of Lisa's major flaws are ones I see in myself which, though I am nearly twice her age, make me feel like a child again.

Sure, I may be revisiting my childhood, but what is so wrong there? There are so many beautiful lessons and important messages to be found and reminded of. Only just a few days ago was I listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on audiobook, listening to the chapter, "The Mirror of Erised" and Dumbledore's conversation with Harry toward the end of the book when I remembered why I fell in love with Harry Potter all those years ago. It was for the wonderful things J.K. Rowling had to share about life and death and friendship and courage and fear and so on and so forth. I am so excited for my Introduction to Children and Young Adult Literature class this coming fall where I will get to read literature supposedly for children and young adults, but really for all of us.

After all, many animated movies aren't just for children either, even if they can be - thank you Pixar and DreamWorks.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ego: Anton Ego and yours.

When I think about which Pixar movie is my favourite - and believe me, as a clear lover of everything Pixar, I think about this often enough - Ratatouille usually isn't at the top of my list (though it is never at the bottom). But that isn't because I don't love it - I truly do. Ratatouille was a grand experience - my first real foray into appreciating animated "kids" movies as, well, not an adult, but a seventeen-year-old, who might normally think they're too good for an animated movie and fully capable of seeing every movie at that age (three years later, I still get thrown off when I get carded 'cause I'm just so used to seeing everything regardless of rating, something my thirteen-year-old self would be jealous of). I'd seen most of the other Pixar movies, I'd lived through the Disney renaissance, but not like this.

The main thing I take away from Ratatouille is not the beautiful main message of the film, the one whose slogan rings throughout - "anyone can cook" - and translates into a tale of rising above one's circumstances based on talent and drive. The most beautiful and meaningful message any film has given me is also the most grounding of them - Anton Ego's stunning review of his meal at Remy's hands.

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new, an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto: Anyone can cook. But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is, in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more."

One reason I admire film critics and all people who love film is how they love finding something new to share with everyone else. It's such a pleasure to ask a friend, "have you seen ___?" and to hear them reply in the negative. Then, you are granted the opportunity to open their eyes to that world.

But it is that same admirable quality that I also can't stand in film critics, people who love films, and oftentimes even in myself. Because, as much as I love film myself, most people do not care nearly as much as people like me and people who dedicate themselves to a life of loving, understanding, and analyzing film.

We all have different opinions. Like everyone else, I fall prey to being upset when someone disagrees with something I feel so strongly about - people who refuse to see Star Wars or people who avoid animated movies because they're "for kids" or people who are too stuck up to appreciate the badassery of Death Race or people who are too bored with film to listen to my recommendations. But all of those people exist and I'd be a fool to hate all of them for those reasons. I love film, but people who only like it or don't like it at all are not any worse or better than me by that mere characteristic.

Ego's speech from Ratatouille, particularly the first few sentences, often give me the swift kick in the rear I think everyone involved in film (other fields too, I'm sure, but the entertainment and art fields in particular fall prey to this most, I feel) really needs. We all need a reminder that our opinions, what we say and what we write and all the time and energy we dedicate to our field isn't the be all and end all. So many people simply do not care about what we have to say or what we do. Saying that one movie sucks or one movie is awesome doesn't really matter at all, because we're all going to make up our own minds, and so many people won't even bother to do as much as they simply don't care enough to see the movie. You might praise some obscure title non-stop, but that won't it an instant classic. You might get a few more viewers, but there's no guarantee, no matter how influential your position is. Even Oprah doesn't reach everyone.

Our dedication and love for our craft matters to us, but not to everyone, so we shouldn't get frustrated or try to change the world to fit our style. I would never discourage anyone from doing what they love - considering my life as a film student, this is not news - but I would recommend not obsessing over it to the point where you simply cannot accept a contrary point of view.

Now, where does this all come from? Of course, it comes from a combination of Ego's speech always being with me and from the few negative reviews Toy Story 3, which I previously reported brought me to crazy-ass tears. There are two ways I can spin this little speech of my own. Firstly, I can say that it is totally the opinion of the reviewers to say what they will. As much as I may be prejudiced against and frustrated by the reviews, they're just opinions and they don't change how the movie made me feel.

The other thing to take away, though, is where the reviews are coming from. I won't dare to presume that these couple reviews come from anyplace unnatural or forced, but I know there are critics in the world who do enjoy being mean or contrary for the sake of their own enjoyment and to be different in some way or another. Or they choose to only look at a movie or other work of entertainment/art from a certain perspective so as to find the negative angles. To those critics, I say shame on you. Let your opinions come from your heart as well as your head. We can praise the technical achievements or complain about ordinary dialogue, but what really matters is what the film does for you, personally, and that's all we can take away. Each review is individual to the person who writes it and we might agree or we might not. We all appreciate different works for different reasons, and that's fine by me. I mean, my love for Toy Story 3 comes from somewhere deep in my heart, though I'd also defend most other aspects of the film. Other films, though intelligent and well-made and good in so many respects, may still leave me wanting more or totally emotionless.

I want to be involved in a movie I watch, not detached and watching it for the sake of observing it. As a film student, I do plenty of observing and, though it's useful, it's also work. Some films take work and it pays off, but others don't give me anything. And I like films that can absorb me and fill me up - there are good films that give and good films that take.

Anyway, I'm rambling. My point, simply enough, is that first and foremost, no man is an island and no one should ever assume that what they love would capture anyone else in the same way. As a film major with so few film major friends, I am reminded again and again that my friends really don't want to talk about movies 24/7, although I most certainly could. We lovers of cinema shouldn't be so full of ourselves... and believe me, plenty of us are that full of ourselves.

Second and final point: Within that larger scope of life on Earth in general, there is the smaller scope of the film world. Within it, none of us are the same. There are those who make film for entertainment and those who make it for art. There is plenty of success and plenty of failure in both categories. Let's not be snooty or untrue to our own tastes. I won't pretend I like something because other people do, but I also won't trash on something other people like just to be different. I wish more people lived by that.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Toy Story 3

This is a comment I posted on on this newspost.

"I need to see this again. I was too emotionally crazed to really be able to tolerate anyone saying it was less than perfection. But I was in tears from the beginning, when we saw how many toys had disappeared over the years (not unlike my own storage units in the family garage, which are missing most of my old childhood toys), and barely held it together in the end when Andy played with his toys one last time with Bonnie. I was afraid I was going to audibly sob I couldn't stop crying.

Toy Story 3 may not be the best storytelling of some of the other films, but it is also clearly an installment in a franchise, which makes it different from most of the films. It is, indeed, its most emotional though. I have never been more touched by a movie in my life, but that's something my generation, who were kids when Toy Story first came out, and Toy Story 2, and now are coming back for thirds having been in Andy's exact place, is bound to experience. But I think it's something all adults can relate to and all kids will dread relating to (if I were young enough to still have toys in my room, you know I'd have gone home to instantly play with them for hours). Watching Woody, Buzz, and the gang go through all their trials is like watching what happens to your childhood, hoping that it doesn't get destroyed, but knowing it will never be the same as it was before, which is just as heart-breaking.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to rationally discuss Toy Story 3 because it just touched a place in me I'd forgotten I had. The first two feel so quaint and sweet these days, but this movie just feels too real, almost too personal, though I was never as cool a kid as Andy was, and I didn't love my toys quite the same way he did. But I think that just proves all the more what a fantastic movie it is, that it strikes a cord so strong that everything else beyond the tears and laughter is creates, doesn't really matter. It reminds me of Ego's review in Ratatouille, like all brilliant things do, and how technicalities and hard-hearts and reality aside, beauty is beauty and there are some things that are simply beyond proper criticism."

It'll be a long time before I can sum up my feelings on Toy Story 3 (I only left the theater about two hours ago), but I think the first reaction matters almost as much as the last. And, boy oh boy, have I got a first reaction. I know it's still soon after, but this was just one of those movie-going experiences where I feel like I'm a different person on the other side and I have no idea how I've changed, but I just feel it, but it could also be the emotional overload from the past few hours... it's too confusing.

But I do know that I dug my stuffed animals out of a trash bag in my brother's room, gave them a talking to about how much I love them, and set several of them around my room, including my poor, mistreated American Girl dolls.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Cultural Importance of Harry Potter and the Lack Thereof of the Twilight Saga.

I've never been a Twilight fan and I doubt I ever will be. This is unlike my initial distaste for Harry Potter when it first exploded onto the scene, because I've actually read parts of Twilight, I've seen the movies, and I still can't stand it. After I watched the second Harry Potter movie, I actually quite liked it and decided to give the books a shot and fell in love.

But the main thing that bothers me about Twilight is the fan culture, and I'm not talking about the rabid Taylor Lautner/RPattz fans. I'm talking about some of the major differences between the tiny generational divide of my age group, which grew up with Harry Potter, and the tween/teens now, who are growing up with Twilight.

The Harry Potter craze brought us fans who invented a musical genre, who helped kick off a renewed interest in reading and writing, and brought the famed sport of the books to life. Whereas the Twilight fans seem only capable of adorning their rooms with as much memorabilia as they can hunt down. Thanks to Harry Potter, I decided that I had wanted to be a writer, I actually ran a freakin' Harry Potter website for eight months (while having been a member of said site for nearly four years now), I downloaded albums of wizardrock (The Remus Lupins! Draco and the Malfoys!), and I have the guidebook to Quidditch because my school added a Quidditch team and I hope to bother to join soon enough.

It doesn't matter that, in my opinion, the Harry Potter books are much more well-written than the Twilight books (not sure I'd call them masterpieces, but they introduce interesting themes, well-rounded characters, and tell a classic, fascinating story) - what really matters to me in the debate of Twilight versus Harry Potter is the fandom. The question: What do these books contribute to the world?

Honestly, what can we say Twilight has contributed to the world? Heightened expectations in women of their perfect men that create FML stories like this one. Not to mention what a creepy-ass "guy" Edward Cullen is and how it's disappointing to see women of all ages wishing they had a man like him. Twilight has also spawned totally crazed fans that frighten me to death far more than the most rabid Harry Potter fan.

Sure, it's easy to say this now, three years after the final Harry Potter book was released and now that the storm has calmed, but even in my tween years, when I was one of those crazy Harry Potter fans, I was not adopting Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, or Tom Felton as my future lovers. Nor was I wishing that I could meet a man like Harry Potter. Why was that? Oh, because Harry isn't perfect - he's human, so to speak. A young man who spends paragraphs yelling because his hormones are out of whack and with a hero complex to shame... someone else with a huge hero's complex. J.K. Rowling treats her characters with enough respect to make them real.

Stephanie Meyer, however, has created Edward Cullen as a complete object. He is a dreamboat of perfection, of riches and chivalry and beauty. Bella is not much different with her Mary Sue flaw of clumsiness and beautiful individuality that attracts EVERYONE. Of course Harry gets attention; he's famous! What's Bella's excuse? And she hates it (whereas there is that beautiful moment in the sixth Harry Potter movie where Harry says defensively to Hermione, "but I AM the chosen one" and receives a thunk on the head), can't stand being who she is, is never comfortable with herself.

What kind of lessons can anyone take away from a story about a girl who has caring parents, is popular with girls and boys, beauty, and a bright life ahead of her but cannot be happy with any of it unless she has her man. It's worse than a Disney Princess! At least Jasmine gets pissed at Aladdin for lying to her, but Bella mopes and cries and tries to kill herself when Edward isn't around.

Harry Potter, on the other hand, teaches lessons of appreciating all those things in your life. Harry would be nothing without the strength of his friends, mentors, and everyone in his life. Harry is happy with himself most of the time - though being famous is hard work and he isn't pleased to be an orphan, even when he lives under the tyrannical rule of his aunt and uncle, he doesn't complain about it, merely makes the best of it with his wit and knowledge that life goes on. Seriously, we start off the first book with Harry pleased to look forward to going to a different school than his cousin so he could develop his own life. Even the much-hated epilogue of the final book provides that message: life goes on and it's worth living.

Twilight? Nothing's worth living for except hunky vampires and immortality.

Lessons aside, I've already listed the other cultural implications Harry Potter brought along. It has spawned so many excited and participatory fans that it is incredible. I met Harry and the Potters - I bought one of their freakin' T-shirts. I've dreamed of remaking the Harry Potter movies one day (though I doubt I'd bother nor would I probably be let to; it'll be too soon and the movies, for all their faults with continuity aren't bad). Harry Potter inspired me to do great things. I doubt Twilight could ever encourage such spirits. Musical genre? Collegiate sport? Literacy? Well, considering that Twilight is written the way that I wrote when I was thirteen...

Sure, I'm mean to Twilight, I'm hard on its fans. I can't blame people for liking the series; I'm sure that the right readers enjoy such tales. But there is nothing beneficial to take away from the books, and that they have succeeded Harry Potter as the "it" books is depressing because it is such a huge step down.

Oh popular culture. How interesting you are and how much I hate you until the Twilight movies are all made and freakin' over with.

...btws, rant was inspired by this interesting post over on

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Worst Episode of Good Shows - COMPETITION TIME

(edited 2:20pm 6/12/2010 - added synopses)

Before wasting sleeping hours rewatching episodes of So You Think You Can Dance (my latest obsession... and my return to actually enjoying reality television that isn't What Not to Wear or on HGTV), I managed to finally watch the much-hated episode of Lost that, in my anticipation, I compared to Battlestar Galactica's "Black Market." Not just for being totally useless as an episode, but also for the negative reaction and the admission of the actual creators that "hey, we made a crap episode." I also mistakenly thought the chick in Lost was also a hooker... but seriously, besides being a psychic tattoo genie or whatevs, she probably is. I mean, look at those clothes. No self-respecting woman would dress like that in dark alleys unless she's trolling for something.

So the verdict? Which sucks more? "Stranger in a Strange Land..."

...or "Black Market"?

First a brief, biased synopsis of both:

"Black Market" - After the success of the awesome Pegasus story arc and Roslin's life being saved, the show decides to kill some time with dear ol' Lee Adama and a random prostitute named Shevon that we're supposed to believe he's been seeing and is seriously into. Colonel Fisk, Cain's successor in commanding Pegasus, is killed and Lee is asked to investigate... why Lee? I'd think this is set up for Lee's ventures into lawyerhood later in the series, but it's a season too early, so it's more like a convenient plot device. Lee finds out that Fisk was involved in a black market that's been happening in the fleet (OH NOES) and then Shevon's daughter gets kidnapped and Lee feels responsible because he's been playing house with the kid and totally creeping her out. Oh and this is the episode where we start to see Dee and Lee flirting together, which makes me hate this episode even more for ruining my darling Billy's life. But anyway, back to the main suck of a plot, Lee goes after the head of the black market, kills him, and tells off the black market, but not entirely, more like "just don't take important stuff... oh and kids, kk?" Roslin gets pissed, but Bill lets Lee's arrangement go ahead. So essentially, NOTHING HAPPENS. We never hear from Shevon again (partially because she's not interested in playing house with Lee and partially because NO ONE CARES), the black market is never mentioned again, the fleet doesn't change at all, and... yeah. Pointless. Then the next episode we watch Starbuck get totally wasted, try to have drunken sex with Lee, and then almost kill herself for the billionth time, until Kat shows us that she doesn't suck as much as she used to.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" - This episode also kicks off after some intensely awesome stuff happening. Last episode was Desmond centric, which was great because Desmond is great, and we learned all about course correction (which, a few years later, FlashForward blatantly rips off in its failed attempt to be the next Lost) and how the universe is trying to kill Charlie. So what does the audience get next week? Zero Desmond, zero Charlie, and a whole lot of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. Before Kate and Sawyer broke out of their cages, that would have been interesting, but instead we watch Kate and Sawyer bicker and lose Carl and find Carl and Sawyer lets Carl go and there's all this tension about having dead man walking sex and nobody cares because they reach their own island and that's about that. Jack's regular plot isn't so horrible, although the whole time I keep thinking Jack is being totally conned, but I think I was proven wrong, for like the first time ever when it comes to these characters conning each other. But anyway, Jack tries to protect Juliet for killing Danny or whatever his name was when she was letting Kate and Sawyer go. She's supposed to be killed, but he gets Ben to take that option off the table, so Juliet gets marked in a tramp-stamp way instead. Jack applies aloe. Fresh aloe hurts, I can tell you that. Tension is born, but I don't want it (as much as Juliet is growing on me). There's also some random sheriff chick, Isabel, if I remember correctly, who can read Jack's tattoo and all around just acts like a douchebag. The main problem with this episode though, of course, is the flashback. Jack is in Thailand to find himself (...) and starts by flying a kite on the beach (...) when he is helped because he can't fly a kite to save his life by some pretty thing that can speak English and is totally dressed like a hooker (... yeah). Jack and the chick start sexing it up and it appears she comes and goes as she pleases in his bed. They also fall off his bed at some point. Oh man, THAT was exciting. Then Jack drunkenly stalks her like the loser he is and finds out that, though she's dressed like a total hooker and wandering in dark alleys to some secret place and receives huge envelopes of money, she's not a hooker (well, maybe, I'm convinced she still is) - she's a MAGICAL TATTOO-IST. She can see who people are, so Jack acts like a douche and forces her to tell him and tattoo him although he's an outsider. Happy-go-lucky Jack leaves his house the next day, freshly inked, and creeps out some kid and then gets beaten down by the chick's brother and some of his friends. Jack presumably leaves Thailand now, having gotten inked. Whoo. I'll take the not-supernatural tattoos, please.

Well, those weren't that brief, but for being totally pointless, both episodes do eat up roughly forty-five minutes. THE VERDICT?

Honestly, it's a tough call. I was going to say that "Black Market" sucked more until the tattoo genie chick was all "I AM NOT A TATTOO ARTIST - I SEE THINGS IN PEOPLE." But it's tough, because I'm still really down on "Black Market" for its stupid retcon with Shevon the prostitute and her daughter, Lee's surrogate daughter for the one that exploded in his (OUT OF LEFT FIELD) pregnant girlfriend before she was born that Lee left before the apocalypse in the Twelve Colonies.

I also give favoritism to Battlestar Galactica for being a show I like more. No offense, Lost, but you move at a snail's pace at best. By the middle of the third season, Battlestar Galactica's characters had all frakked each other, made war and nice and war again with the Cylons, and had tackled issues of genocide, survival, abortion, crazy religion versus politics, religion in general, suicide bombings, forced occupation, and biological warfare. Lost has... coined some cool catchphrases, killed off a lot more central characters, and toyed with maybe two or three of those topics. Seriously, Emmys, can I hate on you times a zillion for ignoring Battlestar Galactica for, like, six years? And yet, giving the prize to Lost which, although being a great show in its own right, is still no BSG. There is no show like BSG.

Ahem. But we're comparing these episodes against one another, not the shows against one another. So I think I still might have to go with "Black Market" sucking more. Because, although Jack's flashbacks totally bite and the Sawyer and Kate plotline is just infuriating as per usual with them (and Kate lately has been pissing me off even more than usual), Jack's current day plot wasn't made of total suck (just partial suck). I mean, at least "Stranger in a Strange Land" fits within its narrative better. The question of Jack's tattoos is one that nobody cares about, sure, but nobody even asked "huh, I wonder how Lee's prostitute surrogate girlfriend and her daughter are doing?" BECAUSE THEY NEVER EVEN EXISTED BEFORE OR AFTER. Jack's tattoos at least will always be there. So now if anybody asks about them, we have the boring lengthy answer of that useless episode. But "Black Market" isn't just a useless episode but a horrible episode that disgraces everything that Battlestar Galactica is. Despite the occasional melodramatic bits of the show, it's usually pretty grounded (luls, har har, see how it's funny - it's because it's set in SPACE most of the time).

I do much more appreciate the controlled flashbacks of Battlestar Galactica, that held onto them mostly until the finale (save a bit of Kara flashback to Zak and ignoring the preggers!gf flashbacks of ten seconds Lee has in "Black Market" ...oh and the Final Five's memories on Earth) and just offered a couple character-defining moments that were really some of the most beautiful, sad, and touching moments in an otherwise action-packed and ending-packed finale. Lost, for being innovative in its use of flashbacks, also tends to overuse them on some characters (particularly Jack and Kate, but most characters really don't need like ten centric episodes. NOBODY is that interesting. Even Eko, for being fucking awesome and wicked interesting always only needed the three episodes he got). I long for the episodes where nobody gets a flashback and we can all live in the present because I am BORED with their pasts. I get it. Kate and Sawyer are criminals with hearts of gold. Jack had daddy issues. Charlie had drug issues. Locke had major daddy issues. Hurley was fat and crazy and is still fat and may still be crazy. I honestly don't care that much because that means half of the time the plot isn't moving forward, which is frustrating because already so much that is set in the present plotline isn't moving anything forward.

But this post wasn't supposed to be about Lost's shortcomings (though I could go on for quite some time with both praise and critique) - it is about the competition of bad episode against bad episode. And in that competition, "Black Market" takes the rotten tomato, mostly because of its horrible retcon in combination with the other bad elements that it shares with "Stranger in a Strange Land."

As my darling Television Without Pity ends their brief description of "Black Market" -

"Roslin is displeased with everyone and everything. She is right."

...and goodnight.

PS: I got McDonalds - TWICE, actually - and that commercial still won't leave me the fuck alone while I'm watching Lost on, no matter how many times I say that the ad is not relevant to me. It is one of the few ads, if not the only, I have said that about. I AM MAD AT YOU, HULU.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Aaaaaah! (real monsters? No, CGI ones in ads)

You know what I've been craving? McDonalds. Which is silly because the only thing I can eat there is, like the fries (and the salads and Mcflurries... just shut it, I KNOW WHAT I CAN AND CAN'T EAT).

But there are those crappy Shrek/McDonalds commercials that have been everywhere lately (and I keep telling hulu that they are NOT relevant to me and yet they keep playing as I watch Lost) and as much as I hate those commercials, every time I see them I just want McDonalds!


I am so sick of that commercial. Even the 15 second version is killing me. Maybe if I finally buy some McDonalds, it'll stop. PLEASE STOP. I ALREADY SAW SHREK FOREVER AFTER AND IT SUCKED.

Although, I have two gems to share that I put into my phone's notepad because they were so awesome:

Shrek: "My donkey fell in your wafflehole." (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID)


Donkey: "Are my babies cute or do they make people uncomfortable?"

So ends this spontaneous mini-rant of doom. I take back what I said recently about commercials getting more awesome these days. Sure, there are the Ubykotex commercials and the Old Spice man on a horse, but beyond that... there are stupid picnickers (who the hell picnics with MCDONALDS?) not freaked out by the CGI ogre behind them.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Yep. That's right. I decided to finally jump on the wagon.

Granted, this isn't a big surprise. I'd been meaning to watch the show since forever, but then I heard about the polar bears and was all "nah, brah, I ain't touching that shit." I vaguely remember the whole Lost versus Heroes thing too and I was all sticking with Heroes.

Ha. Smart choice.

Anyway, so with the series finale the following day, I kicked off watching Lost (because hulu put up the entire freakin' series) last Saturday (not the recent one; the one before).

I am this far:

Yeah... that episode was kinda totally dull. I actually managed to get some reading done during it (been alternating between Lost and reading today and then realized Glee was on and also got majorly distracted by doing other things like dinner and... yeah).

So my analysis thus far is that I miss Ian Somerhalder's pretty face. Oh, right, the series. It's... interesting. So freakin' slow, though. I mean, people say Mad Men is slow, but at least they're all dressed nicely and the seasons are shorter. I mean, seriously.

Look how dapper they are:

And then...

Good thing it's a sexy cast. I mean, Matthew Fox's sexiness is the only thing that has gotten me to forgive him for being mostly dull and having the second stupidest flashbacks (the winner is Kate, of course). I mean, if Matthew Fox weren't so hot, I'd still want to kill Jack. I am not looking forward to the infamous episode about his tattoos. I feel like it'll be Black Market from Battlestar Galactica all over again. I mean, it's already got a similar plot of some random hooker coming into the life of our attractive male lead and being totally unimportant to the plot at all. And being a suck episode.

Hmm, now I am having difficulty choosing whether I think Matthew Fox or Jamie Bamber is sexier. Choices, choices... sheesh, they both have such nice arms... well, if we go with first/second season (pre-fat!Lee) Lee, I'm giving it to Jamie Bamber. Fat!Lee and Politician!Lee were distinctly unhot. But I blame that on the suits covering up his arms.

What a difference.

But anyway, back on topic...

So one of my twitter updates about Lost partway through the first season was all "HOOK UP LOSTAWAYS GODDAMMIT ALREADY" 'cause I was sick of all the "couples" that weren't coupling off. Jack/Kate, Kate/Sawyer, Claire/Charlie (before he started to suck so much and went all baby-napper and shit), Shannon/Sayid, Anybody/Anybody. Luckily, Sayid being the most awesome ever decided to make good on his flirtations, even if it was with the annoying Shannon. But they're both pretty, so it's okay. Mostly Naveen Andrews is really pretty. He's my favorite to look at since Boone's gone.

Mmmm. At least I get Ian Somerhalder in The Vampire Diaries, although he is far less sweat-sodden and more leather-jacket-y. More interesting too, though. Swoon, Ian Somerhalder. I named my camera after you, I hope you know. Well, actually, I hope you don't. I'm terrified to ever meet you now that I've named an object after you. I should've kept up the tradition of naming my electronics after fictional characters instead of legit people. Too late; Ian's got a nametag and everything.

So Lost is slow, I mentioned earlier. And though the flashbacks are cool and interesting, sometimes they are just dull. Like Hurley's flashbacks to his friend "Dave" in this latest episode. And sometimes they are Kate's flashbacks and almost immediately dull. It's like the hooker with a heart of gold concept is less fresh than the criminal with a heart of gold. The accidental criminal. Gawd, it's like the disappointment felt in Gossip Girl when Serena's dramatic "I KILLED SOMEONE" turned out to be more like "I WAS AROUND SOMEONE WHO DIED FROM DRUGS AND I CALLED 911 BUT IT DIDN'T SAVE HIM." God, Serena, you just suck so much.

(I know, Blair. I'm so disappointed by Serena's story too. You are far more interesting without "killing" anyone.)

But yeah, I think you all can tell by now that I have no interest in Kate whatsoever. Until she hooks up with Jack. Much as I like Sawyer, he is too interesting for Kate, whereas Jack is perfect: He has a compulsive need to fix people and Kate has a compulsive need to fuck herself up. They're a perfect match!

As annoying as Charlie has gotten lately, I've generally enjoyed his flashbacks (save the one with the rich daughter and the puking in the copying machine). But his actually make him out to be a more interesting person, in my books. It also might be my Dominic Monaghan bias; he was the reason I had originally wanted to watch the show (and then I heard he died and totally just gave up ever watching until recently).

Also, he's had a couple badass moments recently since he gave up trying to be a decent human being for Claire. Like totally faking out Ana Lucia and throwing one to the awesomest Sayid.

(Yeah, Charlie, that was BAMF.)

Ana Lucia is also annoying. Which sucks because Michelle Rodriguez is such a badass, but Ana Lucia is not really a badass, more just of an ass. I hope she gets looser in the time to come because I am sick of seeing her so tightly wound. I do like that though she wears the exact same tank top and jeans, she looks way better in them than any of the Lostaways do when they try to change things up (no matter what, Kate, you still look grody as hell).

So I'm giving Lost a chance. The first season hooked me like crazy, but this second season has been a lot slower. Of course, there are four more seasons after this one in which I'm sure I will be all pissy and annoyed and waiting for answers goddammit, and from what I hear, the finale doesn't give em all away. At least Battlestar Galactica gave nearly everything an answer (and dudes, even though nobody says it, I'm pretty sure enough anvils were dropped in the last season to tell us that Starbuck's an angel or whatever, so stop complaining about that one) even if some were arguably stupid answers (I personally liked the finale). But whatever. If I want fast-paced, I'll look to The Vampire Diaries or Chuck or, hell, True Blood moves pretty fast too, I'd say.

Well, Lost has got to be more fast-paced than How I Met Your Mother at least. Five seasons and we still haven't met the mother (save her ankle, that is).

So essentially, I like it thus far. Mr. Eko and Sayid are probs my faves at the moment, though I generally like Sawyer, Locke, and Michael too. Miss Michael right now. I hope he gets back soon. D: (DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING. I already know like half a dozen characters' imminent deaths.) Jack is growing on me. I'm torn about Locke. And Ben (though he hasn't been revealed as Ben yet) is thus far intriguing.

Anyway, must run. I'd watch more tonight, but it's already wicked late and I meant to be reading. Peace out. I'm sure I'll be obnoxious with another picture-heavy post soon.

PS: I'm bored by the movie fare recently, hence my focus on television. I mean, seriously, I don't care about anything until Toy Story 3 in two weeks and change.