Humor


A Cinema Fantastica Post:

With the Walking Dead, created by Robert Kirkman for Image Comics, premiering on AMC on Halloween, I’ve decided to watch a selection of Zombie films over the next few weeks to prepare myself for what will hopefully be a terrific addition to one of my favorite sub-genres.

Routine: a : a regular course of procedure b : habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/routine

Routine is something that happens to all of us. We fall into it and don’t even realize we’re there. In the midst of researching a new screenplay, I decided to take a few routines in my life and turn them on their ear.   Since I was thirteen I’ve shaved my face from right to left. I’ve never gone in the other direction. Even when I broke my wrist, and had to do it left-handed, I kept to the same pattern. Last week I went from left to right. It was sooooooo weird. When I was done I practically needed a blood transfusion. Since then, I have only gone from left to right. It seems like a small change, but it really isn’t. It’s monumental, because I am doing exactly the opposite of what come naturally.

How does this relate to zombies? I’ll get to it.  I’ve never faced a zombie horde. I’ve never had to shoot a dead person in the brain in order to stop them from barreling forward to eat my flesh.

I would know how to though.

To read the rest, click here –> ZOMBIES!!!!!!!

or on this screen shot:

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Now, we all know that Polar Bears do not belong in Hawaii.  It is not their natural habitat.  The Dharma Initiative had them for their studies, and at some point, they teleported the Bear off the island, using the Donkey Wheel.  I guess.  I never thought about that until now.  How did they get the bear to turn the wheel?  Hmmm.  Strange.

I think there was a second polar bear though, and he was teleported to Kenab, Utah.  How do I know?

What is behind me?

Day 1 went well.  I began by going to the  Bank in  NJ.  A sweet little old lady was on her way into the branch.  I held the door.  She called me a gentleman.  It made me feel really content for about forty-five seconds. I reached the teller and asked about their deposit policies.  You see, I made a deposit the day before in anticipation of this trip.  The bank credited our account.  Then they debited for an amount exceeding the deposit by $200.00.  Then they re-credited.  Then debited again—  By the end of the four transactions $200.00 had mysteriously disappeared.  Huh?  They fixed it and blamed the mistake of computers.  Computers do not do things like this on their own.  If they do, then we put on a space suit and remove it’s logic board.

“Hello Rob, would you like to make a deposit?
Read the rest here: http://biggadventure.wordpress.com/

Toy Story 3 was a formulaic film that reached an earnest dénouement after a harrowing hero’s journey.

Or was it?

I think there was a more sinister formula at work here.

A zombie formula!

Read the rest over at Cinema Fantastica!  Click here….

A few days ago, through a series of random events, a room full of drunken people applauded me for my love of Lost.

Here is how it happened.

Last Friday, it was HOT. We had a few days in a row of near 100-degree temperatures. On a day like that, the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove. So we went to the bar for dinner and a beer. Sitting on the patio in back, I noticed that the furniture is similar to the IKEA furniture I bought a week ago. That gets me thinking.

Five days earlier than that, I was in my backyard water-sealing our new patio furniture. It was really hot that day as well. At one point I went inside for a glass of water and noticed that the TV was on. My hands were covered in sealant, so I carefully picked up the remote to turn it off. I decided to check the DVR. It was nearly at capacity. The largest file on it was the Lost finale recorded in HD. (Yeah, I haven’t erased it! Big Whoop!) I wondered if I should erase it finally. I tossed the remote on the coffee table, and the finale picked up from where I left off at last viewing. The final ten minutes was playing in beautiful HD. I was mesmerized. I sat down and watched.

My wife came in to see where I was. I turned the TV off. I looked guilty. She was outside in the hot sun doing work, and I’m drinking ice water in the living room watching Lost. When I said “Lost–,” She said “Oh. Ok.” And accepted that I got distracted and it was beyond my control.

Back at the bar, last Friday, I made all of those connections in my head and began talking to my wife about the finale for the umpteenth time. She asked how did I just go from “isn’t this great patio furniture?” to “Jack stumbling through the bamboo forest.” I began to explain, when a man walked up and interrupted “Are you guys here for the high school 20th reunion?”

I told him “No.” I should have asked, “Is there an open bar?”

He smiled as he walked away, but then he stopped.

He approached us again with a weird smile on his face and said “I know you from someplace. You look just like that guy from that TV show.”

My wife laughed out loud, because people constantly mistake me for someone else.

I asked, “What show?”

He said “Lost.”

My wife said “Daniel Faraday?”

He said, “Yes!”

I said I was not he.

Then about a half-an-hour later, I walked to the bar to settle my bill. I walked past the reunion party, when the same guy pointed me out to the crowd. He declared, “See! I told you Daniel Faraday was here!” And I was applauded by a room full of 37 and 38-year-old drunk people.

Through a random series of events: Ikea, water sealing, a full DVR, a heat wave, my love of beer, and my chameleon-like ability to look like other people, I was applauded for Lost. Weird.

Unexplainable pseudoscience technology has been the MacGuffin or catalyst for many good character driven sci-fi stories over the years. Storytellers have formulated hypotheses regarding the future of mankind ever  since Verne and Wells first wrote their tales of trips to the moon, time travel, underwater adventures, etc. I recently watched the film TiMER, starring Emma Caulfield of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. TiMER is a film set in a very near future, in which Scientists have been able to break down our auras, or time-lines, or pheromones, or something, so they can pin-point the exact day in your individual future that you will meet your honest to goodness soul mate. A TiMER, seen in the above picture, is then implanted in your wrist, which will count down until that day.

Damn it! I'm thirty!

The concept of the TiMER, in the wrong hands could have easily become a Logan’s Run, as thirty-year-olds obviously rebel against the stigmas that goes with age. Instead, it is a wonderful character film, which does–actually— like Logan’s Run, follow 29-year-old Oona as she approaches her thirtieth birthday, and worries that she will be alone forever. You see, Oona’s TiMER is blank. Which can mean one of three things: 1. Her soul mate doesn’t have a TiMER. They both need to have one for some reason. 2. She missed her chance. Or 3. She doesn’t have a soul mate.

The opening weekend gross of ROTK was strategically placed in the news scroll placing the intro of the TiMER in 2003.

The technology in TiMER is handled in such a wonderful and simultaneously ‘as a matter of fact’ way that it really needs no explanation, just an introduction.  The film opens with a series of news clips introducing the TiMER circa 2003.Through this montage, we arrive at the future, or rather the present of the film and a TiMER TV commercial, which markets the TiMER eerily like an  Apple product. Now, I do love my Mac, but it did not introduce me to my wife— who also has a Mac— Oh crap. Did we meet because of the Apple Corporation?! Digressing too far. The technology is simply stated at the beginning of the film to be what it was. Nothing else was necessary. The rest of the film is character driven.

Like the TiMER, Lost introduced several technologies and sciences that were simply stated for what they were. Like Han Solo declaring that the Kessel Run record-breaking ship the Millenium Falcon is the fastest ship in the Galaxy because it has a hyperdrive.  We just accept these scientific impossibilities because a character told us it was so, and it has been established in their universe that these things are possible. Some of these pseudosciences in Lost were as follows:

  • An Arctic Station to detect and pinpoint specific EM radiation bursts with amazing accuracy.
  • A Rat that is bathed in radiation so it’s mind travels into the future and it knows a path through a maze that it never ran before.
  • A magic button that will release magic electromagnetic energy every 108 minutes, thus saving the planet and maybe universe from annihilation.
  • Healing waters of a jungle temple protected by a hippie cult.
  • Time and space shifting donkey wheels.
  • Teleporting Islands.

Some Lost Science

But, my favorite was the time travel and characters becoming unstuck in time. The characters accepted the Time Travel with such ease, that I as a viewer accepted it as well. One day they were wandering the present day jungle, a flash of white light washed over them, and they found themselves in the 70’s. They accepted the shift, why wouldn’t I?

Another recent viewing, which, while amusing, could have played up its reality shifting goodness A LOT MORE, was Hot Tub Time Machine. I mean, come on, lets talk about a ridiculous time travel technology. They spill an illegal russian red bull called Chernobly on the controls of a hot tub, and their consciousnesses travel in time like Elly the rat! Whatever, I buy it. That is what I came here for. I rented this film knowing what I was getting into.  The only real problem I had with this film was that it felt like it was written by some kid that never experienced the eighties. He or she was probably a teen in the nineties and just wiki’d the eighties.  So they included the highlights of the 80’s, i.e. “Where’s the beef?, Poison,  Jessie’s Girl, flourescent clothing, etc.  There was so much more to the 80’s to make fun of.   Since it was at a Ski resort, I was hoping that Cusack’s character Adam would run into Lane Meyer, whom Cusack played in 1986’s Better Off Dead, another 80’s ski comedy.  That meeting would have been like a triple paradox!   Instead, they created way too much drama for four characters (A broken marriage, a suicide attempt, a shattered Cusack who ominously says “I didn’t do anything”) when it really should have been hilarity right through the whole thing.

80's things to make fun of: Sweat bands, John Travolta, One-man-army films, John Hughes, Ollie North, a Character that might be a Communist, a shopping montage, a training montage, someone randomly breaks into dance, nerds become cool, nerds get the girl, Jocks are evil, Principals or Deans are the devil, The Brat Pack, a robot with personality, and it should have ended with the entire resort gathering around someone doing something truly good and heroic and they would all applaud.

Part 4 – Where the Wild Smoke Monsters Are – Establishing villains

From the beginning the smoke monster was established as the ominous adversary.  The castaways saw it from afar ripping entire trees out of the ground, probably just going for a walk.  It was an unknown ‘thing’ that would randomly pop into the camp and terrorize, kill, and drag people off.  From a writing standpoint it seemed to be a Deus ex Machina given form, which is pretty funny.  It did become more.  It was given a face.  Actually it was given many faces over the course of the show.  Best of all, it was given motivation.  It was given a reason to be so angry.  It has been a prisoner for thousands of years.  A lifetime sentence has to be pretty rough when you are an immortal sentient cloud.

The purpose of the monster was to act as the antagonist to a group of people that would need to face the greatest threat that not just the world has ever faced, but all of existence.  Their test was such a mind-bogglingly huge task, that people will talk and write books about it for years to come.  Many people seem to see the conflict as being one of good versus evil, as Locke hinted at during season one while teaching backgammon to Walt.  “Light versus dark” was the exact phrase Locke used.  I do not think that is the correct phrasing for this conflict though.  It would be accurate to call the Lost conflict of the Castaways Vs. Smoke monster ‘People versus Evil.”  None of the Castaways were what anyone religious, agnostic, or atheist would ever call ‘good.’  Sayid was an interrogation torturer, Shannon slept with her half brother, and Jack was so conflicted that it drove him nearly to suicide.  The fight in Lost was one of human beings banding together to rise above their vices, prejudices, and petty hatreds to fight something that is beyond even their understanding.

Why did the monster choose Locke?  The monster chose John Locke’s form because very simply, it was a good fit.  John was an adamant believer in all of the goodness of the island and what it could potentially be to him and all people.  This steadfastness made him perfect for a guise that would allow the monster to enact his final gambit to get off that rock.  It is a slippery slope when you believe as strongly as John Locke.  It raises philosophical questions that people constantly ask themselves with regards to whether or not there is a god, like “If god loves us why is there war, famine, disease, hatred, guns, etc.?”  If Jacob loved them, then why was there a smoke monster?  When the resurrected John Locke appeared with a more extreme viewpoint, it was completely believable to the Others.  He was a new kind of leader that wouldn’t take Jacob’s ‘Look-at-me-I-live-in-a-foot-and-tell-you-what-to-do’ crap anymore.  Little did they know, that they were following their sworn enemy on a mission to kill the protector of all that they loved.  Locke’s likeness was a flesh-suit that the smoke monster wore with ease and died even easier while wearing.

“These pretzels are making me thirsty!”

There were other monsters to contend with on the island as well.  Greed.  It is man’s nature to want more than they have or need.  The source represented something that men would kill for.  It was a modern (and also ancient) fountain of youth, that men would travel time and space to acquire.  Men and women have died trying to discover trading routes across the sea.  What would they do to live forever?  Vices.  Charlie literally could not get away from heroin.  It was rather hysterical how much heroin was on the island.  Just when you thought he was clean and sober, another bag of heroin would pop up.  Jealousy. Jack loved Kate who slept with Sawyer who lived with Juliet in 1977 for three years, who fell for Jack.  All four of these people would live and die for each other, but they will always be looking at the other woman or man and wondering ‘what if?’  Infidelity – Sun was on her way to another man when the plane crashed.  Cruelty – Boone’s constant belittling of his sister. 

MURDER!

Murder – How many people did Jack kill on his rampages through the Other’s camps.  What about the people in the past that died in the bomb he dropped down that hole in the ground?  Sawyer was on his way back from Australia where he committed murder.  Kate killed her stepfather.  Charlie killed Ethan.  Desmond killed Kelvin.  Michael killed Ana-lucia and Libby.  Locke’s doubts all but killed Mr. Eko.  None of them were angels.

They all had a monster within, and that is what made them all so fascinating.  They had the capacity for true evil, but chose to fight it within themselves while fighting it externally on the Island as well.

I’m not quite retiring this site yet.  There is more to say, and I will be purchasing the season 6 set in a few short months and re-watching.  I’ll probably have some new thoughts at this point.  In the next few days I will have a new site up (URL TBA) and will post and link to it here.  I’m going to open up my reviews to encompass more than just Lost.

Keep an eye out for one more Lil’ Ben strip in the next few days!

Absolute favorite Finale moment: When Ben apologizes, and he means it!

And lastly, Links to the OTHER parts of this series of thoughts, recaps, reactions, sweet nothings, etc. about the final episode of Lost, “The End.”

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 1 – THE SOURCE

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 2 – Desmond is the Metal Fork in the Microwave of the Universe!

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 3 – The Peripeteia

Thanks for reading!

-Rob

ialwayshaveaplan.lee@gmail.com

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