Thursday, January 29, 2009

Top 25 Film Performers of 2008 Part I: A-H

There was some very fine acting this year. Some roles that met expectations and some that really surprised me in movies where I didn’t expect it. Now this is the only list I make that I’m not going to rank. Why? Because I don’t want to, okay? Don’t judge me; I’ll do what I want. Now this isn’t a list of performances, but performers. For I started thinking about this list and realized there’s a bunch of actors who kicked a lot of ass multiple times this year. Who are they you ask? You sure are asking a lot of questions during this intro. Well, let’s just check this out then! Here’s my Top 25 Performers of the Year

Amy Adams (Doubt and Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day)
I love Amy Adams. (When my sexuality comes into question later on in this article, please come back to this post.) She is insanely beautiful and also I truly believe she is one of the best
 working actresses today. I can easily see people complain that she just plays the same role, but I say NAY. Her looks make it seem like she ought to be the naive young girl, but look on how she approaches the material. It’s the little things that make everyone of her characters different. It has come to the point where I will see every thing that she’s in.

Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)
There are a few characters who you miss when there’s scenes without them. Aldous Snow is one of those characters and it is entirely because of how awesome Russell Brand is. This slot has been done before. The new boyfriend who’s a total jerk and that should make the girl realize how great the old boyfriend is. Yet no! They actually made a character who is very cool. Sure he’s not the smartest or the most moral, but he still is so very cool. I think a lot of it is who Brand is in real life, but I truly don’t care for he made the movie even more fun.

Josh Brolin (Milk and W.)
Remember when this guy just known as the guy from The Goonies? I barely do either for he has been amazing this decade! Seriously, did everyone decide at once that he needs to be in the biggest movies. This year he gave two of my favorite performances as two different politicians. I think he’s one of the only ones in W. that truly stood out and in Milk he was the best of the bunch, which is impressive when you look at his company. It’s very different performances but both of them show how well Brolin acts when he doesn’t have something to say.

Francois Cluzet (Tell No One)
Who? What movie is that? Calm down and listen. There’s a great American mystery book called Tell No One that was adapted into a great French thriller. Cluzet plays the main character has he searches for his wife who he thought was dead for many years. Yet the reason he works so well is how he handles multiple emotions at the same time. He is very confused for a lot of the movie, but also emotional, sad, and overwhelmed. He pulls it off very well.

Penelope Cruz (Elegy and Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

Here’s someone else that has really surprised me this decade. For the longest time I just saw her as an actress who is banking on her beauty (Hello Jessica Alba!). Yet now I am amazed by her choices and her performances. Elegy is the movie that, apparently, only I saw this year. Yet she was marvelous in it. She was so raw and complex in it. Then in Vicky Cristina Barcelona she was so unhinged and loud. She is so good that I hope she continues to get these really powerful roles where she can continue to shine.

Robert Downey Jr. (Charlie Bartlett, Iron Man, and Tropic Thunder)  
Hellz yeah. This is the comeback kid of the century. This guy was down and out and now he’s considered one of the best working today. In each of these movies he is the guy who you wish is always on screen for RDJ is just fascinating. I’m writing this before the Oscar nominations come out and I’ll be so happy if he does get nominated for Tropic Thunder for what he does as he goes from all of these different personas is fantastic. Comedy actors never seem to get proper respect, but RDJ is providing a bridge and I can’t wait to see all of his next films. (Also if any of you haven’t seen Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang run to your library or DVD store. He’s hilarious in that.)

Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
This man is cooler than all of you combined. I don’t think I need to write anymore. He has always been the epitamy of cool and he further proved this. This is a movie about an old geezer grunting all the time. That’s pretty much the movie. Yet everyone of any age will want to see him for every second of the movie. He has said this is his last role and I’m actually glad it is. For he created such a great character that this makes this a very worthy swan song. 

Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight and Towelhead
This guy’s got balls. People are starting to figure out who he is and being in one of the highest grossing movies of all time is going to jump start that a little bit. He’s an actor who could easily get typecast for being that smooth guy (a la Thank You For Smoking) yet he’s been choosing such interesting roles. In Towelhead, he plays a terrible person. Truly horrific human being. It’s not easy to do that role and jump in with two feet. He never does anything to let the audience think what he’s doing is okay and even redeemable. That’s some great acting.

Colin Farrell (In Bruges)
I’ll admit it. I didn’t know this guy could act. For years I have cast him off as talentless and then this movie came out. I truly don’t know how he did it and why he’s been hiding this talent over the years. He plays a fun, but very complex character that he makes his own. For a short movie there is a whole lot he has to do and a whole lot he has to make the audience care about and he really does it. Why didn’t I mention his role in Cassandra’s Dream? For he wasn’t good in it. That’s why.

Ralph Fiennes (The Duchess, In Bruges, and The Reader)

I think it’s common knowledge that this guy rocks. He can play villains and sympathetic characters. This year he did them all. If Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince would have came out last year he would have done every variation of evil. He has a set of characters here whose actions are definitely up for moral debate. Especially in The Duchess, which is my favorite of his roles this year. For there is the true enigma to me. I first just set off the character as a complete jackass, but Fiennes made him fascinating for there’s something that he’s hiding from us. He’s lying to himself and to others about certain beliefs. We don’t get anything truly answered about the character, but the way Fiennes presented him was just great. 

Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon and Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
I have the feeling that she is going to be very awesome. She doesn’t really do much in Frost/Nixon but she still has this level of presence on the movie. Yet in Vicky Cristina Barcelona she is great. She has the least showy role but that’s what makes her interesting. I dismissed her character early on because I figured I fully understand her. Yet here is another performance that is driven by a level of confusion but in a different manner. I really want to see her in more movies for I know that’s she’s really close to getting that role where everyone will know her name. Until then…

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Who actually thought that she was going to be a good actress? The star of The Princess Dairies? Yet she has really started to pull it off. This is a great chance to show her range with a character that really shouldn’t be at this wedding. Yes she’s supposed to be there and whatnot, but she is such a destructive character that she is a tornado in this mess. That’s a big role and if that’s now handled properly it will be seen as cartoonish or overwhelming. Hathaway finds a great balance and runs with it.

Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
She’s really charming. Really. This sort of performance is probably annoying to some people, but it worked for me. She was such an interesting character and I can tell that Hawkins brought so much to it personally. I hope that she’s going to be able to be in more films so I can see the comparison of her roles. For I can tell she has range. For most of this movie she has to be like the title, yet there are these little and subtle moments when something slips through the character’s defenses. She’s just great.

Dustin Hoffman (Kung Fu Panda)
This guy may just be my favorite living actor. For even now he’s still making interesting choices. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro seem to have a clause in their contracts that they must only be in bad movies, but Dustin Hoffman is still amazing me. I loved him in Stranger Than Fiction and Perfume this decade and now he surprised me yet again in Kung Fu Panda. You heard me. For he was the one celebrity voice actor who not only changed up his voice, but also really tried in this role. He didn’t just pass it off or phone it in (Hello Angelina Jolie!). He really was great in this.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt and Synecdoche, New York)
Thank you Capote. That was the movie that officially put this guy on the map for everyone. He has always been that great character actor in independent films, but now he is able to do so many things. Here he gets to play two characters who are very contradicting in nature and it’s important for Hoffman to be able to lead us through where the character is and what he’s feeling during those times. These are not easy roles. In fact they are incredibly difficult, but he really made them work.

Part Two of this list is coming soon. Hold your horses. Or something.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Explaining LOST - "Because You Left" & "The Lie"

Before I begin, let me explain a few things. These write-ups are not for the nerds. They are not for the LOST obsessed individuals who spaz out in Calculus class when the teacher asks to find the constant. They are not for those who making plans for a party on April 8th, 2015. This is for those who are casually watching the show. You're enjoying it but you're not pausing the show to see what Ms. Hawkings had next to her computer. You're just enjoying the ride. You're enjoying the ride and is very confused. I'm here to help. So here we go...

"Because You Left"

Holy moley those were great episodes. Now if I really love a certain episode (or two) of LOST then that almost always means that casual viewers probably didn't get it at all. Let's start with the awesome cold open for the show. For the past four years, LOST has really enjoyed confusing us on what is going on in the first scene of the premiere. This time we followed Piere Chang. You may know him as Dr. Marvin Candle or Dr. Edgar Halliwax. He's the guy who's leading all the Dharma orientations videos. Before this episode we knew very little about him. For some reason he kept changing his name each video. Also in a few videos it looks like he has a fake left hand. Now here's the most interesting thing. There's this big ole convention each year in San Diego called ComicCon. It used to be the big convention each year to sell comic booksbut it has grown so much in popularity that major movie studios use it to market to that crowd. (That's where the first footage of Iron Man was released, etc.) For the past couple of years there has always been a LOST panel with the showrunners. And every year they release a cool video. Before Season Four they showed the Dharma orientation video for The Orchid which was the station used in the finale. (Time Traveling bunniest). I'll sum up last summer's video real fast...

We have Pierre Chang reveal that he is tired of using fake names and says that is his real name. You hear a baby cry in the background just like in tonight's season opener. He mentions a lot of science mumbo jumbo. But then it gets crazy. He says you should be receiving this message thirty years in the future. He says your president is George W. Bush and he mentions the invention of the internet. He also says that he knows Dharma will be killed off and that they are powerless to escape. They make a note of having Chang stop and rub his left hand and stretch it out. Then whoever is running the camera tells him to hurry up. Chang says that it is imperative that the Dharma must be reconstituted. He says that maybe doing so will find a way to save them and change the past. By this time the cameraman is annoyed and says this is worthless and it will never work. Then the video ends. Now here's the great thing. The voice of the cameraman sounds just like Faraday.

Yet here we go back to the first scene. We see Chang listen to some bad music on a record. We hear a baby crying. (Could it be Miles the Ghostbuster? Or is that just racist to suggest? Discuss.) Then he starts to film an orientation video for The Arrow, which was apparently a defense station. Now we actually have seen the Arrow in Season Two. During the episod when we followed the tail section around, they discovered that station. It was empty except for a bible or something. (More on the Arrow later). Then he takes Hurley's Dharma Bus (Ooh ooh Dharma Bus!) down to them building the Orchid station. (Time traveling bunnies). Her is where Change starts to first explain LOST's rules of time traveling. So there's this insane amount of energy within the island and it's dangerous and crazy and whatnot. Also there's this blueprint of the wheel Ben turned in the season finale. So that wheel was definitely there before Dharma showed up. Chang starts talking about manipulating time and the dude shrugs him off. Yet wait! There's Faraday among the Dharma staff! What does that mean? Well that's not answered tonight, but that confirms to me that he was the cameraman in that ComicCon video.

Ben and Jack chat it up about getting the Oceanic Six back on the island. Jack shaves off his incredibly fake beard. Apparently Locke didn't say what happened after they left. Now keep in mind: all of this stuff is happening in 2008. The plane crashed in September 2004 and they left the island in January 2005.

Back on the island, everything has gone nuts. There was this big white light. Sawyer and Juliet think that the Oceanic Six are dead. Luckily there's Faraday here to explain everything. Or at least twitch and mumble, which in my mind is equally good.

Back in 2008, Kate is a silly mom. Talking all cutesy to Aaron; it's annoying. She should be climbing trees or lying to Jack about something. Yet she gets to look angry once again when some lawyers come demanding blood from Aaron and her. (Are they vampires? Discuss.) Now there's a few choices who hired these goons. 1) Ben in a clever way to get her to go back to the island. B) Widmore because he's evil or something. III) There's a third party at work here and that's my guess. For I watched the clip show and they once again made a point to some confusion about last season. There's a big 'ole fake airplane at the bottom of the Sunda Trench. Widmore says Ben put it there and Ben says Widmore put it there. I say, what if there's a third party? Because this show needs more plotlines, I say!

Back on the island, Sawyer demands Faraday's shirt and that freaked me out. For if he ever takes off that time, I know we are all doomed. Faraday rambles and so Sawyer smacks him. That was awesome. So Faraday says the island is skipping in time. Everyone thinks he's crazy. And when I say everyone I mean the characters and the audience. So our characters are jumping around in time, but the ageless Richard Albert and the rest of the Others aren't. Why not them? Not quite sure yet. I have ideas, though.

So Locke is running around and sees yet another plane crash! *Cue flashback whooping sound* Remember back at Season One when Boone (Anyone else miss Boone? Didn't think so.) and Locke found a drug plane full of heroin and Boone climbed into it and then ironically died from that crash? Then it turns out that it was Mr. Eko's brother? (Anyone else miss Mr. Eko? I know! Me too!) *Cue flashback returning sound* So Locke tries to climb up the bamboo without realizing that he has been here before. Ethan Rom shoots him in the leg. (Anyone else miss Ethan? Me either because despite dying in Season One he's here all the time. Remember when we just thought of him as Tom Cruise's cousin? That was silly.) Now Locke tries to explain to Ethan that Ben has appointed him leader. Understandably Ethan thinks that's stupid and plans on shooting him out of spite. Yet the white light comes back and they are off to another time much later in time. Now here's something to ponder. Back in Season One, Locke's legs mysteriously wouldn't work when he and Boone discovered that plane. Now tonight Locke gets shot in the leg when he returns to that location earlier in time. Coincidence? I have no idea.

Back in 2008, Sun is angry. Widmore is evil or something. This actor is awesome. Maybe it's just his accent. I love how he says the world "audacity." But this is LOST so when their conversation starts to get interesting, they cut away. What is going on with them? Is Sun now evil or something?

So Ben and Jack are watching TV and discover that Hurley is in trouble with the law. Cut to Hurley and Sayid. (Why don't they have their own spin-off show in the works? After-LOST. Think about it.) Hurley says that Sayid needs to eat more comfort food and maybe he wouldn't kill anyone. Then Hurley ponders that he needs a cool code name. If only Sawyer was here to give him a nickname. Then Sayid tells Hurley to do the opposite of whatever Ben says. That will probably have no negative consequences at all. Then Sayid kills a guy with a dishwasher! But all is for naught. For he got shot with a dart. So who were these guys? Widmore's people? Or maybe a third party? Either way Hurley thinks it's a good idea to look over the edge at the dead body with a gun. Oh Hurley!

Back on the island, they find the giant hole where the hatch used to be. And more time travel rules come into play. Faraday says that you can't change the past. There are no alternate realities. No cool version of the McFly family where they all have jobs and sweet cars. Faraday pulls out his journal and proves that his journal is cooler than anyone else's.

Oh Locke. He got shot and is limping around completely confused. Metaphor for the audience? Discuss. He sits down next to the Nigerian drug plane that appears to have been there for a while. He wraps up his leg, but who is coming in the distance? Richard Albert! Proving once and again that aging is for losers. He chats with Locke and takes out the bullet. Locke has obviously never seen a time travel movie before and can't figure out how he has told Richard all this information already. He also doesn't know what a compass is either. And I thought he was a natureman! Also Richard says that Locke needs to die. Locke seems concerned.

Everyone else is discussing the hatch and talking about how little sense that made. RETURN OF THE WHITE LIGHT! The hatch is back. Everyone has headaches. Sawyer is still shirtless. This is upsetting to him so he decides to go talk to Desmond to ask for some Dharma beer. Faraday says that this won't work. Sawyer has the best line of the night as he screams "Open the door! It's the Ghost of Christmas Future!" Sawyer grabs Faraday's shirt and is angry. Sawyer has shirt issues, which is ironic for he's shirtless every other episode. Yet Juliet is never shirtless. That's sexist.

But uh oh! Charlotte has a nose bleed. That means either she is going to die some bad time travel-ish death (Like Desmond almost did last season) or she's related to my brother. Faraday grabs his awesome journal and refuses to speak aloud what he finds. So he opens the door and chats with Desmond. He says that the rules of time and fate don't apply to Desmond. He says that the rules of time and fate don't apply to Desmond. Faraday tells him to go to Oxford in the future and find his mom. REVENGE OF THE WHITE LIGHT!

Back in 2008, Desmond wakes up and remembers that memory that was blocked out or something. That doesn't make sense to me but it makes for cool storytelling. So Desmond and Penny set sail for Oxford.


"The Lie"

This episode was much nicer in terms of headaches. It focused on lovable Hurley and the themes of lying.

It starts off following Lapidus, that Kenny Loggins lookin' helicopter pilot. (I hope he's here this season. He's cool.) The Oceanic Six are talking about their backstory before they return to civilization. Hurley is seriously questioning it. Jack says this will save them from Widmore who as we all sorta know is evil or something. Hurley is really hurt that Sayid doesn't back him up so Hurley vows that he will turn down Sayid when he ultimately needs help. Of course that is an empty promise because Hurley is a nice guy.

Back in 2008, Hurley is running from the law. Much like Harrison Ford in The Fugitive it's nothing like that. Someone left boxes on the sidewalk. Since that is an overdone cliche, Hurley decided to hit them to prove a point. He gets pulled over by Ana Lucia! (Does anyone miss her? Yeah, I hated her too.) She says he has a lot of work to do. She tells him to avoid the cops and not to get arrested. "Oh yeah and Libby says hi." Craziness.

Back on the island, our survivors are trying to make a fire. For all of you who wanted CastAway the TV show, you got your wish. Frogurt complains. It was fun for me to see him on the show. He was on a mini-LOST episode that was released one summer where he tried to hit on Libby. Silly stuff but it's cool to see he's one of the survivors. Sawyer gets a shirt! Miles the Ghostbuster goes out into the jungle to go get food.

Back in 2008, Hurley tries to be more like Jason Bourne than Sayid by buying a tee-shirt. Now this scene was obviously guest-written by my Memaw because Hurley buys a shirt that says "I Heart Shih-Tzus." So Hurley drives away and Kate drives in just to remind us that everyone runs into each other on LOST. Kate's phone rings and it's Sun saying let's chat. now if I wrote this episode, I would have had her ring tone play "It's a Small World After All." That's probably why they won't hire me.

Meanwhile Ben is being awesome. As usual. He's packing up and he has a fantastically awkward conversation with Jack about his pills. Ben tells Jack to pack up a suitcase and tells him to pack up everything in his life he wants for he's never coming back. Ben says that he will pick up Jack in six hours. Ben says he need to keep Locke's casket safe. Jack says "He's dead, isn't he?" Since that was a direct question and this is LOSt, Ben ignores him completely. 

Meanwhile, Cheech is back! He's watching the TV show Expose, which was the show Nicki (Chick who got buried alive) was on. LOST is awesome. Yet Cheech can't enjoy the show for Hurley is there with a passed out Sayid. I loved the actor who played Hurley in that scene for his comedy skills were well used. The police come and the police go while once again Hurley is conflicted about the truth.

Meanwhile Kate rides the elevator up to Sun's hotel room. Kate applauds Aaron for pushing the right button which proves that we need to stop celebrating new levels of mediocrity.

Meanwhile, Ben is being awesome. He goes to some meat place and tells a new character named Jill to keep Locke safe. Fun fact: I thought she said "Namaste" the first time I saw the episode. Yet she actually says "Have a nice day." They say that everything is going accordingly to plan and then Ben actually defends Jack. That was nice to see.

Back on the island, Bernard makes a flame, but it goes out. Frogurt is sad. Charlotte is complaining about a headache and how she is having memory issues. Last season Faraday was having a lot of memory problems. Connection? Absolutely. Luckily Miles the Ghostbuster found a dead boar because he's in touch with dead things or something. Frogurt complains more, but gets stabbed twice with fire arrows! For all of you Trekkies out there, you probably saw this coming because he was wearing a red shirt. He had it coming. Our heroes run into the jungle but the arrows are still a'coming. I thought fire arrows were only used in video games. That leads me to think that Dharma is Nintendo. Discuss.

Meanwhile back in 2008, Hurley switched shirts. (Shirts are obviously a very important part of this season. It could be the answer to everything.) They decide that Sayid is realy not doing so well so Cheech takes him out of the house.

Meanwhile, Kate and Sun talk about their kids. I noticed that Kate is too silly of a mom and Sun is too emotionless. You know who is a good hybrid? Claire. Too bad she's AWOL or dead or something. Sun finds it very interesting about those lawyers. She says that they just want Aaron. So in this scene, is Sun doing what Widmore wants? Or is she just being helpful? Sun reminds her that it's kinda Kate's fault that Jin is dead. (Does anyone miss him? I do. Jin was a good guy. But his name is still on the main cast. Hope for him being alive?) Kate and Sun cry. I think I heard Aaron burp in the background.

Meanwhile Jack notices that Sayid isn't doing well either and Jack takes him to the hospital. Cheech says that Jack should stay away from Hurley. Jack looks sad. So off to the hospital in his big ole Jeep he goes. He chats with Ben on the phone and says they got Sayid. Two down, four to go!

Meanwhile Hurley is chatting up with his mom. Here's the great scene where Hurley tries to sum up four years of the show. Please note Hurley's mom's reaction for when Hurley says all this. THIS IS HOW EVERYONE LOOKS AT ME WHEN I RECAP AN EPISODE. They also say "This is the show about polar bears, right?" Yet unlike Hurley's mom, they don't be all sympathetic and understanding.

Meanwhile back on the island, Sawyer steps on a piece of bamboo or something. Yet there's rustling in the woods! Richard Albert? Nope, it's these men wearing these brown jumpsuits with name tags stitched into them. they grab Juliet and Sawyer. They scream "What are you doing on our island?" Now I think that's important. More on that in a bit.

Back in 2008, Jack goes all ER on Sayid. Beeps and boops. Luckily no one at the hospital notices. If it's anything like Gray's Anatomy they are probably too busy having affairs and drama to notice patients. Sayid wakes up and starts choking Jack. Moral of the story: don't be in the same bed with Sayid when he has a nightmare. Sayid is worried that Hurley is not safe.

Meanwhile, Hurley is hungry but Ben scares him. SO HE THROWS A HOT POCKET AT BEN! That was hilarious especially because Ben doesn't blink. Ben says to come with him to get to Jack and Sayid. Ben knows how to get to Hurley by saying he'll never have to lie again. Yet Hurley remembers what Sayid said last episode and decides to run out towards the cops and get arrested. In his defense, I would listen to Sayid over Ana Luica anyday. Yet I would also listen to Ben over both of them. Ben is the man. And now he is angry.

Meanwhile back on the island, we have the flaming archers (That would be a great name for a gay rock band.). They want to cut off Juliet's hand as they scream in these British accents. Yet Locke returns and stabs them all. Locke is really good about killing people without knowing what's going on.

Meanwhile back in 2008, we have this mysteriously lady doing math equations on a chalkboard. Then there's this pendulum going around making these *s on the ground. On here computer it has those *s on places on a globe. It all appears to be underneath a church and there's Ben lighting candles. She takes off her hoodie and reveals to be Ms. Hawkinss! Now everybody this week has asked me who in the world she is. She has only been in one episode but she left quite an impression. It was the episode when Desmond went back in time after the hatch blew up. He was reliving his life and he tries to buy a ring to marry Penny. Yet Ms. Hawkins says no because you can't change the past and that freaked me out. So now she's back! Who is she and who does she work for? No clue! Yet I can't wait to find out. So she says that she has been having luck but won't say with what exactly. Ben says he hasn't been having any luck. She says that's really not good because they have 70 hours or "God help us all." Now that's crazy. Looks like the Oceanic Six will get back before the season finale. Or the world blows up. Or something. Here's one interesting point of note. My friend told me when to pause at all the right parts of this scene. There are all of these new Dharma symbols with a lighthouse shape. An off island Dharma station?

Now here's something that a lot of people have been talking about. Is Ms. Hawkins Faraday's mom? Now here's where the timeline gets tricky. If she is Faraday's mom and she is in Oxford, that means that Ben got from LA to Oxford really really fast. He did say he'll pick up Jack in six hours and that means he doesn't have time to travel to Oxford unless he has some Dharma teleport device. Or something. Or maybe Ms. Hawkins is actually in a church in LA. Desmond and Penny are on their way to Oxford. It will be really bad writing if they get to Oxford only to find out she's in LA.

Now for the last big question of the day. Who are the flaming archers? Now we have a couple of options. The most likely theory is that they are the Dharma people from The Arrow station. Chang did say last episode that was used for defense and it is called The ARROW. Yet those didn't look like Dharma uniforms we've seen before. They said it's "our island." So that rules out it being Rosseau's people. Perhaps they work with Widmore? Widmore has said to Ben that it's his island and it will be again. We don't know Widmore's past with the island. I always figured he funded Dharma, but maybe he had his own people there. They did have British accents, like Widmore. "Audacity."

So there's my wrap-up for two episodes of LOST. And it only took me almost 4000 words. Remember back in Season One when it just consisted of "Sawyer killed a boar and Kate cried a lot?" This show is moving at rapid speed towards its ending. Season Six will be the last season so in a year and a few months this show will be over. So I'm expecting the rest of its episodes to move at this same sort of fast pace, but I'm glad to see there are plenty of character moments. There have been some early reviews for next week and they hint at it being crazier than these two. Maybe I can top 5000 words!

(I promise not to top 5000 words.)


All images were from

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Top Ten Worst Bloody Films of 2008

So 2008 has ended (weeks ago) and this is a very important time for admirers of film. It’s the time to release your Best of 2008 lists. The importance of these lists are debatable, but they are fun. Fun to read, fun to write. It’s fun stuff. None of this is incredibly set in stone. Yes, I have the films in a certain order but don’t expect a really good reason of why this is #7 and that is #8. I have four lists to spit out here. Expect to see a Best Performers list and then a Best Scenes list. This is all leading up to the Best Films of 2008 list! Whoo and whatnot!

Yet before we can praise the good, we must stare at the bad. Stare and glare. Glare and hate. Hate and kick in the shins. Now these are the worst that I’ve seen. Obviously I’m not stupid enough to see Disaster Movie or The Love Guru or any of that garbage. I’m not that masochistic. So let’s have at it. Here’s my Top Ten Worst Bloody Movies of 2008. 

10. Australia

Yep, Australia. I was looking forward to this one. I’m not a big Baz Luhrmann fan. I like certain scenes of Moulin Rouge! and a majority of Strictly Ballroom, but I hate all of Romeo + Juliet.  Yet these trailers sold. It looked beautiful and it had Explosions in the Sky in the background. How could this fail? Easily. It ended up being really really funny. There are so many things that happen in this movie that astound me. Why in the world the character would do that? Why isn’t that character mourning? What? Why is there an obsession with The Wizard of Oz? Wait, is that kid supposed to be magical? Are you trying to tell me war is bad? It’s a poorly made movie, but still manages to be a truly great looking movie. So just pause the movie and frame those shots and put them on the wall. Just be careful when you press play.

9. Hancock

I’m not a huge Will Smith fan, but I was intrigued by this concept. A superhero who doesn’t want to be a superhero or even likable. This could be great! What a different role for Will Smith. It was directed by Peter Berg who I like. Michael Bluth and Rita back together. This could work. It didn’t work. There’s a dozen things going on with this film. A stupid “twist” that really cheats a lot of the characters. A very very very tacked on antagonist. Also there’s a very unsatisfying character arc. Even the action wasn’t that great.

8. Untraceable

This is part one of the ongoing series of Austin being unable to turn down free screenings. Is this a good movie? No. Is this the kind of movie that made me angry? No. (Those are coming.) What this movie is is very stupid and extremely forgettable. I saw this in January last year and I am struggling to remember my complaints about it. I swear I had major points against it. Yet I’m coming up blank. It’s like the neurons in my brain are…no. I’m not going to make that punny joke. So don’t see it; I’ll remember why later.

7. Semi-Pro

There are people who watch sitcoms on TV and they don’t laugh for the duration of the half hour. Yet at the end of the episode, they admit to liking the show. Why? You are supposed to laugh at comedies. Sadly, I once again didn’t laugh at this. I think I’m really growing thin of Will Ferrel’s shtick. I didn’t see Blades of Glory or Step Brothers and don’t want to. If this is what he does with an R rating, I’m not interested. The only ones that are funny in this movie are Will Arnett and Andrew Daly and I’m sure that’s because of improvising. Perhaps the strangest thing about this movie is that it tries to have a legitimate dramatic subplot that falls flat on its face.

6. Vantage Point

There’s a fantastic movie called Rashomon. It’s been ripped-off a billion times, but this is still the best version. The movie is about a rape that is told through four different perspectives all with different variations. It shows how one can see something completely different from someone else. This movie shows a crime from different “vantage points.” Yet none of them are truly insightful or really memorable. What is amazing is that so many good actors are in this very lame thriller. I truly don’t know what they saw in this script riddled with terrible dialog and lousy plotting.

5. Mamma Mia!

Yes! I said it! Yes, everyone loves this film. And when I say everyone, I mean women. Yet I don’t know why. This movie should be insulting to them.  For all the women in this movie are borderline retarded. This was a movie that I had to take a break while watching it and walk around a little bit. I hated all of the characters. I hated the script. I hate the dialog. I REALLY hated the ending. Lots of hatred. However, I did like Meryl Streep in it. She was charming despite her saying stupid things and doing even worse things. She ought to do more comedies.

4. Baghead

I was looking forward to this movie. I sorta enjoyed The Puffy Chair and the trailer provided a decent concept. Then I saw it. Sam Watermeier and I have debated this movie for a long time. I didn’t save the conversation, but I think I won. This movie is garbage. I wanted all of the characters to fail in life. No, because then they will still sit around and bitch about it in an uninteresting fashion. I want these characters to die in a way that no one will mourn them. We are supposed to care about these characters as they try to become famous while being attacked by a mysterious guy out in the forest. This movie fails on so many regards that I am truly astounded.

3. What Just Happened

Welcome to Part Two of Austin Doesn’t Know How to Say No to Free Screenings. I don’t feel bad for this movie for it failed in the title already. Don’t alley-oop the critics with the title! If you have a movie called Bad Movie or Waste of Time, it’s like you are trying to write the first review before the professionals have a chance at it. This is supposed to be a comedy, but I truly never saw a joke. This is supposed to be a brutal insight into Hollywood, but I never saw any of that either. What follows is a very tame and very boring movie that has already been made by better folk. This movie has nothing interesting to say and I am confused on the fact it exists.

2. 88 Minutes

Yes, it was an advanced free screening, but why did I go? I truly don’t know. Maybe I figured Al Pacino knew something that I didn’t. This movie is beyond stupid. I have never seen a movie where I’m convinced there’s a plothole in every single scene. The gimmick never ever works. I am truly at awe of this movie. It’s horrendous.  Don’t see it. If you forgot about this movie until seeing this list, I’m sorry. Try to forget again. I know I am.

1. The Happening.

Of course it’s The Happening! How could the #1 not be The Happening? Have you seen this movie? You haven’t? Congrats. This movie isn’t like some of the others on this list where I got angry at how bad it was; this was the kind of movie where I was confused on how bad it was. There’s a monologue about hot dogs FOR NO REASON. There’s an old lady smashing her head against a window FOR A REASON, I GUESS. There’s a performance by Mark Wahlberg that truly needs to be seen to be believed. This movie is truly the work of a madman. I don’t think I’ll ever trust M. Night Shyamalan again. This is the sort of thing that puts you in Hollywod Jail for life. 

Originally posted on Facebook Account

And Here We Go...

Howdy everyone.

For all of you who don't know me, my name is Austin Lugar. I'm a big admirer of film, television, and books and this blog will show that. I'll be posting a variety of lists, reviews, and sometime just silly rants on a (hopefully) regular basis. I am a student at Ball State University so that could get in my way in terms of regular postings.

Yet luckily right now I have a bunch of articles that I can post here that I have already written for Facebook, family and for a publication. What I shall encourage for every thing I write is discussion. I almost want you to disagree with me because there's nothing I like more than to talk about the things I'm interested in. So if you ever think I've erred do not hesitate to tell me otherwise. Just be articulate with it.

So there we go. I hope that you all subscribe to the blog however you choose. Thanks for reading.