Cinecast Episode 174 – Spinning the Wheel(s)

 
In a marathon shoot-the-bull show, it may only be Kurt and Andrew, but they nearly bust the 4 hour podcast barrier. The Lost Chronicles wraps up with *SPOILER* talk on the final season and the overall effect of the show that compares watching it over a 6 year period (Andrew) or a 4 week period (Kurt). Andrew has things to say about a pair of new releases: The second film in the Swedish Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire as well as Michael Winterbottom’s controversial The Killer Inside Me. Talk goes further astray with some pontificating on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before comparing and contrasting Herzog’s Rescue Dawn with McTiernan’s Predator. A smidgen of Polanski, a dash of Clooney, and sprinkling of Big Trouble in Little China add some extra seasoning to the conversation. Then it is the annual Fantasia round-up of what Kurt caught in Montreal – an effervescent blast of interesting genre films including Serbian madness, homosexual Korean riffs on Shakespeare, Chilean James Bond, Hong Kong slapstick, French meditations of cinema by way of a psychokinetic sentient Rubber Tire, a Danish re-envisioning of Romancing The Stone, rape as multiplex entertainment in the I Spit on Your Grave remake, and offbeat British Gangsters and their familial anxieties and loquacious monologue-ing.

Prepare to strap yourself in because it is going to be a chatty sewing circle of filmishness!

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_174.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_174-alt.mp3

 
 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…


show content



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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
Music – alternative track available (see above link)
Matt on FilmJunk (Predators) Podcast
Last week show missing from iTunes – sorry!


MAIN REVIEWS:
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Jandy’s review)
The Killer Inside Me (Andrew’s review)


FANTASIA HIGHLIGHTS:
I Spit on Your Grave (2010) (our good friend, Serena Whitney’s review over at KillerFilm)
Rubber (Kurt’s review)
Phobia 2 (Kurt’s review)
A Frozen Flower (Kurt’s review)
The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (Kurt’s review)
Technotise: Edit & I (Kurt’s review)
Mandrill (John’s review)
Down Terrace (Kurt’s review @Twitch)
Gallants (John’s review)
At World’s End (Kurt’s review)


WHAT ELSE WE WATCHED:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Rescue Dawn
Predator
Michael Clayton
Woodstock
Big Trouble in Little China (isolated score track)
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired


DVD PICK #1:
        Andrew:
Terribly Happy
(IMDb)

       

Kurt:
Zift
(John’s review)
(2008)

DVD PICK #2:
        Andrew:
In Bruges
(Kurt’s review)

        Kurt:
Insomnia (2002)
(IMDb)


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Chloe
The Greatest
Greenberg
The Bounty Hunter
Assault on Precinct 13
(2005) [Blu-ray] Alpha Dog [Blu-ray]


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
PredatorBlu-ray review


NEXT WEEK:
Inception
The Kids Are All Right


PRIVATE COMMENTS or QUESTIONS?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us:
feedback@rowthree.com (general)
andrew.james@rowthree.com
kurt@rowthree.com

 

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Mad Hatter
Guest

Pity you boys stopped at four hours. I'm drivin' to Cincinnati this weekend and coulda listened to you chatter the whole way. *sigh* Now what will I do after Detroit?

kurt
Guest

Well, there is always the archives!

Matt Gamble
Guest

4 fucking hours? You guys were probably still going by the time I was done watching Inception.

rot
Guest

so thats 3 and a half hours of Kurt talking and Andrew chiming in between breathes, Good God! 2 hours of that better be Lost

Frank
Guest

Can't wait to hear the Inception episode where you guys kiss Nolan's ass for two hrs.

Kurt
Guest

@Rot – The Lost discussion is 1h10m. It's more of a discussion (although you may be right on the nose with your criticisms Rot, as I do not know when to shut up sometimes!) You will find lots of tidbits in our offline discussion of Lost (particularly the CYCLES and LOOPS) popping up in there, so time will tell if you will be bored or not with it! ha.

@Frank – Time will tell, Andrew is a bit skeptical and I've been reading that the film is quite heavy-handed in the exposition department. I am also very big on 'dream-logic movies' as in Mulholland Dr, Paprika, Abre Los Ojos (Vanilla Sky), eXistenZ/VideoDrome, Waking Life, etc. It may not be totally an ass-kissing session. There is no argument in how excellent the trailer materials and overall concept are though, especially in a $200 million movie, this is unusually rare.

Mike Rot
Member

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one more time in response to the notion that the ending is Heaven and they are going on to drink pina coladas for eternity: Jack asks where they are leaving to, and Christian says (not casually, but emphatically) "Not Leaving, Moving On"… i.e. not a finality of life, but a continuation.

The wheel imagery is everywhere, I believe the final cork set-piece is a representation of the Oceanic symbol, with small circles surrounding a bigger one. There is the biblical term "wheels within wheels" and that is how I read the mythology of Lost, what we watched (for the most part) was the iteration of Jack becoming the candidate to keep the cycle intact, but each of the characters/candidates would have their own cycles where they may rise to the task There is a granted free will from Jacob, on an individual level in how the cycle completes itself, who takes on what particular role, but as Eloise illustrates in Flashes Before Your Eyes, this free will on a micro-level is bound within a macro-level self-correcting mechanism, where certain events will happen one way or another … we see that with Charlie postponing the inevitable for example. These cycles are not lined up neatly in a linear fashion, but, as the term would suggest, wheels within wheels, the island itself possessing the outer wheel, the story of Jacob and Smokey the next layer in, and so on (maybe the children of the Losties start a new cycle but they are for some reason excluded from Jack's cycle, like a generational rift). Ben couldn't enter the Church in the final episode because he was not part of the pre-set players in Jack's cycle, but belonged to a different group, each group playing their own part of the larger purpose of the island. The self-correction mechanism of the island was virtually flawless with the exception of the variable of Smokey, it was the one thing that could stop all the wheels, end everything. My guess is it is like somehow breaking the law of thermodynamics, him leaving the island, the balance of energy is broken.

Mike Rot
Member

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the whole these particular characters are fated to work together concept is very much like the ka'tet in Stephen King's Dark Tower series, not surprising they had a sit down with him during the making of the show.

Mike Rot
Member

George Lucas' Letter to J.J. Abrams is interesting on the issue of planning or winging mysteries in epics:

http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/05/17/lol-george-lu

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

One comment in the above thread, is actually quite telling, Rot, I'll quote it here because I thought exactly the same thing during the ACROSS THE SEA episode with Allison Janney:

"I never felt like a baby being spoon fed information or connections during the life of this series until they showed Jack and Kate discover the two bodies at the end of "Across the Sea"- they were desperate!- Come on- was it just me or did anyone else hear them in your head saying "hey guys, I know our planning and vision of Lost has been called into question from time to time, but look at this (wink, wink) we had it all planned from the first season…"

Read more: LOL: George Lucas to LOST Producers: “Pretend You’ve Planned The Whole Thing Out In Advance | /Film http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/05/17/lol-george-lu
"

Mike Rot
Member

I really need to check out Winterbottom's The Claim, stars Milla Jovovich and Sarah Polly that is pretty sweet. Also another one of his films I need to see is Jude, which I can't seem to find anywhere and which stars a young Kate Winslet

Mike Rot
Member

Here's hoping Shock Doctrine comes to TIFF

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I'm curious about TSD, because it played British TV almost a year ago (there may be a torrent of the TV broadcast, not sure). Frankly I'm surprised that a VOD or DVD is not available in canada due to the popularity of Naomi Klein. I feel that TIFF will reject it due to it's 'age' and that it has been broadcast on TV somewhere at this point.

I'm with you in that I still very much want to see it. Did you catch the Alfanso Cuaron short-form version of The Shock Docrtine before Winterbottom stepped in for the feature length doc?

Mike Rot
Member

I don't know TIFF showed a Spike Lee produced show that was on television a couple years back, I think they would show it, especially because Toronto is ground zero for all things Naomi Klein.

saw the short, was pretty good.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

In regards to the Claim, one of the real draws is actor Peter Mullan, who is a wonderfully versatile actor:

The psycho soldier in Children of Men

the barge Driver in Young Adam

Mother Superior in Trainspotting

The social worker in Boy A.

and he is in the Red Riding Trilogy (which I've still not managed to see!)

he is a total chameleon in film and always amazing.

David Brook
Admin

The Shock Doctrine comes out on DVD over here in August: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shock-Doctrine-DVD-Mat-Wh

David Brook
Admin

Peter Mullan is very good, one of Ken Loach's go to guys. He's actually directed a couple of films – I can remember his debut Orphans getting some good press when it was released in the late 90's. He's also set to star in Paddy Considine's directorial debut Tyrannosaur this year which was filming not too far from me. I bumped in to Paddy when I was on my way to a networking event in Nottingham – I did a full on double-take and got all star-struck!

Chris Clemente
Guest

Wow guys. Great podcast. I just love hearing lengthy talk about film. It's a good way to get work done. It provides just enough monotonous hum to stay productive, but the right amount of excitement to be intrigued. Not sure if that's compliment you want to hear, but great talk and keep it up. I look forward in all the films Kurt mentioned at Fantasia. Thanks!

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

so at Fantasia you can either buy tickets at $8 per film, or buy a booklet of 10 films for $70, i wish i could download a pdf of the program, i've got LAFF's, MIFF's, BFI's.

Ross Miller
Guest

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@Kurt,

Just got done listening to the Lost segment of the show (at 4 hours I'll need to catch the rest another time 😛 ) and let me just say I'm glad you didn't go on a rant about the ending. I feared you might explode with rage at how they put all their chips onto those characters you say you don't like or care about (which I still can't fathom why, given the amount of time and care and attention given to them – they were well written, get over it!!! :D).

For me the ending of the show was the greatest resolution to the characters that there could have been. Yes, it didn't answer every single little question that the show ever raised but how would that even be possible? I never understood people who were expecting the writers to do that. They answered enough of the big stuff in season 6 (the Black Rock, Richard not ageing, the MIB/Jacob conflict, the Numbers, the Whispers etc) and I can't honestly think of too many of the questions that truly mattered in the grand scheme of things NOT being answered.

I have to say I disagree with you about the whole cycle thing as far as the ending goes. I don't think it's as inherently complicated as that. In my eyes the flash-sideways was simply a limbo/purgatory world constructed by these people to "find each other" and "let go." And once they did they came together, were reunited and then moved on when Jack's dad opened the door. They purposefully didn't say heaven ("Let's go find out."), the white light is whatever you want the next plane (no pun intended) to be. If you want to call it heaven then that's up to you.

As Andrew said it leaves it beautifully open to interpretation while still giving resolution (the ultimate resolution, actually) and rounding things off. Jack closing his eyes is a fucking PERFECT way to end things. The story opened with him opening his eyes and it closes with him closing them. The ultimate bookmark for the show – the opening and closing of the storybook that is Lost.

Like I've said before, I think we just look at storytelling and the way characters are written from a different angle (although I love the shows you cherish most like The Wire, too, don't get me wrong!). And since I liked the characters so much and grew to really care about them, the ending really hit all the right notes for me.

On the end episode: what the HELL are you guys talking about when you say it's all over the place! 😛 I did NOT get that. "The End" was EPIC as a whole, a fantastic mixture of thrills, emotion, resolution, jumping between the timelines at just the right moments;Those scenes where they remember their lives were heartbreaking (especially Sawyer/Juliet's and Charlie/Claire); That Clash of the Titans style fight on the cliff top was stunning (that high above shot with the rain and Jack jumping – WOW). It was almost 2 hours (if you take away commercials time) and it flew by for me. I didn't once stop to think that it dragged or the pacing was off.

I concur that the temple stuff wasn't all that it could have been but I liked seeing the location after hearing about it for 3-4 seasons and I actually really dug John Hawkes and Hiroyuki Sanada characters. When the latter said "I don't like the way English tastes on my tongue," I almost did a fist-pump! 😉

I think I've went on enough, I'll wait for a reply before commenting further. As I said glad you give it a thumbs up overall and could see enough in it to see why people (such as myself, in case you hadn't noticed :P) are so in love with the show.

Namaste.

(One last thing: I totally disagree that you can't watch it again and get more out of it. I've watched it 5 times all the way through (apart from season 6 which I've watched twice) and I still find it as compelling as ever, always finding new little things here and there to appreciate that I might not have noticed before. And trust me, rewatching it after knowing everything, it's gratifying since you get to look at thingswith fully informed eyes).

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

haven't watched it yet, but i've just downloaded a really good torrent (avi) of Carlos (the full 6 1/2 hours) on http://www.megashares.com, will tell ya what i think anyway's.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

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Okay, here was my issue with the ending of Lost. It basically made all of the mythology/science fiction stuff a McGuffin for the character stuff. It was like they got the end and said, yeah, you know all these cool intriguing ideas we've been throwing around for six years, and this epic centuries-long struggle that we've (finally) revealed, all that isn't really important – what's important is that Claire and Charlie (etc) get reunited, and that Jack "lets go," and that all these people get some kind of catharsis (I don't care whether it's a moving on or a cyclical thing). Basically, it feels like in the finale that the entire island plot and the centuries-long struggle between Jacob and MiB exists only to provide a catalyst for this set of characters to meet and interact. That's BS. Not to say I actually liked how the Jacob/MiB plot was handled, either – it was really rushed and vague…like Andrew touched on, I wanted a LOT more about the light thing and why they had to protect it and who put it there and how the water worked. Or if not actual answers to those things, at least some sense that it was important beyond someone just saying "it's important." That stuff was interesting. The soap opera stuff, not that interesting.

I realize I'm pretty much just upset that LOST wasn't the show I wanted it to be and didn't focus on the things I wanted it to focus on, but I'm okay with that. I gave it six years of my life in the hopes that it would follow through on the ideas it started, and I don't think it did. I'm not saying I wanted answers to every question – I have no problem with questions being left unanswered or ambiguous endings. I have a problem with the show basically saying at the end that the questions aren't even important. I mean, you've basically got a supernatural island with a some kind of power source that apparently has the ability to affect everything in the entire world, and you're shunting that to the side so a handful of people can have a cathartic experience? I understand the importance of characters and that you need character-connections to make heady sci-fi stuff relatable, but you can balance it better than this. You can make both important and important in relation to each other. I don't think LOST did that. It privileged the character relationships far above the mythology, to the detriment of the series' integrity.

I was actually going to go back and rewatch the whole series, paying more attention to details and seeing where I might be wrong, but I started watching the first episode and saw Boone and Shannon and the first couple of flashbacks and was like, I cannot take all this again. I can't do it again. The experience of sitting through all that for the few nuggets of interesting concepts isn't worth it. Sorry.

rot
Guest

the genius of the finale is it works on multiple levels, they couldn't give the complete nerdy ending because the Lost audience covers a wide variety of interest groups… the finale was pretty much a success according to the mainstream media and all the soap opera fans, but the nerdy stuff IS there, they just don't spoonfeed, you have to work at it the same way they have always built this sort of thing, with the internet games and the easter eggs… these writers are comic geeks, and they do challenge heady topics in the story, but the complex aspect of the narrative is underneath, hence the brilliance.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

The nerdy stuff may be there, but it's certainly not given the attention or sense of importance that the soap opera stuff is. Where you saw genius, I saw giving up and giving in.

I didn't hate actually watching the finale, but mostly what I felt was "oh, isn't that nice, remember when we were first meeting all these characters and it was all new and had such possibilities before they squandered all those possibilities." It only worked for me on the level of nostalgia for a time when I thought the writers had something amazing up their sleeves, and whatever you were able to bring out of it for yourself, rot, it wasn't there for me.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

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ALSO SPOILERS FOR BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

I've been trying to figure out why I love Battlestar Galactica so much and didn't have the backlashy feelings toward it that I do toward LOST, even though it also kind of did a cop-out, cathartic, character-based finale. One thing was strictly selfish, that the BSG finale validated some of my predictions from way in the beginning of the series (notably that what we were watching was in our past, rather than our future), and the fact that the only thing I really didn't like about the finale was the Starbuck conclusion – the rest I didn't mind. But the other thing throughout the series was that every time BSG changed the game, refocused or expanded the story into something else, I liked what it changed it to better than what it had been. It wasn't perfect, but overall, the themes and backstory got more interesting as the series went on. Whereas every time LOST did that (oh, it's about the hatch now, oh wait, now it's about the Others, oh, now it's about the Dharmas, oh, now it's about getting back to the island, oh, now it's about escaping on a boat, oh, now it's about time travel, oh now…), I thought they chose the least interesting path given the possibilities they raised. The only one of those I liked more than the section before was the time travel part. Other than that, nearly every season got less and less interesting to me, instead of more and more the way it should've done.

kurt
Guest

@Ross, I'd love for somone (with a LOT of free time on their hands) to edit down the show, removing as much of the character and flash-back stuff, and see if you could take the 125 hours and maybe knock it down to 20-30 hours of the 'island/philosophy/mythology stuff. The constant issues I had with bad drama and sloppy pacing – neither of which occur in the HBO TV stuff because their seasons are 12 hours at most – might be fixable if you cut out characters like Lock's Dad, Sun's Dad, all the ER stuff with Jack, all the Kate on the Run crap, and pretty much eliminate Charlie and Claire because they add so bloody little to the show. Certainly the whole middle of Season 3 could be completely excised, as with the first 5 episodes of season 6 and several stretches in Season 2 and 4.

But I digress. Really what LOST amounts to is a stepping stone and ability to show a TV network that a well thought up science fiction puzzle story can be accomplished if you have a little faith in the writers and don't force them into a Network mould. I hope that someone (not necessarily Cuse/Lindelof) can figure out a way. Obviously there have been some failures (Flash Forward, The Prisoner remake) but someone is going to make a TV series with the equivalent 'holy-shit' factor as PRIMER or THE FOUNTAIN. I can't wait.

kurt
Guest

Haha, Jandy, We'll always have Season 5. I really wish they ended LOST on the loop that much of the shit state of affairs that the Castaways suffered were completely at the hands of themselves and their best intentions back in Dharma Initiative times. A negative feedback loop along the likes of the American's arming and equipping the Iraqi's during the 80s against Iran and then facing the consequences in the early 1990s and Sept. 2001 and onward September 2003. The possibilities for lost to be socially and politically relevant, something I think the show occasionally flirted with but never, ever found its footing in that department (hamstrung by bad and cliche's TV plots in the flashbacks, fleshing out of characters). BSG managed to do both (with a few missteps, but nowhere near the jarring pacing and wheel-spinning of lost), although the last season, (well starting with the last half of S3) I completely lost interest in BSG, so the overall mythology of lost (the Island strangeness) was on the whole more compelling than the Cylons/Quest-for-Earth aspect in BSG. Both are upper tier sci-fi shows, but still a fair ways down the food chain from the HBO stuff for me.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I think basic network shows would be a lot better off if they went to a 13-episode-per-season format. There are a lot of things that separate cable/HBO shows from basic network and give them an advantage (smaller viewership needs, fewer content restrictions, etc.), but that's an easy one that would force shows to stay a lot more focused and dispense with all the filler.

Okay, are you going to watch Mad Men now, or are you going to wait until that's over, too?

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

On a sci-fi note, though, I quite like what Fringe has been doing in S2. Season 1 was tough to slog through, but they've really picked it up in S2 and it's hitting some pretty hard sci-fi while still keeping grounded characters. Really hoping they can keep it up in S3 (which is where a lot of shows, including both Lost and BSG, flail a bit).

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

As per usual, I am waiting for Mad Men to be finished before I start watching it. I have discipline!

100% agree with THE FILLER argument in 22 episode seasons. Another thing that Lost Struggled with is that it tried to have a 'cliffhanger/stinger' before each and every commercial, not realizing that these shows find their true life on DVD, which makes the stingers kind of neutered. Food for thought when writing a show, McLuhan's Medium-Message argument applies.

Jandy
Guest

Listening and commenting on the show in chunks this time. 🙂 Andrew, it's funny that we both kind of thought the same thing about The Girl Who Played With Fire straying into comic book territory, but you loved that and I hated it. It destroyed the realism and believability for me, but didn't for you. Interesting. Kurt, based on what you've said, I don't think you'd like it even as much as I did. I agree with you about the detached nature of the mystery in the first film; that was one of my favorite things.

Re: Jessica Alba. Her only good role (that I've seen anyway) was TV's Dark Angel. The first season of that was pretty cool, and the character fit her, much like Faith on BtVS fit Eliza Dushku, and it's been hard for either of them to find other roles they can do well.

I wonder if I should admit that I've never seen Big Trouble in Little China? Hmmmmm.

Okay, I'll probably be back when I've finished the Fantasia segment. But 17 films in 4 days? DAMN. Although I guess I did that many at TCM. My 10-in-a-week at LAFF seems kinda pitiful though, but they were really only programmed in the evenings.

Ross Miller
Guest

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@Jandy,

I guess it just came down to what you said, that you didn't feel it followed through with all the ideas and concepts it brought up and dealt with at some point. But the character stuff was one of those as well, and it just so happened they decided to dump most of their eggs in that basket. That way there's a meaningful and emotional resolution to the characters that have populated the story. It's always been about how these things affect the characters, how THEY deal with these things and not necessarily the things themselves. I'm not saying all the other stuff wasn't important but focusing on the character is a much more satisfying way to end thing, investment-wise.

One thing I wanted to bring up as a defense against something I've heard time and time again from people who had and still have problems with Lost: what happened to enjoying things as they happen? Why does EVERYTHING need to come to a close, be answered, be resolved just because they brought it up? Did they answer the mystery of what the cabin was, why it was being used and just how the hell it managed to move around the jungle? No. But did that stop it from entertaining and interesting while it was going on? Certainly not. I understand frustration that the writers bothered to bring stuff up so why wouldn't they go back to it. But that comes back to needing to know the answers to everything – it's like a magic trick (as Kurt said in the Cinecast): more often than not the trick is better than the reveal.

On you not being able to rewatch it – I guess that's down to you not liking the character building stuff because like I said before, I've watched it 5 times all the way through and enjoy just about every single moment.

@Kurt,

But cutting the show down by cutting out the flashbacks and all the character building/centric stuff would take away from what the whole show as about – CHARACTERS. I don't see how someone can watch it and not see that that's the ultimate focus of the show. Perhaps it might not be tolerable to someone who doesn't like the characters (which I also don't get how that can be possible), but it's right there, woven throughout the whole thing – even The End couldn't be anymore blatant that these characters are what the show is all about. I don't know how the character stuff can then be considered filler when these people are the focus.

I can't say I disagree about the cliffhanger thing before each commercial break. But that can't be helped with this type of show being on a network like ABC. It's a way to leave you going "Oh!!! Damnnit!" at every break and discuss it until it comes back from commercial.

BTW, and this will probably inspire a rant from you, Kurt, I didn't care for The Fountain. At all. It's all over the place and just plain confusing for the sake of it. Nice visuals and great performances but that's it. And that's coming from a big fan of Aronofsky.

On Mad Men – you should really check it out just now, Kurt. I think Matt mentioned it a few Cinecasts back: you could conceivably just watch the first three seasons and then wait for the next three before watching them. It's not that type of show where you need to wait till it's over. But maybe you might look at it that you simply don't want to wait 😉

Kurt
Guest

Ross, if you seriously believe that the appeal of lost was the characters, then we are operating from such vastly different experiences of the show. These ass clowns (with the exception of Ben, Juliette, and desmond) are ciphers through and through. The drama is cheap and not even lurid because it is a network show!

Clearly they split the odds and made half genre scifi and half soap opera! I think it makes the show suffer immeasurably! that being said I was never watching the show for answers. I was watching the show for thrills and some good science fiction. Season 5 delivered that on the most pure level although there was plenty of signs and wonders scattered amongst the "who is Kate going to screw" BS. answers to all the mysteries are not only unnecessary for this viewer, but rather insulting when they started to ret-con some of them for the sake of pleasing that segment of the fan base!

Ross Miller
Guest

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the only thing I watched the show for was the characters. I'd say it was 65% characters, 35% everything else. It wasn't what I jumped in way back when for but by just a few episodes in it's what I'd become invested in most. Thus the ending was perfect for me.

BTW, I'm an atheist in real life and would never believe in the sort of thing that was presented at the end of Lost, but I can totally accept and embrace it within a work of fiction. So yes, we appear to be coming at it from different angles.

Isn't it great how we can look at this mammoth of a show and get totally different experiences from it? You were in it for the thrills and science fiction, hence why you dig season 5 more than any others. I was in it for that too, but mostly for the characters which is why season 1 is probably my second favorite (behind season 4 for whatever reason).

And I don't believe they ret-conned all that much. Sure, some are obvious but I believe they knew more of the answers to the mysteries in advance than ones they didn't.

As the great Ron Burgundy said, I guess we'll have to just agree to disagree.

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Btw, have you checked out the Lost discussion posts over at More Pop? Their pretty epic (in length:P). Me and Rot (I believe it was) had major arguments over the paradox when we thought Locke was the one who gave himself the compass in season 5. Also, shit got kicked up when Young Ben was shot and presumably died – i.e. would older Ben survive if Young Ben died in the past? I said it's not possible for him to die, while rot was arguing he could. A lot of fun 😀 .

(And before you say it, I know you're going to point out we weren't over there having big discussions about the character centric stuff! But that's not the sort of thing you feverishly discuss in an "around the water cooler" type way, in ANY movie or TV show, now is it?)

Jandy
Guest

Ross, it comes down exactly to the "enjoying things as they come" thing. And I did enjoy the experience of watching a lot of S1 and S2 and most of S5, but a lot of the rest of the time I didn't really enjoy it. I was watching only to watch, because I have a compulsion to finish things I start. By S6, it was a chore to watch (as in, it would pop on my DVR and I would sigh and think "oh, right, I have to watch Lost again"), and if I hadn't known it was the last season and I wanted to see how they finished it off, I would've stopped watching this year. I was not enjoying it. You're right, if I'm enjoying something, I don't care as much how it ends up, but with Lost, I wasn't, so all I had left was some hope that they would end it with a bang, but nope.

I should've known better – I actually wasn't able to come up with hardly any TV series that I thought ended really well. It's a really tough thing.

Ross Miller
Guest

Fair enough, Jandy. You just didn't enjoy big chunks of it for whatever reason. I enjoyed all of it. It's funny you should that about it feeling like a chore, like "Oh, I HAVE to watch Lost again." For me Lost was one of the few shows still running that was an absolute event for me every single week for 6 years and about the only show I was glued to for that episode every damn minute. Waiting with bated breath for the next thing to happen.

Yeah, ending a show is a tough thing because when a show has been going on for so long and people are just so used to it being "there," when that comes to a close it has potential, rather inevitability, not to please everyone. How can you? But I absolutely love that Lost went with an ending that left things up for debate. Same goes The Sopranos – some say cop out, I say genius. What did you make of that ending (if you've seen it)? The best ending I've seen for a series is probably Six Feet Under – if you watch that the whole way through, the ending couldn't possibly be more fitting.

(Remember and give spoiler warnings if you're going to talk specifics for endings! :P)

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I haven't seen all of either The Sopranos or Six Feet Under yet, but when I asked on another forum about which TV shows ended well, almost everyone said Six Feet Under. I guess I should catch up on the rest of it soon. The closest I came was Whedonverse shows – I wasn't a huge fan of Buffy's ending, but I thought Angel ended suitably cynically, and other than a couple of very minor elements, the Dollhouse finale was really satisfying. Lots of my other favorite shows got canceled prematurely, so never really got a chance to end properly. Heh, thinking back about it now about shows I've watched, there are a surprising number that I didn't actually finish, despite my hatred of stopping things in the middle, usually because of some fluke of scheduling or DVR fail that caused me to get behind and not be able to catch up (I watch about 18 hours of TV a week during the regular season, so if I get behind on anything, it's really hard to catch up).

rot
Guest

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Something I forgot to bring up in our emails Kurt regarding the retcon is that I believe it was with the start of season 3 (2006) Lost published a novel called Bad Twin, it is the so-called manuscript that Sawyer reads in Season 1. Thats not just an easter egg they went out of there way to publish an entire book with the title Bad Twin, and then the final twist of the show contains an evil twin. It seems a bit ridiculous to say they just made up that ending after all the effort of publishing a book 4 years ago. Or that they just threw a polar bear onto the show without knowing how that would be resolved, and how that resolution pertains to (aspects of Smokey, the time wheel, Dharma). You can be as skeptical as you want but it makes no sense, nobody does that in writing, they don't just throw out a polar bear and say, ah we will figure it out later. Some stuff was retconned, I am sure but the big stuff was known. The hatch with the computer, how the plane crashed, how the two people fighting over a loop mirrors the larger story of Jacob and Smokey, that was established. Jin going back and time to see Rousseau was not.

rot
Guest

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and like I said, for an enterprise like this fighting against so much online speculation you cannot keep mysteries mysterious without some red herrings, without some ambiguity, without introducing plot points until seasons have passed. BSG was not fundamentally a cliffhanger mystery series, they serve two different purposes. Lost had to hold their cards close to their chest, use the advantage of making big secrets be hidden for seasons because characters were not revealed until then.

rot
Guest

Six Feet Under ends awesome but the last season or two are bad, worth seeing the first two though. Sopranos is great all the way through, and I don't care what people say, that ending was inspired.

Ross Miller
Guest

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Wow, rot swoops in to save the day! Heh. I agree – I'm sure some of the stuff (like Jin going back and meeting Rousseau; even if she was crazy when we first saw her, chances are she would remember Jin and hint at it) but the big stuff they knew. Just because it took them a few seasons to get back to answering doesn't mean they just made it up later on. I mean, look at the scene right back near the start of season 1 with Locke holding up the black and white stones ("Two players, two sides. One is light, one is dark."). You can't look at that and say they didn't have the whole Jacob/MIB conflict thing in mind. Maybe they didn't have it exactly pinpointed that they were going to explore that fully only in the last season, but there's no way they didn't have the general idea worked out and ready to be implemented when needed.

On Six Feet Under; I'm surprise you say that rot, about the last two seasons. Even though I agree that seasons 1 and 2 are by far the strongest, I've heard more people say they think the show gets better as it goes on and that season 5 is the best. I personally rank the seasons as follows(best to worst): 1, 2, 4, 5, 3. Did you 3 feel out of place for you as it did for me, when compared to the other seasons? The tone was just odd and different.

The Sopranos is consistently great (although if I'm honest I don't think it's AS good as a lot of people do – I guess in the same way as some think of Lost :P), although it hit a high point in season 3 or 4 (whichever one had THAT episode with Joe Pantiliano). And yes, the ending is fantastic. My reaction was (in oder): shock, confusion, laughter, mulling it over, WOW. I'm sure I'm not alone 😉

rot
Guest

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and like I said, for an enterprise like this fighting against so much online speculation you cannot keep mysteries mysterious without some red herrings, without some ambiguity, without introducing plot points until seasons have passed. BSG was not fundamentally a cliffhanger mystery series, they serve two different purposes. Lost had to hold their cards close to their chest, use the advantage of making big secrets be hidden for seasons because characters were not revealed until then.

Kurt
Guest

"I mean, look at the scene right back near the start of season 1 with Locke holding up the black and white stones (“Two players, two sides. One is light, one is dark.”). You can’t look at that and say they didn’t have the whole Jacob/MIB conflict thing in mind."

Oh yes I can. I thing they flashed back just to underscore the magnificence of the retcon in fact!

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I wonder how many things there are in the early seasons, though, that did end up being meaningless – could it be that they looked back and were like, okay, we mentioned this thing, let's build up from that and everyone will think we had it in mind all along. Anything that fits seems like foreshadowing, anything that doesn't is simply forgotten. I'm playing devil's advocate with that, though, and I really didn't pay enough attention throughout the series to pick up on most of those things. I guess my more major concern, even granting that maybe they had the whole Jacob/MiB thing all along, is why did they wait so long to put it out there, and then within two episodes, complete that arc? It's like they waited forever to explain it just so they could rush through it. I mean, you know there's something going on with Jacob and MiB for the last couple of seasons, IIRC, but seems like the reveals in Across the Sea could've come sooner and in a less detached manner and the whole thing would've felt more organic and better paced towards the end. If it's not a failure of narrative planning/retconning, it's at the very least a failure of narrative pacing.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Pacing (a subset of writing) and acting (with a few exceptions) are clearly the two chief flaws of Lost. I don't think the TV-production hyper-schedule and some of the actors off-screen lives helped either! I'm clearly looking for someone to take a lot of the lessons learned from LOST and build a better boat. Much like the creators of lost were taking what they liked from The Twilight Zone, The Prisoner, and Twin Peaks (not to mention a shit-tonne of good books and films).

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I liked Twin Peaks a hell of a lot more than I liked Lost. 🙂 It went off the rails in the second season, but at least it went off the rails in weird and batshit insane ways.

The Prisoner and Twilight Zone I haven't seen enough of to have an opinion.

kurt
Guest

This is because David Lynch never really felt the need to 'literalize' the show (albeit many of the writers when Lynch was off doing other stuff (Wild at Heart) forgot what the show was about for long stretches which was often frustrating with Twin Peaks, particularly in Season2. the creators of Lost spent a lot of time either farting around (Middle of Seasons 2 and Season 3) or building a heady mystery then showing how mundane an answer was, then peeling back to a further layer with mystery and onward, and onward. Lynch and company let the Black Lodge be what the Black Lodge was, a really freaky supernatural gateway.

Mike Rot
Member

Lost spoilers… well the idea of an all-knowing Jacob started in season 3, and then the finale of season 5 sets the stage for the two forces at work… its the same with any mystery narrative, you try and withhold the key piece of information as long as possible so that the audience cannot anticipate ahead of time. The online speculation (which maybe you weren't involved in Jandy) was INSANE… these were the true fans of the show and the writers knew one of the only ways to get ahead of that kind of mass speculation was to keep key pieces out of the mix and have red herrings along the way. If things fit too perfectly I guarantee you it would have been solved long before and the fans would get bored and it would fail. This tv show is different from a book where the individual is usually alone with it, the mystery is easier to contain. Lost was a social phenomenon,which it embraced with its Lost experience online stuff, its easter eggs, it was as much about the characters as it was the wikipedia searches you had to do to find out what was being referred to in a particular episode. You had to back-end the key mythology elements, but that said they did explain a lot prior to that,each season brought with its own answers, the show constantly pulling back farther and farther.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I think I'd prefer an 'easier mystery' that makes sense thematically and has good pacing, than a big fat sloppy wheel-spinning, completely wasting my time, just to stay ahead of the web-nerds. I do not require glossy 'perfection' (oddly enough, an issue with Inception at times!) but I did like the 'pull further out' concept of LOST and the Island, I just do not think the writers pulled it off as well as they could have. Just me though.

Mike Rot
Member

and I agree Kurt, I, like you, look forward to Lost 2.0 that builds on the shoulders of this show to make something better. I want to see the ambition of Lost mixed with the drama of The Wire.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Mike, by the end I wasn't involved with the online discussion communities anymore. I was heavily during S1 and S2, but I started losing interest in the show itself in S3, which meant I was rarely watching episodes as they aired and the discussion left me behind quickly.

But this is, I think, the danger of any narrative that depends too heavily on a mystery. If knowing the answer to the mystery removes all interest from the show, then there's a problem. A really good story, even if it is a mystery, has other stuff to care about so that it really doesn't matter if you guess the answer ahead of time (cf. Shutter Island, Dorothy Sayers novels, Hitchcock films, etc.). To me, building a good, cohesive, well-structured, and interesting story throughout should always ALWAYS be more important than keeping people in the dark about the ending. Especially in something like Lost which has almost zero chance of having an ending that can live up to everything it's promised, and of pleasing everybody who's been waiting for it for so long.

Mike Rot
Member

If it was only to find out what happens in the end, sure, I don't think Lost was just that… like Kurt said you have somewhat self-contained seasons with their own beginning middle and end (the Hatch button, the Others, The Freighter, Back to the Future), its juggling a lot of balls in the air and I think more often than not it was working well.

Ross Miller
Guest

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Are you saying they didn't have an idea of what they were going when they had that scene with Locke and Walt? Why, then, have those references to backgammon and games? Also, a lot of the show was like a chess game – and as we found out later one – MIB was manipulating some of the Losties (namely Ben) as pawns.

As for the acting, you know how I feel about that – it's great, pretty much across the board. I still can't see how you can say Evangeline Lilly is bad… But I don't want to get too much into that…

Lost didn't ever go off the rails in my eyes, but just for argument's sake say it did a little – it did NOT go off the rails anywhere NEAR as much as Twin Peaks did. Holy crap, during the middle of season 2 I was like what the fuck happened!? (That storyline with James and that woman annoyed me to no end). I still love it – even during that period there was still the quirky characters to cling onto – but at least when Lost was just stewing it was still part of something that had a lot of stuff in it to ponder (not that TP didn't, but it was a slog to go through during mid season 2 unlike Lost IMHO). And even in the "stewing" moments I didn't get the sense they were stalling. I just took it as part of the story as, like I said, why does it always have to be hurtling towards something?

Indeed, a big aspect of Lost was keeping things hidden from the audience. And because Lost is pretty much the most popular mystery show ever (as far as being mainstream), they had to do that sort of thing, purposefully holding things back and throwing in red herrings. Otherwise, as rot said, the ratings would have dropped, regardless of if that was justified or not. If people aren't interested they won't watch, plain and simple.

I agree, Jandy, that's there was no real way Lost could have brought everything it's ever brought up together to satisfy everyone. All it could have done was pick a road to travel when it came to a fork and stick with it. And it just so happened it went with the road sign-marked "Characters." And for me it was a relief – giving (ultimate) resolution to the people populating this story is much more satisfying than if they just went into checklist-ticking mode in the final episode and answered every little thing. How would that be interesting?

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Again, I didn't want them to tick-mark every little thing and answer everything. I wanted some sense that any of the sci-fi mystery part mattered in a cosmic sense, and I didn't get that. It only mattered in so far as it related to our characters – some stories can pull that off, but I have to care about the characters a lot more than I cared about these for it to work. That's the fundamental difference here, I think, and why the end worked for you, Ross, and not for me – you cared about the characters and I didn't. The only reunion that mattered to me in the finale was Sawyer and Juliet, because that's the only relationship that felt real to me throughout the whole thing (no accident, maybe, that it came in S5, when the show was overall strongest).

Ross Miller
Guest

@Jandy,

Fair enough. And FYI, I wasn't directing that "why does everyone need everything answered" thing at you or Kurt. I realize your problems with the show don't stem from that. It was directed a lot of other people, who DID complain about that.

We're both right and we're both wrong, like always 😀

Mike Rot
Member

Jandy, your answers will be in the epilogue…

http://screenrant.com/lost-epilogue-image-ross-69

perhaps this was their point all along, withhold some key info so you buy the dvd.

Ross Miller
Guest

@rot,

Hah! Thanks for going to and linking an article written by me, you could have easily sourced Dark UFO there 🙂

I'm sure that factors into it, but I doubt they purposefully held huge answers back just so you'd buy the DVD. People who are going to buy the DVD will buy it with or without the epilogue or promise of any other answers. But can you really blame them for trying to sell the DVD that way at least somewhat?

Mike Rot
Member

its 12 minutes of all epilogue island stuff, and Emerson says there are answers, I am going to have to think inevitably they will explain some stuff. My guess they will explain the hatch watching the first hatch, the food drop, what happened after The Incident, the second boat, and I would love if they gave something about the 'rules' that Widmore broke, that is the biggest pisser to me, how that story peetered out.

Mike Rot
Member

first review of the Lost epilogue gives it an A. Answers a lot of stuff apparently while also giving some kind of character resolution.

http://www.tvovermind.com/abc/lost/review-lost-ep

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

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I'm thinking all the Darma stuff in the epilogue is to explain the unexplained food drop.

But really, does the film need an epilogue? Pretty much everything about the island and what the writers were (attempting) to get at, is sort of mushed out in the finale. C'est non?

rot
Guest

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The numbers, the rules, the details about the temple and what it is to be an Other, what happened during The Incident, Jacob's cabin, that stuff I would like answered.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

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I think the answers they gave about the nature of the island trump all of these questions. But for some reason that one-off "Hurly-and-his-food" quite bad episode which dropped an extra pallette of food on the island still bugs me.

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