In two days, the final season of Lost will be launched and we’ll find out if the brilliant trip so far isn’t all a ruse. It’s the journey that counts, right? Well the story is complex enough that it may be necessary to play catch-up on all the interpersonal connections and heavy allegory alluded to in the first five seasons. The New York Times put a Lost timeline together, including short video clips and commentary from the show’s producers.
For a more detailed breakdown on the characters, if you have the patience, sit through this bad song:
After reading revisionist hype for Patrick McGoohan’ UK series The Prisoner, I finally watched one of the main inspirations for Lost. Beware, for there will be spoilers. The introduction credits shown before (almost) every episode lay out the main character’s plight. He’s trapped in The Village, assigned the name No. 6. Leaders of The Village (specifically the shifting character No. 2) are trying to dissect why No. 6 resigned from his post for an intelligence organization.
But he really shines in going the South Park route of over-the-top tongue-in-cheek offensiveness, but it’s completed by crowd participation. It’s obvious only the best interactions were included where he uses wit and charisma to mock the audience while keeping them along with him. The 90 minute runtime might wear down the conservative with a constant barrage of gags involving rape, pedophilia, sexual dysfunction, mockery of the mentally disabled (see above), and misogyny, amongst other sunny themes. In the encore, Jimmy attempts to offend as many people in the audience with a series of escalating jokes, so of course the Holocaust is busted out. It’s a gas.
Yesterday I came across completely absurd but gut-laugh-inducing humour in Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. You’ve seen him as Fat Jesus in The Hangover and HBO’s new literary-detective comedy Bored to Death, but this series takes the cake for uncomfortable laughs that go beyond the most cringe-worthy scenes in BBC’s original series The Office. My highlights are the initial Michael Cera episode and the below one with Charlize Theron.
Also check out the podcast he did lately for WTF with Marc Maron where he reveals Sean Penn loves bait-and-switch jokes about obese women:
I guess Microsoft’s sad attempt at playing catch-up on the social media game led them to start pushing Messenger status updates on their rarely-visited Windows Live user profiles in order to force an activity feed that nobody will follow. No biggie, except by default they’re published to anyone.
As Conan’s time winds down before moving in Leno’s slot, I think I’ll most miss the obscene bit characters and hilariously inappropriate on-site shoots. Last night’s episode contained yet another terrific sequence involving alcohol and an awkward Irish man, but the episode went into side-splitting territory once Norm MacDonald and Gordon Ramsay got together. Late Night always had a low-budget vibe to it that allowed anything goes, so it’ll be disheartening if his humous has to be toned down to fit in with the pedestrian Leno demographic (hey, tell another fecking Lewinsky joke!)
Here’s a pretty fascinating documentary on the 1989 crash of United Airlines Flight 232 created for the TV series First Person. You may recognize this story as being the inspiration for Peter Weir’s Fearless starring Jeff Bridges but this is a very different perspective on the story.
Ageless art begets poor parody. Now everyone can agree that Daniel-Day Lewis’s portrayal of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood was one of the most solid acting performances in recent memory. While trying to deny the fact I wear conversation pieces, I came across a couple great impressions that I thought deserved attention.
Why not ring in the New Year with a post on the upcoming remake of Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left? From the trailer (which tells the whole story, of course), you can gleam, “Rated R for sadistic brutal violence including a rape and disturbing images, language, nudity and some drug use.” Fascinating. Sounds like a must-watch.
During some downtime here, I’ve been passively thinking up projects to occupy my time. Yesterday, I wondered whether there was a web app to properly track films I’ve watched, books I’ve read, etc. Specifically, I want to make a WordPress plugin for storing the history of each film I’ve watched ala the flog link at the top of this page, which is now a flat page I manually update. So I would like a web app where I can just enter a date and movie name where the system would handle retrieving the movie poster, Amazon link, and IMDB link with any meta info that is configured to display.
Watching documentary Helvetica and short clip Trajan is the Movie Font both bring to light the intents of designers when they attempt to communicate simple pieces of information, while I blankly pass over it all. I think I will now forever be haunted by these typefaces at my every turn. I just browsed to the web site for music artist Bitcrush (who have a new album Epilogue in Waves, coming out in January!), glaringly seeing the obvious usage of Helvetica in the act’s logo. It’s the same aesthetic used in Cadoo’s prior project, Gridlock, and even seems to be the central theme of their record label. Knowing the music has a lush layering of pads and acoustic sounds, with modern glitch cuts, they decided on a thick typeface that expresses it as bold and passionate while firm and solid, so we don’t doubt its statements. It all reminds me to pick up Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, and Student, especially since I work in web development; mostly back-end, but I’m always reliant on graphic designers to finish the product whereas a higher level of workplace autonomy would be more optimal.
While Helvetica is usually used to promote overlords as comforting friends for consumption, at least some of them have a sense of humour like Amazon and BMW.
Have you ever heard one of those test tones on TV when the station is off the air? Notice how it becomes painfully annoying in a very short time? That’s essentially what you do to a song when you super compress it. You eliminate all dynamics.
This was the main annoyance I had with Front Line Assembly’s 2006 album, Artificial Soldier, mastered by Brian “Big Bass” Gardener. For such an underground band, I don’t understand why they would destroy the whole recording when they aren’t even competing for records sold. Hell, people that enjoy the band listen with headphones or hear the songs in a club. We don’t need to hear digital clipping. Furthermore, the article goes into why this paradigm shift has taken place:
We listen to music in completely different ways than we did 20 or 30 years ago. For most people, music is listened to on the go, in cars, on headphones while running, on computers at work. Music has to compete with the sound of your car’s engine, has to punch through the background noise of street traffic or a loud office.
This is pretty much true for me. The couple hundred CDs I own are stowed away in my parent’s basement and now I only listen to MP3s on my computer or MP3 player. I don’t even own a standalone stereo. Sound quality also deteriorates by the subsequent compression placed on music by FM radio and MP3 player equalizers. Ever notice television commercials are much louder than the actual program? That’s due to the compression placed on the sound to make them jump out from the program. It’s just a marketing tactic to do the same on music, stressing a lack of subtlety in the art.
Now for some asides, it looks like there will be no Deadwood movies to close up the story. Those HBO cocksuckers. There’s also some Scrabble OUTRAGE! over the term lesbo being a valid word in the video game. I guess this dude hasn’t seen the South Park parody of 300? Move on, sugartits. Simon took the time to uncover other slang accepted by the game when he came across:
Nedette (noun): derogatory name for a female adolescent hooligan
The hooligans are loose, the hooligans are loose.
Seeds in fruit should be made illegal in the Western world. Also, please don’t eat citrus fruits near an LCD monitor.
Take a glance at Quirking Around to find out how indie fags drool and dick jokes courtesy Judd Apatow rule. Wes Anderson’s shtick has been pretty tiring from the get-go and it looks like The Darjeeling Limited’s characters only continue the trend of banal details that aren’t even smirk-worthy. Next up is Juno which all its Little Miss Sunshine whackisms. Even Michael Cera yet again playing George-Michael Bluth can’t save this from only being another flavour of the week. But we have Richard Kelly’s clusterfuck Southland Tales to look forward to! You should read this above article if only for this quote:
He still believes Second Chance will be bankable, once the bull gets the testicle-goring out of his system.
Speaking of Judd, I spent last month watching the full season of Freaks and Geeks leading up to the Superbad/Knocked Up marathon. I guess I didn’t grow up around a cliquey high school so I didn’t really relate to the “it happened to you, didn’t it!” humour (Trailer Park Boys did enough of that for me). I probably most appreciated the ignorant father played by pseudo-Canadian Joe Flaherty for such cold war gems as:
Lindsay Weir: Dad, give me one good reason why there can’t be a woman president. Harold Weir: It’s called three irrational days per month. Now, I would have no issue with the other twenty seven, but we’re talking about the atomic bomb here.
I also took the time to watch season one of Friday Night Lights in one go and managed to do it in 4 days. I really need a life. On the plus side, since Demonoid is now blocking all traffic from Canada, I didn’t have to seed the 8gb file to get an even ratio. Yarr, me booty. I actually didn’t find the constant ShakeyCamâ„¢ (even during dialogue) as distracting as I find in action films (Batman Begins, I’m looking at you). However, I doubt I’ll be watching season two since there’s already whispers about it being canceled when the premier only airs next week. I can also say that it’s fucking odd watching a prime-time show scored by post-rock band Explosions in the Sky and supplemented by TV on the Radio, LCD Soundsystem, and Isis, amongst others.
Finally, you must acquire the new Oceansize album Frames as it’s the best of the year. Notice my not so diplomatic verb.
Yeah, I just wrote a post using the term “paradigm shift”.
Showtime’s Dexter premier season completed at the end of 2006 and was likely that year’s best new television series. It stars Michael C. Hall, best known for previously playing David Fischer on HBO’s Six Feet Under. Some of Dexter’s vibe is similar, in the style of dark humour and high-quality cinematography. The almost two minute intro credits sequence matches most HBO series with playful plucked strings juxtaposed with interesting visuals rather than the usual weekly reintroduction of character faces that television follows. The credits also contain one of the most disturbing visual match cuts in my recent memory, with an extreme close-up of Dexter’s scruffy human neck being shaved transitioning into a boneless piece of rare cooked meat efficiently sliced by a steak knife. Meat is murder! Meat is murder! But rather delicious.
In late May, I took it upon myself to catch completely up on the revised Battlestar Galactica. I managed to watch the three hour mini-series and three seasons of episodes over a month period. A downtime between work-related projects had its perks. The most surprising aspect was the quality of writing for a sci-fi series. Joss Whedon’s Firefly certainly raised the bar and their are easter eggs connecting the two series, due to Zoic Studios working on the visual effects for both. There is a Battlestar Wiki for all your nerd needs. Now onto the spoilers.