My Top 8 Favorite Scenes from “Lost”, Season 1 (Part 2)

•January 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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As I mentioned yesterday, I tried to do a quick Top 8 for Lost altogether, but after reviewing the seasons I realized there was no way that was going to be enough. I made a judgment call: I could either try to cut it down, which would be about as hard for me as cutting off my own hand, or I could just do it for each season. Obviously my hands were tied.

Season 1 of Lost is largely regarded as the best, which is understandable. All of the characters were fresh. Everyone was dying to know what was inside the hatch. Watching the Pilot, it was easy to see how large the scope of the show would be, and how it would continue to deliver excellent entertainment on a cinematic level week after week. Personally, I love them all, but Season 1 stands out as a landmark in television history.

#8-#5 can be found here.

#4 – The Raft Sets Sail (Exodus, Part 1)

raft3What Happened: After spending half of the season building and rebuilding the raft that would hopefully get them rescued, Michael, Walt, Sawyer, and Jin finally set sail in the first part of the season finale. There is an emotional goodbye from everyone and even Vincent, the yellow lab, chases after the raft as it floats towards salvation. If only they knew.

Why It’s Great: Lost is an awfully dark show, and even though we kind of had a feeling that the raft wasn’t going to get them rescued, it was a highlight of the season to have such a happy moment between all the characters that had been fighting all season long. As with #5, Giacchino’s score elevated this scene greatly. Vincent doggy paddling towards the raft with Walt telling him to go back was sappy, but it totally worked. The aerial shots of the island coast and the raft were also quite beautiful.

#3 – The Hatch Is Opened (Exodus, Part 2)

hatchladderWhat Happened: After Locke, Jack, Kate, and Hurley return with the dynamite they gathered from the Black Rock they return to the hatch to try to finally blast it open. After setting the dynamite, Hurley trips and sees that The Numbers are engraved in the hatch and begs them not to light the fuse. Locke ignores his pleas and lights it. Hurley runs towards the dynamite trying to stomp out the fuse, but Jack tackles him. After the explosion Locke and Jack approach, move the demolish hatch door out of the way, and peer down into the seemingly endless abyss. The numbers are bad.

Why It’s Great: This was the moment audiences were waiting the entire season for. Everyone was asking “What’s in the hatch?” In fact, I remember hearing about this before I had any interest in the show, if that’s any indication. The fact that John lit the fuse despite Hurley’s  vehement requests not to foreshadows how far Locke would go to do what the Island asks of him. This is also the birth of the rivalry between Locke and Jack that would follow through the rest of the show. This scene qualifies as one of the best cliffhangers ever, in my opinion. Sure we didn’t truly find out was was in the hatch until the next season, but anyone watching knew that this was the next chapter in the Lost saga, and they couldn’t wait for Season 2.

#2 – “Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do” (Walkabout)lockeschair

What Happened: While attempting to go on a walkabout tour in Australia (at the suggestion of Abbadon!), Locke is rejected by the tour guide because of his “condition”. Locke gets angry and screams, “Don’t ever tell me what I can’t do, ever,” which would become a mantra for the character and the show. As the camera pulls around we see that John Locke is wheelchair bound, and that he took his first steps in 4 years after the crash of Flight 815. “A miracle happened to him.”

Why It’s Great: Oh, wow. What isn’t great about this? I still get chills every time I see it. Locke’s theme, called “Locke’d Out Again,” carries the emotional weight of this reveal, which was also used in #5. It gives such a fantastic depth to the character. So much of the episode is built on making you feel sympathetic for John, but in the closing shot as John smiles looking at his vacant wheelchair, you can’t help but feel proud. We realize that the island isn’t a place where weird things occur. It’s the vertex of destiny.

#1 – Crash Chaos (Pilot, Part 1)

crashchaos

What Happened: A man in a suit wakes up in a jungle. He runs towards the beach and the sounds of screaming and whirring engines. He arrives and he understands: he’s the survivor of a plane crash. He follows his instincts and helps as many people as possible, though it is no easy task. His name is Jack, and he will become the leader of the castaways.

Why It’s Great: The very first scene of Lost is also one of the most exciting scenes in the show’s history, and it’s a great example of Murphy’s Law. We are introduced to most of our main characters, most notably Jack, who puts his doctor muscles into full action. This scene is great because it really showed that there were no limits as to how far this show would go. It would have been so easy (and cheaper) for the show to avoid using a crash site, or use computer animation, but it didn’t, and that was a major benefit. The subtlety as Jack walks past the engine, before we see the crash site, is a testament to the show’s brilliant writing and direction. There are movies that don’t look this good.

Hope you all enjoyed Season 1. Season 2 will be up sometime in the next few days.

My Top 8 Favorite Scenes from “Lost”, Season 1 (Part 1)

•January 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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I’m not a Skater, or a Jater. I don’t care about who Kate finally decides to end up with. I don’t gush about how adorable Charlie and Claire were as a couple (they were…)

What I do care about are sentient smoke clouds. I care about time travel. I care about how they get back.

It’s not news to anyone who knows me that I’m a huge Lost addict. It has become a huge influence and inspiration for me as a writer. I started watching at the conclusion of the third season and I haven’t looked back. I started listening to fan podcasts (Jay and Jack are essential), I started reading analysis books, and Lostpedia became my new home. While I do regret not being there for the early years, I think most would agree that it’s never been a better time to be a fan of Lost, and it’s never too late to start.

In exactly two weeks Lost will be making its long awaited return. In anticipation of this event, I decided I would like to do something fun for both myself and people who enjoy this kind of thing. Because 4 seemed too few, and 15 seemed like too much, I decided I would go over my top 8 favorite scenes in each season of Lost. I tried to do 8 total, but it just wasn’t enough. First up, Season 1. Enjoy.

#8 – Charlie Hangs Around (All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues)

charliehang1

What Happened: After Charlie and Claire are kidnapped by the unspeakably eerie Other, Ethan Rom, Jack, Kate, Boone and Locke attempt to track Ethan in order to save their friends. The trail splits and the group decides to separate. Kate and Jack eventually find Charlie hanging by his neck from the surrounding trees. The two frantically attempt to cut him down as he’s dying, and eventually succeed. Jack desperately attempts CPR, but it seems to be no use. After almost giving up, he attempts one more time and Charlie springs back to life in what appears to be a miracle. Talk about tension.

Why It’s Great: Not only do we see how truly brutal and powerful the Others are for the first time, we’re also completely convinced that Charlie has bitten the dust. Before this, The Others were simply a mysterious presence. After, it’s clear that they are not only hostile, but merciless as well. The cinematography of this scene is also noteworthy. This shot (above) is a striking example of how Lost can blend beauty and horror, a quality that has become a trademark of the series.

#7 – “It’s a….polar bear?” (Pilot, Part 2)

polarbear

What Happened: Kate and Sayid initiate a hike up a mountain so that they might be able to use the tranciever to signal for rescue. They enlist Boone, Shannon, Sawyer, and Charlie. On the way, they hear a rustling in the jungle and suspect it might be the same thing that “killed the pilot.” They run, but Sawyer stays behind and waits for the unknown to approach. He pulls out a concealed pistol and unloads into the beast, which jumps and dies at his feet. Thank god for con-men.

Why It’s Great: Aside from the monster, which was kind of a given, this was the first major mindfuck of the entire series. In addition, it’s also what hooked me for good. Everyone in the world who saw this either said “OMG WTF”, or changed the channel, though I guess it’s possible you did both. If you were the former, I salute you. You knew you were in for a ride. This was the official moment the internet exploded with theories. We eventually found out why the polar bears were there (mostly), but the wonderment this delivered is iconic, without a doubt.

#6 – “Iteration 17294530” (Pilot, Part 2)

distresssignal

What Happened: When the aformentioned group reaches the summit of the mountain, they attempt to use the tranceiver. It is then they find there is an interference. Another signal is broadcasting from the island. They pick up the frequency and hear a french woman say, “Si qui que ce soit puisse entendre ceci, ils sont morts. Veuillez nous aider,” followed by a robotic counter saying, “Iteration 17294530.” Translation: “If anybody can hear this, they are dead. Please help us,” and it’s been on a loop for 16 years… “Guys…where are we?”

Why it’s Great: This scene set the momentum for the rest of the series. Everything about it is just plain creepy, there is really no other way to put it. The looks on the castaways’s faces as they realize they’re going to be on this island longer than planned sets a perfect tone. It also set up so many questions. There are/were others on the island? Who are “they”? How did they die? Why has no one come? And then everyone realized: This isn’t Gilligan’s Island. This is hell.

#5 – A Sign From Below (Deus Ex Machina)

hatchlight

What Happened: At the end of this phenomenal episode, we see a broken John Locke, after the mortal wounding of his only friend on the island, Boone. “I’ve done everything you’ve wanted me to do! So why did you do this? Why!?” he cries to the island while pounding on the hatch door. Just as it seems as though John’s faith in the island is lost, on comes a light from inside of the hatch. This sign restored Locke’s faith and assured him he was doing the right thing. What he saw “was beautiful.”

Why It’s Great: Thanks to Michael Giacchino’s amazing score, and the flashbacks featured in this episode, this is easily one of the most powerful scenes in Lost. The truly brilliant thing about this is that John Locke wasn’t the only person who was saved when this occured, as we would find out in season 2. Not only did it give Locke the assurance he needed to continue, it established him as one of the most important characters of the series, and my personal favorite.

Part 2 of Season 1 will be up tomorrow. EDIT: Part 2 is now up.

Forgotten, but not gone.

•October 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Yeah, things have been slow on the western front. Everyone is back in school, getting owned by exams and the like. The blog is not finished, however. There are going to be a few articles coming up that I feel should be pretty interesting…I just have to get writing them. For those of you who do keep checking back, thank you.

Welcome Home: A Review of the Three New Metallica Songs

•August 27, 2008 • 1 Comment

I guess it’s a good thing I’m a little late, as Metallica released ANOTHER single, “My Apocalypse”, just days after their first single, “The Day That Never Comes.” Now, to be fair, I should tell you that I’m a huge Metallica fan. I’ve appreciated all their work, including Load and Reload, and I can even understand why St. Anger sounds the way it does. This is not to say that they’re my favorite albums, that I listen to them, or that I even really like them. In fact, I probably haven’t listened to St. Anger in full since 2003, probably due to the headaches induced by my cringing. The point is, I’m not a “Metallica hater,” but neither am I a “sheep.” I don’t claim that every song on Load is golden, and at the same time, I think “Until it Sleeps” is really badass. So, I will try to be as objective and critical as possible.

“Cyanide“:

This was the public’s first taste of Death Magnetic, debuted at this year’s Ozzfest in Dallas, Texas. After the reaction to St. Anger five years earlier, Metallica had A LOT to prove to the skeptics. When you have a band that likes to change their style as much as Metallica, you almost always have someone bashing them for something, but this was different. After their rockumentary, “Some Kind of Monster” was released in 2003, along with St. Anger, a lot of people who were on the fence about Metallica finally jumped off to the other side. Not only did it seem as though the band had lost their energy and run out of ideas, but the music they put out basically proved it. The bashers finally had a real foot to step on, musically. Napster, the haircuts, and the change in musical interest were bad enough but now, Metallica had officially handed their harshest critics the weapon to kill them with. Until now.

“Cyanide” is probably the grooviest thing Metallica has ever come out with. And I mean that literally, not in the 70’s slang way. Right off the bat it kick-starts with some wah-fueled guitar riffage and jumps right into a bass riff that carries most of the tune. It has some definite callbacks to their earlier work. Lot’s of chugging palm-muted stuff, time changes, a killer solo, and instrumental breaks. It’s quite fast, and definitely heavy. There’s some new stuff too. There is a distinct middle-eastern sound to a lot of the riffs, and especially during the soft, “Say, is that rain” section. Also, the bass guitar is prominent throughout, not just in certain parts, as in “My Friend of Misery” or “Orion”. This is of no disrespect to the late, great Cliff Burton, it’s simply a different style of writing. The drums sound really great too, especially during the chorus.

The song does have it’s faults, though. For one, the lyrics are quite corny. “Suicide / I’ve already died / It’s just the funeral I’ve been waiting for” is repeated throughout. Many fans can easily look past it, but a lot of people are going to mock it too. Luckily, the catchiness of it all makes up for it. Also, James’ voice doesn’t seem to have improved much since 1996, but I am judging a live version of the song, so the studio version may be better. Finally, the structure of the song seems quite confused, and would be difficult to map out mentally.

All in all, “Cyanide” should get your blood pumping. It has a lot of catchy hooks, a fast, bouncing groove, and the energy Metallica seems to have been missing for a long time. That said, I can easily seeing it being one of the more mediocre songs on the album, especially compared to the two other songs that have been released.

8 out of 10

“The Day That Never Comes”:


“The Day That Never Comes” is the first official single released for Death Magnetic, released on August 21. I supposed the best way to describe this song would be to call it a “modern-day ‘One'” but that’s not entirely accurate. This song starts with an arpeggiated chord progression, and a very prog-sounding lead guitar. In this aspect it is very much like other Metallica ballads like “Fade to Black,” or “Sanitarium.” It then segues into another arpeggiated riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on Load or Reload, mixed with the guitar tone of “One”. Hetfield’s vocals come in with their patented bit of soul found on songs like “The Unforgiven II.” It has a build up to a heavy chorus that has quite a bit of emotional weight behind it, unlike “Cyanide”. This goes on until about halfway through the song when it all breaks lose in typical Metallica ballad style. Again, in the fashion of “One,” Kirk and James break out the tremolo open E, which afterwards goes into a great sounding harmonic lead that sounds like a tribute to Iron Maiden. Afterwards is a hammer-on and time change marathon, while Kirk solos until the song ends in a drum roll.

What I loved most about this song was that it seems to totally capture the essence of Metallica’s career. It doesn’t sound like new or old Metallica, it sounds like a mix. It sounds as though Metallica has finally settled on who they are as a band and found a way to blend their aspects. The lyrics are heartfelt, and mellow, but it has the power of a song that could be found on …And Justice For All. It’s 8 minutes long, but never feels like it drags. You’re always excited to hear where it will go next. And James and Kirk shine on it much moreso than they did on “Cyanide” which was largely a Rob and Lars showpiece.

The weakest point of this song is probably James’ voice. It sounds great during the verse and chorus, but sounds especially weak during the “This I swear / The sun will shine” break. The bass also doesn’t stand out very much, which seems like a waste of Rob’s talent, especially compared to how well it worked on “Cyanide”.

These flaws are all very minor in what is otherwise a great song.

9 out of 10

“My Apocalypse”:

Unexpectedly, Metallica released “My Apocalypse” at 12:30 AM on Monday, August 25 online, and revealed that they would continue to release new songs every Monday until the the album came out on September 12. Not only did the surprising release catch everyone off guard, but so did the music. It is easily Metallica’s thrashiest offering in 20 years.

“My Apocalypse” starts with a riff reminiscent of “Harvester of Sorrow,” complete with the battle-march drums. It smoothly transitions into a thrash beat and off the song goes. It truly sounds like something off of Kill ’em All. The chorus has a strong fist-pumping quality about it, and sounds a lot more like newer Metallica than the rest of it, which is a good thing. It doesn’t sound like a rehash, it sounds fresh. At 1:55, a Slayer-eque riff starts, which James barks short, rhyming phrases over. After a blistering Kill ’em All style solo, the song goes back to verse, chorus, and ends with a variation of “Awaken my apocalypse!”

I have to admit, I didn’t think Metallica even had this in them anymore. I was obviously wrong, as I’m sure many others were too. It seems as though it was never about not being able to do it, it was actually about choosing not to do it. Metallica wanted to move on, and now they feel comfortable revisiting their old territory, and they did it well. It sounds like a mix of Kill ’em All and …And Justice For All. Hetfield’s vocals sound the best they have in years, and even bring to mind Tom Araya of Slayer, most notably during the “Crushing metal / Ripping skin / Tossing body / Mannequin / Spilling blood / Bleeding gas” portion. The guitars and drums are fast, and Rob is keeping up with them well.

This will get your head banging. Ironically, what may be the best song on the album is also the shortest at 5:01. If the rest of the album can stand up to this, the fans who have stuck with Metallica through thick and thin are going to be rewarded.

10 out of 10

Reviews of the two new Metallica songs coming soon…

•August 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Yeah, it probably could have been done yesterday, or Thursday, but it’s coming, probably sometime late tonight. Stay tuned.

Movie Review: Tropic Thunder

•August 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

These are the dudes, playing the dudes, playing the other dudes.

Let me start by saying that the trailer for this film did it absolutely no justice.

I had probably first heard about Tropic Thunder in Entertainment Weekly a few months ago, and at the time I was most impressed with its high caliber and diverse star power. I can’t say I was dying to see it, but it was definitely something I planned to look out for. During The Dark Knight, I first saw the trailer for it, and while I was definitely amused, I think at that point I had officially decided it would be a renter. Boy, I’m glad I didn’t wait that long.

Last night, Been Bad’s very own Ricky Lorenzo proposed that we see the 9:10 PM showing of Tropic Thunder. It seemed like a good enough idea, as I planned on seeing it eventually, so off we went.

The premise is this: A group of ragtag actors; an action star, a comedian, a method actor, a rapper-turned-actor, and a no-name extra are filming the most expensive Vietnam War film in history, and failing miserably. With the studio executive Les Grossman, impressively played by Tom Cruise, breathing down the director’s neck about what’s happening with his money, Vietnam vet Fourleaf Tayback (Nick Nolte) believes drastic measures must be taken. He and director Damien Cockburn plan to get an authentic approach to their film by planting the actors in the middle of the Vietnam jungle and scaring them with some strategically placed explosives. And thats when things go awry.

Surprisingly, as hokey as the whole thing sounds, it holds up during the film surprisingly well, and it actually comes off as a pretty damn cool story. It’s nice to have something off-the-wall in a world where comedy is soggy with the drama-coms of Apatow. The characters are obviously caricatures, but are incredibly endearing despite their exaggerated flaws and egos. The cinematography lends A LOT to the humor, and believe me when I say that. I don’t want to give away too much, but there’s a scene in which an animal attacks that’s a perfect example of what I’m saying.

To be honest, I had no idea that Ben Stiller co-wrote and directed this film. When his name popped up at the end of the movie, I’m almost positive I had a shocked expression on my face. I am totally impressed with his effort on this movie. I haven’t seen Reality Bites, but I wasn’t very impressed with Zoolander, which had its moments, but really wasn’t anything special. This is special.

The most enjoyable part of this film has to be the performances. Everyone was great, especially Robert Downey Jr. Who the hell knew he could be that funny? Sure, he’s sarcastically funny in interviews, and he was similarly funny in Iron Man, but Tropic Thunder really allowed him flex his funny bone. There are several moments in the film where even a simple look or gesture he made could evoke laughter, and that’s a quality a lot of today’s professional comic actors don’t even have. Ben Stiller was pretty much the same as usual, which is good, but overall he seemed to be playing himself, playing an action star. Nothing too far outside the box for him, but still funny. Jack Black was great, especially during the faux-trailers during the beginning. You’ll have to see it to see what I mean, but it’s a spot-on parody of a certain fat-suit wearing SNL alumni. Jay Baruchel, who you may recognize from the short-lived Fox show Undeclared, or Knocked Up, was also a strong point as the straight-man in a group full of self-important actors. Brandon Jackson and Nick Nolte also carried their roles completely believably.

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the controversy this film has caused due to its “insensitive portrayal of the mentally handicapped” and “blackface routine.” Let me just say, if you’re offended by this movie, you’re an idiot. Yeah, I said it. If you don’t like it, send me hatemail, I like it. Not only are you an idiot, but you’re completely missing the point. I’m as sympathetic as the next guy to the handicapped, and I wouldn’t consider myself a racist either, but I laughed, and I laughed fucking hard. This movie isn’t trying to oppress anyone, it’s merely a satire of actors and the lengths they will go to portray a character. The joke is always on the actors. Maybe if you actually see the movie you’ll realize that. Find something real to complain about, like the war in Iraq, or gas prices. Leave comedy alone, and stop being so damn self-righteous.

Anyway, rant aside, Tropic Thunder is hysterical. Not only is it the best comedy since Superbad, but it’s one of the best films this year. If you’re thinking about going to see it, stop thinking and go. It’s funnier than you think.

9 out of 10

Been Bad has Been Late

•August 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Hey everyone, as you very well know, things have been a little dead here on Been Bad for the past couple weeks due to some conflicting schedules/laziness. No podcast, no articles, no nothing. Well, the drought is over my friends. Ricky and I saw Tropic Thunder tonight and I will be writing a full review tomorrow. Other than that, most things are the same, and all is well.