Author: Larry


    One of the easiest ways to get the audience on your side right away is to put a little kid into jeopardy. Parents will freak out and join the story right away for obvious reasons, and everyone else recognizes the drama inherent when there is an innocent in trouble. But it’s a cheat. It’s like Brad Pitt showing up on Friends during sweeps week; it’s like having a 20 year old Dominican pitching your Little League game. It happens, and the that’s how the world works, but folks paying attention find it distasteful nonetheless.


    One of the things that most Lost wannabes fell short on was the big splash in the first ten minutes. When the inciting mystery of The Event could be figured out just from the marketing in the months before the show aired, that doesn’t really bode well for mystery fans. Threshold, Surface… there was so much odd stuff happening before I knew anything about the characters it was just hard to see anything in it other than show runners trying to parse why everyone loved Lost so much. It’s the smoke monster and the time travel and onion-layer of the mystery, right? Where those previous shows missed the boat is obvious: they were trying to replicate the commercial success of Lost without understanding why the story resonated with the audience, first.


    My old buddy at MTV, Kurt Loder, wrote this as his opening paragraph in his review of Sucker Punch: “If you had to explain Sucker Punch to someone—and I’d wish you luck in doing so—you might say it’s sort of like Charlie’s Angels, but with two more Angels added, as well as an infusion of Nazi zombies, airplane-eating dragons, various lumbering behemoths, and whole cities in flame. Which is to say, it’s not really like Charlie’s Angels at all. Or anything else I can think of offhand.”


    The trailer for the new X-Men movie was released yesterday, and it actually looks quite good. This doesn’t tell any long-time readers of my stuff anything, though, because it is well-known that I am easily entertained. I know how hard it is to produce a good story in a collaborative medium, and I know well-intentioned creators don’t wake up in the morning, enthusiastically greeting the day so they can half-ass some story for you. So I try to find things to like in even obviously weak or failed entertainments, because somebody was working hard even if it all doesn’t come together at the end.


    We have a little boy who is very curious, and one of the best things I get to do is answer his questions. He’s learning the days of the week now, and has sorted them into “school days” and “Mommy and Daddy days.” So he told me that Sunday was named after the sun, and Monday was named after the moon. I had already told him Thursday was named after Thor, because he’s pretty well-versed in the pantheon of Marvel heroes and DC Super Friends already, but he wanted to know about Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. And I hadn’t really thought about that for forty years, I’m guessing. I’m sure at one time I had looked it up in the Funk and Wagnall’s, because I had a thought that Wednesday was named after Odin, but I blanked on the rest.


    The missus and I were commenting on how great the teaser is in the structure of most Doctor Who episodes, and what really makes it work is the awesome eeeeeoooorrrooowww sting that caps the scene and starts the theme song:


    Just hate it, like that pic up-top, there, of The Doctor from Doctor Who in a First Contact-era Starfleet uniform. That’s some obvious fan-fiction I think is just sort of unnecessary. On the other hand, the distinction seems pretty nebulous, what with things like Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic being pretty obviously Buckaroo Banzai: Against the World Crime League underwater, and at least two professional comic book writers launching their careers because they wrote entertaining slash fiction, or whatever. Honestly, I don’t even know, because I hate fan fiction.


    Faithful readers of the Lost-era Spectacularry will well remember EJ Feddes, he of the erudite mien and scapel-like deftness of pen. Having traded a bunch of emails with the lad, I felt confident enough after having seen Inception to send him a missive unto the ether and tell him he’d probably love it, too:


    I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the last episode of Lost, what that means for how I interacted with Season Six as an audience member, and how that colors how I feel about the series as a whole. Superficially, I can tell you I still enjoyed my time with it, but as of right this second I feel like my pal John Singh: “it’s beginning to get me really upset that the Lost folks have turned their back on the whole thing. They (the producers) won’t talk about it, won’t admit that they didn’t cover basics (like, ‘Why Tunisia?’) and won’t cop to any sort of acknowledgement of the disappointment some of us feel. So, rather than build my devotion and faith in Lost, they’re losing it by leaving it to the fans to sort this all out with even MORE wild theories, none of which will ever be supported (or disproved) by anything they say, apparently. SIMPLY PUT: I was in love. They changed and became something I couldn’t recognize. I am resentful of this, and I don’t know if I love them anymore.”


    It may come as no surprise to those who know me well that I am a big ol’ romantic sap. I will take hearts and flowers over broads and bullets any day, no matter how much I may personally enjoy the action and the adventure. Those who nod sagely at this “Dichotomy of Lar” may well remember the story I did in Proof of Concept called “Zombie Dinosaur.” Now, clearly, given my proclivities, a story with “zombie” and “dinosaur” in the title (and even right next to each other) puts an undeniable taste on the audience’s tongue. And, yes, because I deliver as promised, there were undead T-Rex’s rampaging about the landscape. But the main point of the story (to me at least) was the main scientist asking the main soldier about the wedding ring he took and put on a chain around his neck every time he made a drop.