Strippers! Guns! Billy Dee Williams! Combine them together, add water and you’ve got one of the best Lost openings ever. One of the highlights of a surprisingly good episode featured a focus on two of the show’s initially-superfluous, Barbie & Ken guest stars, Nikki and Paulo. And “we all know what happens to guest stars,” don’t we? The standard conceit of the expendable guest star meeting their untimely demise is nothing new on the show, as Dr. Arzt the science teacher, Colleen the significant “Other,” the Captain of Flight 815, Kelvin Inman, and even Boone & Shannon can all attest to.
Anyway, what Paulo and Nikki may not have in common with those ill-fated characters is a moral compass. We quickly discover their capacity for dastardly activity, poisoning a wealthy Australian TV producer they’ve been conning in order to steal an $8 million bag of diamonds. I don’t think they made Jacob’s list. And they seem to meet a fitting fate, one right out of a Hitchcock movie or Twilight Zone episode, being buried alive. I wasn’t sure the writers would have the balls to actually go through with it (shades of Charlie’s aborted death by hanging in season one), but that was a heckuva moment to end the show with. Creep City, amirite?! I suppose we might see them again at some point, perhaps when Cerberus gets bored appearing as Locke’s father, but for now Paulo & Nikki will be long-remembered for their gruesome exit from the show and perhaps transcend the category of “throwaway guest star.” Though, they were pretty much thrown away, weren’t they?
Two behind-the-scenes clips from on-set shooting of i ♥ huckabees recently made their way onto the ‘Net, and I feel it’s my duty to join the 687,334 other blogs on the web and post them here. I hope you enjoy the pretentious brats yelling as much as I did.
In 2007, two videos were leaked onto YouTube revealing major on-set arguments between David O. Russell and Lily Tomlin. The first video is footage of a scene in a car containing Tomlin, Dustin Hoffman and Isabelle Huppert in the front of the car with Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts in the back seat. Russell cannot be heard, but Tomlin is repeatedly shouting angrily at Russell’s direction. At one point, Tomlin attempts to get out of the car; at another, she berates Watts and Hoffman. The other actors in the scene remain mostly silent throughout the video, except Hoffman, who suggests they carry on shooting the scene. The car scene was never used in the final film.
Headache + sleep deprivation = bullet points.
In the interests of focus however, we do finally seem to have a clear picture of the purpose behind Locke’s actions, even if John himself isn’t quite sure what the proverbial finish line holds. He realizes he serves at the pleasure of the Island, and will do whatever is necessary to live by the precepts he thinks his environment is dictating to him. An obvious allegory to mankind living in harmony with the world around it, Locke is the conservationist Greenpeace to Ben’s consumptionist Wal-Mart. (That comparison works, right?) Nurture the earth, and it’ll nurture you. So, if you happen to break your back, just pick up some litter and Mother Nature will have you walking inside of a week!
Anyway, we know Locke is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the Island and his place on it–but just how far would he go? And is he preserving the Island, or the more selfish preservation of his miraculous recovery from paralysis?
Whichever, Locke/Terry O’Quinn continues to be my favorite part of the show. The Locke-centric episodes, along with Desmond’s, have been by far the most entertaining and interesting of the series. The writers really seem to get up for writing this particular character, and O’Quinn is equal to the task every time. More, please.
director: Shane Black
starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan
Writer/director Shane Black, who I’ll always remember fondly from his role as Sgt. Hawkins in Predator, has had a solid career as a screenwriter in Hollywood, most notably penning the Lethal Weapon movies. He’s a great writer, though his strengths lean more toward snappy dialogue than coherent plotting. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a perfect example of that strength and weakness. It’s got dialogue so crisp and entertaining that you’ll be repeating lines well after seeing the film, but a meandering mess of a plot that one will struggle to make sense of well after seeing the film.
The actors certainly appear to be having a great time with all that dialogue as well. Downey, Jr. and Kilmer deliver their lines with such obvious enthusiasm that everyday life on the set must’ve been a hoot.
We now pause for reflection after such blindingly fantastic use of the word, “hoot.”
I don’t have much to say about the “rescue by seagull” plot this week, so let’s get to something I’m more interested in: Locke and “The List.” Locke’s always been a guy to march to the beat of his own drum, one that seemed to be in tune with embracing the Island and its will. But that drumbeat is beginning to sound a lot like that of the Others. He knowingly set off the explosives that destroyed The Flame, he willingly sacrificed Mikhail to the barracks defense perimeter, but what really stood out to me was Mikhail’s discussion of “The List.” We’ve heard mentions of this List since season one. The kids taken by the Others were on The List; a number of the Tail section survivors were on a list; Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer were on a list. I’ll have to confirm this, but I believe an Other mentioned that Locke was on a list at one time as well. [edit: Ben told Locke [the Others] were coming to get him back in season two. He’s on their list. Thanks to Jombi.]
director: Richard Donner
starring: Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Jenna Stern
Richard Donner is a solid director with a great track record. The Lethal Weapon series. The Goonies. Conspiracy Theory. Die Hard With A Vengeance. Superman. He’s directing? Sign me up. 16 Blocks is by no means a black mark on his resume, but it ain’t Shakespeare either. Not that any of his films have been; he has a penchant for making smart, gritty action flicks that inject generous amounts of humor into the characters. 16 Blocks, while entertaining, is missing some of the humorous spirit and “smartness” that have made his previous films so enjoyably memorable.
Our plot features a broken-down alcoholic of a police detective in the twilight of his career (Willis) tasked with transporting a witness (Mos Def) in protective custody sixteen blocks (get it?!) to the courthouse so he can testify in a high-profile trial. Hilarity ensues as we find out Def is going to be testifying against a number of NYPD police detectives implicated in all manner of corrupt ventures. I leave the rest of the plot up to you, the viewer, to discover for yourself.
director: Zack Snyder
starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham
AAARRRGGHHHHHH!!!! THIS SHALL BE MY REVIEW OF THE NEW FILM 300, FEATURING ALL MANNER OF BRUTAL SLAUGHTER AT THE HANDS OF MIGHTY SPARTAAAAAA! YOU CAN ONLY BOW DOWN AND TREMBLE BEFORE THE MIGHT OF MY LITERARY WIZARDRY AS I BLOW YOUR MIND WITH MY BOMBASTIC PROSE! I ESPECIALLY LIKED DIRECTOR ZACK SNYDER’S USE OF SHADOWING TO HIGHLIGHT THEMATIC SHIFTS IN TONE!
If that’s a movie review on steroids, 300 is the film equivalent, ratcheting up testosterone levels to the point the male members of the audience are ready to start leaping over theater seats to do battle with one another, as King Leonidas leads his squad of 300 Spartans against the million-fold hordes of the Persian Empire in the legendary Battle of Thermopylae. If you’re looking for a history lesson, however, you may want to flip on the History Channel. 300 is more about romanticized sword-wielding and skull-bashing than accurately recounting one of the great battles in history. There’s lots of yelling and bloodletting and boobies, everything the modern American male needs, amirite? I’m guessing the ladies won’t mind the visuals either, as every male actor seems to have undergone a high-impact training regimen led by Arnold Schwarzenegger.