Nagle. Hribar. Oscars. Part III.

Who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition? Like last year and the year before, my friend @nagle and I made Oscar predictions. I’ll update this throughout the evening as winners are announced. Two years ago, I beat him by one point. Last year, we tied. This year, if the trend continues, he should beat me by one point. Given our predictions differ in two categories, that just might happen.

UPDATE: Another tie. Well done, sir. Well done.

Nagle: 20
Hribar: 20

Below is a breakdown of each category with the winners in bold.

—BEST PICTURE—
Nagle: Birdman
Hribar: Birdman

—ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE—
Nagle: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Hribar: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

—ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE—
Nagle: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Hribar: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

—ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE—
Nagle: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Hribar: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

—ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE—
Nagle: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Hribar: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

—ANIMATED FEATURE FILM—
Nagle: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Hribar: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Neither: Big Hero 6

—CINEMATOGRAPHY—
Nagle: Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Hribar: Birdman (Emmanuel Lubezki)

—COSTUME DESIGN—
Nagle: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hribar: The Grand Budapest Hotel

—DIRECTING—
Nagle: Birdman (Alejandro Iñárritu)
Hribar: Boyhood (Richard Linklater)

—DOCUMENTARY FEATURE—
Nagle: Citizenfour
Hribar: Citizenfour

—DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT—
Nagle: Crisis Hotline
Hribar: Crisis Hotline

—FILM EDITING—
Nagle: Boyhood
Hribar: Boyhood
Neither: Whiplash

—FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM—
Nagle: Ida
Hribar: Ida

—MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING—
Nagle: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hribar: The Grand Budapest Hotel

—MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)—
Nagle: The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
Hribar: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexandre Desplat)

—MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)—
Nagle: “Glory” from Selma
Hribar: “Glory” from Selma

—PRODUCTION DESIGN—
Nagle: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hribar: The Grand Budapest Hotel

—SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)—
Nagle: Feast
Hribar: Feast

—SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)—
Nagle: The Phone Call
Hribar: The Phone Call

—SOUND EDITING—
Nagle: American Sniper
Hribar: American Sniper

—SOUND MIXING—
Nagle: Whiplash
Hribar: Whiplash

—VISUAL EFFECTS—
Nagle: Interstellar
Hribar: Interstellar

—WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)—
Nagle: The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
Hribar: The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)

—WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)—
Nagle: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness)
Hribar: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness)
Neither: Birdman

Nagle. Hribar. Oscars.

Who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition? Like last year, my friend @nagle and I made our Oscar predictions. The final score:

Nagle: 20
Hribar: 20

Below is a breakdown of each category with the winners in bold. Until next year!

BEST PICTURE
Nagle: 12 Years a Slave
Hribar: 12 Years a Slave

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Nagle: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Hribar: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nagle: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Hribar: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Nagle: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Hribar: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nagle: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Hribar: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Nagle: Frozen
Hribar: Frozen

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nagle: Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Hribar: Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)

COSTUME DESIGN
Nagle: The Great Gatsby
Hribar: 12 Years a Slave

DIRECTING
Nagle: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Hribar: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nagle: The Act of Killing
Hribar: The Act of Killing
Neither: 20 Feet from Stardom

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Nagle: The Lady in Number 6
Hribar: The Lady in Number 6

FILM EDITING
Nagle: Captain Phillips
Hribar: Gravity

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nagle: The Broken Circle Breakdown
Hribar: The Great Beauty

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Nagle: Dallas Buyers Club
Hribar: Dallas Buyers Club

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Nagle: Gravity (Steven Price)
Hribar: Gravity (Steven Price)

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Nagle: “Let It Go” from Frozen
Hribar: “Let It Go” from Frozen

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Nagle: The Great Gatsby
Hribar: The Great Gatsby

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Nagle: Get a Horse
Hribar: Get a Horse
Neither: Mr. Hublot

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
Nagle: Helium
Hribar: The Voorman Problem

SOUND EDITING
Nagle: Gravity
Hribar: Gravity

SOUND MIXING
Nagle: Gravity
Hribar: Gravity

VISUAL EFFECTS
Nagle: Gravity
Hribar: Gravity

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Nagle: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)
Hribar: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Nagle: Her (Spike Jonze)
Hribar: Her (Spike Jonze)

And the Oscar for Best Picture Goes To

After 12 Years a Slave to arthritis, Philomena, once an accomplished ballroom dancer, succumbed to the Gravity of Her situation and stopped dancing. Today, though, she was feeling the itch to dance again as she journeyed from Nebraska to the Dallas Buyers Club of New and Used Dance Shoes to meet some old friends.

Acquainted with the aged former star, the pilot of the flight she was on exclaimed as she boarded, “Why if it isn’t The Wolf of Wall Street on my flight today.” (She earned her nickname because the dance studio she belonged to was in the financial district and competitors said the unassuming woman who dominated the competitions was like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.) She replied, “Oh, Captain Phillips! So nice to see you again.”

After the flight, he asked for a dance. As they spun around while dancing the American Hustle, she started leading him. Noting his surprise, she whispered in his ear, “I’m the captain now.”

Once again this year, I did my Oscars homework and watched each of the films nominated for Best Picture prior to the Oscars telecast. And like last year, I posted a review on Letterboxd after viewing each film.

Here are my reviews of the nine nominated films ranked by my level of enjoyment of them.

9. 12 Years a Slave:

A well-made, difficult-to-watch look into this dark and disgusting chapter of American history. Well made, but not something I ultimately enjoyed. The cast—particularly Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong’o—was superb.

One point in particular, though, left me wanting. After being subjected to horror after horror, I wanted something more substantial in an ending. While Solomon’s actual story may have been this anti-climactic, I felt the resolution seemed too enabled by a deus ex machina in Brad Pitt’s character.

Other aspects, while not leaving me wanting, left me puzzled. For example, the woefully miscast Brad Pitt. I understand he was a producer on this film, but what was he doing in the film. The scene with Alfre Woodard seemed like it didn’t belong in the film. Was it the content of the scene? Was it the scene stylistically didn’t seem to fit? Several places during the film, the camera held on something or someone for just too long. Is this just Steve McQueen’s style? Was this to make a point of something? Was it to make the audience uncomfortable? And there’s Hans Zimmer’s score. I didn’t think the score was effective, and I am dumbfounded regarding the praise it has received. The score is barely there and barely musical, and the parts that are approachable are a(nother) rehash of his score for The Thin Red Line.

Ultimately, the film was a mixed success for me. As a film exploring this repulsive time in American history, the film succeeds. As an acting vehicle for Ejiofor, Fassbender, and Nyong’o, the film succeeds. But as a cinematic story and experience, too many elements kept me from fully embracing the film.

8. The Wolf of Wall Street:

As mentioned before, I have difficulty enjoying films that in any way sensationalize or trivialize the debauchery and douchebaggery of Wall Street. This film was no exception. Add to that the plodding nature of this film—and the ridiculous runtime—and you get a film I did not enjoy.

7. Dallas Buyers Club:

Another Best Picture nominee where performances in the film outshine the film itself. This film is all about Matthew McConaughey’s performance with a bonus in Jared Leto’s. Both are surely deserving of the accolades that have come and will be coming their way.

6. American Hustle:

A stellar, electric cast in a stylish-and-frenetic-but-sometimes-dragging caper.

5. Nebraska:

The message I took from this bleak-yet-funny film: get to know your loved ones while you still can.

4. Captain Phillips:

Knowing the outcome of this story arrested some of the suspense, but not knowing or forgetting many of the details boosted the suspense. And the end. Well done everybody.

3. Philomena:

Heartwarming and bittersweet. Dame Judi was a treat. (I’ll avoid any commentary on the Catholic Church because I have nothing nice to say.)

2. Gravity:

Wow.

Beautiful yet frightful. Expansive yet sparse. Vast yet claustrophobic. And all around, a visual masterpiece.

And might it be a sonic masterpiece as well? Both the sound effects (no sound in space until POV shots where we hear what the characters would hear in their suits) and the score were superbly rendered. Before I heard Steven Price’s excellent score, he was unknown to me, but now I look forward to hearing more from him.

Both the film and the score will be present on my end-of-the-year favorites list.

1. Her:

What defines love? Who determines who or what is capable of love? Or capable of being loved? These questions and more are posed by Spike Jonze’s terrific film. Both introspective and extrospective, the film is firmly rooted in all things melancholy—never does it become sappy, but never does it become depressing. But that melancholy is contrasted (complemented?) by the warmth of the production design (it’s almost like the these contrasting feelings are a play on Louis CK’s “Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy”). And, much to its credit, never does the film overtly take a stance on our technological fate: the film doesn’t make technology the savior nor the destructor.

What the film does, though, is examine relationships of all kinds—coworkers, friends, strangers, lovers—and posit we all are looking to connect to someone—or something—else. How do we find that connection? How do we keep that connection? Where do we go if we lose that connection?

These are the questions I found myself asking after seeing the film. But I suppose the biggest question I came away with was where do I download the Samantha voice for my iPhone?

Unlike the last two years, my favorite film of the year—Her—is amongst these nine nominees, but I still want to point out one of my favorites which you should all see:

The Way, Way Back:

My first 2013 film I can describe as thoroughly charming. And let me throw in heartwarming and comical. Sam Rockwell was a definite standout of this film. But Allison Janney was my highlight. The first several minutes of her performance exemplify why I love watching her.

And while I did love watching her and watching Her, it will be a film I did not love watching that will win Best Picture today: 12 Years a Slave. While I did not enjoy it, I can’t argue it is both worthy and well-made.

Yeah, Bitch! Lists!

Prior to the start of Breaking Bad’s second half of season five next month, I wanted to rewatch the entire series to be as fresh as possible with the show’s past events as I watched the final episodes. But I didn’t get started early enough, and by now, that’d just be crazy.

So instead, I looked through several best-of lists and compiled this list of best/most-popular episodes (thanks to @nagle for checking the list and catching one I left off). And for continuity, I included all episodes of the first half of season five. This will be my watchlist in anticipation of Heisenberg’s return.

And if you’d like to work through this list as well, you have, as of today, 28 days to watch 29 episodes. Tight but doable. I am the danger (to your free time).

1.1: “Pilot”
1.3: “…And the Bag’s in the River”
1.6: “Crazy Handful of Nothin’”
2.2: “Grilled”
2.6: “Peekaboo”
2.8: “Better Call Saul”
2.9: “4 Days Out”
2.12: “Phoenix”
2.13: “ABQ”
3.3: “I.F.T.”
3.6: “Sunset”
3.7: “One Minute”
3.10: “Fly”
3.12: “Half Measures”
3.13: “Full Measure”
4.1: “Box Cutter”
4.8: “Hermanos”
4.10: “Salud”
4.11: “Crawl Space”
4.12: “End Times”
4.13: “Face Off”
5.1: “Live Free or Die”
5.2: “Madrigal”
5.3: “Hazard Pay”
5.4: “Fifty-One”
5.5: “Dead Freight”
5.6: “Buyout”
5.7: “Say My Name”
5.8: “Gliding Over All”

Oscars Scorecard

Because I like to win things, I kept score between my friend Jon Nagle’s picks and my picks. The final results:

Nagle: 18
Me: 19

We wagered Best-Picture-nominee-themed art pieces. If I won, he would customize a Munny (like these of his) themed to the Best Picture nominee of my choice (like he did here when I tied him in his Oscars contest in 2010). And if he won, I would take and print a series of abstract photos around Hollywood representing each of the nine nominees.

I had a higher score which gave me the win, but because it was the result of a tie in the Sound Editing category, I will grant him his photo series. So, we’re both winners! Look for updates on the prizes in the future.

Below is a breakdown of each category. Winners in each category are in bold.

BEST PICTURE
Nagle: Argo
Me: Argo

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Nagle: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Me: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nagle: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Me: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Neither: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Nagle: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Me: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Nagle: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Me: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Nagle: Wreck-It Ralph
Me: Brave

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nagle: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Me: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

COSTUME DESIGN
Nagle: Anna Karenina
Me: Anna Karenina

DIRECTING
Nagle: Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Me: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nagle: Searching for Sugar Man
Me: Searching for Sugar Man

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Nagle: Inocente
Me: Open Heart

FILM EDITING
Nagle: Argo
Me: Argo

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nagle: Amour
Me: Amour

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Nagle: Les Misérables
Me: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Nagle: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Me: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Nagle: Skyfall, Adele
Me: Skyfall, Adele

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Nagle: Anna Karenina
Me: Anna Karenina
Neither: Lincoln

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Nagle: Paperman
Me: Paperman

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
Nagle: Curfew
Me: Curfew

SOUND EDITING
Nagle: Life of Pi
Me: Zero Dark Thirty
Neither (tie): Skyfall

SOUND MIXING
Nagle: Les Misérables
Me: Les Misérables

VISUAL EFFECTS
Nagle: Life of Pi
Me: Life of Pi

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Nagle: Argo, Chris Terrio
Me: Argo, Chris Terrio

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Nagle: Amour, Michael Haneke
Me: Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino

And the Oscars Go To

Wednesday brought my (I-wish-it-were-an-Oscar-category) Best Title Design nominees.

Yesterday brought my Best Picture reviews and prediction.

Today brings the rest of my predictions. And in some cases, I’ve noted who I would have voted for, too. Let’s see how I do tonight.

BEST PICTURE
Will win: Argo
My vote: Lincoln

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Will win: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
My vote: Daniel Day-Lewis

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Will win: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
My vote: Tommy Lee Jones

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Will win: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
My vote: Jennifer Lawrence

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Will win: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
My vote: Sally Field (Lincoln)

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Will win: Brave
My vote: Frankenweenie

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Will win: Life of Pi (Claudio Miranda)
My vote: Skyfall (Roger Deakins)

COSTUME DESIGN
Will win: Anna Karenina

DIRECTING
Will win: Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
My vote: Steven Spielberg

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Will win: Searching for Sugar Man

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Will win: Open Heart

FILM EDITING
Will win: Argo

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Will win: Amour
My vote: Amour

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Will win: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
My vote: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
Will win: Life of Pi (Mychael Danna)
My vote: Lincoln (John Williams)

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
Will win: Skyfall (Adele)
My vote: Skyfall

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Will win: Anna Karenina
My vote: Lincoln

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Will win: Paperman
My vote: Paperman

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
Will win: Curfew

SOUND EDITING
Will win: Zero Dark Thirty

SOUND MIXING
Will win: Les Misérables

VISUAL EFFECTS
Will win: Life of Pi
My vote: Life of Pi

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Will win: Argo (Chris Terrio)
My vote: Lincoln (Tony Kushner)

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Will win: Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
My vote: Django Unchained

Ho Ho Ho

I took the lazy, err green, err economical route this year and didn’t send paper holiday cards. Instead, I created a digital holiday card. You can view it here:

http://www.joehribar.com/card/

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.

Education is the Silver Bullet

Not only does more education decrease a person’s chance of being unemployed and increase their average pay, more education increases life expectancy, decreases obesity, and reduces crime.

So why is the Department of Education’s budget nowhere near the size of the  Department of Defense’s budget?

Amazing

046

Hurricane Irene: MTA Metro-North Railroad closed Grand Central Terminal as the hurricane approached. Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Marjorie Anders.

Apple Employees: It Gets Better

You know all those adjectives Steve uses to describe a new Apple product? They work just as well for this video.

After seeing Adobe’s video, my buddy Jon Nagle tweeted:

You know what company should put together
one of these videos? ESPN.

“Are You Fond of Ukrainian Ladies?”

From my spam box:

Hello honey!! I am for a good mature man.

As for myself, I am a pretty Ukrainian lady.
Are you fond of Ukrainian ladies??

We are not just pretty and clever, but very tolerant as well..
Ukrainian ladies? esteem family and tend to be with their beloved ones a great deal of right time..

It’s right time to meet each other!
I’ll be waiting for you on international marriage site. Bye dear!!

Hmm, she could be my dream girl… if only she knew ellipses had three periods and not two.

Sic Semper Disappointment

/Film this week reported something very disappointing:

For years Steven Spielberg has been developing a biopic of Abraham Lincoln, and Liam Neeson has long been attached to the title role. But the film has failed to come together for various reasons […]. “I’m not actually playing Lincoln now,” Neeson said to GMTV. “I was attached to it for a while, but it’s now I’m past my sell-by date.”

I hope this changes, because Liam Neeson as Lincoln would be spectacular.

Sacred Honor

us flag

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence

Happy Independence Day.

One Theme Changes Everything, cont.

Continuing my discussion on Lisle Moore’s outstanding theme for ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup, here’s a better recording-session video that showcases the music better.   If you’ve been watching ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup, you’ve heard the music.

Also, the Salt Lake Tribune wrote about the Utah-native Moore:

The theme you will hear during ESPN’s monthlong soccer coverage was written by Highland composer Lisle Moore. Moore, with the assistance of Salt Lake City’s Non-Stop Music, created the grand, inspiring music that melds African voices with a full orchestra.

Moore, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and a Utah resident since 1994, has written music for TNT’s coverage of the NBA, and has worked with ESPN before on golf and tennis coverage. “This is a bigger deal,” said the sports buff who calls himself a die-hard Jazz fan. “This is worldwide.” […]

When ESPN contacted him about a year ago asking for a proposal for 2010 World Cup music, Moore knew the network was looking for more than a traditional score for the event. It wanted a musical reflection of where the tournament was being held, while enticing ESPN viewers to keep watching throughout an entire month of programming. “I had to do a lot of listening on iTunes to see what I was up against,” Moore said. […]

With the go-ahead from ESPN, Moore composed 16 variations of the theme so the music could be used in multiple ways on TV, such as during the highlights show, promos, and before and after commercial breaks.

Again, outstanding effort from Moore.   Awesome music that captures the excitement and the setting of the games.   Bravo!

We Need a Hero

Jon Stewart had a pretty good take-down of the president this week (starting around 4:39):

Whether or not there is more that the president can do, he needs to convince the American public that he is doing all that he can. Every classic story has a villain and a hero. We have a villain: BP and Big Oil. Now we need a hero. Especially if the computer models are correct (via Discovery News) or if a hurricane (or two) blow through the Gulf.

Heartbreaking

If you haven’t seen The Big Picture’s post yesterday of birds caught in the oil spill, check them out.   The pictures are as disgusting as they are heartbreaking, and thinking that they’re just the beginning is difficult.   I drive a car everyday.   This is my spill, too.   Below, a bird caked with oil:

oil bird

New Rule

News reports must stop referring to the Gulf oil gusher as a “leak.”   Drippy faucets leak.   THIS is not a leak:

The End?

i'm lost

I don’t have anything profound to say, but I’ve been kicking some thoughts around in my head since Lost ended last night.  If you’ll excuse me, the show really Lost me last night.

Lost was most successful combining character-driven stories with supernatural, mythological stories—character drama coupled with science fiction.  People who grew an attachment to the series largely because of the mystery of the island and the happenings on it, though, were summarily dismissed last night.

The series finale was overflowing with character drama and great drama at that.  The reunions all throughout the show and the flashbacks to the characters’ good times and bad were poignant reminders of how great the show was.

But Lost built itself on the magic of the island, and that magic was all but forgotten in favor of the lousy and confusing final 15 minutes.

I’m a details person, and I feel like Lost often was, too.  How many times did the numbers, either together or separate, come up?  From the car odometer to the 108-minutes (the sum of the numbers) between Desmond entering them to the table number the Losties sat at for the concert benefit in last night’s episode (table 23, Jack’s number), the numbers were woven into the details of many episodes.  What will bug me for as long as I think about this show is how many little things will never be explained.  The Hurley bird?  The outrigger shootout?  The Egyptian hieroglyphics?  Why did the light cave release the smoke monster when He Who Shall Never Get A Name went in but when Jack, Desmond, and Locke went in nothing happened?

But more importantly, what about all the things we were led to believe were important?  How about the numbers?  How did the guy at Hurley’s institution know about the numbers?  How did they end up on the hatch?  Why were they in Rousseau’s radio transmission?  What about the statue?  Why was it important?  Why was Walt special?  And what really happened to him?  Were these and other never-to-be-explained things not really important at all?

And what about the battle between good and evil?  The entire sixth season was setting up for an epic showdown.  Where was it?  So this wasn’t about good and evil?  Light and dark?  White and black?  What made Jacob “good” and Man in Black “bad”?  What would really happen if Man in Black got off the island?

But then there were those last 15 minutes.  What we learned last night was that the flash-sidewayses didn’t matter for anything.  Nothing that happened in them mattered at all—what happened, didn’t happen—which begs the question, what was the point of them?  Were they just to fill air-time?

The Lost series as a whole made me think and made me ask questions.  But last night, the Lost finale tossed out thinking and relied solely on feeling.  “The End” definitely made me feel feel like I was cheated out of closure.  If Lost is to be viewed as a story, I’m still waiting for a real ending.

Here, though, is what I did like about “The End”:

  • The opening sequence cutting back and forth between on-island and off-island characters accompanied solely by Michael Giacchino score.
  • All the rest of Giacchino’s score in this episode was hands-down the best of the season, if not the last two or three seasons.  The music of this episode deserves an album release by itself.
  • The nostalgia factor with the various character returns and the reunions.
  • Sawyer calling Man in Black “Smokey.”
  • The Target smoke detector commercial.
  • The camera pull-back with Locke and Jack looking down the waterfall just like they looked down the hatch early on in the series.
  • The look on Ben’s face when Jack told Hurley he would be his replacement.
  • The look on Ben’s face when Hurley asked him to be his number two.
  • Frank finally having a purpose.

And finally, here are some of my favorite lines from the episode:

  • Frank: “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pilot.”
  • Smokey to Jack: “You’re sort of the obvious choice, don’t you think?”
  • Jack to Smokey: “You’re not John Locke.  You disrespect his memory by wearing his face.”
  • Jack: “What happened, happened.”
  • Kate: “I saved you a bullet.”
  • Juliette: “We should get coffee sometime.”
  • Jack to Desmond: “I’ll see you in another life, brother.”

So here’s to a Lost movie?

This Is CNN (Or What It Could Be)

I flagged this a while ago but forgot to post it.   Jay Rosen imagines how CNN can transform and save itself from sinking.   His ideas:

  • 7 pm: Leave Jon King in prime time and rename his show Politics is Broken. It should be an outside-in show. Make it entirely about bringing into the conversation dominated by Beltway culture and Big Media people who are outsiders to Beltway culture and Big Media and who think the system is broken. No Bill Bennett, no Gloria Borger, no “Democratic strategists,” no Tucker Carlson. Do it in the name of balance. But in this case voices from the sphere of deviance balance the Washington consensus.
  • 8 pm: Thunder on the Right. A news show hosted by an extremely well informed, free-thinking and rational liberal that mostly covers the conservative movement and Republican coalition… and where the majority of the guests (but not all) are right leaning. The television equivalent of the reporting Dave Wiegel does.
  • 9 pm: Left Brained. Flip it. A news show hosted by an extremely well informed, free-thinking and rational conservative that mostly covers liberal thought and the tensions in the Democratic party…. and where the majority of the guests (but not all) are left leaning.
  • 10 pm: Fact Check An accountability show with major crowdsourcing elements to find the dissemblers and cheaters. The week’s most outrageous lies, gimme-a-break distortions and significant misstatements with no requirement whatsoever to make it come out equal between the two parties on any given day, week, month, season, year or era. CNN’s answer to Jon Stewart.
  • 11 pm: Liberty or death: World’s first news program from a libertarian perspective, with all the unpredictablity and mix-it-up moxie that libertarians at their best provide. Co-produced with Reason magazine.

This would be a network actually worth watching.

(Via The Daily Dish)

Sunspots of a Different Kind

Via Discovery News, French astrophotographer (how’s that for a job title) Thierry Legault snapped a photo of Space Shuttle Atlantis just before it docked with the International Space Station while they both traversed the sun.   Check out the full version here.

sun

One Theme Changes Everything

At work, I recently heard the theme music for ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.   After listening to the music a few times, I’ve not been so impressed and so in love with a singular piece of music in a long time.   Composer Lisle Moore has created a remarkable piece of music which terrifically marries traditional Western orchestration with African-inspired rhythms and vocals to achieve a stunning and even uplifting result.

You can hear a tiny bit of the music toward the end of this video.   Although these few seconds don’t do any justice to the amazing music, it’s at least something until you can hear the full theme in a few weeks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23dyADwACH0

On a related note, here’s a very well done ESPN promo narrated by Bono for the World Cup.   One game changes everything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXlBSlyU8xY

Sir Michael Caine on The Daily Show

I just watched Jon Stewart’s Sir Michael Caine interview from last Friday’s The Daily Show, and I thought the whole interview was delightful.   Michael Caine seems like a great person to have a conversation with, and the way and the length of time he directly talked with the audience was something very refreshing.   The interview is a nice, little end-of-the-day wind-down.   Enjoy:

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:307968

The Morgan Freeman Chain of Command

This is old but still worth posting because Morgan Freeman is awesome.   This chart is just missing Lucius Fox.

morgan freeman chain of command

(Nod: Roger Ebert)

Rhyme Time: LOST Edition

Sporcle Alert!   Can you name the LOST characters from these limericks?   User rockgolf, who created the quiz, must have spent a good amount of time writing these.

On The Island, a man without doubts
He and Jack had their share of fall-outs
He had only one kidney
When he flew off to Sydney
But he couldn’t go on Walkabouts

A killing machine on two legs
Shoots Ben’s girl tho she kneels down & begs
But his resume’s greater
Than the rest on the freighter
‘Cuz he whips up a mean batch of eggs.

Policing for Profit

The Institute for Justice produced this nice motion graphics piece on “the abuse of civil asset forfeiture.”   The content is interesting, too.   From their site:

Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. With civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your property and use it to fund their budgets all without charging you with a crime. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but with civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent and law enforcement has a huge incentive to police for profit, not justice.

(Nod: The Daily Dish)