Archive for April, 2010

The Courthouse Critic

Posted in Movies on April 27, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

At my paper, The Middletown Press, we as reporters are encouraged to blog. At a staff meeting last month our Editor, Viktoria, encouraged us all to contribute to the various blogs housed at the paper.

We have a photo blog,  a book review blog, a food blog and many others. What was missing?

A movie review Blog!!!

Of course, with film being my passion, I asked my boss if I could start my own blog and, of course she said yes.

Which brings me to The Courthouse Critic. My very own online movie blog.

Since I cover the courts for the paper I had to think of a blog name that ties in my job and my two favorite hobies: Movies & Blogging.

Although it’s housed under the umbrella of The Middletown Press, it really is mine, all mine!!!

So, from this point on, all my movie reviews will be stationed over at The Courthouse Critic. I put a link to the site over in the corner under my blog roll. You can also link to directly from the Middletown Press website under blogs.

So check it out if you could. I’ve already posted a few reviews.

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If You Hear These Whispers You’re Dying

Posted in Lost on April 20, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

Well, we finally learned just what those whispers are in the jungle:

The souls of those who can’t leave the island, who are trapped there as a result of their actions. The whispers precede Michael Dawson’s appearance at Libby’s grave at the start of the episode and when Hurley hears them once more in the jungle at night, he finally realizes just what they are. When Michael appears to him once more, he gets his confirmation: the whispers are the voices of those for whom the island is truly purgatory: a place of eternal unrest where they remain, perhaps until they can redeem themselves. The whispers then are an attempt for the dead to communicate with the living, to help, to perhaps act as a chance at redemption.

As for Michael, he seems to be acting here as a positive influence for Hurley. While he doesn’t tell him that he has to go see the Man in Black, he’s able to point Hurley towards his camp and issues an apology of sorts to Libby, saying that if he ever sees her again (which he has in the Lost-X timeline) to tell her that he’s sorry. For, you know, killing her.

I’d be interested to know just who else is trapped on the island, unable to move on: those who committed crimes against the island and its inhabitants or souls who were never able to come to terms with their own issues, trapped by their own inability to grow psychologically, spiritually, or physically. Or those who just never achieved closure?

Last week’s episode of Lost (“Everybody Loves Hugo”), provided a few answers as well as some explosions in an episode that focused on Hugo Reyes in both timelines. Acting as a bookend with Season Two’s “Everyone Hates Hugo,” last weeks installment cast Hurley not as a doomed victim but as a millionaire philanthropist beloved by everyone and lucky in every way.

Except maybe love.

Given that we now know that Lost as a whole is about the transformative and redemptive powers of love, it’s only fitting that Hurley would get a second chance at achieving true happiness with his own soul mate, Libby the crazy drunk. If the Lost-X timeline represents a new set of variables for the character, what was Hurley’s greatest desire? The chance to reverse his luck, to bring good to the people around him rather than destruction?

Ehh, who knows, I’m really starting to think Hurley may be the survivor when all is said and done, you know, The Candidate.

Then again, by the way Jack and Locke had their stare down at the end of the episode, it’s hard not to imagine the fate of the world is ultimately going to come down to them.

Let us not forget, last week was the first time Jack and has seen this new evil Locke. The real Locke visited Jack back in the day to try and get him to go back to the island and the next time Jack saw him was in the season 4 Finale, in the coffin. Remember?

There is a preview for tonight’s ep where Jack is asking The Man in Black why he looks like Locke and why he stole his body. Let me be clear, the time for vague answers are over. He best explain who he is, why he is and how he is. He best say it loud, say it slow and say it clear.

With only four episodes left before the 2 hour season finale, I expect ANSWERS each week. And so far I haven’t been disappointed.

In the last couple of weeks we learned that the island is a cork for evil, we learned where Richard came from, we learned about the whispers.

Still lots to be revealed though. Why can the Man in Black turn to smoke? Why does the island time travel? Who is Jacob and where is he from? Answer those and I’ll be a happy camper.

HOMIZ WHERDA HARTIZ

Posted in Stuff on April 18, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

When Bub went knocking on my door last weekend at my apartment in Litchfield and some strange lady answered I realized I should probably update people on my living status.

For those of you who don’t know, or who care to know, I left my small little hobbit sized apartment in Litchfield and moved back to Torrington.

No, I didn’t move into my dad’s old place, that belongs to the bank now. I moved into Keely and Chuck’s old apartment on Red Mountain Avenue.

The landlord is a friend of mine and she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Cheaper rent for a MUCH bigger place.

While the apartment in Litchfield was a studio, this place has two bedrooms and a front porch. More than enough room for me and Andy. Not to mention, this is the home where Andy grew up so he seems very comfy here.

Yes, there was plenty of room for him in Litchfield if we actually went outside but it came to a point where I was terrified to go outside with him because he always brought back ticks. If I told you how many fat engorged critters I pulled off the puggle during my short time in Litchfield you’d prolly throw up.

So, in one weekend, with the help of my parents and Chuck, I managed to move all my stuff 7 miles from Litchfield back to Torrington. Things went smooth, except for when Chuck and I had to bring the couches in by hoisting them up over the railing onto the porch, since they wouldn’t fit through the front door.

I’ve been here three weeks and it’s really cozy. With a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms it’s def more spacious than I need. But I’m digging it. Like Bub said, while the location was great, after a few months in that tiny place in Litchfield I probably would have started to go a little “Clockwork Orange.”

To say the streets here were alive would be an understantement. There are kids and pets everywhere. While I’m sitting on my porch during the day I can’t tell you how many people walk by.

There is also an attack cat that lives down the street.  A big fat grey and white feline who does not like Andy. I’ve ran from this beast twice and one time he caught up to me (natch) and swatted at Andy.

Needless to say Andy gave the cat the “what the fuck” look.  I’m going to have to ask my mailman sister if she has any extra mace I can borrow.

Once the weather gets warmer I fully intend to have a little picnic. The yard is plenty big and in the words of my landlord, “party’s are always welcome.”

So yeah, that’s where I’m at. Just when I thought I was out of Torrington, it pulled me back in.

A bigger place, cheaper rent and a bit closer to my work are all great selling points. But what’s the real reason I’m here?

Walking distance to the Cinerom Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Btw, got any questions for me? Ask Away:

http://www.formspring.me/Bigdaddygouda

God if you exist then give me no sign what-so-ever, Amen

Posted in Stuff on April 15, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

My parents forced me to attend Church on Sundays and CCD (catechism) one day a week after school.

You see in the catholic church there was no Sunday School. Well, there was, but we had it during the week…for some reason.

Anyway, years of church and CCD scared me into thinking that if didn’t say my prayers, not only would I not go to heaven but I could inexplicably die at any moment. 

So, when I was about 8 years old my Gram helped me come up with a prayer that I’d say each night. And to this day I remember it verbatim:

  • Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep. Please Bless my mom, dad, grampy, grammy, me, my sister and all my friends and pets and Otto. (Otto being my step-father who came later and was added in.)

I said this prayer nightly for about six years. I truly believed that if I forgot, it was like forgetting to take my medicine or forgetting to turn on the house alarm. I was playing with fire and if God happened to “audit” me and realize I’d forgotten to pray, well, then my goose was cooked.

When my dad was in his mid 40s one of his best friends, a religious man, died after open-heart surgery. When the man’s friends visited  in the hospital before the surgery he told them as a group that it was his dying wish that all his buddies find God, as he did, and attend Mass each Sunday.

I’m not sure about the other guys but my dad, Porkchop, honored this request. From that day forth he attended church each week and forced my sister and I to go along with him.

Dad never used the prayer book. He just stood in the back and listened. My sister and I sat there bored, staring at our watches.

And when we arrived home dad would spend Sunday breakfast explaining to my grandparents what they missed at church.

I remember thinking what did I miss? The way dad explained the homily to gram and grampy you’d think we just left a stand-up comedy show and not a boring church service.

He’d recount quips that the priest made and my grandparents would laugh too as sis and I sat there wondering what the hell we’d missed.

When I was 15 dad came into my room one Sunday morning as I was putting my sneaks on, getting ready for church.

“Do you wanna come to church with me,” Dad asked. Odd, he’d never asked before.

“What do you mean, do I wanna come?” I asked a bit confused.

“You’re too old for me to be forcing you to church every week,” he said. “If you want to come, fine, if not, you don’t have to.”

I never went to Sunday service again. Actually, the next time I set foot in a church was 3 years later for Grampy’s funeral.

Since then, I’ve only been to church for funerals. And I remember them all. Mr Waters. Cooter’s Grandfather. Glenn Winn. Gary Cohen. My Grandmother. Tai’s Grandmother.

I only know about three people my age who go to church regularly. Not attending Mass is not as Taboo as it was when we were younger. Not around these parts anyway.

I sometimes wonder if I was married and had a kid would I require him to go to church? Would I start going again for his/her sake? Who knows?

Which begs the question, Do I believe in God? Believe it or not, I do. Do I think he created the world? I do NOT. But  I believe there is something out there. Something unseen. Something bigger than just this.

I don’t think any one religion has it right, has it all figured out.

I think it was Homer Simpson who said to Marge as he was stating his case for not having to go to church,

“What if we picked the wrong religion, and each week when we go to church we’re just making God madder and madder.”

I also must admit, I still pray. But only when it is convenient for me.

I prayed this year when I was driving home from Middletown in a blizzard. I prayed last year when Dad was admitted to intensive care for internal bleeding. I prayed when Mariano Rivera entered game 6 of the World Series in the 8th inning with a four run lead.

The prayer is always the same. I don’t ask for anything. I just say the Lord’s prayer. The Our Father. I figure that one encompasses everything.

Am I a hypocrite? Is that the word?

My beliefs are pretty simple and can easily be summed up in a few sentences.

I believe in a higher power. I believe there is someplace better after we die. And to get there, it’s not a matter of who or what we believe in. As long as we haven’t murdered, raped or molested we will get there. And all our family, friends and pets will be there….and otto.

“None of this is real.” – Charlie

Posted in Lost on April 12, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

Imagine a world where you managed to achieve your heart’s desire. Would you be questioning the nature of the universe around you? Or would you be so complacent that you’d be blinded to what’s actually going on until cracks started to form in your seemingly perfect existence?

It’s the latter that has given the Lost’s sideways timeline some of its heft this season as several of the characters have begun to feel an eerie sense of deja vu or a biting sense of frisson in which they seemed to realize, if only for a split-second, that something was “off” with the world and their place in it.

A lot of speculation has been made about just what the Lost-Sideways- timeline actually is, with many critics and viewers jumping on the bandwagon that is the epilogue for the entire series. I’ve gone on record as to believing in this theory however, last week’s episode went a long way to disproving it all together.

Personally, I thought that “Happily Ever After” was hands down the best episode of the season, even if it didn’t feature many of the main cast members (other than Hurley, Jin, and Sayid, all very briefly). But what it offered was a new prism through which to see the sixth and final season and it placed a significant weight on just what was unfolding within the Lost-Sidways timeline, pushing it and the main timeline closer together while making each of them vitally important.

The Lost-Sidways timeline isn’t the ending for Lost, nor is it just a way of revisiting relationships and characters we haven’t seen in a while. It’s the very crux of the entire season, the outcome of Jack and Co.’s efforts to detonate Jughead, and it’s resulted in each of the characters having their consciousness split between these two realities.

The alternate timeline established when Juliet detonated the hydrogen bomb at the future site of the Swan is just as “real” as the mainstream one but it’s a divergent timeline that I believe may require (GULP) the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 to raise the island from the ocean floor and recork the bottle. This is a world where each of them has received their heart’s desire but it’s made them unable to see what’s truly happening around them, making them little more than sleepwalkers in an eternal battle that they’re blind to.

In other words: someone needs to wake them up.

And that someone is apparently Desmond Hume. Ahh, good ole Desmond. His episodes, in my mind, have always stood out. Remember “The Constant’ from two years ago or “Jughead” from last season?

I’m thrilled that as it turns out, it may just be Des, Faraday and Charlie, once prominent characters, now forgotten, who will end up steering the castaways on the path to salvation.

But first, choices need to be made and I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

Would you give up a chance at love to put the world right again? If you got your heart’s desire, could you turn your back on it? Is ignorance bliss or just blindness? With only five episodes remaining before the series finale of Lost, I think we’re about to see things get increasingly dark as lives will be lost, alliances broken, and sacrifices made. If last night’s episode is any indication of the road ahead, I dare say that we’re in for quite a ride.

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btw, Does anyone else think that Widmore’s “Time-Travel- Chamber” resembles the inside of the cabin – complete with wooden-walls and an old chair in the middle.  Didn’t someone who appeared, albeit briefly in that chair many years ago, in a shaky flash of light, utter the words, “Help Me”…..I’m just saying.

Baldy

Posted in Stories on April 9, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

A few week’s back I wrote a post about our junior high clicks, The druggies and The Preps.

And while we had a lot of differences that separated our social circles, one thing unified us – our hatred for the younger grades, especially the grade directly below us, the 7th graders. We ruled the school and those younger better damn well respect us.

The one instance of our unified torment on the seventh graders that stands out began when some punk kid named Donald had the balls to show up to school after shaving his head. He didn’t just shave it, he Bic’d it. Smooth as a baby’s bottom….I would assume.

People pointed and whispered at Donald all morning, but no one his age or younger dared confront him. He was a bully and picked on kids in his grade and especially the younger ones.

However, us being 8th graders, well, he respected the food chain and never bothered us.

Truth be told, none of us ever paid him much attention, until the day he showed up to school bald. A big no-no in a world of clicks and conformity.

Around lunch time the Preps were seated at their table and us druggies at ours. Then Donald walked in.

To this day, I’m not sure who started it. I’m thinking it was the combo of Luke Chappius and Bush Marcantonio. Regardless, they stood up from the table as Donald entered the cafe and got in the lunch line. In unison they began chanting “Baldy, Baldy, Baldy.”

After three chants our table full of druggies had risen and we were all chanting together, “Baldy Baldy Baldy.”

Then something magical happened. The preps also stood up when they caught on to our torment. And, like clockwork they too started chanting along with us, “Baldy, Baldy, Baldy.”

Within seconds, both tables of Druggies & Preps stood as one, chanting in unison, pumping our fists in the air, “Baldy, Baldy Baldy.”

And Donald just stood there in line looking at us. Shock and anger filled his face but what could he do. We were a united front. 20 strong chanting at the tops of our lungs,”Baldy, Baldy Baldy.”

The spectacle lasted about 30 seconds before we were interrupted by a teacher who caught on pretty quick. She pulled both tables, Druggies and Preps alike, into the hall.

For the next five minutes she told us how cruel we all were and lectured us about how, as older kids, we were supposed to set an example for the younger grades.

It was hard for us Druggies not to giggle during the lecture. We were used to getting in trouble. However the preps stood there terrified. For many of them, this was their first taste of teacher discipline. “What will my parents think,” I’m sure some of them were thinking.

We all went back into the lunch room and sat at our separate clicky tables. The brief unity we’d experienced was over and in only minutes we’d be outside for recess. On opposite sides of the football field.

THE CORK

Posted in Lost on April 5, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

There was no LOST post last week. Which really kind of bummed me out since it would have come on the heels of Ab Aterno, aka the Richard Alpert Backstory, or as Jay called it, “One of the greatest acting performances in TV history. (couldn’t agree more btw)

Sorry but between battling migranes and shuffling zipcodes I just had no time to post last week. But I ‘m not really going to touch on last week’s Jin/Sun episode. Which I thought was just “okay” but made much much better by the return of Desmond Hume. Finally.

Anyway, lets travel back in time (hee hee) two weeks to Richard’s story.

Richard Alpert has been at the forefront of many viewer discussions. The spiritual adviser to the leader of the Others, he had been blessed–or cursed–with eternal life and the episode’s title draws attention both to his condition as well as that of the island’s battling entities, Jacob and his Nemesis, the Man in Black. Just who is Richard? What was he before he came to the island? How did he receive his gift from Jacob? And how much does he really know?

I wondered for a moment if the producers had pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch with the audience and would focus not just on Richard but also Ilana in this week’s episode, given the way that the installment opened with the heavily bandaged Ilana being visited in a Russian hospital by Jacob. But this sequence seemed almost out of place, given the fact that we learned precious little more about Ilana and it didn’t connect very much with the Richard plot. (The sequence involving the castaways at the campfire acted more as as a narrative framing device, with Hurley and Richard’s scene at the end wrapping the Richard plot up as it were.)

But Ilana’s story will have to wait for the time being as this episode was devoted almost entirely to exploring Richard’s backstory and shedding light on the complicated rivalry between Jacob and the Man in Black, the latter of which I enjoyed thoroughly and far more than Richard’s noble savage plot in 1867. With a nice bit of visual theatricality, Jacob explained the true nature of the island, the Man in Black, and his role in this eternal battle. (I’m hoping that this speech more than anything will finally silence those who believe that the Man in Black could possibly be good.)

Using the half-empty bottle of wine as a metaphor, Jacob explained that the wine itself is symbolic of a terrible darkness, which if it could flow from the bottle, would overtake everything, a viral infection of evil that could spread throughout the world if unchecked. The island itself is the cork in the bottle, a means of keeping it trapped and contained. I thought it interesting that Jacob didn’t view himself as the cork, but gave that role over to the island itself, an eternal prison for the darkness that would consume everything in its path. Jacob, therefore, is the caretaker for the island, a tapestry-weaving prison warden whose mission is to protect the island and therefore keep the darkness at bay.

The Man in Black’s attempts to escape, to find a loophole to kill his jailor and flee, would result in the scales tipping towards black for the entire world. If the island has sunk to the bottom of the ocean as it has in the Lost-X timeline, then it could mean that the wine has flowed out of the bottle. Despite people getting their heart’s desire (or close to it) in that world, it might just point towards the Man in Black having escaped from his prison and roaming freely. Which would be very bad indeed. In detonating the hydrogen bomb and altering the timeline, did Jack and the castaways smash the bottle? Have they freed the MAN IN BLACK and unleashed unspeakable horror on the world? Or is the Nemesis still there, at the bottom of the sea, biding his time and plotting his escape once more? Hmmm…

To use the cork and bottle analogy further, the Man in Black’s efforts to find a loophole to escape take on greater significance. He and Jacob are opposing forces whose respective strengths have resulted in an even scale and stasis. The cork in place, the wine can’t get out of the bottle. But there’s more than one way to get out of the bottle, one that doesn’t involve removing the cork: simply smash the bottle. Which is exactly what the Man in Black does here after Jacob makes a gift of his lesson to Richard by giving his Nemesis the bottle as “something to pass the time.”

So why bring people to the island? Jacob is not only looking for candidates to replace him but also to allow the eternal game between him and the trickster to continue, a moral Skinner box in which those who find themselves on this island can choose to become repentant for their past sins or choose to become corrupted, to select between the light and the dark. Prior to Richard’s arrival, everyone who has come to the island has been killed but Jacob isn’t there to force them to act one way or the other–that is the Nemesis’ style, given his gift for manipulation–but rather he wants people to figure out right and wrong on their own. Jacob’s whole modus operandi is to foster free will, then.

Richard’s arrival on the island is a fortuitous one as it seems as though we’re seeing the birth of the Others before our eyes, a race of people who have chosen to protect the island, to fortify the prison, and keep the cork firmly in the bottle. So why might they have sought to purge the Dharma Initiative? My theory: the Dharma Initiative’s experiments into the electromagnetic energy properties of the island were creating a situation from which the Nemesis would be be to make his escape. They were effectively weakening the cork and allowing the darkness to seep out into the rest of the world. They saw the island as something that needed to be dissected, examined, probed, and categorized rather than what it was: a prison with them as the jailers. (The same held true of the U.S. Army, which is why the Others slew them in order to prevent others coming there and giving the Nemesis further opportunities to escape or to allow the scale to tip the other way.)

Richard’s need for contrition places him on the path to righteousness. His crimes were accidental but crimes nonetheless. While he sought to help his wife, he murdered and stole but he turned towards redemption rather than destruction. Did it matter whether Jacob had spoken to him before he plunged the knife? Or was Richard’s fate decided the moment he turned towards the light, towards divine forgiveness for his past misdeeds? It’s not Jacob’s ability to offer absolution. If we can move past our issues, our damages, and transgressions, we can be forgiven it seems. At the very least by ourselves.