S.M. Douglas

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Month: September 2014

This week marked the ten year anniversary of the beginning of one of the all time great TV Shows: Lost. On September 22, 2004 the Lost pilot episode blasted across our screens with the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 and stunning Hollywood movie level production values that drew in nearly 19 million viewers.

To this day many believe that it was Lost that ushered in the Golden Age of Television that we still find ourselves, enjoying a wealth of high quality dramas and top notch acting. In addition Lost may have been one of the first shows to really take advantage of social media and see the conversation around the show, including debates about its intellectually stimulating plot, characters, and science fiction elements, rise to a level almost equaling the actual viewing experience.

Never in my life have I enjoyed a TV show as much as Lost, and that is saying quite a bit with my all time favorites including such shows as Game of Thrones, The Americans, American Horror Story, The Soprano’s, True Detective, and so many more completely worth our collective time. But it was Lost that provided me with endless moments I simply cannot nor will ever forget: the raft launch, the deaths of Sun/Jin, the VW bus, Sawyer telling Jack about Christian, the endless butting of heads between Jack and Locke, anything with Ben Linus, the Hatch, the button, and perhaps the show’s three greatest scenes from 3rd to 1st as follows:

3.) The revelation Locke had been in a wheelchair:

2.) The Death of Charlie:

1.) The best scene from perhaps the best Lost episode ever: “The Constant” where Desmond and Penny sealed their place in our hearts:

Thoughts on The Recent Godzilla Movie

In May I, like many others, ventured out to the local movie theater to watch the latest incarnation of Godzilla. I’ll be honest, I initially enjoyed the movie. In fact Gareth Edwards created a wonderful film. It was thoughtful, the beginning of the film featuring Bryan Cranston, playing American engineer Joe Brody at a nuclear power plant in Japan, offered a particularly interesting lead in to the Godzilla concept. A genuine sense of both personal loss and climactic foreboding pervaded the film’s first half hour. In short, and unlike so many other Hollywood blockbusters it offered a real story.

Now, this does not take away from decent size plot holes in the film, and a somewhat bland generic feel to the protagonist (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Joe Brody’s navy officer son Ford. However, the supporting cast beyond Cranston is quite solid and generally the acting is not the issue with the film, nor is the plot, neither is the special effects (which were spectacular), or the attempt to link the film to very real underlying themes of the threat posed by nuclear power (much as did the first Godzilla of sixty years ago), and man’s general impotence in the face of nature. As such I walked out of the theater that Saturday late spring afternoon feeling that all in all it wasn’t a bad movie….but for one nagging problem that at the time I was willing to put aside.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was on a flight home from Europe. After six hours of reading and whatnot I was looking for more of a distraction for the last hour and a half of the flight. It wasn’t enough time to watch a movie I had not seen (something I did on the way there the week before – if you have not seen Snowpiercer do so – it is probably the best original Science Fiction film since District 9). But it was enough time to cue up something I had enjoyed enough on a previous viewing. Hence I picked Godzilla. And an hour and a half later and with the numerous interruptions provided by the pilot announcing one thing or another about our impending landing what had I seen? A significant chunk of a movie named Godzilla without seeing hardly anything of the actual Godzilla. And that my friends is the biggest problem with this film.

The fight scenes between the monsters or the monsters and the military, when they do happen, are spectacular.

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But they are so brief in time, even the final battle is not more than a couple of minutes, that the movie commits perhaps the cardinal sin of a reboot of a popular franchise. It sidelines the very reason anyone is watching the movie in the first place: that being Godzilla himself. I get that the director, Gareth Edwards, wanted to offer a tribute to the first great Godzilla film, but that’s just it; this isn’t the first time anyone has seen Godzilla. It’s the thousandth time. Thus, any new Godzilla film better have Godzilla. Especially one as terrifying as the monster Edward’s team came up with; undoubtedly the finest rendition of any Godzilla – ever.

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Thus the film serves as a cautionary warning. If you are going to make a monster movie, don’t forget the monster.

Richard Kiel “Jaws” Dies at 74

Richard Kiel, famous for his role as the James Bond villain “Jaws” in the 1970’s Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker has passed away just a few days shy of his seventy fifth birthday. The 7 foot 2 inch actor was born in Detroit Michigan in 1939. Though he appeared in a number of other films and television shows his role in the James Bond films will forever be remembered. the-spy-who-loved-me-jaws-richard-kiel

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