S.M. Douglas

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Category: The 2000’s

The Mountain Breaks 1,000 Year Old Viking Record

Hafthór Björnsson, who plays Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane in the Game of Thrones recently broke a 1,000 year old Viking record when he carried a 1,433 pound 30 foot long log five steps.

According to Viking legend the prior record holder was Ormur Stórólfsson who is said to have carried for three steps the mast of a ship that weighed 1,250lbs. Unfortunately for Stórólfsson his back is said to have broken after the third step. Björnsson fared much better in not only beating Stórólfsson’s ancient accomplishment earlier this year, but surviving the process intact as can be seen below: Continue reading

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:

For those of you mourning the end of the latest season of Game of Thrones we have a treat. You Tube user Mikolaj Birek posted 90’s style Game of Thrones intro’s with music courtesy of Steve Duzz and video from You Tube user’s the hunterlsanders. Please enjoy:

And for those of you jonesing for the 90’s even more. Here is Game of Thrones Seinfeld style:

Finally, and for you World War II fans, here is Hitler’s reaction to the news Ned Stark had been beheaded:

T.R. Witcher has a thoughtful new piece up on The Atlantic offering a number of key metrics for a good movie showdown. In particular he keys in upon elements he defines as “Anticipation, The Weight of the Moment, Vulnerability,  Tangibility, and The Iconic”. Witcher singles out as especially notable in conveying these elements several great showdowns. These include the light saber fight between Luke and Vader in Empire Strikes Back:

And the first fight between Bane and Batman in the Dark Knight Rises:

In both of the above instances he is most certainly correct. To that end he also offers up several other salient examples, and even contrasts where one fight did well in a particular franchise (for instance Neo’s climactic battle with Agent Smith during the Matrix) against others that missed the mark (Neo’s overdrawn fight against Agent Smith in Matrix Revolutions). Witcher ranges back into the 1960’s and work done by Sergio Leone in his superb Once Upon a Time in the West, or in terms of 2001 A Space Odyssey’s fight between the homicidal computer HAL and astronaut Dave Bowman. And as Witcher continues on, offering up example after example of great fight scenes (Ripley vs. the Xenomorph Queen in Aliens, Paris vs. Menelaus in Troy) he regrettably undermines a key component of his arguments. That being that such exemplary fight scenes are rare.

In point of fact classic showdowns are something that Hollywood actually and regularly does a good job of manufacturing. And yes there are the occasional bombs as rightly pointed out by Witcher vis a vis the final Harry Potter battle against Lord Voldemort,  or the lamentable final battle in the Avengers Movie. But overall there are so many more that actually work. Right off the top of my head, and staying within the genres identified by Witcher (i.e. avoiding boxing movies like the classic Rocky I and Rocky II showdowns between Rocky and Apollo Creed), one can single out numerous other examples such as the following:

Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace (just to be clear I despised this movie, but the final light saber fight is one of the best of any Star Wars film):

Sarah Connor/Kyle Reese vs. The Terminator:

Riggs vs. Joshua Lethal Weapon:

Maximus vs. Commodus Gladiator:

William Munny vs. Little Bill Unforgiven:

Brody vs. The Shark in Jaws

Frank Dux vs. Chong Li Bloodsport

And I can go on and on….I could add at least twenty more clips if I did nothing but Clint Eastwood Westerns and Martial Arts films no less 1980’s action films, modern Science Fiction/Fantasy, or even Television such as The Game of Thrones  (Brienne vs. The Hound to name just one) Thus, in conclusion I will say Witcher wrote a fun article with some sound metrics for measuring a great movie showdown, but to say that such things are rare….well that is another story.

Getting Around “The Island”

One of my all-time favorite TV shows. For those Lost fans out there who struggled to understand the geography of the “Island” I think that this is one of the best maps out there. Check it out:



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