Reaction to “Lost” Finale

Vincent is ready for the final close-up

Oh Darlton, you tease — Walt “showed up” as archival footage in the finale. Michael is stuck on the island as one of the Whispers. Walt must have had a more meaningful life off-island which is why he didn’t end up at the church. Or it was just impossible for him to show up at church at his island-age.

New York Magazine via E! reveals that the Man in Black’s name is revealed on bonus DVD features as Samuel. Guess we will have to wait and see whether there’s any Walt resolution included on the DVD (Malcolm David Kelley was spotted on set).

What was up with the end credits footage of the plane wreckage? Some B-roll shots linking the end to the beginning? It threw some viewers from a loop, with speculation that the Ajira plane did blow up with explosives and Sawyer & co. died. Or that all of the Oceanic Flight 815 passengers did die and everything was part of the Purgatory to get to Heaven. I’m inclined to think that it was not meant to impact the interpretation of the storyline and that it was just a link to the first “incident” in the series.

It was a moving ending, but not a totally satisfying conclusion. The rapid-fire emotional breakthroughs between the remaining characters (including sweethearts Kate & Jack, Sawyer & Juliet, Sayid & Shannon (!!), Charlie & Claire, Jin & Sun) couldn’t help but move viewers. Jack’s death scene — just when you think he’s going to “die alone,” Vincent comes. I loved the flying leap between Jack and the Man in Black. It reminded me of a similar shot in the recent “Star Trek” reboot (co-written by Damon Lindelof). Ditto Kate’s leap into the water before Sawyer can react — “I’ll see you at the boat.” Much more cinematic and jaw-dropping than the magic cave bits.

But there were too many unresolved mythology questions left dangling (Widmore vs. Ben and their “rules,” the Island’s Egyptian references, why the Others were so hostile towards the plane survivors if they were “candidates,” why did Walt show up as a ghost, etc.) and the whole Jacob vs. Man in Black narrative this season was a total drag. The true strength of the show was in its earlier seasons and this season was just a tribute to that history. Which was nice, but maddening for those who stuck around to get some resolution to all of the mysteries that were integral to the plot (or so we thought).

Here are some NYT clips from the “Lost” talk.

GET LOST – New York Times Talk Event: “Lost” Creators +Finale Scene, NYC Exhibit & Auction, UCLA Cast Extravaganza

The end of "Lost": 2.5 hour finale airs this Sunday

Last night, I was one of the lucky few to be part of the in-person New York Times Talk event with “Lost” creators Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. The talk featured cameo appearances by Michael Emerson (doing an eerily stealthy “Ben” walk onstage) and Jorge Garcia (Hurley) — coincidence or fate that they are chosen two? Discuss!

The event was also broadcast simultaneously to over 500 movie theaters in the US and Canada. The event addressed questions submitted by fans online and by in person-fans in the NY audience.

Best of all was that the audience was able to see a “non-spoilery” scene from this Sunday’s sure-to-be-epic series finale. This write-up reveals better memory recall than my own. But [SPOILER] I am excited that one of the most adorable “Lost” characters ever is BACK — Vincent! The creators said a while back that Vincent would survive until the end of the show, and I knew he had to show up since he was in the first scene with Jack in the bamboo forest.

Notes from interview with NYT journalist:

  • The writers didn’t have it all mapped out in advance. They would gather each year before the season to discuss the arc of the show. They did some extensive mythology creation between the first and second season. They had the final scene of the finale in mind since the first season and that has not changed.
  • The actors had no say in what happened to their characters and didn’t ask questions of the creators. They often received partial scripts a few days in advance of shooting, so like their characters, they had no idea what was coming next.
  • Charlie was the hardest character for the creators to kill off. Dominic was doing great work and when you kill off a character, you are firing the actor. Darlton looked at the footage of his death scene and said, “We are such bastards.”
  • Fans didn’t have a major impact on the direction of the show, but the writers did address burning fan questions (Why doesn’t Hurley lose weight?), writers’ room debates (Why doesn’t Ben posing as Henry Gale recognize Sayid as the man who shot him when he was younger?), and polarizing fan reaction (killing off Nikki and Paulo —  from Damon: “They could just go away or we could shoot an episode with Billy Dee Williams! Let’s get Lando — and then bury them alive!”).
  • “The Constant” was one of the longest episodes to write (5 weeks) due to Desmond’s non-paradoxical time-traveling.
  • Everyone loves Michael Emerson’s character — Darlton and Hurley all chose Ben as their favorite character, for Ben’s fantastic lines and Michael’s nuanced delivery. Michael Emerson chose Mr. Eko as his favorite (“He had a crackerjack backstory”).
  • Darlton joked about having Sawyer taking his shirt off when the narrative became more challenging to enjoy (pushing the button).
  • They screened the scene where Locke convinces Jack to push the button in Season 2 and Darlton explained that Jack pushes the button because Locke says, “I can’t do this alone.” It’s Jack’s “Live Together, Die Alone” mantra that motivates him — although Jack is on the side of reason, he does it to support Locke who has faith in pushing the button. Darlton contrasts this scene with the Jack vs. Sawyer argument over the bomb — this time it is Jack who has faith that nothing will happen if the bomb runs out and it’s Sawyer who is on the side of reason.
  • Michael Emerson was asked how be approached playing Ben who is such a deceptive character who does evil things. Michael didn’t see the character in terms of good and evil, he tried to line up what Ben did with what Ben said to try to make the character convincing. When the journalist pointed out that he did kill a lot of people, most recently Widmore, Michael joked and said something to the effect of, “That’s true, but who didn’t want that?”

Notes from questions asked:

Why was Walt special? What happened to Walt? [spoiler]

Often people are described as special and sometimes it is explained why that is — Hurley can interact with the dead, Miles can see the dead. But in Walt’s case, they chose not to explicitly say why he was special. They did allude to what was going on in Room 23 in the mobisodes — that Walt was scaring the Others with his specialness. Ultimately, Ben decided to get Walt and Michael off of the island so clearly they were threatened by Walt.

Walt had to leave the storyline because he literally grew up. However, we will be seeing Walt again in the finale.

Why was the psychic so intent on Claire getting on the plane? Why is Aaron special?

Aaron isn’t special — the psychic confessed in a later episode to being a fraud. The reasons why the Others wanted Aaron was because he was born on the island and they had fertility issues and wanted to do tests on him.

Fans attribute a lot of importance to Desmond’s advice to Jack in their first meeting (flashback) in the stadium, where Desmond tells Jack to “lift it up.” Are they right to do so?

Darlton could not respond to this question — so perhaps fans are on to something, hmm.

Past NYT Talk events are posted in web video or podcast form on their website, so it may show up online in the future. They are also screened on JetBlue’s TVs.

New Yorkers who are fans of “Lost” should flock to the free “Lost” memorabilia exhibit at the Vilcek Foundation from now until June 5th at 167 East 73rd Street. It appears that these same items that will be sold at this amazing auction.

Charlie's ring

I want Charlie’s DS ring and Daniel Faraday’s notebook! Or some fish biscuits. See Gawker.com pictures here.

There was a cast reunion of sorts at UCLA’s Royce Hall last week — Sawyer, Jin, Desmond, Penny, Boone, Walt, Michael, Charlotte, Faraday, Big Ben and Young Ben, and Dr. Chang showed up, among others (and Others).

The timelines converge - Ben meets his younger self!

Charlotte is one glamorous anthropologist

All grown up - it's Walt!

REMEMBER: Saturday will air the entire pilot episode with pop-ups – Sunday will have a 2 hour recap followed by a 2.5 hour finale, and check out Jimmy Kimmel for a fun wrap-up. Namaste!

“Eclipse” Soundtrack Revealed: I’m Always In This TWILIGHT

Kristen and Rob show off their moves. Shot by Peggy Sirota.

Despite the cheesiness of it all, the “Twilight” saga continues to attract top-shelf indie rock artists for its soundtracks. What’s more, these artists contribute new songs to be background noise to a vampire/human/werewolf love triangle soap opera, in order to gain the notice (and dollars) of millions of breathless females worldwide — while enraging pitchfork.com-reading loyalists who cry “Sell out!”

For the third film of the five-part series (“Breaking Dawn” will be two films), the soundtrack lineup includes two of my favorite Brits — Bat for Lashes and Florence + the Machine. These ladies definitely know what’s up when it comes to fantasy (see BFL “Horse and I”) and overwhelming passion (see BFL “Daniel”).

Florence always struck me as a “Twilight” fan given the bombastic chorus of “Cosmic Love” (“I’m always in this TWILIGHT”) and the lovesick wolf-hunter narrative of “Howl.”

I am pleasantly surprised to see a contribution from Australian singer Sia. This YouTube fan video of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s “Vanity Fair” shoot featuring Sia’s song “Breathe Me” was sexier than the entire “Twilight” movie. It’s no coincidence, I’m sure, that “Breathe Me” was featured as the trailer for Rob’s recent movie “Remember Me” or that Sia is now on the “Eclipse” soundtrack.

It’s quite an international indie lineup, actually. Canadians (Metric), a Scientologist (Beck), and some Ivy League Americans (Vampire Weekend):

1. Metric – “Eclipse (All Yours)”

2. Muse – “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)”

3. The Bravery – “Ours”

4. Florence + The Machine – “Heavy In Your Arms”

5. Sia – “My Love”

6. Fanfarlo – “Atlas”

7. The Black Keys – “Chop And Change”

8. The Dead Weather – “Rolling In On A Burning Tire”

9. Beck and Bat For Lashes – “Let’s Get Lost”

10. Vampire Weekend – “Jonathan Low”

11. UNKLE – “With You In My Head (featuring The Black Angels)”

12. Eastern Conference Champions – “A Million Miles An Hour”

13. Band Of Horses – “Life On Earth”

14. Cee-Lo Green – “What Part Of Forever”

15. Howard Shore – “Jacob’s Theme”

Kobe and His L.A. Times Photoshoot: His Italian Side

The softer side of Kobe

Kobe manages to look like a Middle Eastern woman or a monastic Spanish toreador in the now no-tor-ious LA Times fashion spread. He must have been charmed by the Italian stylist James Valeri (who discusses the wardrobe and shoot here) – Kobe grew up in Italy and speaks Italian fluently – his daughters are named Natalia and Gianna.

Watch Kobe speak Italian.

But back to the photoshoot – the styling suffers from the costumey white hat and the effeminate scarf – other than that it was just a Hamptons-style lounge fest. For a laugh, check out his teammates reaction here.

Kobe’s recent GQ photoshoots have been full of energy and attitude – shot by hipster photographer Terry Richardson. . .

I'm about to be unstoppable - Kobe shot by Terry Richardson, GQ

. . .and Peggy Sirota.

Kobe shows off his moves - shot by Peggy Sirota, GQ

Sirota captures breathless action and joy in her photos and there is a refreshing candor about her work that makes it stand apart from the retouching and artificiality of other celebrity photography. I dig her Entertainment Weekly “Lost” shoot with Jack and Kate and the Vanity Fair shoot for “Twilight.”

The March GQ interview which accompanies the Terry Richardson shoot is a fun read – I love that Kobe’s competitive drive crosses over into his Cranium games with his wife. The article also hints at Kobe’s close friendship with reserve Josh Powell, which I wasn’t aware of until reading this article.

Let’s go, Lakers!!