Entertainment news and musings from a pop culture geek

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Missing Greatness: LOST

For the first May in years there is no two-hour night of supremely mind-bending twists and expertly delivered action that ends with me yelling at the screen because the thought of waiting months for more is too much to bear. LOST has ended. In honor of one of the Top 10 Best Shows of All Time, (and the one year anniversary of the series finale) which had some of the most game-changing, water-cooler, forum fueling finales of all time, here are the LOST finales rated from "that's all?" weakest to "holy jacob!" best. *Spoilers follow, obviously*

6. "There's No Place Like Home," S4 - This show has had its missteps. It never stumbled when it was finale time though. But after the previous year's finale (more on that later) this one had a lot to live up to. The whole flash-forward thing was awesome, but when we caught up with the present, the stakes were slightly lowered by knowing who would make it. But of course the mystery and suspense lies in why it was those six right? Nope. The grand reason it was only the Oceanic 6 was because of plot mechanics? Too much weight on the helicopter. Really?? Then the island moved, which simultaneously earned an 'oh cool' and a deadpan 'ok.' Still this finale had a lot to enjoy and get excited about. Sayid gave Keamy the business!
Holy Jacob!: The coffin reveal, obviously, the main redeemer of this episode. Thought for sure it was gonna be Desmond.
That's All?: Just a wheel moves the island? Ehhh. Don't get me started on that gotdamn helicopter plot device either. Also, "The Constant" got me hype for a way more "Titanic"-esque Desmond-Penny reunion than we got.
Best Use of that Incredibly Emotional Score: The Oceanic 6's arrival. Heartwarming stuff.

5. "Live Together, Die Alone," S2 - This was one of the strongest season-enders out during the '05-'06 TV season but when compared in-show, this exciting, intensely suspenseful episode is only the fifth best conclusion that LOST has to offer. Still, it's quite good, featuring the return of Desmond (back when he wasn't a ubiquitous regular), the exposure of Michael's rat-bastardness (be honest though, if you had to shoot two people you've only known for two months to get your son back from some Devils Rejects' dressing people, you would t00), and my personal favorite, the Hurley-bird. Oh and something popped off involving a hatch too.
Holy Jacob!: Did I mention the hatch shit?!?! "I was wrong" is now an infamous series quote. Plus, one of the final shots was our three main heroes getting bags over their heads and kidnapped. Also the first appearance of the four toed statue that would drive fans crazy for another three years.
That's All?: Libby-Desmond seemed like a supreme stretch of the 6 degrees of separation conceit used in a lot of the flashbacks. Especially since they never found the time to get to her backstory. Fans groaned, but it really must not have been that important, am I right? And retrospectively speaking, why the fuck were those Portugese dudes in the Arctic in the final scene?

4. "The Incident," S5 - Comparing these grade A finales against each other (but let's be honest, s4 is more like a B+) was tough, and the toughest was easily deciding where to place this. Because what an episode, from instant classic opening scene to what-the-fuck climax. Leave it to LOST to be the show that fades to white instead of black for one of it's most maddening cliffhangers, maddening because there's a shitload of days between May and February. The Locke twist remains a top 10 coolest moment on the series for me. Yea I said it, top 10. Jacob's "visit" scenes were fantastic. And the reveal contextualization that this whole series was about ordinary, very flawed and small human beings caught in the middle of a very huge age old war between gods was fucking awesome. And if you think that should've been revealed earlier, allow me to disagree with you. 
Holy Jacob!: Holy Man in Black!
That's All?: Juliet is suddenly cool with Jack setting off a HYDROGEN BOMB because Sawyer's still simping over Kate??? Come the fuck on! Miles and Dr. Pierre Marvin Mark Edgar Candle Wickmund Halliwax Chang's reunion was a little undercooked.
Best Use of that Incredibly Intense Score: There's no way your adrenaline isn't pumping during that final scene at the Swan.

3. "The End," S6 - A fitting end to the season, and consequently the series. The Desmond plot device got a little hokey. Maybe you were disappointed with the final scene. Or even the whole episode. I'm amongst the team that most definitely was not. All those character reunions are the stuff series finales are made of, and if the final shot didn't move you then maybe you weren't as into this series as you thought. Bandwagoner.
Holy Jacob!: I was wayyyyy off with my Sideways world guesses. I still have conversations with people who don't really get the whole absence of time thing though.
That's All?: I'm down with Sideways, but the sunken island in "LA X" was still extremely misleading. And really, what the fuck was the Man in Black gonna do with himself once he got to the real world? Appear as Barack Obama? Justin Bieber?? Last but not least, Sayid + Shannon still = GROAN a full four seasons later.
Best Use of that Incredibly Emotional Score: The end, obviously.

2. "Exodus," S1 - The deftly executed one-two punch in which we peer down the hatch and Walt is kidnapped. That, folks, is how you wrap up a season and ensure that 20 million people will come back in three months for more. RIP Dr. Artz.
Holy Jacob!: "We're gonna need to take the boy."
That's All?: That's all nothing. Retrospectively, the first scene of the season 2 premiere more than makes up for the decision to cut before we saw anything hatch-wise.
Best Use of that Incredibly Emotional Score: I think the raft cast-off set the tone for what this show's score was made of. Word to Michael Giacchino.

1. "Through the Looking Glass," S3 - Here it is. The best finale of LOST and one of the best season finales of all time. Season three is when the doubters started piling on: the flashbacks were getting extraneous, the endless twists empty, and the story directionless. So the writers responded with a near flawless second half of the season, culminating in two hours of sheer perfection. And no it's not just because of the final twist, the episode was engaging from beginning to end, on a plot level, but more importantly, character too. Who ever thought we'd end up caring about Charlie again?
Holy Jacob!: I think this goes without saying. But in case it doesn't: WE HAVE TO GO BACK!! 
That's All?: The next season runs with no repeats, that's awesome. Wait...it starts when? January?!?
Best Use of that Incredibly Emotional Score: NOT PENNY'S BOAT.

Thoughts? What's your favorite season finale of LOST? Would you have rated them differently?

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Remember when XXL Magazine infamously snubbed Drake for their famously debated "Freshmen" list, their annual mainstream coming-out party for ten promising spitters? Well the 2011 list has passed and while they gave Based God some shine, they lamed again with this one. Meet Donald Glover, aka the Childish Gambino, and the last person you'd ever expect to have bars for days. Donald is self-admittedly nerdy, devoid of street cred and any major hip-hop co-signs (for now at least) and very emotive. He also, as aforementioned, has bars for days. The kid nobody, including himself, thought the public would take seriously as an MC is now among the most refreshing up-and-comers out there. "Hovi with glasses, Weezy but geeky." Without further ado, here are the five essential Childish Gambino songs.

*Gambino Facts - Yup, that's the same Donald Glover that plays Troy on your beloved Community. In addition to rapping, Donald is also a rising comedic talent.*

My Shine
"Don't add an 'eezy' to my name cuz it has never been that."  The best track in the as-of-right-now Childish Gambino discography, and one of the best tracks to drop so far in hip-hop 2011. The Childish one wants you to know he's gunning for the top, and if he goes against everything you normally picture for a rapper, he might agree with you, but he still ain't stopping. And for those who think he's one of those rapper-turned-actors he was "rapping back when Lance had chemo, ho."

**Gambino Facts - Contradictory to that line above, he sometimes refers to himself as "Cheezy." I'll stick with stomaching the name Childish Gambino for now.**

The Last
"People tell me I should spit under Donald Glover/but I try to keep my real name undercover/cuz if you hear my name, then you think it's jokes/and I can't go for that nigga, Hall & Oates" Donald gets introspective and reflective on this track, which is 2 parts "Last Call" 1 part "The Calm," as he tells us who he is and what he's about. Lots of telling lines that put you into his mindset more so than any of his other songs, and definitely a crucial piece in the Gambino playlist.

***Gambino Facts - Donald's a triple threat. In addition to rapper and comedian he's a writer as well, having been a member of the 30 Rock writer's team for a time. He's credited Tina Fey with inspiring him to pick up rapping again.***

Freaks and Geeks
Song-making ability is clutch, but every new rapper needs to prove they can actually flow. Gambino gets on his "A Milli" steez, no hook just straight spit over a colossal beat backed by violins and epic chants. The titular metaphor is a bit of a stretch but the rest of the bars are on point: "My clique make that dinero, so it's time to meet the fuckers," and "Chillin with my N-Words, say it like a white kid/'yes your ass is big as hers' say that to my white bitch."

****Gambino Facts - No he's not related to that other black guy with the last name Glover.****

The Longest Text Message
Entertainment Weekly recently mis-branded this as a naughty, for the ladies joint. It's really more like a glorified middle finger to the typical bad-bitch-who-knows-she's-a-bad-bitch that hopeless romantics Eminem and Joe Budden would approve of (they probably would've name-dropped though). Gambino comes off as falsely nonchalant but regardless of how he really felt about shorty he's sure got some words for her ("You ain't that fine bitch, what the fuck ya heard?"). And while Donald may feel like he's not in the same class of "cool" as the popular rappers today, he sure can shit-talk with the best of them with slick one-liners like "Fucking bitches left and right, my dick is ambidextrous." Much more so than his overt radio attempts like "Lights Turned On" and "Put It In My Video" he definitely could have a hit on his hands with this once its mixed and mastered.

*****Gambino Facts - Last year he launched a twitter campaign #donald4spiderman for the title role of the upcoming reboot. It caught fire, eventually gaining the support of Stan Lee and favored Spidey scribe Brian Michael Bendis. Obviously the role went to Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) but Donald was not even given an audition. #Racists.*****

So Fly
Childish Gambino himself is not an experimental rapper, just a dude you wouldn't quite picture as one. But this is definitely one of his more experimental songs. I'm not sure if that's him singing on all his other hooks, but it's definitely Donald on this one, stepping up to sing a spoken word-ish ode to a girl that could've been the one for him. Could've. She later gets a jab on "Be Alone." Either way, it works, a lot better than expected.

******Gambino Facts - He graduated the Dramatic Writing program at NYU in 2006.******

Thoughts? Remember, these are just five songs hand-picked to display all the best sides of Gambino musically. There's a handful more that are equally cold, go and download his mixtapes Culdesac and EP here: http://www.culdesac-album.com/ and here: http://www.childishgambino.blogspot.com/