Beyond Survival with Les Stroud opens with the camera in night vision mode. Les walks through the jungle, talking quietly because the Vedda people instructed him to keep silent. The Elephants are near. The elephants are the biggest concern and danger for the Veddas in central Sri Lanka; however, Les tells the audience that they must be aware of leopards, jaguars and sloth bears in the jungle. The entire trek ends without incident. Yes, the exciting illusion of danger returns to a Les Stroud show.
Beyond Survival is a show about surviving in the jungle in more ways than one. The show focuses on the preservation of the dying cultures of the tribes Les Stroud visits. What happens when modern civilization encroaches on a culture like the Veddas in Sri Lanka? The Vedda people and culture walked the earth 10,000 years before civilization began in Ancient Egypt. The effect of modern civilization is harsh for the Veddas because they’ve lost land through the years. Modern Sri Lanka advertises Aboriginal adventures even though the Veddas want to continue living as they always have. History has told this story for centuries. The natives are usually pushed out of their lands by a conqueror (Amazingly, the bulk of my studies as an English major included post-colonial studies or multi-culturalism and diversity as a whole…I digress). As they lose their lands, hunting and gathering becomes tougher as the wild game diminishes with each loss of land. The Veddas are one of the oldest hunter-gatherer groups in the world. Not only are the Vedda trying to maintain their way of life despite outside forces but they must rely on the youth of their people and their youth is not following in their elders’ footsteps.
Les Stroud also visits the Sinhalese fishermen on the coast on Sri Lanka. The fishermen are modern. The survival of their way life was damaged and put in danger after the Tsunami in 2004. Many of the elder fishermen died and the young Sinhalese aren’t anxious to follow in the footsteps of those who came before. The fishermen used to catch over 300,000 tons of fish a year and the numbers have decreased dramatically.
Besides the focus on the question: can these cultures continue to live the way they’ve always lived? A decent portion of the episode is devoted to the idea of demons and devils.
The Veddas were once considered to be half-human half-demon and they worship a select group of demons that can help them succeed while the Sinhalese believe there are no good demons. They want to rid themselves of demons because they believe the demons cause disease and bad luck among others. The way to please or ward off demons is through dancing–”devil dancing.”
The Sinhalese are a very patriarchal society. They believe the demons are attracted to various vices. Chief among the vices are women. I think the Sinhalese associate women with lust, and lust is the chief vice. Les Stroud wasn’t clear. The Sinhalese dress up in women clothing to entice the demons so they can be destroyed i.e. exorcised. While fishing, the Sinhalese prefer company because an isolated fisherman is an easy target for demon possession. Their devil dancing is intense and long–twelve hours exactly. The Sinhalese wished to exorcise the demons from Stroud which is why the dance takes twelve hours. It’s a dizzying display of noise, color, fire.
The Veddas dance as a form of worship to the demons they deem good. There are no costumes or excessive displays.
As for the actual hunting methods the Veddas use, allow me to write about some highlights:
-The middle portion of the episode is devoted to an elaborate concoction to create poison so fishing is easier. At first, they warned Les not to get the poisonous liquid in his eye and then they asked him to get in the water that now had the poison in it. Les said his body went numb eventually.
-A few times on Survivorman, Les Stroud got high from a natural opiate. In this episode, he ate a betel nut with some tobacco leaves. Whenever Les Stroud trips out with a camera watching, it’s funny because he seems like he has no clue what just hit him.
-The Vedda slingshots delighted Les. While high from the betel nut, he acted like he’d hit one of the Vedda tribesman with the rock before laughing.
-The Vedda tribesmen own dogs that they use to help on the hunt. In fact, when they arrived home, the dogs greeted the tribesmen excitedly.
-The tribesmen and Les procured honey from a bees nest without the bees going insane. The Veddas take great care when invading the bees’ hive. After they gathered the honey, the tribesmen made sure the bees would re-build by re-building the part of the tree they removed for hive access.
Beyond Survival with Les Stroud is worth your time. DVR it or watch it live should you be home on a Friday night at 10pm. Where else can someone get a glimpse of another culture like this? Les Stroud continues to be a great host; however, no matter how many times he talks about the dangerous animals, you’ll never actually see one.
Tomorrow will launch the beginning of the look at returning television shows on network television. If you any network you’d like me to begin with, tell me in the comments. If not, expect an ABC preview tomorrow.
It was a busy week for the crew at the Scene of Mystery headquarters as we were forced to shift through a veritable avalanche of guesses. The actual number isn’t important, but I can say with robust certainty that it was squeezed somewhere in the 0-1000 range.
Well, wait no further my friends! Here is the answer to last Friday’s overwhelmingly, profoundly successful Scene of Mystery!
My God Christopher wins! Christopher wins! The first ever correct answer to the Scene of Mystery is “Terminator 2: Judgment Day!” This is an absolutely shocking development! Chris wins ONE tanker boat full of Janice’s stuffed animals! Sensational! Congratulations on your correct answer Chris!
Now, because Janice guessed incorrectly once again this week (that’s right, not guessing counts as a wrong answer) harsh punishment will be leveled in her general direction. For her failure, Janice will be forced to spend three business days listening to snooty French horror director Alexandre Aja gloating over me giving his latest film, “Piranha 3-D,” a B rating. Ear plugs will NOT be provided.
Continuing in the proud tradition of Big Reveal Monday, Post Collegiate Apocalypse is proud to reveal to you 101 Reasons to Hire Colin McGlinchey! Brace yourselves companies in need of an Entertainment/Hockey writer. This one is for you…
Colin McGlinchey has forgotten more about “Terminator 2” then the entire population of Luxembourg combined ever knew.
Colin McGlinchey can read a 300 page book in less than ONE month.
I can already hear the phone ringing off the hook with million dollar a year job offers. I’m holding out for TWO million a year PLUS an entire battalion of pet cats. Your move companies.
And now for the conclusion of “Beatles Week” on Beard of the Day!
I'd like to be under the sea. In an octopus' garden in the shade. He'd let us in, knows where we've been. In his octopus' garden in the shade... umm... where was I? Oh yes! Ladies and gentlemen, the "Ringo Starr!"
The 62nd Annual Primetime Emmys took place last night in Hollywood. Rich people were paid to wear expensive clothing. Rich people were paid handsomely for work they already are paid handsomely for. Also, expensive gift bags were given to the rich people who attended. I digress.
In other years, the Emmys showcased an alarming lack of originality. Before last night, The Amazing Race won every year since it debuted. Top Chef took home the Best Reality Program award last night, ending The Amazing Race’s streak. New shows were rewarded as well as deserving actors and actresses who were deemed an after-thought by critics who had grown weary of the predictability of the Emmys; however, as the night wore on, the Emmys began irritating me. Perhaps the hour plus time spent celebrating mini-series and movies was the reason. Can there really be a category for Best Miniseries when exactly two miniseries are nominated? Obviously, the category existed. I would have bumped Tom Hanks and his mini-series to the Creative Arts show that occurred a week ago.
Here are my (mostly) complete thoughts about last night’s Emmy Awards:
-Jimmy Fallon hosted the show last night. While I had no problems with how he performed as the host, I wondered how much power Lorne Michaels has in television. For example, if I was a writer’s PA or writer’s assistant on SNL and I happened to trip over his shoe accidentally, would I ever work in the business again? Take a gander at Horatio Sanz’s career compared to Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. Lorne Michaels doesn’t like Horatio Sanz. Sanz was abruptly fired from SNL. Since SNL, he’s worked small roles in Will Ferrell movies and landed a role on a Comedy Central series that critics hate; meanwhile, Fallon replaces Conan O’Brien as the host of the Late Show after struggling as a movie actor. I read Lorne made it a mission to find success for Jimmy Fallon. A year and a half after taking over Conan’s chair, Fallon is hosting the Emmy Awards on NBC.
Seth Meyers has been the head writer of Saturday Night Live for a few years now as well as the Weekend Update host. Let us remember that Seth Meyers never made the audience laugh in sketches. If there were laughs, credit goes to Will Ferrell or any other cast member who appeared in the sketch with him. Not only is Meyers the king of the SNL writing staff, he hosted the ESPYs in July. Damon Lindelof, co-creator of LOST, tweeted “Briefly met @sethmeyers21 backstage and got starstruck.” In the infamous words of Meyers, REALLY?!? Seth Meyers has overseen some of the worst SNL years in the show’s history. The ideas are unoriginal and the execution of the ideas is brutal. Like Fallon, the majority of laughs during Weekend Update occur when Seth Meyers can’t help but laugh at the jokes he just delivered.
I don’t get it.
-I almost turned heel on Mad Men last night because of my overwhelming LOST fanaticism but the frustration disappeared rather quickly and I watched the latest episode of Mad Men mere minutes after they won the award for Outstanding Drama Series. They won for the third year in a row. Matthew Weiner didn’t thank his writing staff. Instead, he thanked his wife for reading the scripts. I have no problem with Mad Men winning this award because LOST didn’t have a shot in Emmy Land. It’s a genre show and hadn’t been nominated since the show won in 2005 for the first season.
-I don’t think Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy should’ve won for “Shut The Door. Have A Seat.” Again, I’m biased but I think Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse deserved the win for “The End.” But Mad Men is the Emmy’s favorite child. The one award I wanted LOST to win was the writing award. I will now sigh heavily.
-Jack Bender did not win the directing award for LOST. Steve Schills won for an episode of Dexter he directed. I did want Bender to win the award not only for the greatness that is “The End” but for the entire six years he spent as the creator of the visual look and style of the show.
-I enjoyed the opening segment of The Emmys. I was surprised and overjoyed when Nina Dobrev jumped into frame. She is the star of The Vampire Diaries and an absolutely stunning looking girl. Holy moly.
Will she replace Emilie de Ravin as my fanboy crush? After watching her last night on The Emmys and seeing the TVD trailers for the second season with Dobrev in the Katherine look…I will answer with an emphatic yes.
-Aaron Paul won the supporting actor award for drama series. Paul once acted in a 2000 movie called Whatever It Takes and it’s one of my all-time favorite comedic performances. The majority of people in America won’t agree with me. I’ve read no supporting actor was more deserving than Aaron Paul. Very well.
-Archie Panjabi won the award for supporting actress in drama series. I hear she was outstanding. Good for her.
-Kyra Sedgwick won for Best Actress in a drama series. Many thought Julianna Marquiles was a lock. I wanted Connie Britton to win for her portrayal of Mrs. Taylor on Friday Night Lights.
-Bryan Cranston won the award for best actor in a drama series. This was a stacked category. Every actor deserved to win. I thought Matthew Fox had an outstanding season portraying Jack. Jon Hamm’s performance in “The Gypsy and The Lady,” especially the kitchen scene with Betty, is out of this world. Kyle Chandler’s been great for four years as Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights as well.
-The only comedy series nominated that I watched was Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show earned zero awards. No surprise. J.B. Smoove wasn’t even nominated and I have no doubt that he’s funnier than every actor nominated for supporting actor in a comedy series.
-The show itself was poorly paced. Again, no one needs an hour plus devoted to mini-series’ and movies. The musical transitions performed by Jimmy Fallon were decent but the twitter stuff was a bad idea.
Overall, I regret watching the entire three hour program. I should’ve stopped when Nina Dobrev left the stage but I had hope LOST would win, at least, one award.
I thought I’d write about the Emmys and Beyond Survival in one post but my write-up on Beyond Survival will be online tomorrow.
THE QUOTE OF THE (YESTER) DAY!
Gio Gonzalez, A’s pitcher, on his relationship with the baseball
“I had a pep talk with the baseball today … It’s the first time. I guess he’s rubbing off too much on me,” Gonzalez said. “After Hamilton’s homer, I got the ball and started yelling at it. ‘C’mon, do your job.’ Then the baseball told me to calm down. I’m losing my mind.”
Well here we are. It is quite late and my lap top is in the process of slowly dragging itself towards that big computer lab in the sky. I think that the best way to describe its current status can be found in the “Boy Meets World” horror movie spoof episode. In that episode, Eric and Jack both confirmed that, according to slasher movie rules, they will both die because of their promiscuity. Shawn sheepishly added that he will get as sick as you can get without actually dying.
Ladies and gentlemen, my computer is Shawn Hunter, but with worse hair. Just saving this document is like climbing Mount Everest with Mount Kilimanjaro strapped to your back.
So, it is for these reasons and with a heavy heart that I must cancel most of the usual Peliculas con Viernes fair for the week. Possibly longer as I continue to adjust to the rigors having something to do between the hours of eight (when did we put an 8 o’clock in the morning?) and five each day.
I think instead of my usual super long and rambly and Power Point heavy entries, I’m going to focus on keeping these shorter and more focused. Tonight, we’ll do another round of Desert Island Essentials!
As we discussed last week, for this feature I will need to kidnap you and shipwreck you on a desert island. It’s not something that I want to do, but it is something that I must do. Of course, I’m not the kind of guy who kidnaps out of hate. I prefer my kidnapping to come from a place of love and respect. That is why I’ll giving you a solar-powered, coconut TV/DVD combo. Also, I will allow you to bring THREE DVDs with you on your journey. Three DVDs that you can watch over and over again. This week’s three DVDs all must star noted dreamboat Leonardo DiCaprio!
Leonardo DiCaprio Edition
Remember, these aren’t necessarily the best three movies Leo has made, but the ones which also can stand up the best to repeated viewing. Feel free to rip me for this list or share your own in the comment section. “The Beach” will not appear on this list for two reasons. 1.) It wasn’t all that great. Seeing it once was enough AND 2.) If you’re living on a desert island why the heck would you want to watch a movie about a bunch of people living on a desert island?!?! Here we go!
No duh. The unquestioned best movie of 2010 is also the best movie of DiCaprio’s career. The mind-bending neo-noir thriller is equal parts mystery and action flicks. Honestly, watching “Inception” while stuck on a desert island is probably the best way to watch it. Who knows? Maybe by the time I get around to rescuing you (could be a while); you will have finally gotten down to the core of this Russian nesting doll and uncovered all of its secrets.
Not bloody likely.
Catch Me If You Can
This clever and charming cat and mouse game stars DiCaprio as an incredibly successful young con man and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent charged with bringing him to justice. Christopher Walken gives a quiet and heart-breaking performance as DiCaprio’s father, also a con man, but one who never quite had a knack for it.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Catch Me If You Can” is a dra-medy based on an incredible true story. It’s a great movie about big dreams and it comes with a hopeful message that could certainly come in handy while you’re passing the time soaking up the sun in your tropical prison.
Romeo and Juliet
Shakespeare has never been this interesting. I mean, taking old English and putting it in the modern day with guns, cars and John Leguizamo? Brilliant! Baz Luhrmann’s take on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers is absolutely the very definition of cool. You literary types can keep your period piece costumes and traditional interpretations. I’ll take DiCaprio’s maddeningly gorgeous blonde locks any day.
Alright well let’s head on to the Scene of Mystery! Remember, a correct answer will net you a baseball stadium full of Janice Redington’s stuffed animals, while an incorrect answer will likely go on to haunt your very dreams.
What can it be?
And now on to the Beard of the Day!
Beatles Week continues with the quiet one. Ladies and gentlemen, the "George Harrison."
That’s all for now! Have a great weekend and vaya con dios!
The first issue of The Quad is released on Monday. I would have a preview but I graduated 8 months ago and, thus, do not have a preview for what’s coming in Monday’s issue. I look forward to discovering the identity of the person succeeding me as the beat writer for the men’s soccer team. I look forward to the entertainment section remaining the best section in the paper. Last year, for the first issue of the fall semester and my second issue as overlord of the entertainment section, I did a round-up of summer news and a last-minute piece on Noel Gallagher suddenly quitting Oasis. I digress. Everyone can read the latest Quad issue at wcuquad.com.
Last week, I indulged in a week-long search for new television shows to review for the Fall. After the extensive search, I settled on only four shows. The problem is each show is new and the premiere dates won’t allow me to write about television at the pace that I want. For example, The Walking Dead won’t air until October 31. For nearly two months I will only write about three shows? No way.
For the sake of credibility, I won’t write about shows that I’m unfamiliar with. In other words, the plan is to write about shows I actually watch. It’s a novel concept. Of course, the TV schedule isn’t favorable in the early weeks. Only The CW returns before the rest of the network landscape on September 20. Most of the shows I’d write about (Community, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The Vampire Diaries) air on Thursdays which would create an insane amount of posts in a short span. Plus, my 5th season of NFL predictions is moving into The Foot. Returning shows might find their space within the actual picks. Basically, the TV reviews will become frequent once the full fall schedule is in full swing and I just need to show patience before I can write at the pace I want. Moving on…
A new show is entering the review rotation. Which show? Well, read on:
The Show: Beyond Survival with Les Stround
The Channel: Discovery
Premiere Date: Tonight at 10PM
Premise: (From Discovery Channel Press Release) As “Survivorman,” Les Stroud spent years surviving some of the most remote locations on earth — alone — while filming himself. In BEYONDSURVIVAL WITH LES STROUD, premiering Friday, August 27 at 10PM ET/PT, Stroud learns the tribes’ techniques, takes part in their rituals and ceremonies and discovers the secrets of how their culture has survived for thousands of years… before they vanish forever. Les has relied on his years of training, raw instincts and sheer will to endure his seven-day challenges. Now, he takes his knowledge deeper; seek out the true masters ofsurvival — the last indigenous tribes in the most remote corners of the planet.
Thoughts: I was a huge fan of Survivorman during its run. I understood why Les walked away from the show because he never looked happy by the end of an episode. He spent days with either little food or little water or both. His show wasn’t as intense as Man Vs. Wild. Stroud always offered the more practical way to survive. If I was lost in the wild, I think I could survive with what Les Stroud taught. I would probably die if I followed Bear Grylls because he always adopts the most extreme method of survival but it’s awesome to watch in the comfort of one’s home.
The premise of the show reminds of the movie about the linguists. Linguists would travel to remote corners of earth to capture the dialect of the remaining indigenous cultures. The idea of traveling to the last indigenous tribes on earth to learn about not only their survival skills but their culture is fascinating. I’m eager to learn about these different tribes and their cultures. The description of the tribe Les visits in the first episode is so cool. I expect a healthier, less worn down Les Stroud by episode’s end.
I’ll have much more to write about when I see the episode tonight. The review/recap/thoughts/whatever-you-want-to-call-it will be posted Monday.
Last night on Man Vs. Wild, Bear Grylls was inches from death. Literally. Had his cameraman and director of photography, Simon Peay, collided with Bear’s head, Bear would have died.
Thus far, the new season of Man Vs. Wild has been insane. He’s flirted with death in every episode. If he isn’t swimming with sharks, he is fighting a crocodile for a fish in North Queensland waters and, if he isn’t fighting a croc then he nearly dies in a situation that he and his crew are supposed to have complete control over. As I talk about this episode, the reader will learn the exact situation that put Bear and his cameraman inches from death. The situation might surprise you.
This episode got me thinking. Bear’s been filming Man Vs. Wild for three years now. I think the man is addicted to this lifestyle now. Perhaps he isn’t but this episode featured survival methods Bear has done multiple times in the past already. Any loyal fan knows this.
This week, Bear was in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. Instead of the usual, Bear and the crew created different survival scenarios such as a blizzard, an avalanche, icy waters and a glissade down a mountain. Bear wanted to demonstrate how to survive the most catastrophic situations in the bitter cold. He sure earns his paycheck with this episode, folks. Here are the usual highlights:
-The first scenario was an avalanche. In Patagonia, Bear witnessed an avalanche but did not get caught or buried in one. In this scenario, Bear will bury himself beneath 12 feet of snow to simulate an actual survival situation. Most people die buried 2 feet under. The crew set off four explosives to create the avalanche because Bear wanted to time how long it’d take for rescuers to rescue someone trapped. The information he attained from this exercise was used for his own situation. Bear decides he’ll bury himself alive for 12 minutes under the snow. The proper medical equipment is hooked up to him so he can be monitored; meanwhile, he has a device to make his breathing fit into the scenario as well so that oxygen slowly disappears as time passes. Right off the bat, Bear is flirting with death because if the diggers can’t get to him quickly when the time comes, Bear could die.
While buried, Bear tells a story about a close of friend of his who died in an avalanche. Bear adds softly that he doesn’t like avalanches. As he sits, the oxygen leaves the air. He has a tough time breathing. Eventually, he’s suffering. But the time elapses and the diggers get him safely. He compares the oxygen returning to his lungs to a light that goes on in a dark house. It sounds like a description being near death through suffocation because, as Bear tells us, suffocation is what kills someone trapped underneath an avalanche.
-The next scenario is a massive blizzard. Bear experienced this while in Iceland. For this, the crew had two huge fans along with small weather stations to make sure the conditions were blizzard-like. Bear advises against fighting the blizzard because the wind will kill you. One must take shelter. The shelter is the snow itself. What one does is dig a deep hole so that it shields you from the wind. I’ve seen Bear implement this method several times in the series. Nothing new with this scenario of surviving a blizzard unless you’re a first-time viewer, in which case you learned something.
-The icy lake was next. Bear never seemed to enjoy himself when he plunged into icy waters in the Arctic Circle or Siberia or anywhere. The plunge and the swim has to be torture. Naturally, Bear is wearing a heart monitor to track his BPM. Simon has a thermal camera to show how cold Bear’s body gets. Bear has to swim 80 feet in the water. Before diving in, he says the icy waters are different when he’s in ‘journey mode’ because he doesn’t stop to think; however, diving in like one dives into a swimming pool is a different beast. He dives in and then surfaces quickly because the trick is to slow one’s heartbeat down because the cold water sends the body into panic mode. Every time Bear went into icy waters, he always made sure he calmed his heart rate down because cardiac arrest is a risk. His BPM drops to 88. He spends nearly five minutes in the water. In his narration he describes the body’s way of surviving by decreasing blood flow. On the surface, his body temperature fell from 88 degrees to 32 degrees.
When Bear leaves the water, his number goal priority is preventing frostbite. Bear rolls in the snow as a way to dry his body (hey it works and he’s done it before) before putting his clothes on. He must start a fire or else he might die from blood flow. Bear gets a fire going quickly and then makes himself tea. As he sips his tea, he RETIRES from diving into icy waters. It’s about time, Bear. He admits he always hated icy waters.
I wondered: can a regular person survive what Bear just survived? He must be in superior shape. He’s climbed Everest twice after all. CHIME IN with your opinion in the comments.
-After three insane challenges, Bear settles down to show the viewer how to make good shelter in a bitterly cold place. The show flashbacks to Siberia when Bear spent a night in minus 30 degree temperatures. Now, personally, I’d like to live in a shack in Siberia. I digress. Bear builds a great shelter and a great fire. In the morning, we find out his shelter was 66 degrees (thanks to the fire and the way he built the shelter) while the British Columbian night had temperatures in the low-20s.
-The final challenge is the icy glissade. In the Yukon, Bear lost his footing and slid down the mountain. Bear wanted to determine the speed of someone doing this as well as the length it takes to stop the slide. Bear tells a story about his wife and son who nearly fell off a cliff but stopped just shy of the edge. I’m not surprised The Grylls family climbs cliffs in Bear’s downtime.
From when Bear began to dig his hands into the snow to stop the slide until he stopped, the distance was 180 feet. Bear stresses the importance of being aware of your environment so no one falls off the edge of a cliff. The second time, Bear uses an ice axe to stop; meanwhile, Simon follows Bear on a sled from behind. Once Bear stops, a white cloud of snow hides Bear from Simon’s sight. Simon collides with Bear. The camera breaks and the crew thinks one or both of them could be dead. Good God. Luckily, Simon did not nail Bear in the head. The crew thinks Bear’s femur might be broken. Simon’s nose is busted. Bear is teary-eyed. Simon talks about the fear he felt. The two are airlifted to a hospital.
An insane ending in yet another insane episode of Man Vs. Wild this season. I hope I never see a glisside again on the show nor a dive into icy waters. I will welcome the return of swimming with sharks or fighting a croc for fish OR staring down 200 elephants and WINNING.
Next week, Bear is in The Caucasus Mountains. In which country? Who knows. Hopefully it is матери России.
Well my friends, things are starting to get a little sporadic here at PCA. The father of one of my oldest and dearest clients has provided me with employment which is good news. Sadly it also comes with bad news: I will not be able to update as frequently as I was doing when I was spending the majority of my day twiddling my thumbs.
However, I promise you that I will try, try, triceratops…
Ba dum chi!
Thank you Norman. As I was saying, I will try my best to keep up as best as I can. In that spirit, let us move on to our main event. Ladies and gentlemen, no job that has ever existed can stop the perennial party train that is: Dinosaur Wednesday!
It’s time to honor this week’s Outstanding Dinosaur! This award is given to the dinosaur judged to have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
This week’s Outstanding Dinosaur is…
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Ceratosaurus! The carnivores are running this city! Oh yes! The carnivores are running this city!
Ba dum chi!
It’s time for some quick facts about this horn-nosed predator courtesy of the number one internet destination for grown up dinosaur enthusiasts, EnchantedLearning.com!
15-20 feet long
Weight: ½ to 1 ton
In addition to the horn on its snout, it also had two bony eye brow ridges and bony knobs and ridges on top of its head
Short arms, four fingers on each hand
Lived during the late Jurassic period, about 156 million to 145 million years ago
May have hunted in groups
Walked on two legs
Thought to have been a good swimmer due to its long, thin tail
Called Colorado, Utah and Tanzania home
That brings us to this week’s debut edition of the long-promised new feature Ask-A-Dinosaur! Play the theme Norman!
Hmm… did I mention that I’ve been a bit busy lately? Hey, I’m doing my best! I’m no lazy bones… get it? Bones, you know like fossils?
I promise that this will get going next week. I’m almost out of the developmental stages on this thing, I swear it.
Never fear because today does, in fact, mark the beginning of the 2010 Prehistoric King of the Steel Cage tournament! In order to keep this thing from lasting until the new year, we’re going to do not one but TWO matches each week as we work our way through the bracket. In case you’ve misplaced your quasi-collectable bracket, here is a brand new copy.
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As always, we will rely on the patented PCA Dinosaur Algorithm to decide the victor in each match. Some say that the algorithm spends its free time predicting the future and that it invented lettuce. All we know is that it is the only possible method we have to determine a winner in these colossal battles.
Remember, the winner of this single elimination tournament will receive ONE MILLION dollars worth of multicolored hooded sweatshirts courtesy of Janice Redington, as well as bragging rights.
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Alright, our first match features tournament favorite and beloved star of the “Toy Story” franchise, Rex (2-1 odds, PCGM Record: 2-0-0) taking on the large underdog Rudy (80-1 odds, PCGM Record: 0-1-0, who was the main villain of the smash hit “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.”
The pass code has been replaced by a valve wheel and I’m turning it… NOW!
Rex wins! The toy T-Rex avoids succumbing to any sort of jinx associated with being the tournament favorite and advances to the second round!
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Our second match of the day pits the green mowhawked raptors from “Jurassic Park III” (PCGM Record: 0-0-0, 85-1 odds) against our unknown Mystery Contestant (PCGM Record: unknown, no odds given). I’m not sure how the algorithm will be able to calculate a winner when it has no information on one of the contestants, but that it why it gets paid the big bucks (15 of Janice’s stuffed animals a week, size: varied). The valve wheel has just now been replaced by a car ignition. I’m inserting and turning the key… NOW!
The Mystery Contestant comes out on top! Shocking! The algorithm has sent the unknown participant into the second round. Who knows what sort of havoc this walking question mark could cause if it continues to progress deeper into the tournament?
Tune in next week for more first round matches as we continue in our quest to name the 2010 Prehistoric King of the Steel Cage!
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On to the “Jurassic Park” Clip of the Week!
And let’s put a bow on this thing with a brand new Beard of the Day as we continue with our Beatles Week!
He split time on lead vocals, facial hair and slappa'd da bass. Ladies and gentlemen, the "Paul McCartney!"
That’s all for today my friends! I’ll be back soon. Until our paths cross again: vaya con dios!
Having greatly loathed my first two encounters with Alexandre Aja (“High Tension” and “The Hills Have Eyes” remake), I prepared myself for the worst from his 3-D take on the 1978 schlock-fest “Piranha.” Yet, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. ”Piranha 3-D” certainly isn’t going to win any Oscars (maybe a Razzie or two), but it is still a decidedly fun, blood-drenched way to spend an afternoon.
Spring Break takes an unpleasant turn after an earthquake (which may or may not have been caused by a stray beer bottle) releases thousands of toothy, prehistoric killing machines upon a small lake-side resort town. Luckily for the piranhas (and for the viewer, depending on your perspective) this small town just so happens to be a Mecca for boozed up, inhibition-free college co-eds.
From there the movie plays out like it was pulled from the hormone-addled imagination of a 14-year-old boy. It’s jammed right to the gills (I make no apologies for the pun) with loud noises, naked women and enough gore to fill two or three “Saw” sequels.
The writers of “Piranha 3-D,” Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stollberg, wear their inspirations on their collective sleeves; giddily borrow plot devices, lines and even an actor from the “Jaws” franchise. That’s not all that surprising really, considering that the 1978 version of “Piranha” was itself a parody of “Jaws.”
Elisabeth Shue does a fine job stepping into Roy Scheider’s role from “Jaws” as the devoted small town Sheriff trying to balance work and family. You’ll probably wish she had focused more on the former, considering that her family is headed by elder son and monumental wet blanket Jake, played without any joy or life to speak of by Steven R. McQueen. She also has two precocious younger children (Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan), who drift about aimlessly as precocious younger children tend to do in these kinds of movies, occasionally getting themselves into trouble and requiring rescue.
One of the best decisions Aja made on this film was hiring breakout star-in-waiting Adam Scott to play a geologist of some sort. The worst decision Aja made on the film was hiring Scott and then giving him almost nothing to do. You’ve got all that charisma and charm just sitting there in a plaid shirt, wasting away. Scott does, however, get his one moment in the sun during a ridiculously over-the-top jet-ski sequence.
If you’ve got a weak stomach then you should probably skip “Piranha 3-D.” Aja bypasses building any sort of tension whatsoever in favor of boo scares, musical stings and— most importantly— tanker truck loads of fake blood. The movie is insanely gory even by today’s torture porn standards, but it’s all done in good fun.
There is no better example of this than the film’s centerpiece: a huge party on the lake that the piranhas decide to crash. From there the movie becomes some sort of crazed hybrid of “MTV Presents Spring Break” and “Saving Private Ryan” as bikini clad partygoers storm the beaches, dragging pieces of their fallen comrades with them.
The movie’s 3-D effects are cool enough, but they do occasionally blur some of the action. Watching the movie at home without the glasses might be a bit of a chore though, as a few sequences seem to have been included solely to make use of the 3-D gimmick.
With “Piranha 3-D,” it seems that Aja has finally learned to stop taking himself so seriously and have a little fun. The movie doesn’t have the same harsh or chilly feel of his earlier works. Maybe it helps that he only directed and didn’t write it. Either way, “Piranha 3-D” is more “Cabin Fever” then it is “High Tension.” This is interesting because “Cabin Fever” director Eli Roth just so happens to have a small part in “Piranha 3-D” as a wet t-shirt contest judge.
You can’t help but wonder just what Roth would have done if he had been given control of the fish tank instead of Aja. “Piranha 3-D,” with its unapologetic blending of teen sex comedies and splatter, is right in Roth’s wheelhouse.
Even though “Piranha 3-D” is already a fun movie, it feels like there was room for more. The problem is that its only source of humor tends to be its excesses. The main characters are mostly either joyless do-nothings or wasted talent with the exception of Jerry O’Connell who appears to have a blast as a sleazy “Girls Gone Wild”-type video mogul. Beef up one or two characters (mostly Scott) and cut a few others (the family) and you could easily have yourself an “Evil Dead”-styled horror comedy.
Instead, the movie never seems to fully commit to the comedy aspect of things, always toeing the water and never just jumping right in. It seems like Aja couldn’t quite figure out if he wanted to make “Jaws” or “Piranha,” and so his movie ended up floating somewhere in the middle.
Rewatchability: Medium in theaters, Low at home
Verdict: Catch an afternoon matinee (skip lunch) or use a Gift card
The PCA offices were literally inundated with two guesses at this week’s Scene of Mystery. Chris guessed “Heavy Weights,” the delightful 1995 comedy about a troup of kids doing their best to survive a fat camp run by a crazed fitness nut. Janice shocked the world this week by electing to go with the greatest film of all time, 1991′s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”
Let’s see if either one will claim the grand prize, a metric ton of stuffed animals!
Oh no! It seems the correct answer is the 1981 animated film “Heavy Metal,” which was lampooned in a not-so-recent episode of the TV series “South Park.”
Well, Chris’ answer was certainly much closer then Janice’s so he shan’t be punished. Janice, however, must now paint her face to resemble Spider-man’s mask, attach suction cups to her fingers, go to work and sign the ”Spider-man” theme song to the first customer she encouters. So says the Scene of Mystery rule book!
Off to the Beard of the Day! Today marks the beginning of “Beatles Week,” here on Beard of the Day. Let the invasion commence!
This man played the guitar and split the lead singer duties during his tenure with The Beatles. He also went on to have some success after the band broke up. Of course by some I mean a tremendous amount. He remains one of the most beloved musicians of all time, ladies and gentlemen the "John Lennon!"
On Friday, and last month, I wrote about the return of Jacob’s Foot. I planned to have my LOST blogging career end after even more days and words were spent on the show; however, after careful thought, I decided that Jacob’s Foot returns for one day only: today.
In “What They Died For,” Jacob tells Hurley to gather his friends because the end is near. Jacob put his remaining ashes in a fire. Once the ashes burned away, Jacob would be gone. When I teased a name change, the name change would’ve been “Jacob’s Ashes” because once the final post had been published, Jacob’s Foot is no more. Since the LOST blog moved to Quad Blogs in 2009, the name always included Jacob. First, it was Jacob’s Cabin because I loved the idea of the cabin in the show. After “The Incident,” and the revelation that MIB inhabited the cabin for a long period of time, the blog became Jacob’s Foot because Jacob actually lived beneath the foot of Tawaret. Plus, I thought the name Jacob’s Foot would get recognition on the internet among LOST fans. I can say Jeff Jensen, EW’s LOST expert, made a joke about the name on Twitter after responding to a question. I digress. I always loved the idea of Jacob when The Others only talked about him and I stated writing about LOST well before Jacob showed up. Also, no one else used Jacob in the name of their blog.
The final Jacob’s Foot features a DVD review for the final season. Yes, you read correctly. This is a DVD review for sixth and final season of LOST. The DVD is released to the masses tomorrow in various retail stores. How did The Foot manage to get an early copy? Pre-ordering pays off, friends and well-wishers. This review will cover audio commentaries, bonus features and a review of the final original content from LOST: The New Man In Charge. In fact, let us begin with The New Man In Charge.
Also, MASSIVE SPOILERS about “The New Man In Charge” so don’t read until you see it. The write-up about it is like every recap/review I did for the episodes. I write about LOST as if everyone has seen what I’m writing about. Feel free to scroll through. Once again, MASSIVE SPOILERS ABOUND IN “THE MAN IN CHARGE” REVIEW.
THE NEW MAN IN CHARGE
“The New Man In Charge” has a run time of 11 minutes and 51 seconds. I found myself checking to see how much time remained every few minutes because I didn’t want it to end. The same joy and excitement I felt before every new episode of LOST for six years returned once I pressed play. For 11 minutes and 51 seconds, my mind was wholly consumed by a story LOST was telling.
“The New Man In Charge” is light-hearted. Ben has been shutting down the old Dharma stations in the United States. The final station was responsible for the food drops. Back in the day, after the first food drop happened during the second season, many people wondered who exactly dropped the food onto the Island. As the seasons past, the need for an answer to this particular mystery ceased. Perhaps, during season five, Damon and Carlton said something about the food drops and time-travel being related. Such an answer was good enough for me. Plus, I thought it was cool that these food drops could get lost in time and then show up in a period they weren’t supposed to. I digress.
The first half of the short is devoted to answering some questions the show raised during its run. There are two Dharma workers who’ve been in charge of these food drops for years and years. The one thing they want from Ben, after the nice severance package, is answers. It doesn’t take a literary critic to draw the parallel between the audience and the workers. A large contingent of fans exists who wanted answers badly and were super-pissed when The End didn’t deliver answers to questions. I, of course, am not part of that contingent. I digress. Ben is nice enough to answer one question each from both works before he puts in a DVD of the Hydra Orientation Video.
The Hydra Orientation video is the funniest of the many orientation videos. We find out why Chang uses so many alias in other videos as well as the the truth behind the polar bears on the Island. Additionally, we find out more about Room 23 and the weird animal experiments Dharma liked to do. The pregnant women question gets an answer. The Hurley bird mystery gets an answer and it’s ridiculous. I thought it was great. Everything is straight-forward. When the video ends, the one worker echoes a line of John Locke’s when he says they need to see it again. Unfortunately, time’s up and Ben has one final place to visit: Santa Rose Mental Hospital.
The final 4.5 minutes of The New Man In Charge is definitely the heart of the piece. No, Hurley is not in Santa Rosa. Walt is. He’s known as Keith Johnson, obviously. If you’re wondering how Walt ended up in Santa Rosa, it seems fairly simple to figure out when you consider he visited Santa Rosa a few days before the Oceanic 6 returned to the Island. Walt is now a patient at Santa Rosa. When Ben sits down with him, he’s in the middle of a game of Connect Four with himself or he might be able to see and communicate with the dead like Hurley could and Ben AND The Man in Black.
Anywho, Walt wonders why Ben came to visit. Ben tells him, as the note said, a friend sent him. Walt asks, with bitterness in his tone, if Ben came to kidnap him again. Ben didn’t and he apologizes for it and he knows he can only accept responsibility for it. He can’t change the past. Ben’s purpose is to bring Walt to the Island. I do think Walt wanted Hurley to think back when he visited him at Santa Rosa. Walt later says he’s waited a long time for someone to take him back because he never felt he belonged in the world away from The Island. Before Walt follows Ben to the Dharma van, where he meets Hurley, Ben reminds Walt that he’s special and adds that he’s sure he hasn’t heard that word in a long time.
I appreciated the inclusion of Walt. It provided good closure for the character. Walt’s been a victim throughout most of the series. His kidnapping led to his father going to extremes to free him which eventually led to his Santa Rosa stay. I think Walt eventually found the peace he’s sought on the Island especially if he took the job Hurley offered him. I think he made peace with his father and found happiness.
The lack of Walt in the finale drew some of the biggest rants from the fandom. People wanted answers for why he is special. Well, there are no answers for what makes Walt special; however, from what Ben and Hurley say to Walt, what makes Walt special isn’t difficult to figure out. This will anger LOST fans and early reaction to the short hasn’t been great.
But, you know, it wouldn’t be LOST if it didn’t piss off a large amount of fans. I enjoyed “The New Man In Charge.” I’m glad it was made. My days of ranting about the LOST fandom and whatnot are over.
For old time’s sake, here are some other thoughts:
-If only the first shot of Walt was of him dunking over someone. During the latter part of the season, I continually hoped for Smokey to meet his end following a massive slam dunk by a 6’5 Walt.
-Michael Emerson did fine work once again which is no surprise. Malcolm David Kelley sure grew up. The two acted well together.
-Paul Edwards directed this. “The New Man In Charge” was shot during “The End” so Jack Bender was fairly busy. Melinda Hsu-Taylor, Graham Roland and Jim Galasso wrote the epilogue.
OTHER BONUS FEATURES
I did not purchase the Blu Ray nor the complete collection because I bought each season individually throughout the years. My reward? Less features. Thanks, ABC. I don’t have the Letting Go feature or the making of the finale. I will patiently wait for some kind youtube user to upload them in the next few days.
Crafting A Final Season: This near 39 minute feature is the best of the bunch. Other television creators talk about the process of ending a show after a long run. Most of the time is spent with the writers and the production crew in Hawaii from the beginning of the season until the end. About 2-3 minutes is spent talking about Claire which I’m a fan of. Emilie de Ravin gets a rare chance to talk on a DVD feature as well. The feature is more reflective than informative from a process standpoint. The feature captures the experience of the large crew, the actors and the writers as the end of their work on LOST grows closer by the day. The highlight of the feature is watching Jorge Garcia (Hurley) read the script, respond and then become dusty when he reads about Hurley becoming the new Jacob. The feature captures the last day of work for several cast members as well as the final speeches given by Damon and Carlton to their actors and crew in the church.
A Hero’s Journey: The writers talk about the hero’s journey of all their characters. It’s a short 8 minute feature. The most interesting part is the discussion of Sayid. The writers note that the fans will forgive Sayid for whatever he does and they seem surprised. They certainly took Sayid down a darker path in the final three seasons of the show but Sayid will always be great.
See You In Another Life, Brotha: This is all about the Sideways. It’s fun listening to the actors comment on the sideways as they were shooting them. There isn’t anything about the church and the culmination of the sideways. If you listened to the podcasts, you pretty much know everything the writers say about the Sideways in the feature.
LOST on Location: These have always been my favorite. They focus on the production side of an episode. Usually, if a big stunt occured, LOST on Location goes behind-the-scenes and provides a making-of. I have two favorite LOST on Locations. The first; The Substitute. We find out how the crew was able to shoot the stuff on the side of the cliff. The second, The Candidate. It was great to see Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae Kim rehearse their death scene with Jack Bender before they shot it. LOST on Location never disappoints.
Deleted Scenes: I finally got to see the deleted scene from “What They Died For” with Claire. Crazy Claire is awesome.
LOST Bloopers: Nothing tops the season one bloopers with Harold Perrineau freaking out. I enjoyed this set of bloopers though.
LA X w/Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse: Not the best commentary from these two. I expected something similar to the season five premiere commentary but they mostly summarize what’s on camera and state things fans have known since February. The two say they will talk more about the sideways in the finale commentary. Of course, there is no finale commentary. More on that next.
Across The Sea w/Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse: A superb commentary. I don’t want to list everything they talk about but they talk a lot about the themes of the show, why the episode is so important, the circularity of history as well as other stuff. It’s great. Once again, a finale commentary is teased and no commentary exists. Why tease the commentary twice and not deliver? Not cool, Lindelof and Cuse.
Note: I haven’t listened to the other two commentaries on the DVD.
The sixth and final season of LOST on DVD is a solid purchase. I enjoyed the bonus features. Other seasons have more in-depth features about the creative process of the show. There are plenty of quality episodes to enjoy and that alone is worth the price of the DVD.
Any fan should own it. If you’ve never seen an episode of LOST, don’t buy season six first. You won’t understand the show. Thank you.
With all that said, the final shoelace has been tied on The Foot. Thank you for reading my ramblings about LOST. I had a blast.
Tomorrow, I will either review the No Ordinary Family pilot or begin previewing returning shows. VOTE IN THE COMMENTS FOR WHAT YOU WANT TO READ.