Ah the pop culture. I shall indulge, for the sake of my own relaxation on this Tuesday morning, in a bit of mixed media hackery. It's a lovely day, I've got a cup of coffee, Summer Movie Season (lame as it may be) is super dumbass fun and I go down for it. I go down for it hard.
My thoughts on my favorite TV show, and Spider Man 3. I know you were all just waiting for my opinions. They are very, very important.
Yes, that's right. LOST. Utterly ridiculous, oft decried and oft ballyhooed LOST. I love that goddamn show and I don't care who knows it.
Phantasmaphile and I got the Season 1 DVDs just before the start of Season 2, watched 'em all, and then watched Season 2 (oddball scheduling and all) straight through. Now we're in the midst of the Third Season and it's gotten really fun. Season 2 was ambitious and a bit overreaching and sometimes not-so-good and sometimes really very, very good. Season 3 has really picked up the pace and if you 1) stopped watching in Season 2 or 2) have never seen the show, now's a pretty good time to check it out.
Now... there are a bunch of valid criticisms for the show ("No one acts like that," "It's like a bunch of models were trapped on an Island," "This makes no sense" and "They're making it up as they go along.")
Here's why I don't honestly care that much: The show is about as ambitious a Sci-Fi series as I've ever seen on TV (excluding, maybe Battlestar Galactica.) It also, so far, actually has the ability to surprise me with some rather bold choices. It's model is clearly far more Stephen King than The Prisoner, but it's mixed in elements of sort of all of the above. It presses all my happy geek buttons. It's got all sorts of great little reveals and a sense of mythology that I personally love in long-form storytelling. Maybe it's tone is more X-Men than The Wire. So be it.
(Speaking of comics...LOST recently hired Brian K. Vaughn as a staff writer. He's responsible for Y: The Last Man. His episode this season, called "Catch-22,"was pretty goddamn cool.)
Now, they've done something wonderfully unthinkable: They've announced an end-date for the show and reduced the number of episodes per season. The first three seasons had 23 hours in them (including a two hour season finale.) The next three will have 16 episodes each.
Nice to know it won't just keep running on forever. It also means they can definitively plot the entire series out: No More Running in Place. LOST is not going to wind up as the X-Files, and that's a relief.
Either way, I'll be watching the end of Season 3 blissfully on every Wednesday until it's over. And it pleases me to no end.
SPIDER MAN 3
I love summer movies. I am incredibly forgiving. I do not expect Oscars.
I also grew up on comics and things like Secret Wars (where the black symbiote stuff originally came from, crew) and Crisis on Infinite Earths and The Watchmen and Batman Graphic Novels, etc. etc. Movies are different: I'm not a purist. Give me something that works as a film.
Spider Man 3 doesn't really. It's not, as you might have read, impossible to watch and I wasn't pissed off. It's a movie about Spider Man. Frankly, even THIS movie was unthinkable to guys like me when I was growing up. So I'm freaking grateful.
That being said...Spider Man 3 is essentially three very good movies squished together to make one big sort of rushed movie.
1) A movie about Peter Parker discovering the true identity of his Uncle's killer, the Sandman, and discovering that it wasn't just being bad that made the guy a criminal, but circumstance
2) A movie that concludes the Peter-Mary Jane-Harry Osborne story and closes out the series arch of best friends with a blood feud
3) A movie about Peter competing with a sort of mirror of himself: a photographer who is far more immoral than he is. Black alien Stuff comes down, makes everyone his worst self, and eventually Spider Man battles Anti-Spider Man.
Each of those movies would have been possible for a director like Sam Raimi to make. Right now, it's like a mix-tape of those three movies, and therefore, it features some very good scenes from one of those movies at a time, and then has an obligatory, TERRIBLE scene to tie them together. Scenes where Venom literally says "Hey! Sandman! Let's team up!" Because honestly, without something that patently absurd...they never, ever would.
These are my thoughts. Thank you for indulging me.
I feel guilty. Donate to this theatre company to make me feel better.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.