DAMON LINDELOF SUPER TALENTED, BUT A THEMATIC FIXATION IS STARTING TO UNDUE THE COHERENCY OF HIS WORK….

http://badassdigest.com/2012/06/17/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-damon-lindleof-intervention/

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AHHH, THE MONOMYTH.

IT IS A FASCINATING ACADEMIC PURSUIT; A JOURNEY INTO OUR CULTURAL HISTORY, TO THE TIES OF COMMUNICATION THAT BONDED OUR EARLY CIVILIZATIONS. IT EVEN EXPLAINS HOW OUR STORYTELLING ROOTS ARE DIRECTLY BORN FROM THAT SHARED HISTORY. YES, THE LESSONS AT THE CORE OF THE MONOMYTH ARE MANIFOLD, RICH, AND TEXTURED; A THOUSAND VERSIONS OF A HERO’S JOURNEY, ALL BOUND BY THE HUMAN CONDITION, ALL CRUCIAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHY WE TELL STORIES IN THE FIRST PLACE. SIMPLY PUT, THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS VITAL TO OUR HUMANITY.

AND NOW IT’S A TOTAL FUCKING CRUTCH.

A LOT LIKE HULK’S DISMISSAL OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE, THE PROBLEM WITH JOSEPH CAMPBELL’S THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES IS NOT IT’S LACK OF ACCURACY, BUT INSTEAD WHAT WE DO WITH THE INFORMATION IT PROVIDES. CHIEFLY, THE FACT THAT OUR SOCIETY HAS OVERTLY ADOPTED THE BOOK’S BREAKDOWN OF THE HERO JOURNEY AS SOME KIND OF READY-MADE APP FOR “PAINT BY NUMBERS” STORYTELLING. HULK’S NOT EVEN REALLY SURE HOW MANY PEOPLE WHO REGULARLY CITE THE HERO’S JOURNEY HAVE ACTUALLY READ THE DAMN BOOK PAST A FEW CHAPTERS. IT’S ACTUALLY OBVIOUS BECAUSE THE BOOK’S REAL VALUE IS DEEPLY, EVEN MADDENINGLY ACADEMIC (AT TIMES IT GETS DOWNRIGHT ANTHROPOLOGICAL). THE TRUTH ABOUT CAMPBELL’S LAUDED BOOK IS IT ACTUALLY DOESN’T HAVE A TON TO DO WITH ALL THOSE NEAT THE LITTLE DIAGRAMS AT THE BEGINNING, IT’S MORE INTERESTED IN CULTURAL DEDUCTION BASED ON THOSE CONCEPTS. BUT SINCE THOSE DIAGRAMS ARE ALL WE SEEM TO REMEMBER IT IS THUS ALL WE SEEM TO TAKE FROM IT: UNIVERSAL STORYTELLING MADE EASY.

QUITE FRANKLY,  IT’S HURTING MORE THAN IT’S HELPING.

HERE ARE THE REASONS WHY:

FOR STARTERS, THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL ERROR MADE IN HOW WE INTERPRET THE APPARENT “SIMPLICITY” OF THESE MYTHS, MAINLY THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY NOT SIMPLE WHATSOEVER. THE UNIVERSAL BREAKDOWN OF THEM MAY BE SIMPLE, BUT THE STRUCTURE ON DISPLAY IS ANYTHING BUT. FOR INSTANCE, YOU’LL NOTICE THAT ONE OF THE MAIN REFERENCED MYTHS IN THE BOOK, THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH, IS ANYTHING BUT PAINT-BY-NUMBERS.

PICTURED: JAPANESE INTERPRETATION OF GILGAMESH. WARNING: THIS INTERPRETATION IS JAPANESE.

THE 12 TABLET EPIC OF GILGAMESH IS ACTUALLY PRETTY FUCKING COMPLEX EVEN THOUGH IT’S CONSIDERED THE ROSETTA STONE FOR THE HERO JOURNEY. SURE IT CONTAINS BIG PICTURE REFERENCE POINTS (THE PASSING INTO THE STRANGE WORLD, THE CALL/RETURN, ETC), BUT THESE AMOUNT TO NOTHING BUT THE LOOSE STRUCTURE OF THE WORK AND ARE BY NO MEANS THE ENGINE OF THE NARRATIVE OR PLOT. NO, WHAT DRIVES THOSE ARE THE DYNAMIC THEMES IN PLACE: THE IN-FLUX RELATIONSHIP WITH ENKINDU, WHICH ARE BORN OUT OF STOPPING GILGAMESH FROM ENGAGING IN HIS MORE, UM, SORDID ACTIVITIES (RAPE MOSTLY). THERE’S ALSO THE QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY (L’MORTE D’ARTHUR ALERT!), SOME OTHER STUFF ABOUT RELIGION, PROSTITUTION, DREAM STATES, YOU NAME IT. HULK HAS EVEN READ MORE ANALYSISSESS OF GILGAMESH AND ENKINDU AS HIDDEN LOVERS THAN YOU WOULD IMAGINE IS POSSIBLE (OH, COLLEGE KIDS!… ACTUALLY THEY MAY HAVE A POINT WITH THAT ONE). THE POINT IS THERE’S A SHIT TON GOING ON IN THE STORY BEYOND IT’S FUN LITTLE ABILITY TO BE OUTLINED IN TERMS OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT MAKE THE WORK COMPELLING AND INTERESTING, NOT THE MERE FACT THAT IT TOO MOSTLY FITS WITHIN THE CONFINES OF MONOMYTH CLASSIFICATION.(1)

YET, GILGAMESH ONLY SEEMS TO SURVIVE IN OUR CULTURAL CONSCIOUSNESS BECAUSE OF THE CAMPBELLIAN HERO DIAGRAM AND OUR DESIRE TO TALK ABOUT IT IN THOSE VERY SPECIFIC AND UNIVERSAL TERMS: THE CALL! THE REFUSAL! THE TRIALS! THE RETURN! YAY!

YAY!

NOW, IS MOST OF THAT STUFF IN GILGAMESH? ABSOLUTELY.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT A STORY? EH, MAYBE.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT A GOOD STORY? NO.

IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT A WELL-TOLD STORY? FUCK NO.

THIS SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO WHAT HULK BELIEVES IS THE GREAT FUNDAMENTAL ERROR OF ACADEMIA. WHAT PEOPLE DON’T SEEM TO REALIZE IS THAT WHEN YOU ACADEMICALLY TRY TO BOIL NARRATIVE ELEMENTS DOWN TO THEIR MOST BASIC ELEMENTS, YOU ARE THEREFORE  BOILING DOWN STORYTELLING TO THEIR MOST BASIC ELEMENTS! HULK MEAN… GAAAHHH. THAT’S ALL YOUR DOING! AND THE INTENTION OF THIS ANALYSIS IS TO FIND SIMILARITIES AND UNDERSTAND CULTURAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INCLINATION! WHICH MEANS IT IS NOT THE KEY TO UNLOCKING STORYTELLING, BUT A KEY TO MAKING YOUR STORY AS SIMILAR AS POSSIBLE TO EVERYTHING ELSE OUT THERE.

SERIOUSLY, IT'S NO BETTER THAN THIS

THERE IS A GREAT VALUE TO THE CAMPBELLIAN BREAKDOWN, SPECIFICALLY CONCERNING  THE FORMATIVE NATURE OF CULTURE AND WHY WE VALUE/TELL THESE STORIES, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY THE FURTHEST THING AWAY FROM A HOW-TO GUIDE. WHOEVER ARE THE FOLKS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ORAL TRADITIONS BEHIND STUFF BEOWULF AND GILGAMESH, THEY WEREN’T SITTING DOWN SAYING “OKAY, OKAY, NOW HE HAS TO REFUSE THE CALL AND THEN BY TABLET 2 THE NEXT BEAT SHOULD…” GAAAAH. SMASHY! WHAT’S SO INTERESTING ABOUT THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS THE WAY THESE THEMES AND DYNAMICS SEEPED NATURALLY OUT OF THESE DIFFERENT STORIES, NOT THAT EVERYONE FELT OBLIGATED OR WAS PURPOSELY TRYING TO DO IT.  THE HERO’S JOURNEY SECRETLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WHATSOEVER WITH GOOD STORY STRUCTURE! JUST THEMATIC CONTENT!

IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT HULK SO DESPERATELY WANTS TO CONVEY TO ALL OF YOU IN THIS BLOG IT IS THAT THERE IS A STARK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LANGUAGE USED IN THE BROAD STROKES OF CATEGORIZATION AND THE LANGUAGE WE SHOULD USE FOR PRACTICAL APPLICATION.

IT’S LIKE THE MYTH OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE VS. HULK’S PREFERRED METHOD OF FLOW STRUCTURE (MULTI-ACT WORKING ON CHARACTER/RELATIONSHIP CENTRIC ARENAS THAT ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE). OR POST-MODERNISM VS. THE PRAGMATISM OF CONSTRUCTIVE IDEAS. OR ACTION’S “COOL” DESIGNATION VS. THE POWER VISUAL CAUSE + EFFECT STORYTELLING. IN A STRANGE WAY THESE ARE ALL THE SAME ONGOING PROBLEM OF BAD LANGUAGE. (2) THE WAY WE BREAK THINGS DOWN AND DESCRIBE THEM ARE NOT NECESSARILY HELPFUL TO UNDERSTANDING HOW TO CONSTRUCT THEM. YET WE CONSTANTLY MISTAKE THESE MODELS OF DESCRIPTION FOR “HOW TO”S AND THUS WE KEEP RUNNING INTO THE SAME BASIC STORYTELLING PROBLEMS AGAIN AND AGAIN.

WE HAVE TO REFORM AND BROADEN OUR MODELS. WE HAVE TO REVISE OUR LANGUAGE. TO PUT HULK’S ‘CATEGORIZATION VS. PRACTICAL APPLICATION” ARGUMENT INTO METAPHOR: KNOWING THAT A HOUSE IS MADE FROM WOOD WITH PLASTERED WALLS AND A ROOF DOES NOT ALLOW ONE TO SIMPLY BUILD A HOUSE, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO LITERALLY “BUILD” AND SHAPE THOSE THINGS, NOT JUST KNOW THAT THEY EXIST AND WHERE THEY SHOULD MORE OR LESS GO… WAIT THAT METAPHOR WAS TERRIBLE… HULK CAN DO BETTER… MAYBE… HULK’S TIRED… UM… FINE, THAT’LL DO HULK. THAT’LL DO.

BACK TO THE TOPIC AT HAND: EVERY YEAR WE SEE MOVIES THAT DESPERATELY CLING TO THE HERO JOURNEY MODEL, AS IF IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

SERIOUSLY, HOW MANY MOVIES HAVE WE SEEN THAT ARE BEAT-FOR-BEAT THE SAME STORY AS STAR WARS? IT DOESN’T HELP THAT THERE ARE LITANY OF WRITERS WHO SIMPLY EQUATE STAR WARS WITH THE ONLY EXISTING MODEL OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY (HINT: IT’S NOT) AND THEN JUST REGURGITATE IT AS IF THEY WERE PHOTOCOPYING THE SCRIPT AND CHANGING THE NAMES ( ERAGON TAKES THE PROVERBIAL CAKE ON THAT ONE, THOUGH TO BE FAIR, STAR WARS TAKES A STUNNING AMOUNT OF ITS DYNAMICS FROM DUNE). BUT SINCE IT IS SO SEEPED INTO OUR CONSCIOUSNESS, WE SEE IT ALL THE TIME.

THERE ARE ALSO THE NOW UBIQUITOUS COMIC BOOK ORIGIN STORIES, WHICH HAVE BECOME UNIVERSAL IN THEIR CONSTRUCTION (EXCEPT HULK’S ORIGIN. HULK’S IS TRULY UNIQUE… IN THAT IT’S A BLATANT RIP OFF OF DR. JEKLL & MR. HYDE). THERE IS RARELY A SUPER HERO ORIGIN THESE DAYS THAT FEELS INTERESTING OR DIFFERENT. THE ONE EXCEPTION? ONE OF THE REASONS THAT THE IRONMAN MOVIE WORKS SO WELL IS THAT IT KNOWS WHEN TO COMPLETELY AVOID THE BEATS THE HERO JOURNEY THAT DON’T MATTER TO THE STORY IT WANTS TO TELL. THINK OF HOW MANY BEATS IN THE “HERO JOURNEY” WOULD NOT BE CALLED FOR WITH THAT CHARACTER. THEIR SOLUTION? THEY JUST DON’T USE EM! INSTEAD, EACH STEP OF TONY’S JOURNEY TO BECOMING SHELLHEAD IS AN ARTICULATED, CHARACTER-BASED MICRO-STEP; A SINGULAR DECISION THAT DEALS WITH THE MOMENT AND IS DIRECTLY RELATED THE SITUATION AT HAND. WHICH MAKES IT REAL FUCKING WRITING.

LASTLY, THERE’S HULK’S FAVORITE EXAMPLE OF THE PAINT BY NUMBERS VERSION OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY… VIDEO GAMES.

FORGIVE THE FOLLOWING NON-MOVIE DIGRESSION, BUT NOTHING SHOWCASES BACKWARD THINKING QUITE LIKE THE OBLIVIOUS WRITING OF VIDEO GAMES (MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS SHIT WILL GET FUCKING HILARIOUS).

FIRST OFF, PLEASE KNOW THAT HULK LOVES HULK SOME VIDEO GAMES. THEY’RE FUN, UNIQUE, AND IMMERSIVE. BUT THE STORYTELLING CRAFT IS USUALLY NOT FIT FOR EVEN THE WORST HOLLYWOOD MOVIES. EVEN THE COMPANIES THAT SUPPOSEDLY DO IT WELL, LIKE BIOWARE, ARE REALLY TELLING THE SAME EXACT STORIES WITH THE SAME EXACT CHARACTERS IN THE MOST NON-INTERESTING WAY AS POSSIBLE. AGAIN, IT’S NOT A MATTER OF THINGS MERELY BEING SIMILAR, BUT THAT THEY ARE ALL SO SIMILAR IN THE MOST ROTE, SOUL-CRUSHING WAY POSSIBLE. THEY NAKEDLY USE THE MONOMYTH MODELS AS HOW-TO GUIDES.(3)

THE BIOWARE CHART HULK JUST LINKED TO ABOVE ACTUALLY LED TO VERY FUNNY SITUATION THAT HAPPENS OFTEN ENOUGH TO BE ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE THINGS EVER. SEE, WHEN THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE HERO-JOURNEY REGURGITATIONS ARE  CALLED OUT ON IT, THEY SOMETIMES HAVE THE GALL TO DEFEND THEMSELVES IN A RATHER PISSY WAY, OFTEN WITH FAUX-INTELLECTUAL SMUGNESS.  SOMETHING AKIN TO “UH, SORRY GUYS IT’S CALLED “THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES” AND IT PROVES ALL STORIES ARE THE SAME STORY. PSSSSH. IDIOT.”

SERIOUSLY, HERE IS EXACTLY HOW BIOWARE WRITER RESPONDED [VIA MESSAGE BOARD AT THAT]: “So I’m supposed to believe someone is smart enough to do a big Excel spreadsheet with color coding and stuff but not smart enough to know about Campbellian archetypes? Yeah, guys, every BioWare game has the same plot! See, things are kind of normal, and then things change and you have to go out and do stuff, and you go to crazy weird places! Aaaaaand so yeah, totally the same story. That’s asinine.”

HULK WOULD SIMPLY REPLY: “YES. HULK TOO IS FAMILIAR WITH THIS BOOK YOU SPEAK OF. THAT’S BECAUSE WE ALL READ IT IN, LIKE, 9TH GRADE. AND THAT’S REALLY NOT WHAT THE BOOK IS SAYING, BUT THANKS FOR PLAYING!” AND THANKFULLY A LOT OF WRITERS MADE IT 10TH GRADE WHERE THEY READ SHAKESPEARE OR T.S. ELLIOT OR SOMETHING AND THE WORLD OF NUANCE OPENED UP.

HULK MEAN, THAT IS SERIOUSLY WHAT THE WRITER THINKS THAT CHART IS SAYING? THAT UBER-SPECIFIC CHART THAT DETAILS EXACTLY HOW THEY’RE DOING THE SAME EXACT GAME OVER AND OVER? UGH. HIS PURPOSEFULLY SARCASTIC ARGUMENT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE. HE STARTS ARGUING FOR THE SAMENESS OF CAMPBELLIAN ARCHETYPES AND THEN PROCEEDS TO SARCASTICALLY ARGUE THE CRITICS ARE OVER-TYPIFYING SAID SAMENESS? WHAT!??! HULK CONFUSED. AND THE FUNNIEST FUCKING PART IS THE WAY HE MAKES FUN OF HOW THEY’RE SUMMARIZING “STORY TELLING” IS ACTUALLY FAR MORE INDICATIVE OF HIS OWN APPROACH.

SERIOUSLY, HERE ARE THE WRITER’S OTHER COMMENTS SUMMARIZED IN AN ARTICLE IN EUROGAMER.

Weekes said the “intro, four planets, finale” structure familiar to BioWare games is picked for a number of good reasons.

Firstly, it’s “easy” in the sense of QA, as areas can be culled if they’re not ready in time for launch with minimal impact on the final product.

Secondly, “players understand it”. Weekes explained that four is a golden number of objectives for an area that may confuse, overwhelm and frustrate once exceeded.

Thirdly, “There’s nothing wrong with it.”

“It’s a structure, like any other,” he wrote. “Humorously snarking that our games have a beginning part that is streamlined and introduces you to the game, a middle that allows you the freedom to go to several places and have adventures, and then a tightly focused ending is like riffing on how romance novels generally start out with two people being attracted to each other but having emotional issues, then gradually building trust, then having a complication that splits them up, and then in the end they get together and are happy.

“People who create fiction in any form use a structure appropriate to that form. They do it because their audience understands and responds on an emotional level to that structure,” he concluded.

HULK DOESN’T REALLY MEAN TO SINGLE THIS WELL-MEANING PERSON OUT… BUT SERIOUSLY, THAT IS THE RESPONSE?!??!?!? DO THEY NOT SEE THAT THEY ARE STARTING OFF ON THE COMPLETE WRONG FOOT IN THEIR APPROACH TO DESIGNING A GAMING “WORLD AND STORY”?!?!??!?!

GET READY...

IT’S “EASY”? FUCK RIGHT IT’S EASY. HULK GLAD TO SEE YOUR FIRST INCLINATION IN STORYTELLING IS OPTING FOR THE EASIEST POSSIBLE PATH, YOU KNOW, FOR “PRAGMATISM” OF COURSE. NOTHING INANE ABOUT THAT!

AND “PLAYERS UNDERSTAND IT”? WHAT?! THEY WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND GOING TO VISIT MORE WORLDS OR NOT BEING OPEN TO CHARACTERS WHO DON’T FIT IN WITH THE SAME LAZY ARCHETYPES? ARE YOU ACTUALLY IMPLYING THAT THEY WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND A NEW KIND OF CHARACTER? ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR GAMES “CHARACTERIZE” BY SIMPLY HAVING SAID CHARACTERS GIVE UNIFORM, LONG-WINDED MONOLOGUES WHERE THEY SPELL OUT THEIR PERSONAL HISTORY, PEOPLE’S CUSTOMS, AND WHAT THE HAD FOR BREAKFAST, ALL BY TALKING DIRECTLY TO THE CAMERA? YEAH, PLAYERS SOOOOOOO WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND SOMEONE CHARACTERIZED IN THOSE COMPLEX, SUBTLE TERMS. GOSH DAMMIT. HOW THE HELL CAN THE DEVELOPERS AIM SO LOW AND THINK THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM SUCCEED?

AND THEN “THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH IT”? NO, EVERYTHING IS WRONG WITH IT. YOU ARE GOING ABOUT YOUR STORYTELLING ASS-BACKWARDS. YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE SIMPLEST AND EASIEST WAY TO MAKE WHAT YOU DO LOOK AND FEEL LIKE EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING ON THE PLANET. YOU SAY THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT? READ HULK’S LAST SENTENCE AGAIN. YOU ARE NOT GETTING TO THE HEART OF STORYTELLING. YOU ARE CASUALLY, EVEN CAVALIERLY MILKING IT AND YOU’RE NOT EVEN REALIZING IT. AND FUCK, UNLIKE MOVIES, VIDEO GAMES HAVE AT LEAST 8-30 HOURS OF STORY TO TELL AND THEREFORE SHOULD HAVE TO EMPLOY FAR DIFFERENT STRATEGIES (LOOK AT TELEVISION!). BUT INSTEAD THEY JUST OPT FOR CUT + PASTE NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY THINK IT’S THE EASIEST WAY PLACATE THE GAMER AND JUST FUCKING GET ON WITH IT, BUT BECAUSE THEY’RE MISINFORMED THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. AND THE HUMOROUS SNARKING IS PERFECTLY ALLOWED: NOT BECAUSE YOU EMPLOYED THE SIMPLE STRUCTURE YOU DID, BUT BECAUSE THAT’S ALL YOU EMPLOYED. SO UNFORTUNATELY, YOUR BELIEF THAT WHAT YOU’RE WRITING IS “STRUCTURALLY SOUND” AND THEREFORE GOOD, COMPLETELY OPENS UP YOUR LAZY-ASS STRUCTURALISM TO BEING VIEWED BY HULK AS SO OBVIOUSLY AND HIDEOUSLY EMPTY. A;LJSDFL;ASJKDF;AJSD

… SORRY, HULK GOT SMASHY, IT’S OVER NOW, IT’S OVER… YOU CAN COME ON OUT OF THERE.

HULK BROUGHT ALL THIS BIOWARE/VIDEO GAME STUFF BECAUSE THIS IS OBVIOUSLY THE MOST EXTREME EXAMPLE OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY GONE HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG. THE IRONY IS THAT WHILE BIOWARE IS CLEARLY F-ING UP THEIR APPROACH TO STORY IN ONE WAY, THEY HAVE ACTUALLY HAVE REALLY MADE STRIDES IN THE “INTERACTIVE” PORTION OF STORY GAMING, BY GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO, SAY, KILL CHARACTERS AND RESHAPE THE NARRATIVE. GAMERS REALLY RESPONDED TO IT. IT IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF FORWARD-THINKING THEY SHOULD IMPLORE WITH THEIR STORY STRUCTURE AND WORLD BUILDING, BUT BECAUSE “THE HERO’S JOURNEY” SAYS IT’S A-OKAY, THEY ARE PERFECTLY HAPPY JUST DOING THE EASIEST POSSIBLE THING.

THE HERO’S JOURNEY HURT THEM MORE THAN IT HELPED.

NOW MOST MOVIES ARE NOT SO WOEFULLY OFFENSIVE AS THIS EXAMPLE, BUT THE SAME EXACT THINKING IS AT PLAY. TO WIT, LET HULK FOCUS ON POPULAR MOVIE TROPES AND EXPLAIN THE 7 FUN WAYS PEOPLE USE THE HERO’S JOURNEY TO RUIN STORIES:

#1 – PEOPLE ARE HEROES SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE THE MAIN CHARACTER FOR SOME REASON… AND THEY ARE GETTING CALLED TO ADVENTURE OR SOMETHING

WHAT MAKES A HERO? THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME CONFUSION OVER THE MATTER. WE KNOW ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS IS THAT A HERO COULD BE ANYONE. EVEN YOU! IT’S A NICE THOUGHT AND HAS SIGNIFICANT NARRATIVE VALUE, BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE A MISTAKE IN THE ASSESSMENT AND SAY ANY OLD HUMAN QUALITIES WILL DO… EVEN “NONE.” WE DO APPARENTLY THIS TO ENSURE THAT THE MAIN CHARACTER IS A CONDUIT FOR AUDIENCE DESIRES AND AS A RESULT WE CREATE MAIN CHARACTERS WHO ARE JUST VACUOUS, BLANK SLATES. YOU KNOW THE ONE HULK IS TALKING ABOUT (PSSSST… MOST OF THEM). OR HELL MAYBE IT’S JUST LAZINESS. THESE CHARACTERS ARE PICKED TO BE HEROES BECAUSE, WELL, THAT IS WHAT THEY THINK HAS TO HAPPEN IN ORDER TO TELL A HERO STORY.

YOU REMEMBER THE END OF RATATOUILLE WHERE THE CRITIC ANTON EGO SURMISES THAT HE WAS MISTAKEN ABOUT SOMETHING OF GRAVE IMPORTANCE: IT’S NOT THAT “ANYONE COULD COOK BUT THAT A GREAT COOK COULD TRULY COME FROM ANYWHERE”? IT’S SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO THIS PROBLEM. IT’S NOT THAT ANYONE CAN BE A HERO, BUT THAT A HERO CAN COME FROM ANYWHERE. BUT THE KEY IS THAT THEY HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING INSIDE THEM. A SPARK. A YEARNING. REMY THE RAT WAS SOMEONE WITH AN INNATE ABILITY (SMELL) AND A DESIRE (APPRECIATION OF FOOD BEYOND HIS ENVIRONMENT). HE NEVER HAD A SENSE OF BELONGING. LUKE SKYWALKER? SAME THING. HE HAD THIS SAME HUMAN YEARNING FOR ADVENTURE BEYOND HIS FARM. AND YET WE CONSTANTLY MISAPPLY THIS “ANYONE CAN BE A HERO” TROPE TO MEAN THAT ANYONE WITH A VACUOUS PERSONALITY CAN  BE A HERO/MAIN CHARACTER SIMPLY BECAUSE SOME OLD MAN SHOWS UP AND TELLS THEM THEY ARE. WE ARE TREATED TO HERO AFTER HERO YOU COULD BASICALLY RENAME THEM MILQUETOAST MCBLANDERSON.

SO NOW HULK IS GOING TO DO ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE THINGS TO DO ON THIS BLOG AND BRING IT BACK TO INDIANA FUCKING JONES. THE GREAT THING ABOUT INDY IS THAT DUDE’S A FUCKING CHARACTER. FUNNY, SMART, FLAWED, AND AWESOME. YES, YOU WANT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER TO WORK AS A CONDUIT, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY HAVE TO BE AN EMPTY SHELL, IT MEANS THEY ARE A FLESH AND BLOOD PERSON WHO WE CAN BE HUMAN WITH, NOT HUMAN FOR. IF PROJECTING OUR DESIRE TO BE IN THEIR SITUATION ONTO THEM AS THE ONLY MEANS OF IDENTIFICATION, THE THE CHARACTER IS A COMPLETE FAILURE. THERE HAS TO BE A REASON WE WANT TO BE LIKE THEM. THEREFORE, THEY SHOULD HAVE A FUCKING PERSONALITY. SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO THROW IN SOME DRAMA INTO THAT CONDUIT! DON’T WASTE YOUR PERSONALITY ON SECONDARY CHARACTERS (THOUGH THEY SHOULD OBVIOUSLY HAVE THEM TO). DON’T USE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER AS SOMEONE WHO IS ONLY FUNCTIONAL IN TERMS OF PLOTTING. AND OOH, OOH AND DON’T FORGET! WHEN WRITING HEROIC CHARACTERS ALWAYS REMEMBER: EXASPERATED = GOOD! BUT WHINING = BAD! SO TOE THE LINE!

#2 – REFUSING THE CALL FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION OF THE MOVIE

COUGH* GREEN LANTERN* COUGH. HOW MANY MOVIES, IN AN EFFORT TO SLAVISHLY STICK TO THE HERO JOURNEY MODEL THROW IN AN OBLIGATORY AND WHOLLY UNNECESSARY SCENE(S) WHERE THE CHARACTER DENIES ANSWERING THE CALL FOR NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER? THERE IS NOT A MORE HOLLOW EXERCISE IN WRITING. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO MUCH? EITHER BECAUSE (A) THEY ARE FOLLOWING THE HERO’S JOURNEY AND THINK THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO, OR (B) BECAUSE THE WRITER THINKS IT WILL MANUFACTURE DRAMA, WHEN REALLY THEY ARE GIVING US NO SET UP FOR THIS BEHAVIOR WHATSOEVER. CUE IMAGINARY GREEN LANTERN DISCUSSION:

WE NEED A LANTERN! C’MON RING, PICK A FEARLESS GUY!”

“BUT THIS GUYS IS SECRETLY AFRAID OF EVERYTHING!”

“RIGHT, WE CAN’T JUST HAVE HIM KICK ASS IMMEDIATELY HE HAS TO FIT THE HERO MODEL AND DENY THE CALL! SO HAVE HIM DENY WHAT HE CAN OBVIOUSLY DO FOR SOME REASON… UM…YEAH THIS MAKES NO SENSE, BUT WHO CARES. LET’S GET ON WITH IT.”

“THIS IS GOING TO BE THE PLOT FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE.”

“WELL, SHIT.”

OKAY, OKAY, THIS ISN’T EVERY MOVIE. OCCASIONALLY, A MOVIE CAN HANDLE THE REFUSAL IN AN OKAY WAY AND GIVE LEGITIMATE REASONS WHY THE MAIN CHARACTER WOULDN’T WANT TO JUST ABANDON THEIR LIFE AND GO TO THIS CRAZY ADVENTURE, BUT THOSE OCCASIONS ARE FAR MORE RARE THAN THEY SHOULD BE. BECAUSE USUALLY THE REASONS EXPRESSED ARE BASICALLY: “I CAN’T GO WITH YOU, IT’S CRAZY! THIS IS WEIRD!” OR SOMETHING. HINT: IT’S NOT WEIRD. IN FACT, YOUR AUDIENCE WILL ALREADY KNOW THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE IT IS GOING SO EMBRACE ECONOMY AND GET IT ON WITH IT. DON’T DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTER WITH ONE SINGULAR REFUSAL EITHER, AS IF ANSWERING THE CALL IS THE SOLUTION TO ALL THEIR PROBLEMS. DEVELOP THEIR CHARACTER EVOLUTION INCREMENTALLY INSTEAD.

REMEMBER, ONE OF THE DELIGHTFUL THINGS THAT NO ONE SEEMS TO REALIZE IS THAT IN STAR WARS, LUKE SKYWALKER REFUSES THE CALL FOR APPROXIMATELY 38 SECONDS OF TOTAL SCREEN TIME. SERIOUSLY. WATCH THE FUCKING MOVIE. HE SAYS NO TO BEN KANOBI, IMMEDIATELY REALIZES HIS AUNT AND UNCLE ARE IN DANGER, SEES THEIR CHARRED CORPSES AND SAYS “THERE IS NOTHING FOR ME HERE NOW, I WANT TO BE A JEDI LIKE MY FATHER”… IT’S LIKE, 38 FUCKING SECONDS. LOGICAL A, B, C STORYTELLING, DONE WITH ECONOMY, DOES WONDERS FOLKS.

#3 – OVER-RELYING ON THE WISE OLD CRONE

OBI-WAN KANOBI AND YODA. WONDERFUL CHARACTERS. AND NOW EVERY MOVIE HAS THEIR NOT-NEARLY-AS-GOOD VERSION OF THEM. WORSE, THE THINGS THEY ARE REALLY GOOD AT HAVE NOW BECOME THEIR SOLE, GRATING DUTY IN MOVIES: THEY’VE BASICALLY BECOME EXPOSITION MACHINES. FUCK, BEING A MOVIE’S “YODA” HAS ACTUALLY BECOME SHORTHAND FOR AUDIENCES. OF COURSE ANYTIME THIS IS TOO PAINFULLY OBVIOUS, WE DO THE EQUALLY OBVIOUS THING AND TRY TO BRUSH OFF THIS LAZY WRITING WITH A DUMB JOKE: “DO THIS THING. IT’S YOUR DESTINY.” / “HEY, EASY YODA!” … CAUSE THAT WILL WORK [READ: SARCASM].

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SAID TO YOURSELF “I’LL FORGIVE THIS BLATANT APING OF [INSERT POPULAR MOVIE] BECAUSE AT LEAST SELF-AWARE BLATANT APING!” … HULK GONNA WAGER NOT A LOT.(4) AND HULK CAN USUALLY TELL YOU THE EXACT MOMENT EACH ONE THESE CRONE MENTORS WILL BE KILLED OFF TO SEND THE MAIN HERO ON HIS WAY ALONE (JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO). LOOK, HULK DOES MEAN TO IMPLY THAT USING A FIGURE IN YOUR STORY THAT IS THE CRONE FIGURE ISN’T SUPER-USEFUL, BUT FOR PETE’S SAKE, TRY TO HIDE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. DO NOT JUST “MAKE A YODA FIGURE.” IN CASE HULK HAS TO KEEP REMINDING YOU THAT WAS NOT WHAT THE CHARACTERS IN STAR WARS WERE SOLELY ABOUT EITHER. REMEMBER THAT YODA WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO US AS “BATSHIT INSANE LITTLE ANIMAL” AND IT WORKED BEAUTIFULLY. SO IN YOUR OWN STORIES GIVE THEM INTERESTING AND UNIQUE STUFF TO DO. GIVE THEM A ROLE IN THE STORY BESIDES BEING THE CRONE. ASK YOURSELF, “HOW CAN I MAKE THIS CRONE UNIQUE?”

#4 – MISTAKING THE NOTION OF “THE TRIALS” FOR “THE HERO FIGHTING A BUNCH OF THINGS”

HULK HOPES THIS ONE IS PRETTY SELF EVIDENT, BUT HERE GOES: THE TRIALS ARE NOT A SERIES OF FIGHTS. THIS IS NOT TO IMPLY THAT THE TRIALS CANNOT CONTAIN A SERIES OF FIGHTS. IN FACT, A SERIES OF FIGHTS ARE USUALLY PRETTY SWEET. BUT WHAT EACH FIGHT SHOULD DO IS HAVE SOME SORT OF THEMATIC RESONANCE AND REFLECT ON A PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT OF THE MAIN CHARACTER HERO TYPE PERSON. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE FIGHT COULD ADDRESS HIS PRIDE. ONE FIGHT COULD ADDRESS HIS LUST (IN GENERAL THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS WORK GOOD FOR THESE KIND OF PERSONALITY-MADE-PHYSICAL BRAND OF OBSTACLES). ONE COULD ADDRESS HIS ACCEPTANCE OF DEFEAT, TEACH HIM LOSS, HUMILITY, OR WHATEVER HE MAY NEED TO GO FORWARD AS A BETTER, MORE COMPLETE PERSON.

THE POINT IS THAT THE TRIALS CANNOT BE EMPTY EXERCISES IN NEATO ACTION. THIS IS A STORY AND STORIES DEVELOP. GOING BACK TO STAR WARS, REMEMBER HOW FUCKING PYSCHOLOGICAL LUKE’S TRIALS ARE DURING HIS TIME ON DAGOBAH? THERE’S, LIKE, NO ACTUAL FIGHTING. HE’S BATTLING HIS PERSONALITY AND HIS MIND, TRYING TO MOVE ROCKS AND HAVE SELF-CONTROL. AND IT’S ALL SO INCREDIBLY FANTASTIC. SO REALLY EACH TRIAL SHOULD BE TREATED AS IT’S OWN MINI-STORY ADDRESSING THE CHARACTER COMPONENTS OF THE LARGER JOURNEY… AND YES YOU CAN USE ACTION TO DO THAT, BUT INTEGRATE THEM TOGETHER. DON’T JUST MAKE AN EMPTY SERIES OF “COOL” FIGHTS.

#5 – MEETING THE GODDESS / WOMAN AS TEMPTRESS

HULK, YOU GOT YOUR FEMINISM IN MY HERO’S JOURNEY COLUMN! DARN TOOTIN’ HULK DID. DEAL WITH IT CAUSE IT’S FUCKING IMPORTANT.

WHY? BECAUSE WHILEWRITING SO MANY PEOPLE LOOK AT HERO JOURNEY MODEL AND GO: “WHEN IT COMES TO WOMEN WE CAN JUST WRITE THEM AS THE GODDESS/TEMPTRESS (READ: MADONNA/WHORE)? SWEET! THANKS MONOMYTH!” UGH. HONESTLY, THESE TROPES ARE AS OLD AS TIME BECAUSE A LOT MEN HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET OVER THIS DYNAMIC SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME. AND PLEASE KNOW HULK IS NOT DERIDING THIS BAD HABIT OUT OF SOME MODERN, REVISIONIST P.C. INCLINATION. NOT AT ALL. THE TRUTH IS THERE HAVE BEEN INTERESTING, HUMAN DEPICTIONS OF WOMEN SINCE JUST ABOUT FOREVER (PROOF? ATALANTA FOR ONE, NOT A MISSPELLED CITY BUT THAT FIGURE OF GREEK MYTH. ALSO SEMIRAMIS, AND AS FAR AS ACTUAL GODDESS CONDUITS GO HATHOR WAS PRETTY COOL). THE PORTRAYAL OF WOMEN IN MOVIES/MEDIA IS HUGE OTHER BALL OF WAX, ONE THAT HULK CAN’T WAIT TO WRITE ABOUT IN FULL, BUT THE POINT IS THAT THERE IS A CAPACITY TO WHICH THE GODDESS/TEMPTRESS MODEL HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUTDATED. SO IF YOU’RE STILL WRITING WOMEN WITH JUST THESE BASIC ARCHETYPES IN MIND, FUCKING STOP IT.

AGAIN, GOING BACK TO STAR WARS, THAT MOVIE WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD ABOUT AVOIDING THAT SHIT. WELL… SORT OF. IT’S NOT EVEN LIKE LEIA IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF FEMINISM, BUT SHE WAS AT LEAST PRETTY DAMN GOOD. LEIA IS A FULLY-FORMED AND INTERESTING CHARACTER WHO WASN’T INTERESTED IN BEING EITHER GODDESS OR TEMPTRESS, WHO STILL HAD THE INNATE CAPACITY TO BE BOTH. WHICH MADE HER, YOU KNOW, A HUMAN BEING.

YET THE MADONNA/WHORE IS STILL EVERYWHERE THESE DAYS. YES, A LOT OF TIMES IT’S BECAUSE THE MALE WRITER SERIOUSLY VIEWS WOMEN THIS WAY, BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT’S UNINTENTIONAL! WHY DOES THAT HAPPEN? BECAUSE EITHER A) THAT’S WHAT THE HERO’S JOURNEY SAYS TO DO OR B) BECAUSE THEY JUST HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO ANYTHING ELSE. SO WHENEVER HULK READS THIS UNINTENTIONAL HORSESHIT HULK ALWAYS GIVES PEOPLE THE SAME ADVICE: “FUCK IT, JUST WRITE HER LIKE LEIA.” IT SOUND SO STUPID AND SIMPLE, BUT THE PERSON WHO CLAIMS TO HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO WRITE WOMEN INSTANTLY THEN ‘GETS IT. ” LEIA IS THAT MUCH A CENTRAL AND POSITIVE FIGURE. THIS TRICK ISN’T SOME MAGIC CURE-ALL EITHER, BUT IT INSTANTLY MAKES THEIR FEMALE CHARACTERS LIKE 50% BETTER.

HULK KEEPS BRINGING UP STAR WARS FOR A REASON. IT OUR MAIN CULTURAL TOUCHSTONE FOR THE HERO’S JOURNEY AND WE CAN’T EVEN IMITATE IT PROPERLY. WE’RE LOOKING AT THE MOST BASIC CONTENT AND MOTIFS AND NOT THE ENGINES THAT REALLY DROVE IT’S SUCCESS, LIKE ITS SENSE OF ECONOMY, THE POWER OF ITS CHARACTERIZATION, THE HUMOR OF ITS CRONES, THE PSYCHOLOGY AT PLAY IN THE TRIALS, AND ITS STRONG FEMALE LEAD. WE’RE LITERALLY MISSING THE BEST STUFF ABOUT IT BECAUSE WE’RE TOO BUSY LOOKING AT HOW IT FITS THE HERO’S JOURNEY ALONG WITH EVERYTHING ELSE. GUESS WHAT FOLKS? THE SEEKER: THE DARK IS RISING FITS THE HERO JOURNEY EVEN BETTER, BUT NO ONE IS FUCKING INTERESTED IN COPYING THAT. WHAT MAKES THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY SO AWESOME AFTER ALL THESE YEARS IS NOT HOW IT’S THE SAME, BUT HOW IT’S STILL TRULY DIFFERENT.

#6 – BLATANTLY USING THE ELIXIR REMEDY / DEUS EX MACHINA

THIS ONE SORT OF DEALS WITH THE “RETURN WITH ELIXIR” COMPONENT, BUT BASICALLY HULK JUST WANT TO POINT OUT THAT WAY TOO MANY STORYLINES RESOLVE WITH DEUS EX MACHINA. ANYTIME YOUR BIG HERO STORY SOLVES PROBLEMS THE WAY ENTOURAGE DOES, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY JUST STOP DOING THAT.(5) BECAUSE THERE IS NO DEVICE IN POPULAR STORYTELLING THAT, WHEN USED POORLY, CAN FEEL SO DAMN CHEAP TO EVEN THE MOST UNAWARE AUDIENCES.

LOOK. DEUS EX MACHINA IS FUCKING HARD. NO TWO BONES ABOUT IT. HULK RECOMMENDS THAT EVEN MOST INTERMEDIATE WRITERS SHOULD STAY AWAY (HULK INCLUDES HULK-SELF IN THIS). THAT IS BECAUSE CHANCES ARE YOU WILL DO IT IN MEDIOCRE FASHION AND WILL THUS FAIL. BUT THAT’S OKAY. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO SOLVE STORY PROBLEMS.

IS THERE A WAY TO DO IT RIGHT? OF COURSE. BUT YOU SORT HAVE TO DIRECTLY ENGAGE THE THEME. FOR MOST OF ITS RUN, LOST WAS A SHOW THAT HANDLED THEIR MOMENTS OF DEUS EX MACHINA IN A KIND OF BRILLIANT WAY. MOST OF THE TIME, THESE “SAVING THROWS” WOULD TIE DIRECTLY INTO SPIRITUAL OVERTONES OF THE SHOW. BUT THAT ALONE IS NOT WHAT MADE IT WORK.  IT WORKED BECAUSE THE SHOW SET UP THEIR MOMENTS OF DEUS EX MACHINA WITH THE APPROPRIATE SENSE OF NEED AND LONGING. THEY ADDRESSED THE VERY IDEA AT THE THEMATIC CENTER OF THE DEVICE AND WHETHER OR NOT DIVINE WILL/INTERVENTION/WHATEVER-YOU-CALL-IT PLAYS A PART IN THEIR LIVES. AS A RESULT THEY COULD SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATE THOSE MOMENTS OF DEUS EX MACHINA INTO THE CHARACTER’S CATHARSIS. LIKE AS JOHN LOCKE BEGS AND PLEADS FOR A SIGN FROM GOD, HIS EMOTION SWELLING, AT HIS WIT’S END… CUE: LIGHT FROM THE HATCH. THEY GAVE THE MOMENT CHARACTER-BASED MEANING, NOT PLOT MEANING. THE SUCCESS OF DEUS EX MACHINA NEVER LIES IN THE DELIVERY, BUT IN THE SET-UP AND IT’S IMPORTANCE TO THE CHARACTER TURNS.(5)

LET’S GO BACK YET AGAIN: REMEMBER THE HAN SOLO “YEEE HAW KID! NOW LET’S BLOW THIS JOINT!” MOMENT FROM STAR WARS? OF COURSE YOU DO. IT WORKS BECAUSE THEY SPEND THE ENTIRE MOVIE SHOWING HOW HAN DOESN’T DO STUFF LIKE THAT AND HAVE THE CHARACTERS TUG AT HIS HEART STRINGS TRYING TO GET HIM TO DO STUFF LIKE THAT. THE LAST MOMENT OF SET-UP SETS IT UP PERFECTLY, AS HE SHUFFLES AWAY WITH ALL HIS MONEY GRUMBLING TO A RELUCTANT CHEWY “I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.” THE FILM THEN SPENDS THE EXACT RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME AWAY FROM HIM SO YOU COMPLETELY FORGET, UNTIL THE VERY SECOND HE STREAMS IN, STARLIGHT-BEHIND-FALCON, AND SAVES LUKE. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS MOMENT BUT IT WORKS BECAUSE OF ALL THE GREAT CHARACTER SET-UP!… GOSH… HULK KEEPS WRITING ABOUT STAR WARS AND KINDA FALLING IN LOVE WITH IT AGAIN… THIS AFTER SWEARING IT OFF… OH WELL, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WITH GOOD THINGS.

OH YEAH... HULK KNEW THERE WAS A REASON. AND IT FITS OUR NEXT POINT:

#7 – “THE RETURN” APPARENTLY JUST MEANS THE CHARACTERS SHOULD JUST COME HOME AT THE END

PERHAPS WE CAN MAYBE BLAME THE ODYSSEY FOR THIS ONE, BUT THERE IS DEFINITE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING FOR WHAT “THE RETURN” ACTUALLY MEANS AND IT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOZENS OF HYPER-POINTLESS ENDINGS. WRITERS GET IT STUCK IN THEIR HEAD THAT WE SOMEHOW HAVE TO RETURN HOME AND THIS MAGICALLY BRINGS THINGS  FULL CIRCLE… YEAH… “THE RETURN” MEANS A THEMATIC RETURN. NOT A LITERAL ONE. YET WE SEE MOVIES THAT RETURN THE ACTION OF THE HERO TO “HOME” AND THINK THAT INHERENTLY IMPLIES SOME KIND OF MEANING. BUT UNLESS YOU GIVE THE RETURN THEMATIC RESONANCE AND HAVE TRULY CHANGED THE CHARACTER IT MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

HULK’S PERSONAL FAVORITE FOR THE NONSENSICAL, “LITERAL RETURN” OCCURS IN THE OPPOSITE OF THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY… ALSO KNOW AS THE PREQUELS. THOSE MOVIES ARE ALL TERRIBLE FOR HUNDREDS OF REASONS, BUT IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE THE RETURN TO NABOO IN THE PHANTOM MENACE IS DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE. THAT IS BECAUSE, ASIDE FROM PICKING UP A LITTLE ANAKIN SKYWALKER, THEIR JOURNEY TO CORUSANT YIELDS ABSOLUTELY ZERO RESULTS THAT AFFECT THE PLOT, SITUATION, OR CHARACTER. SERIOUSLY. THEY RETURN BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO FAIL AT AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THEIR SITUATION WITH THE TRADE FEDERATION, OR THEIR PERSONAL SITUATIONS OR CHARACTER GROWTH. EVEN WHEN PADME SHOWED UP IN THE SENATE AND BEGS HER CAUSE, THE SENATE BASICALLY LIKE “WHAT? NO! OF COURSE NOT. YOU CAME ALL THIS WAY FOR THAT? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?” SO THEY JUST GO HOME TO REALLY START DEALING WITH THE ISSUE. AGAIN. DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE.(6)

BUT THE SADDEST PART IS WE SEE THE EMPTY “LITERAL RETURN” ALL THE TIME. AT THIS POINT HULK URGE YOU TO NOT EVEN BOTHER. IT DOESN’T FIT WITH MOST STORIES ANYWAY, EVEN FOR SOME BIG EPICS. NOT TO GET TO LITERAL, BUT IT MAKES WAY MORE SENSE IN CLASSIC MYTH OR AN INTERGALACTIC COMMUNITY OR SOMETHING, WHERE GOING ON ANY KIND OF JOURNEY IS SOME GIANT UNDERTAKING. WE NOW LIVE IN A TRANSIENT, NOMADIC, AND WHOLLY INTERCONNECTED SOCIETY SO HULK ARGUES THE THEMES AREN’T AS RESONANT. WE ARE INTERCONNECTED ALL THE TIME. SO THE THEMATIC POINT OF THE RETURN, TO HAVE A CHARACTER “STUCK TWO WORLDS,” IS ACTUALLY OUR MODERN CONSTANT, SO GO WITH THAT.

WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR ENDING JUST HAMMER HOME YOUR DAMN THEMES, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE THEY ACTUALLY ARE LOCATED. AND AS FAR AS YOUR PLOTTING GOES YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE IT COME TOGETHER IN SOME UNIFIED MOMENT OF BIZARRE AMALGAMATION (THOUGH IF YOU CAN DO THAT WELL ENOUGH, IT PUTS YOU UP THERE WITH THE GENIUSES. DR. WHO IS A SHOW THAT DOES THIS QUITE WELL, BUT REMEMBER, PULLING IT OFF IS A HIGHWIRE ACT. SO TREAD CAREFULLY). JUST BE SURE ALL YOUR CHARACTERS/BEATS HAVE PLAYED A FULL PART IN THE STORY BY THE TIME OF THE ENDING BE SURE THAT THINGS YOU’VE INTRODUCED HAVE NOT BEEN DROPPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. ECONOMY AND FOCUS FOLKS. THE RETURN IS A THEMATIC ONE.

NOW THIS IS A FILM ABOUT HEROES! NOTE: HULK SO WORRIED YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY THINK THIS THAT HULK JUST GOING TO CLARIFY HULK JOKING

PERHAPS A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ARTICLE WOULD HAVE BEEN “A BETTER WAY OF APPROACHING THE HERO’S JOURNEY” BUT SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER TO JUST DIVE IN AND START SMASHING SHIT. WE HAVE TO LOOSEN UP THE WAY WE DEAL WITH THESE STRUCTURAL MATTERS BECAUSE THIS WEIRD SENSE OF FORMALISM IS CRIPPLING OUR ABILITY TO FOCUS ON MORE PRODUCTIVE FORMS OF STORYTELLING.

WARNING: THIS DOES NOT GIVE US CARTE BLANCHE TO DEVOLVE OUR MOVIES INTO A STORY-LESS, BAY-ESQUE MALAISE OF ACTION, (7) BUT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THESE ARE INTRODUCTORY FORMS OF STRUCTURE DESIGNED TO HELP US UNDERSTAND THE THEMES AT PLAY. THEY ARE NOT “THE RULES.” SO DON’T BE SO DAMN RIGID WITH THEM OR THINK THEY DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOU. EMBRACE A CHANGE TO THE MODEL WHEN IT SUITS YOUR CHARACTER IN THE STORY. REMEMBER, THERE’S NO “REFUSING THE CALL” IN INDIANA JONES AND HE’S STILL A DAMN HERO. HE’S SIMPLY LIKE “THE ARK OF THE CONVENANT? FUCK YEAH, I’M IN.” AND EVERYONE WAS TOTALLY COOL WITH THAT.

BEYOND THAT, IT IS IMPORTANT AS A CULTURE TO CONSTANTLY EVALUATE OUR TRIED AND TRUE SYSTEMS. THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO DISAPPEAR UP OUR OWN ASSHOLE WITH REFLEXIVE ACADEMIC TALK, BUT WE HAVE TO BE MORE PERCEPTIVE TO WHAT ACTUALLY HELPS US DO THINGS. AND THE POPULARIZATION OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY IS SIGNIFICANT TO OUR CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING, BUT NOW OUR OVER-RELIANCE ON IT FOR PRAGMATIC STORYTELLING HAS REACHED A KIND OF CRITICAL MASS.

WE ARE SIMPLY TELLING STORIES WRONG.

“SO HULK, WHAT DO WE TURN TO INSTEAD?”

HULK ARGUE YOU ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE HERO BUSINESS AND THE BASICS ARE INGRAINED. SO HULK GOING TO ASK YOU TO APPROACH YOUR STORY STRUCTURE IN A MUCH SIMPLER, BUT FAR MORE HELPFUL WAY; ONE THAT WILL GET YOU TO WRITE SMARTER, MORE ECONOMICAL STORIES WHILE STILL CATERING TO YOUR PERSONAL IDEAS AND NOT STALE BULLSHIT.

LET’S TURN TO THE SOUTH PARK GUYS. CLICK ON THIS FUCKING LINK, IT’S JUST 2 MINUTES LONG AND IT’S INVALUABLE. CLICK ON IT:

http://vodpod.com/watch/15380496-matt-stone-and-trey-parker-crash-an-nyu-writing-class

HULK THANKS A FRIEND FOR SENDING HULK THIS VIDEO, BECAUSE TREY PARKER AND MATT STONE JUST DID MORE FOR ANY SINGLE STORY YOU WANT TO TELL THAN ANYTHING THE HERO’S JOURNEY WILL EVER DO.

THAT IS BECAUSE THE HERO’S JOURNEY TELLS YOU THE BEATS IN A GENERAL ORDER BUT IT GIVES YOU NO IDEA HOW TO LINK THEM. IF YOU USE THE HERO JOURNEY THEN THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOUR STORY IS CONSTRUCTED WITH AN “AND THEN”!!!! BECAUSE OF THIS, OUR HERO STORIES HAVE BECOME SEGMENTED NONSENSE. PEOPLE HITTING OBVIOUS AND REPEATED BEATS WITH NO FLOW.

LINKING THINGS TOGETHER IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN CRAFTING A WELL-TOLD STORY. THIS IS WHAT HULK MEANS BY “FLOW” STRUCTURE. IT’S LIKE CLIMBING STAIRS: EACH SCENE SHOULD LEAD TO NEXT AND SO ON IN A WAY THAT ADVANCES THE PLOT, CHARACTER, OR THEME. EVERY PLACE SHOULD MAKE SENSE.

SO IF YOU ALREADY “GET” HEROES AND COME UP WITH YOUR OWN BEATS AND IDEAS (THAT’S THE EASY PART ODDLY ENOUGH), THE THING YOU HAVE TO TO THEN LEARN IS HOW TO LINK THE STORY COHESIVELY.

DO EXACTLY AS THEY SAY: LINE UP EVERY SINGLE BEAT IN YOUR STORY. THEN REWORK THE BEATS IF THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN LINK THEM IS WITH THE PHRASE “AND THEN.” IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE “THEREFORE” OR “BUT.”

DOING THIS CREATES A SINGLE STORY; TIGHT, ECONOMICAL WRITING THAT IS GOOD FOR YOUR IDEAS, RATHER THAN AUGMENTING YOUR STORY TO FIT SOMETHING THAT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF TWO-THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD CLIFF NOTES ANALYSIS, WHICH AGAIN, WAS REALLY SOMETHING THAT WAS MADE TO INVESTIGATE WHY WE CREATED MYTH AND NOT FOR HOW-TO INSTRUCTION. IF YOU ARE TAKING WHATEVER IDEAS YOU HAVE AND JUST PLUGGING THEM INTO THE HERO’S JOURNEY THEN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

WOW… THIS ARTICLE CAME OUT SARCASTIC AS FUCK, BUT THAT’S OKAY.

SOME THINGS CALL FOR IT.

OUR RITUAL BUTCHERING OF THE ACADEMIC WORK OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL IS ONE OF THEM.

STAY IN SCHOOL!

ENDNOTES!

(1) AND DEPENDING ON THE TRANSLATION, GILGAMESH IS KINDA PRETTY TOO…  IN CASE IT’S NOT OBVIOUS HULK LOVES GILGAMESH. YOU SHOULD READ IT. SERIOUSLY, IT’S ONLY  128 PAGES… OR IN HULK-TERMS, HALF AN ARTICLE.

(2) GASP! A MONO-PROBLEM! THINGS JUST GOT REFLEXIVE UP IN THIS BITCH.

(3) THIS IS ALSO NOT TO IMPLY THE BIOWARE GAMES DON’T DO SOME THINGS WELL. THEY ACTUALLY DO A BUNCH OF THINGS WELL. BUT FOR VIDEO GAMES IN GENERAL, THE QUALITY OF THE GAME PLAY DIRECTLY EFFECTS THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT SHIT STORY AND CHARACTERIZATION. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT HULK REALLY BELIEVES THAT THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS. MORE AND MORE ARTICULATE AND INTELLIGENT PEOPLE ARE COMING INTO THE FOLD WHO 1) GREW UP ON STORY-BASED GAMING AND THEREFORE RESPECT THE FORM AND 2) MORE AND MORE WRITERS/FILMMAKERS ARE RECOGNIZING THE UNIQUE STORYTELLING OPPORTUNITIES THAT GAMING AFFORDS (BECAUSE IT IS EXPERIENCED INSTEAD OF WATCHED). WE’VE ALREADY STARTED TO EXPERIMENT (BIOSHOCK, ROCK STAR’S OUTPUT, ETC) AND WHILE WE’RE NOT THERE YET, THINGS ARE LOOKING UP.

… THEN AGAIN, BADASSDIGEST READER “THEMACNAUGHTON” POINTED HULK IN THE DIRECTION OF THIS:

… OKAY, ABANDON ALL HOPE.

(4) THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE FILMS THAT DIRECTLY USE THESE TOUCHSTONES TO INVERT THE MEANINGS FOR COMEDY PURPOSES AND YET STILL INFORM THEIR OWN STORIES. THINK OF EMPEROR ZERG’S “I AM YOUR FATHER” MOMENT FROM TOY STORY 2 OR THE POINT BREAK SCREAM AND FIRE IN THE AIR REFERENCES IN HOT FUZZ. THERE ARE WAYS TO DO EVERYTHING, BUT GUILE AND INTENTIONS ARE KEY.

(5) WHICH FEEDS BACK INTO ENTOURAGE. THE SHOW FAILED FOR MANY REASONS BUT CHIEFLY BECAUSE THERE WERE NEVER ANY REAL SET-UP TO THESE MOMENTS OF RELIEF BECAUSE THERE WERE NEVER ANY REAL STAKES. TRY AS THEY DID, THERE WAS ALWAYS AN AIR OF INVINCIBILITY. PARTIALLY BECAUSE THE MAIN CHARACTER ROUTINELY REMINDED EVERYONE THAT HE DIDN’T CARE IF HIS WHOLE WORLD DISAPPEARED, SO QUESTION ENTOURAGE WRITERS, WHY THE FUCK SHOULD WE? SERIOUSLY, THE SHOW’S GREATEST MOMENT DANGER, HULK SHIT YOU NOT, WAS THE THREAT OF DRAMA AND TURTLE’S WIENERS ACCIDENTALLY TOUCHING DURING A  THREESOME…. WHICH IF YOU ASK HULK, WAS WHAT BOTH CHARACTER SECRETLY WANTED ALL ALONG*

*IN SOME BIZARRE UNIVERSE THAT EPISODE ENDS WITH THEIR WIENERS TOTALLY TOUCHING, THUS IGNITING THE BEGINNING OF A SERIES-ALTERING PLOTLINE WHERE THEY FALL IN LOVE, MOVE TO WE-HO AND ADOPT CHINESE BABIES. HONESTLY, HULK WOULD RATHER LIVE IN THAT UNIVERSE BECAUSE OUR UNIVERSE IS ONE WHERE PEOPLE THINK THAT SHOW IS GOOD**

** BY THE WAY, THE SHOW IS ALSO THE MOST SEXIST PIECE OF SHIT ON THE PLANET. JANE LYNCH WILL FOREVER HAVE HULK’S RESPECT FOR PULLING OFF HER WAY-MORE-STINGING-THAN-YOU-THINK “WHY I’M A LESBIAN” JOKE IN FRONT OF MILLIONS (NOTE: THE CAST ACTUALLY THOUGHT SHE MEANT THAT AS SAYING THEY WEREN’T THAT ATTRACTIVE. SHE MEANT THEY WERE HORRIBLE, SEXIST HUMAN BEINGS. WHICH IS PERFECT).

(6) OKAY NOT GO ALL FAN-FIC ON YOUR ASS BUT THEY COMPLETELY MISSED THE BOAT ON STRUCTURING THAT MOVIE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. ONE SMALL CHANGE COULD HAVE AFFECTED SO MUCH: PADME SHOULD HAVE STAYED ON NABOO AND DEALT WITH THE FACT HER PLANET WAS UNDER FUCKING ATTACK. QUI GON SHOULD HAVE LEFT OBI-WAN THERE TO PROTECT HER AND THEY COULD HAVE DEVELOPED A FRIENDSHIP AND SHE COULD HAVE HAD A SCHOOLGIRL CRUSH. MEANWHILE, QUI-GON WOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONLY ONE TO GO BACK TO THE SENATE AND GET STRANDED ALONG THE WAY ON TATOOINE. HE FINDS A NEW, BETTER PADAWAN IN YOUNG ANAKIN AND THEIR STUPID MISSION TO CORUSANT COULD HAVE STILL FAILED. BUT HERE’S THE REAL KEY, WHEN THEY RETURNED ALL THE TENSION AND GOT ON WITH THE REST OF THE STORY (INCLUDING THE TWO OTHER MOVIES) IT WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY COME TOGETHER IN A WAY THAT MADE SENSE. ANAKIN ENTERS AS THE DARK STRANGER WHO LOVES PADME, THE OBI-WAN CRUSH EVAPORATES, OBI WAN IS PISSED THERE’S A NEW PADAWAN AND EVERYONE WOULD HAVE REAL MOTIVATIONS. BUT INSTEAD THEY GOT TO TRAVEL TOGETHER IN A BIG, NOT FUN AND USELESS GROUP! ALSO GET RID OF JAR JAR. ALSO  THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE A MILLION OTHER THINGS. WAIT, WHY THE HELL IS HULK EVEN DOING THIS? YOU CAN’T POLISH A TURD. ASSUMING THERE IS ONE PROBLEM THAT FIXES THE PREQUELS IS LIKE SWATTING A MISQUITO AND CALLING THEM EXTINCT.

(7) IN A SMALL AND TOTALLY-INCORRECT WAY YOU HAVE TO ADMIRE HOW MUCH BAY JUST DOESN’T GIVE A SHIT. IF HE WAS INTERESTED IN ART HE COULD MAKE BRILLIANT ANTI-MOVIES. SADLY, HE IS NOT.

HULK CURRENTLY FINISHING VERY INVOLVED ARTICLE ON ACTION SCENES, IT NOT AS LONG AS THE OTHERS BUT IT MORE INVOLVED AND LOTS MOVING PARTS SO HULK TAKING TIME TO REALLY GET IT RIGHT SO TO SPEAK.

BUT IN MEANTIME IT BEEN SO LONG SINCE HULK GOT SOMETHING UP SO HULK THOUGHT ANSWER ‘NOTHER ROUND OF QUESTIONS. AS ALWAYS, FEEL FREE ASK QUESTIONS IN COMMENTS BELOW, TWEET HULK AT WWW.TWITTER.COM/FILMCRITHULK (FOLLOW HULK IF NOT!), OR EMAIL FILMCRITHULK@GMAIL.COM

HULK THANK!

QUESTION #1

Reading your first mailbag- specifically, the question regarding the studio system and product placement and audiences- made me wonder. Do you think we’ll ever see something like PUTNEY SWOPE again? Or maybe a better question that ties two of your answers together- do you think we’ll ever see another revolutionary movement- as described in “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls”- again? It seems like there’s a lot of fertile territory for filmmakers to revolt against a lot of what you mentioned and the independent genre feels like it could use the jolt.

-John

LOVE PUTNEY SWOPE. GREAT MOVIE. HULK NOT SURE WE’LL EVER SEE SOMETHING SEND UP THE ADVERTISING QUITE THE SAME WAY. EVEN OUTSIDE OF THE WORLD OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT, TV AND MOVIES USED TO BE SEPARATE ENTITIES. NOW THEY NOT. IF UNIVERSAL MAKES MOVIE SKEWING ADVERTISING NBC FEELS THE HEAT (THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS BTW WITH THE MOST TRIVIAL OF STUFF). IF ANY MOVIE EVER DOES, IT WILL LIKELY BE OUTSIDE THE HOLLYWOOD PARAMETERS COMPLETELY. EVEN MAD MEN, WHICH HAS LOTS BAD THINGS SAY ABOUT ADVERTISING, HAS DONE MORE TO MAKE IT SEEM SUPER-AWESOME IT THAN ANYTHING TOO (THOUGH THAT WHOLLY INTENTIONAL).

TECHNICALLY THERE WAS A SECOND REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT, THE INDEPENDENT FILM MOVEMENT OF THE 90’S AND BISKIND WROTE ABOUT THAT ONE TOO. HIS “DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES” ABOUT THE RISE OF MIRAMAX = FANTASTIC. IT ALSO THE SOURCE OF SO MUCH WEINSTEIN INFAMY.

THE PROBLEM OF COURSE THAT THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING MODELS BECAME SUBLIMATED INTO THE LARGER CORPORATE SYSTEM (LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE), SO NOW INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING ESSENTIALLY JUST CORPORATE GENRE FILMMAKING. THERE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOX SEARCHLIGHT, SONY PICTURES CLASSICS, ETC. AND REGULAR STUDIOS EXCEPT FOR FACT THEY HAVE SMALLER BUDGETS AND FOCUS ON AWARD FODDER. AND YEAH TECHNICALLY THEY FOCUS MORE ON ACQUISITIONS THAN REGULAR STUDIOS BUT THE STUFF THEY JUST ACQUIRING USUALLY MOVIE-STAR LADEN CROWD PLEASERS WITH “INDIE VIBE.”

SO THE QUESTION, WHERE WILL THE NEW REVOLUTION COME FROM?

HULK NOT SURE. WE LIKE THINK THINGS MORE DEMOCRATIC NOWAWAYS IN AGE OF NEW MEDIA, BUT THE PROLIFERATION OF HIGH-GRADE EQUIPMENT AND NICHE-IFICATION WHICH ALLOWS FOR THE POSSIBILITY TO FIND AUDIENCE MORE EASILY, ALSO MEANS IT HARDER FOR NICHE CONTENT TO “HIT” THE MAINSTREAM IF THAT MAKE SENSE. IT SEEMS LIKE MOST OF THE GREAT, INTERESTING, OR SUBVERSIVE FILMMAKING COMING OUT OF GENRE ENTERTAINMENT THESE DAYS, SO THAT TRADITIONAL AUDIENCE NEEDS ARE MET IN AGREEMENT WITH THE MORE ADVENTUROUS STORYTELLING AND COMEDY (ONE CAN WATCH LET THE RIGHT ONE IN JUST AS A VAMPIRE MOVIE FOR EXAMPLE, EVEN IF IT WAY, WAY MORE THAN THAT). AND THE INTERNET SEEMS MORE A DELIVERY DEVICE FOR SHORT FORM/SKETCH CONTENT.

MAYBE THE PLACE FOR GREAT STORYTELLING NOW ON TV? OUTSIDE OF HANDFUL OF GREAT MOVIES HULK THINK “THE SUITCASE” EPISODE OF MAD MEN ONE THE MOST INTERESTING, COMPELLING “MEDIA HOURS” OF THE YEAR. IT JUST HAPPENED BE ON TV.

BUT REALLY HULK NOT SURE.

❤ HULK

QUESTION #2

You’ve talked a lot about screenwriting 101 and the need for the understanding of story structure and character building. What’s the lesson plan for screenwriting 102?

-Bevin

GET THERE SOON ENOUGH. BUT SCREENWRITING 102 MOSTLY CONCERNS INVERSION AND INNOVATION. HOW MAKE THE LEAP FROM WRITING STANDARD STORIES TO WRITING “ORIGINAL-FEELING” / UNIQUE STUFF. HOW DOES TARANTINO OR KAUFFMAN OR COENS OR MOFFAT OR WHEDON OR DO IT? IT TRICKY BUT… ACTUALLY THAT SOUND MORE LIKE THAT SCREENWRITING 103 /GRADUATE STUDY… 102 MIGHT BE JUST MORE OF SAME SHIT WITH A BIT MORE NUANCE…. MAYBE… HULK DUNNO.

❤ HULK

QUESTION #3

Your article regarding the ending of Lost was a great read and brought up a lot of insightful points that I hadn’t considered otherwise. Did you have any other problems with the story throughout the course of the show? Did any of the turns the story took frustrate you, and if so, why?

-Peter G

YEAH IN A GIVEN MOMENT HULK WOULD HAVE LOTS OF PROBLEMS, BUT GIVEN FLUID NATURE OF SHOW, THEY REALLY NOT PROBLEMS, BUT JUST CONCERNS. THAT CAUSE IN MOST CASES LOST EVENTUALLY DEALT WITH THEM WELL-ENOUGH AND TURNED INTO SOMETHING COMPELLING (THE SHOW GOT LOTS OF MILEAGE OUT OF VIEWER PATIENCE). SO THE PROBLEM WITH THE FINALE WAS THAT THERE NOTHING LEFT TO TEMPER OR RECTIFY ANY MIXED FEELINGS. CONCERNS BECOME ACTUAL PROBLEMS. RIGHT NOW, THERE NOTHING THAT CAN “FIX” THE FINALE…EXCEPT MAYBE LINDELOF’S TWEETS?

QUESTION #4

I am curious to know what Hulk thought of X-men: First Class.
I couldn’t find a topic, so I’m posting here.

-Jonah K.

SHORT VERSION: LOVED IT. FUN, ASSURED, BALANCED, AND A WHALE OF A PERFORMANCE FROM FASSBENDER. LOVED EVERY SINGLE DECISION REALLY. HULK ALSO HAVE CRUSH ON JENNIFER LAWERENCE BUT THAT NOT MAKE HULK UNIQUE IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER. AND HULK THOUGHT ABOUT DOING PIECE ON THE FILMS COMMENTARY OF RACISM COMPARED TO THE OTHERS BUT IT SORT OF WELL-COVERED GROUND.

❤ HULK

QUESTION #5

Hi Hulk

First off, I immensely appreciate your blog, which provides very deep and accessible criticism. Your texts are always a pleasure to read. My question concerns your quick remark on The Wire‘s last season as a bit “off”, with the serial killer and journalism plots not fitting with the rest of the series : I did not really understand what was wrong with it, since I really enjoyed this season as much as the others, except maybe for being less focused due to plot resolutions and piling on of separate stories. What set you off ?

Thanks, and have a great week !

-Louis

PERHAPS HULK SHOULD HAVE MADE MORE CLEAR. HULK THINK THE LAST SEASON OF THE WIRE FILLED WITH ALL SORTS OF GENIUS. AND HULK WILL GET TO WHY IN SECOND, BUT THE CRITICISM HULK WAS MAKING THAT THE LAST SEASON JUST MADE TWO “TONAL” ERRORS WITH THE MCNULTY FAKE SERIAL KILLER AND THE BLACK/WHITE GOOD GUYS/BAD GUYS IN THE BALTIMORE SUN WORKROOM. MEANING THAT THE TWO PLOTS DIDN’T FEEL LIKE TRADITIONAL WIRE NARRATIVES. MCNULTY FAKING THE SERIAL KILLER SEEMED LIKE THE MOST “UNREALISTIC” THING THE SHOW DID. WAS IT? HULK NOT SURE, BUT THE SHOW HAD BUILT UP 4 SEASONS ON THE PREDICATION OF FINDING DRAMA AND SOUL IN THE MOST “REALISTIC” NARRATIVES POSSIBLE. MEANWHILE, THE JOURNALISM PLOT LINE THROUGH SOME PEOPLE BECAUSE THE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT SEEMED BY MADE UP OF EITHER DICKLESS YES MEN AND SCHEMING HACKS OR THE NOBLE SAINTS OF REPORTING. WHICH RATHER CONTRARY TO THE SEEMING GRAY SCALES OF INSTITUTIONS THE WIRE USUALLY PUTS IN FRONT OF US (*). AT THE CENTER OF WHICH IS A CHARACTER WHOLLY MAKINING UP STORIES AND COMING OFF LIKE THE SCUM OF THE UNIVERSE AND HE GETS A PULITZER. BOTH OF THESE TWO STORYLINES ARE THE BIG, BOLD MOVES ONE USUALLY DOES NOT SEE IN THE SHOW. AND THIS THE SIMPLE REASON MANY PEOPLE NOT LIKE IT IS MUCH. IT JUST DIDN’T FEEL RIGHT.

NOW, TO THE LARGER POINT: MOST PEOPLE NOT SO GOOD AT FEELING OUT META-NARRATIVE. BECAUSE IN THE SENSE OF META-NARRATIVE BOTH PLOT LINES RATHER BRILLIANT. THE FIFTH SEASON IS REALLY ABOUT THE REFLEXIVE SEARCH FOR TRUTH. BOTH FEATURE PROMINENT LIES AT THE CENTER OF CONFLICT. THIS DONE SO PURELY TO HIGHLIGHT THE WAYS THE SYSTEM IS SET UP NOT TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH. THE SYSTEM ON WHAT “NOT SHOWN” HERE = THE MAIN POINTS OF THE FIFTH SEASON.

HERE, IN ORDER OF THEMATIC IMPORTANCE: THE BALTIMORE SUN DOES NOT REPORT A SINGLE EVENT THAT TAKE PLACE ON THE WIRE (THAT IS UNTIL BUBS. AND IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THEY’VE EVER DONE AND IT RESTORES HIS FAMILY’S FAITH IN HIM) IF THE WIRE = “THE REAL STORY” OF THE AMERICAN CITY, IT NOT BEING TOLD BECAUSE THEY’RE OFF CHASING “THE FAKE ONE” MEANING THE ONES THAT ARE MADE UP. THE STORIES HAD TO BE FAKE. AND THEY COULD NEVER GET CAUGHT BECAUSE IT THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THE POINT. AMERICAN SOCIETY OBSESSESED WITH THE BIG, BOLD CSI TYPE STORIES OF MASS INTRIGUE. IN THAT PURSUIT THEY’RE MISSING STUFF SHOWN IN THE WIRE. THE FIFTH SEASON HAD LOTS OF AMAZING TIMES WHERE THEY HIGHLIGHT WHY THE PAPERS FAILED BUT NO ACTUALLY SHOW IT. FOR EXAMPLE HALFWAY THROUGH SEASON ONE OF THEIR SENIOR JOURNALISTS IS BOUGHT OUT. HE REPLACED WITH THE YOUNG WOMAN (GOD HULK FORGET HER NAME, ALMA?) WHO VERY WELL-INTENTIONED BUT JUST NO HAVE THE EXPERTISE OR EXPERIENCE. LATER ON SEASON, WHEN BELOVED CHARACTER DIES (AND FAMED WITHIN THE INNER CITY) AND THEY TRYING TO DECIDE IF THEY SHOULD REPORT HIS MURDER IN LITTLE BLURB OR REPORT A FIRE. SHE CHOOSES THE FIRE. MEANWHILE, THE VETERAN REPORTER KNOWS WHO THAT CHARACTER IS AND WHY HE SO IMPORTANT. WITH HIM, IT WOULD HAVE MADE THE PAPER. BUT BECAUSE THE SUN BOUGHT OUT THEIR EXPERIENCED REPORTER, THE PAPER MISSED A CRUCIAL STORY SIMPLY BECAUSE THE WELL-INTENTIONED YOUNG REPORTER COULDN’T POSSIBLY KNOW WHO THAT CHARACTER WAS. IT BRILLIANT.

AND QUITE SIMPLY, MCNULTY’S CAREER BEING UNDONE BY HIS OWN BULLSHIT = THE PERFECT WAY TO GO. ALSO, THE SUBTLE ARC OF KENARD? BRILLIANT. ALSO RANDY’S LAST NAME IS WAGSTAFF. RECOGNIZE IT? CHEESE WAGSTAFF. (METHOD MAN). YUP, HE’S RANDY’S DAD. DIDN’T NOTICE? THAT BECAUSE IT  NEVER SAID. IT IS THE ABSENT FATHER, SHOWN TO IT’S MOST DAMNING, BY NEVER SHOWING IT AT ALL.

*CHUCK KLOSTERMAN MAKES REALLY WEIRD ARGUMENT WHERE HE SAYS BECAUSE THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE FEEL DISINGENUOUS TO ONES HE WORKED IN, HE NOW CAN’T BELIEVE THAT THE OTHER INSTITUTIONS SHOWN WERE DONE SO WITH FAIR TREATMENT. HULK FIND IT BIZARRE SORT OF CONTRARIAN ARGUMENT, AS IF ARGUING THE SHOW NO HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE A STORY. BESIDES, HULK BEEN A TEACHER. HULK’S ENTIRE FAMILY TEACHERS SPECIALIZING IN PROBLEMATIC YOUTH. TRUST HULK. THE FOURTH SEASON PRETTY FUCKING ACCURATE.

QUESTION #6

I was wondering, what is your opinion (if any) on Jackson Murphy, the “kid film critic”? Do we need somebody like him for the sake of a different perspective on things? Or is it possible that, since he’s obviously too young to have seen most of the milestones of cinema history, giving somebody like him so much exposure can do more harm than good?

The reason I’m asking is I’ve seen this kid on Ebert Presents and have found him to be so incredibly annoying that I was surprised at myself. I think of him as a “film criticism” version of Rebecca Black. But more creepy.

-Lara

HULK NEVER HEARD OF HIM BEFORE THIS QUESTION SO HULK DID BIT OF RESEARCH.

SHORT VERSION: IT BAD. FOR ONE, FAME BAD FOR CHILDREN IN GENERAL. IT JUST IS. THERE NO GETTING AROUND IT AND HULK WOULD NEVER WANT PUT KID IN THAT KIND OF POSITION. AT SAME TIME ,THERE INHERENT NEED FOR CHILDREN TO BE ACTORS/DO OTHER HIGH PROFILE THINGS, SO IT JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE BE VERY CAREFUL WITH. JUST GENERALIZING BUT IT SEEM 1 IN 4 END UP BEING WELL-ADJUSTED.

AND FOR PETE’S SAKE, NO WE DON’T NEED A 10 YEAR OLD’S OPINION ON MOVIES IN THIS WAY. NOW, HULK LOVE TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT MOVIES TO SEE HOW THEY THINKING, BUT IT VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF THING. FOR EXAMPLE HULK LOVE’S DREW MCWEENY’S FILM NERD 2.0 SERIES WHERE HE WATCHES MOVIES W/ HIS KIDS AND EXAMINES THEIR REACTIONS. WHEN FILTERED THROUGH HIM (A VERY GOOD PROFESSIONAL FILM CRITIC) IT GIVES THEIR OPINIONS HAVE A VERY APPROPRIATE SENSE OF WEIGHT. THAT MAKE SENSE? THEY GIVEN THE CONTEXT OF KIDS, NOT THE CONTEXT OF PROFESSIONALISM.

WHILE HULK LAMENT THE FACT THAT THIS KID IN THE PUBLIC EYE AND TREATED LIKE HE ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT HE TALKING ABOUT, HULK LIKE THE IDEA THAT THE KID REALLY TRYING RIGHT NOW. HE HAVE LONG WAYS TO GO BUT HE ESSENTIALLY STARTING HIS “10,000 HOURS” (GLADWELL’S THEORY THAT IT TAKES 10,000 HOURS TO BECOME TRULY GOOD AT ANYTHING REGARDLESS OF NATURAL TALENT, CAUSE THERE’S ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS NATURAL TALENT) SO IN 6-10 YEARS HE COULD BE IN GOOD SHAPE?

OR DEAD OF COCAINE OVERDOSE.

❤ HULK

QUESTION #7

I ask this because you willy-nilly threw ‘The Philadelphia Story’ into an answer, and since ‘The Philadelphia Story’ is my favorite movie, I have a few questions for you surrounding: ‘The Philadelphia Story.’

1) Why is ‘The Philadelphia Story’ such a great movie? If you can’t answer this per the terms of the question, I’ll be satisfied with your opinion of ‘The Philadelphia Story.’

2) I think ‘The Philadelphia Story’ is a shining example of how great of an actor Cary Grant is (and specifically how ‘gracious’ of an actor he is. He’s a scene-stealer, but he knows how to get off of the floor and let someone else take over. Just look at how many co-stars he’s had (specifically his female co-stars, but Jimmy Stewart included) who’ve had some of their best roles standing next to him.) Anyway. This beside point. The real question is that Cary Grant is derided by know-nothings for being a one-note actor. He essentially play the role of ‘Cary Grant’ in his movies, they say. (And they may very well be right, and I forgive him because man, what a great character to be constantly playing.) And, unfortunately, I think this is the same fate that’s befalling cats like Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera. They essentially play themselves and yes, that can be tiring, but I believe history will reflect very well on them, without the context of sitting through every single movie they’ve made and rather just ‘remembering the good ones.’ So I ask your opinion of these ‘one-note’ actors, and whether they are ‘bad actors’ or just actors that we get tired of.

3) The other side to ‘the suits fuck everything up’ is that sometimes they’re able to actually make things better. A lot of those great Cary Grant movies. ‘Casablanca,’ is I believe to be a shining example. Thoughts? Maybe artists need someone to help them get their own vision across?

4) George Cukor has made a handful of truly great movies, but I don’t really see his name thrown out in that list of great directors. Any thoughts as to why?

Thank you and I love your blog.

-not eb

1 – THE PHILADELPHIA STORY A CLASSIC AND IT DESERVE TO BE ONE. THE REASON BECAUSE OF KATHERINE HEPBURN. NOW EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT IT FANTASTIC, BUT SHE THE LYNCH-PIN THAT ALLOWS IT ALL TO CONNECT AND WORK TOGETHER. WITHOUT HER PERFORMANCE THE HIGH-DEGREE-OF-DIFFICULTY NARRATIVE FALLS FLAT. SIMPLE AS THAT? MAYBE. IT HULK’S THEORY.

2 – ONE NOTE ACTORS ARE ACTUALLY MOST ACTORS TO BE HONEST. GENUINE CHAMELEONS WHO REALLY CHANGE WHAT THEY DO RATHER RARE (AND THEY MOSTLY ON STAGE), EVEN LOTS OF “CHARACTER ACTORS” JUST DO THE SAME ONE-NOTE THING THEY JUST GET LOTS DIFFERENT ROLES KINDS OF ROLES. HULK NOT TRYING TO BE DISMISSIVE OF THEIR ABILITIES WHATSOEVER. THEY GETTING INTO VERY DIFFERENT CHARACTERS AND HEADSPACES AND SITUATIONS, HULK MERELY COMMENTING ON THE AFFECTATION. IN TRUTH, HULK IN AWE OF ALL ACTORS AND YOU WOULD BE SAME IF EVER TRIED IT.

SO THE THING WITH ONE-NOTE ACTORS IT JUST DEPENDS WHAT YOU THINK OF THAT NOTE AND IF THERE OBJECTIVE QUALITIES TO THE NOTE. FOR EXAMPLE, AWKWARD (CERA) HAS LESS RANGE THAN CHARMING (CLOONEY). MEANING CLOONEY CAN BE A CHARMING MAN IN A ROMANTIC COMEDY, A COOL BANK HEIST, OR A MURROW DOCU-DRAMA. MEANWHILE, CERA CAN’T BE THE AWKWARD FUMBLING TEEN IN A SHOOT EM UP WITHOUT DRAWING TOO MUCH NOTICE FOR BEING THAT. BUT FOR THE RECORD HULK STILL LOVE CERA. HIS TIMING EXCELLENT. WE GET SICK OF COMEDIANS TOO EASILY.

3 – NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN HERE. THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOVIE MAKING VERY DIFFERENT FROM TODAY. STARS/DIRECTORS/WRITERS WERE CONTRACTED W/ SINGLE STUDIO. IT WAS AN ASSEMBLY LINE. STUDIO INVOLVEMENT WAS A MUST IN THAT SYSTEM. ALSO, THE SUITS IN THAT CASE WERE STILL AT LEAST “MOVIE PEOPLE.” THE REAL WORLD OF GIANT CORPORATE FINANCE DIDN’T CREEP UNTIL THE 80’S POST “STAR WARS” WHEN THEY REALIZED THERE WAS REAL INDUSTRY-TYPE-MONEY TO BE MADE. THE OLD GUARD (TURNER, ZANUCK, ETC) COULD BE JUST AS FLIPPANT AND EASILY BORED, BUT THEY WERE AT LEAST INDIVIDUALS WITH ACTUAL TASTE. THE CURRENT GENERATION ARE ECONOMISTS.

4 – HULK FEEL LIKE CUKOR GETS APPROPRIATE DUE (AT LEAST IN FILM-Y CIRCLES). HULK SUPPOSE THE LACK OF ATTENTION COMES FROM THE FACT HE NOT REALLY FORMALIST. HE GREAT WITH ACTORS AND REALLY GOT HANDS ON SOME GREAT SCREENPLAYS. BUT HE NOT EXACTLY IN THE FORD CLASS, WHO COULD ELEVATE ANY MATERIAL HE GOT.

❤ HULK

QUESTION #8

Hey Hulk,

Got a question for you. What’s an area of filmmaking you wish more viewers or critics knew about/paid attention to? It seems like most reactions to a movie boil down to talking about the actors, some dialogue, and directorial style. Do you wish people would focus more on, say, editing, or sound design, or costumes, etc.? Small follow-up: What resources would you recommend for those viewers looking to learn more?

Daniel C.

HULK IMAGINE IT PRETTY EVIDENT THAT IT HAVE HULK’S BIGGEST GRIPE HOW MOST CRITICS NO KNOW WHAT “SCREENWRITING” ACTUALLY MEAN. THEY ALWAYS MAKE IT SEEM DIALOGUE CENTRIC, BUT REALLY STORY ECONOMY WAY MORE IMPORTANT. SO BASICALLY, A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF STORY-MECHANICS WOULD DO LOT GOOD. THE PROBLEM WITH EVALUATING EDITING THAT THE BEST EDITING OFTEN INVISIBLE. USUALLY HULK HAVE TO WATCH THE BEST EDITING MOVIES A SECOND TIME AND REALLY BE ON LOOKOUT FOR IT. AND THEN IT NOT EVEN REALLY IMPORTANT TO PUBLIC DISCUSSION, JUST FILMMAKING CRAFT. AND HULK FEEL LIKE COSTUMES PRETTY MUCH GET THEIR DUE. THAT SOUND CRASS BUT BY THAT HULK MEAN THAT PEOPLE CAN LOOK AND UNDERSTAND THE EFFORT THAT WENT INTO IT. AND YES, WISH THERE MORE APPRECIATION FOR THE EFFECT OF SOUND, BUT THAT BECAUSE SOUND DESIGNERS/MIXERS  THE TOTAL UNSUNG HEROES OF FILMMAKING. IF EVER MADE A FILM YOU UNDERSTAND… ALSO IF YOU MAKING MOVIE SAVE MONEY FOR THE MIX. LOTS PEOPLE MAKE THAT MISTAKE.

AND HONESTLY IT SORT OF CHEAP, BUT HULK SAY NO READ FILM BOOKS. READ BOOK BOOKS. READ DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, GOGOL, THOMAS PYNCHON, CHEKOV, READ ACADEMIC ESSAYS ABOUT OTHER SHIT. AND THE BEST WAY TO LEARN TECHNICAL FILMMAKING SKILLS TO SAVE MONEY AND MAKE FILMS (START WITH SKETCHES). YOU LEARN WAY MORE THAT WAY. AS FAR AS UNDERSTANDING MOVIES GO, SEE MORE MOVIES AND WRITE FOR 10,000 HOURS.

OH AND THE GUY ABOVE, OWEN GLIEBERMAN? HE KIND OF TERRIBLE.  DON’T BE LIKE HIM.

❤ HULK

QUESTION #9

As photo-realistic and motion capture technology becomes more widespread do we need a new definition for movies that straddle the line between computer generated and live action? I’m thinking specifically of Avatar, but Tron: Legacy, 300, and Sin City could be considered as well since everything but the actors was green screened in later, although none but Avatar contained characters which existed solely in a computer. All of these movies, while technically live action, exist almost entirely in a computer generated world. As this becomes more common, which I assume it will, will it create a new film making sub-genre? Is Avatar (and the upcoming sequels) live action? Are they cartoons? Does this only matter come awards time?

…I guess SW: Episodes 1-3 fit this description too, but I try to pretend they didn’t happen.

-Doug R

YOU EXACTLY CORRECT. SOON ENOUGH THEY WILL BE EXACT SAME THING IN TERMS OF EXECUTION. SO HOW WILL THEY DIFFERENTIATE?

IT MAY TAKE ONE MO-CAP PERFORMANCE TO BE NOMINATED TO BREAK THE DISTINCTION. BUT THAT WILL NO HAPPEN UNTIL OLD ACADEMY MEMBERS DIE BECAUSE THEY NO UNDERSTAND WHAT MO-CAP EVEN IS. (SERIOUSLY, IF YOU EVER BEEN TO AN ACADEMY, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, OR VARIETY SCREENING THE AVERAGE AND MEDIAN AGE AT LEAST 72). BUT ONCE ONE NOMINATED IT WILL THEORETICALLY BRIDGE DISTINCTION? HULK NOT SURE. RIGHT NOW THOUGH, HALF OF MOVIE-GOERS SEEM TO UNDERSTAND BASIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LIVE-ACTION, MO-CAP, AND ANIMATED JUST BASED ON WHAT IT SEEMS MOST LIKE.  SO REALLY WE NO KNOW YET. BUT RIGHT NOW IT SEEMS LIKE ANYTHING WITH ONE REAL ACTOR IN IT, STRIVING TOWARD PHOTO-REALISM, WE WILL CONSIDER IT LIVE ACTION.

❤ HULK

UNTIL NEXT TIME.

AS ALWAYS, FEEL FREE ASK QUESTIONS IN COMMENTS BELOW, TWEET HULK AT WWW.TWITTER.COM/FILMCRITHULK (FOLLOW HULK IF NOT!), OR EMAIL FILMCRITHULK@GMAIL.COM

CONSIDER THIS A FOUR-PART, 12,378 WORD, 31 PAGE SINGLE-SPACED, OPEN-LETTER TO DAMON LINDELOF AND CARLTON CUSE CONCERNING LOST

DEAR DARLTON,

HEY WHAT UP. IT HULK. HOW THINGS? COOL.

SO IT BEEN OVER YEAR SINCE FINALE OF LOST AND YET BOTH THE SHOW/FINALE REMAIN FLOATING ABOUT THE ZEITGEIST.  HULK IMAGINE IT SAME WAY FOR BOTH OF YOU. FOR AWHILE DAMON SEEMED TO TALK ABOUT IT ON TWITTER MAYBE ONCE A WEEK OR SO. HE RECENTLY ACKNOWLEDGE ON PODCAST THAT THE “HOW MUCH TO TALK ABOUT LOST” A QUESTION HE WRESTLE WITH. AND WHILE DISCUSSING THE SHOW, DAMON SEEM OSCILLATE BETWEEN FUN AND SERIOUSNESS, ACCEPTANCE AND DEFENSIVENESS… ALL OF WHICH RATHER UNDERSTANDABLE. OF COURSE, SOME BITS GET MORE PUBLIC NOTICE, LIKE THE RECENT (AND ADMITTEDLY RATHER TINY) DUST UP WITH GEORGE R.R. MARTIN. ALL THE WHILE, IT SEEM TO HULK THAT DAMON REALLY GOING DOWN THIS ROAD CAUSE HE TRYING TO COME TO SOME KIND OF CATHARSIS ABOUT LOST AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANT. WHICH MAKE HIM JUST LIKE ALL OF US.

THE SUM TOTALITY OF LOST(1) A HARDER THING TO SUM UP THAN MOST PEOPLE REALIZE. THE SHOW TRULY ALL-ENCOMPASSING AND RESONATED IN SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS THAT IT HARD TO CLARIFY EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, AND CONTINUES TO HAPPEN IN ITS WAKE.

BUT AFTER ALL THIS TIME, HERE AND NOW, HULK FINALLY READY TALK ABOUT THE LOST FINALE.

PREFACE #1:  HULK’S ORIGINAL INTERPRETATION  OF THE FINALE NOT REALLY CHANGE SINCE AIRING,  YET THE INTENSITY HAS LESSENED AND HULK ABLE TO BE MORE OBJECTIVE. THIS OBVIOUSLY A GOOD THING. WHICH MEANS:

PREFACE #2:  THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE AND THE DOLL-TOUCHING JOKE = JUST THAT, A JOKE. HULK FEEL NOWHERE NEAR THAT EXTREME ABOUT THE SITUATION (AFTER ALL, HULK A RATIONAL HULK). THE JOKE MORE REPRESENTATIVE OF HULK’S FEELINGS ABOUT FINALLY COMING FORWARD TO TALK ABOUT IT. HONESTLY, WHAT FOLLOWS WILL ATTEMPT BE VERY MEASURED AND FAIR AND ALL THAT. IT JUST FELT LIKE RIGHT TITLE (FOR REASONS THAT WILL MAKE SENSE LATER).

PREFACE #3:  EVEN IF HULK OFTEN DISMISS A LOT OF THE HYPERBOLE AND APOLOGIST REMARKS SURROUNDING THE SHOW, HULK STILL THINK LOST ONE OF THE BEST TELEVISION SHOWS EVER MADE. IT CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT, IF ONLY FOR FACT THAT IT DRAGGED THE NETWORKS INTO BOTH THE TIME-SHIFT (DVR) AND SERIALIZED-TV ERA. BUT OBVIOUSLY, IT MORE THAN THAT.

PREFACE #4:  ANOTHER REASON HULK WRITING THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE EVEN WITH ALL THE GREAT MATERIAL CRITICAL OUT THERE, HULK YET TO READ INTERPRETATION THAT HIT NAIL ON HEAD FOR WHAT HULK FELT WAS THE EXACT PROBLEMS WITH THE FINALE. SPECIFICALLY WITH HOW IT’S AIMS NOT CONGRUENT WITH THE REST OF THE SERIES.

PREFACE #5:  WHILE ON SUBJECT OF CRITICS, HULK THINK DOC JENSEN KIND OF AN IDIOT AND WHOLLY REPRESENTATIVE OF ONE OF THE WORST ASPECTS OF LOST FANS. THIS BEAR MENTIONING BECAUSE HE THE MOST CELEBRATED LOST ANALYZER IN WORLD FOR SOME REASON. PERHAPS IT THE FAULT OF E.W.’S PRESENTATION, BUT HIS WORK REALLY COME OFF LIKE NONSENSE RAMBLINGS AND IT FILLED WITH ABSURD, UNCONNECTED TANGENTS. NOW BOTH RAMBLINGS AND TANGENTS TOTALLY OKAY( HECK, HULK USE THEM ENDLESSLY), BUT DOC ALWAYS SEEM FIXATE ON SINGULAR DETAILS TO CREATE HIS WEAKLY-SUPPORTED HYPOTHESES, ONES WHICH OFTEN STOOD IN DIRECT CONTRAST TO OTHER, FAR-MORE-PERTINENT INFORMATION. THIS NOT ONLY OCCURRED ON FREQUENT LOGISTIC LEVEL, BUT EVEN MORE EGREGIOUSLY ON THE THEMATIC LEVEL. IT SELECTIVE INFORMATION PROCESSING AND IT BASICALLY WORTHLESS. AND LIKE DOC, THERE HUGE SEGMENT OF LOST FANS THAT WOULD DO THIS ALL THE TIME.

PREFACE #6:  THE BEST WRITING HULK EVER READ ON LOST DONE BY GENTLEMEN KNOWN AS “MMORSE” AND HULK SAY YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY CHECK HIM OUT (HULK GOING TO LINK TO SOME OF HIS STUFF LATER). HE HAD UNCANNY ABILITY TO DIG DEEP WHILE STAYING TRULY FOCUSED ON HOW THESE DETAILS FIT IN THE “BIG PICTURE.” HULK ARGUE NO ONE HAVE BETTER GRIP ON THE THEMATIC LEVEL OF THE SHOW AND HE WORKED HIS ASS OFF AT IT TOO.  HE CURRENTLY DOING GREAT WORK WITH HIS “LOST AND FOUND” SERIES ON CHUD, WHICH EXAMINES OTHER CEREBRAL TV SHOWS THAT MAY HAVE HAD AN ALL-TOO SHORT RUN. HERE HIS TWITTER IF WANT CHECK OUT http://twitter.com/#!/m_morse

PREFACE #7: AT THIS POINT IT SHOULD BE CLEAR HULK HAVE NO INTEREST IN BREVITY. IT MAY BE THE SOUL OF WIT, BUT IT JUST NOT IN HULK’S WHEELHOUSE. IF YOU NEVER READ HULK STUFF BEFORE KNOW THIS, EVERY TIME HULK ATTEMPT BE BRIEF IN ANALYSIS THE STATEMENTS JUST FEEL LIKE A HALF-TRUTH. MEANWHILE, BEING FAIR, TAKING ONE’S TIME, APPROXIMATING EVERYTHING, AND JUST PLAIN BEING THOROUGH=  ALL VALUES THAT HULK HOLD DEAR. ESPECIALLY IN AN ERA THAT CRAVES SHORT FORM. SO YES, THIS ARTICLE RATHER LONG, AND PERHAPS A BIT UNWIELDY,  BUT THIS HULK DAMMIT.

SO NOW ONTO THE REAL SHIT.

PART 1: WHAT MADE “LOST” FANTASTIC

LOST BOTH ATTEMPTED AND SUCCEEDED IN DOING THINGS MOST OTHER SHOWS NO EVEN TRY: IT HAD RICH, TEXTURED CHARACTERS,  AN INTERNATIONAL CAST, USED MULTI-LINGUAL AND SUBTITLED DIALOGUE, PROVIDED SENSUOUS CINEMATOGRAPHY THAT WAS, FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, “CINEMATIC,” CAPITALIZED ON ITS VIBRANT SETTING, HAD STUNNING PRODUCTION VALUES, WROTE AMBITIOUS STORY ARCS, INCLUDED DEEPLY-LITERATE REFERENCES, WENT INTO INTENSE AND COMPLEX SCI-FI CONCEPTS, BRANDISHED A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED SENSE OF HUMOR, AND EVEN DISPLAYED A COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF NEW MEDIA IN ORDER ADVERTISE THE SHOW/INTERACT WITH FANS (HELL, IT HELPED SHAPE NEW MEDIA). EVERY DETAIL JUST SEEMED RIGHT: FROM THE HAUNTING OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE TO OFT-SUDDEN ENDING TITLE STAMP AT THE CLOSE OF EVERY EPISODE. SO IF WE JUST GOING BY ALL THESE TANGIBLE DETAILS, THEN OBJECTIVELY-SPEAKING LOST MUST REPRESENT THE PINNACLE OF TELEVISION. HECK, IT THE BEST OF WHAT ENTERTAINMENT CAN OFFER.

BUT JUST CAUSE THAT WHAT MAKE IT GOOD, IT NOT WHAT MAKE IT SPECIAL. WHAT MADE LOST SPECIAL = THE IMPOSSIBLE RESONANCE THAT THE SHOW’S TONE AND THEMATIC CONCEIT HAD WITH VIEWERS. IT STRUCK A CHORD DEEP DOWN AND COMPELLED THEM IN WAYS A TV SHOW OFTEN DOES NOT. SURE THERE WERE RELATIVE LEVELS OF THAT INTENSITY, BUT THERE JUST SEEMED NO SUCH THING AS HALF-INVESTED LOST VIEWER. FOR SOME, IT JUST PURELY VISCERAL: A JOURNEY INTO BOTH THE MYSTERY OF AN ISLAND AND THE MYSTERY OF THE CHARACTER’S LIVES. FOR OTHERS, THE THEMATIC LEVEL OPENED UP A WORLD BEYOND THE SHOW, AN ONLINE COMMUNITY, AN EXPANDED UNIVERSE, AN EVOLVING DISCUSSION ABOUT LIFE, ART, STORYTELLING, RELIGION, SCIENCE, AND BEYOND. BETTER YET, THE SHOW COULD EXIST ON THAT CEREBRAL PLANE WHILE RARELY SACRIFICING THE THINGS THAT MADE IT UNIQUELY HUMANE. AND EVEN THOUGH IT HAD AN EMOTIONAL FOUNDATION, YIT NEVER STEEPED SO LOW AS TO BE OUTRIGHT SENTIMENTAL

ALL THIS MAKE THE SHOW BOTH A MIRACLE AND A SPRAWLING ENTITY IN ITS OWN RIGHT. AND DARLTON, HULK IMAGINE THAT NAVIGATING BOTH THE CREATION OF THAT ENTITY AND THEN PERPETUATING IT MUST HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS IMAGINABLE. HOW DID THE SHOW SATISFY SO MANY PEOPLE? FOLKS WITH A HOST OF DIFFERENT VALUES?

HULK BELIEVE THE ANSWER = “THE ANSWERS.”

FIRST OFF, HULK BOTH UNDERSTAND AND NOT UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE CLAIM THAT LOST NEVER ANSWERED ANYTHING. HULK PERHAPS UNDERSTAND BECAUSE THE SHOW RARELY RELIED ON “THE REVEAL” FORMAT OR CONVENTIONALLY REVEALED TWISTS WHERE THINGS SUDDENLY DAWN ON AUDIENCE (I.E., THE WAY MANY  PROCEDURALS CONCLUDE AT END OF EVERY EPISODE). AND THE FEW TIMES THERE WAS BIG “REVEAL” IN LOST IT OFTEN ANSWERED THE QUESTION WITH EVEN DEEPER MYSTERY, BEST EXEMPLIFIED BY THE NOW-FAMOUS “KATE, WE HAVE TO GO BACK MOMENT!”

HULK JUST WANTED USE THIS AGAIN... AND TO BE FAIR, THEY HAD TO GO BACK

BUT AT SAME TIME HULK NO UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE CAN REALLY THINK THAT, BECAUSE LOST ACTUALLY ANSWERED THE VAST MAJORITY OF OF PLOT, CHARACTER, THEMATIC, AND THEOLOGICAL CONFLICTS THAT WERE INTRODUCED. SERIOUSLY. FOR EVERY HANGING QUESTION THERE, LIKE, 3 OTHERS THAT WERE TOTALLY ANSWERED. HULK KNOW THIS SIMPLIFYING, BUT HULK JUST WANT POINT OUT, “HEY, IT SIMPLE MATH!” YES, THE SHOW COULD BE CRUELLY CHAOTIC IN HOW WENT ABOUT IT SOMETIMES, BUT IT STILL THERE PLAIN AS DAY. AND HONESTLY WHEN THE SHOW LACKED CONVENTIONAL, CONCRETE ANSWERS IT OFTEN SUBLIMATED THEM WITH EMOTIONALLY CATHARTIC BEATS, ONES THAT RESONATED DEEPLY WITHIN THE STORY.

AND CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE: ALL THE TIMES THE SHOW RESORTED TO ACTUALLY VERBALIZING ANSWERS VIA MONOLOGUE (OR SOMETHING EQUALLY LAME) IT RESULTED IN THE LEAST-INSPIRING OR LEAST-CATHARTIC MOMENTS IN THE SHOW (LIKE WHEN MICHAEL JUST SHOWS UP AND EXPLAINS THE WHISPERS VERBATIM). SO HULK ACTUALLY THINK DARLTON WISE TO TRY AND SHY AWAY FROM THEM. WHAT’S MORE, THE SHOW ULTIMATELY MADE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR FROM BEGINNING THAT IT JUST NOT INTERESTED IN VOCALIZING THE EXACT STATE OF PLOT NARRATIVE. EVER. SO REALLY, IF SOMEONE COMPLAINING ABOUT LACK OF ANSWERS IT SEEM TO HULK THAT THAT SOMEONE NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND THE SHOW THEY BEEN WATCHING FOR 6 YEARS.

SO IF ALL THAT WHAT MAKE THE SHOW SPECIAL… NOW IT TIME FOR WHAT MAKE LOST TRANSCENDENT.

WHAT CONTINUOUSLY AMAZE HULK IS THAT AS LOST EXPANDED ITS SPRAWLING MYTHOLOGY AND THEME, IT ALWAYS HAD UNIQUE ABILITY TO, FOR LACK OF BETTER TERM, “PLEASE EVERYONE.” AND BY THAT HULK MEAN THAT IT PROVIDE “ANSWERS’ THAT REALLY MORE AN INTERESTING SET OF DIFFERENT ANSWERS, ALL OF WHICH JUST AS EQUALLY TRUE AS OTHER. IT ACTUALLY SPEAK TO RATHER MATHEMATICAL CONCEPT, LIKE MATRICES AND HOW ALL “THE ANSWERS CAN BE ALL WITHIN RANGE OF NUMERICAL SUBSET B”, ETC. MEANING THE ANSWER TO ANY PARTICULAR ISLAND MYSTERY OFTEN GAVE AT LEAST THREE ANSWERS, ONE CHARACTER/STORY BASED, ONE SCIENTIFIC/LOGIC BASED, AND ONE THEMATIC/RELIGIOUS/MYTH BASED (YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER THIS BEING CASE, BUT TRUST HULK. IT TRUE. THOUGH MOST OF IT IN THE PRODUCTION DESIGN). AND BEST YET, NONE OF THOSE ANSWERS WEAK ENOUGH TO OUTRIGHT DISMISS, NOR SO DOMINANT AS TO DISPLACE THE OTHERS.

THIS GENIUS-LEVEL MENTAL ACROBATICS. YOU KNOW, HULK GOING WAGER YOU PROBABLY HAVE NO IDEA HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO CREATE THAT KIND OF THEMATIC STASIS AS WRITER. IN HULK’S MIND, IT THE SINGULAR REASON TO LOVE THE SERIES FOREVER. AND THE FUNNY THING = THIS MULTI-ANSWER APPROACH OFTEN MADE SOME FIGHTING ABOUT LOST MEANINGS TO BE, WELL, KIND OF SILLY. THEY OFTEN JUST AS RIGHT AS THE OTHER. BUT THESE ARDENT SUPPORTERS OF SINGULAR TAKES OFTEN MISSED THE THING THAT MAKE THE SHOW SO FUCKING BRILLIANT:

IT PLEASED THE MAN OF THE FAITH. IT PLEASED THE MAN OF SCIENCE. AND IT OFTEN DID SO AT ONCE.

WHAT ELSE COULD HULK WANT FROM TV SHOW?

SO PLEASE DARLTON, AS HULK GET INTO THIS FINALE THING… PLEASE NO THINK HULK NO UNDERSTAND.

PART 2 – SO IF THAT WHAT MADE LOST FANTASTIC THEN WHY DID THE FINALE DROP THE BALL?

FIRST OFF, HULK THOUGHT 95% OF THE FINALE DOWNRIGHT SPECTACULAR. THE ENTIRE ON-ISLAND PLOT WRAPPED UP BEAUTIFULLY: THE EPIC JACK VS. LOCKE/MIB BRAWL (FEW REMEMBER THE COCKTEASINGLY-GREAT COMMERCIAL BREAK THAT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE IT). HURLEY’S NEW PLACE AS LEADER. DESMOND’S ELECTROMAGNETISM PAYING OFF AND TOTALLY PLAYING INTO THE STORY . LINUS’S ATONEMENT. THE BIG MYTHOLOGICAL ARCHPOINTS, EVEN THE ISLAND KEYSTONE, BECAUSE HULK TOTALLY COOL WITH IT BEING THE “ON/OFF” SWITCH EVEN IF SOME FELT IT ON THE NOSE.(2) MILES GETTING HIS DIAMONDS. MILES’S LINE: “I DON’T BELIEVE IN A LOT OF THINGS, BUT I DO BELIEVE IN DUCT TAPE!” (HOW DID THAT NO BECOME A T-SHIRT?) RICARDO’S GRAY HAIR AND HIS “I THINK I WANT TO LIVE” LINE. IT WRAPPED UP HIS STORY PERFECT ECONOMY. THERE ALL THE CHARACTERS SACRIFICES. THE LAST MOMENTS. VINCENT. THE BAMBOO. JACK WATCHING PLANE OVERHEAD. THE CLOSING OF THE EYE. IT ALL AMAZING. IT FELT LIKE THE SHOW. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT FELT LIKE THE SHOW’S TRUE END.

WHICH MEANS HULK’S PROBLEMS ALL ABOUT THE LAST 15 MINUTES IN THE FREAKING CHURCH.

HULK KNOW. HULK KNOW. LOTS OF FOLKS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE LAST SCENE AND FOR GOOD REASON, BUT HULK LISTENED/READ EVERY RESPONSE POSSIBLE. SOME TRULY GREAT, SOME INSPIRED, MOST KINDA BLAND AND UNSUPPORTED. BUT HULK ALWAYS FELT LIKE THERE SOMETHING MORE THAN THAT. SOMETHING ABOUT THAT SCENE THAT NOT JUST PROBLEMATIC, BUT SOMETHING THAT VIOLATES THE SHOW’S CORE IDENTITY.

AND HULK BELIEVE THE SOMETHING = THIS: IF LOST‘S TRANSCENDENT QUALITY HOW IT PLEASED THE MAN OF SCIENCE AND THE MAN OF FAITH, OFTEN WITH A SINGLE GESTURE, THEN WHY IN THE SERIES-DEFINING-MOMENT OF THE FINALE DID THEY DECIDE TO JUST PLAIN STOP DOING THAT?

AND NOT JUST STOP DOING THAT, BUT SEEMINGLY THUMB THEIR NOSE AT THAT CONCEPT?

"YOU TAKE THAT BACK!"

HULK NOT WANT RE-CAP TOO MUCH BUT IT IMPORTANT GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF FINAL SEASON AND OVERVIEW THE RELEVANT INFORMATION: UNTIL THAT POINT, MEANING PRE-SEASON 6 OPENER”LA… X”, THE SHOW CREATE A NARRATIVE THAT WORKED ON THE THREE LEVELS HULK MENTIONING ABOVE: CHARACTER/SCIENTIFIC(3)/MYTHOLOGICAL. THE PRIOR FIFTH SEASON ENDED ON PREDICATION THAT BY BLOWING UP THE H-BOMB, IT SINK THE ISLAND WOULD RESET TIME-LINE SO THAT THEY NEVER CRASHED THE ISLAND AND COULD GO ABOUT THEIR NORMAL LIVES. AND IN “LA…X” IT APPEARED TO BOTH WORK AND NOT WORK. IT ACTUALLY CREATED TWO TIME LINES: ONE REALITY WHERE THEY PRESSING FORWARD WITH ON-ISLAND ACTION AND CURRENT TIMELINE, AND ANOTHER REALITY WHERE THE BOMB SANK THE ISLAND AND THEY FIND PLANE LANDED SAFE IN L.A

AND ALL SEASON, THE AUDIENCE LEFT TO WONDER WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENING IN THIS NEW TIME-LINE REALITY WHERE THEY NEVER EXPERIENCED THE ISLAND. AT FIRST, THE SHOW WENT ON AND ON FOR HALF OF SEASON ESTABLISHING A SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT FOR TWO CONCURRENT TIME-LINES CONTINUING IN EARNEST. IT REALLY JUST SOME BASIC IDEAS IN STEPHEN HAWKING’S “A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME” REGARDING PARALLEL WORLDS CONTINUING FROM A SINGLE POINT OF INFLUENCE. THEY DIVERGE AT THAT POINT AND THE SCIENTIFIC THEORY BEHIND IT = A) RATHER SOUND AND B) A DEEPLY INTERESTING ANALYSIS OF TIME AND SPACE. THE SHOW REALLY HAMMERED THE CONCEPT HOME WHEN DANIEL FARRADAY SHOWED UP AND BASICALLY CONFIRMED ALL THIS VERBATIM… AND THEN THE SHOW SEEMED TAKE CURIOUS LEFT TURN WITH DESMOND, EVER THE CLAIRVOYANT, STARTED RUNNING AROUND TRYING TO ALMOST-KILL A TON OF PEOPLE. BESIDES BEING DOWNRIGHT ERRANT AND BIZARRE, ONE GUESSED THAT HE TRYING GET THEM TO “WAKE UP” AND BRING AWARENESS OF THEIR FORMER LIFE. HE WAS DESPERATE AND CRAZED, LIKE HE RUNNING AGAINST THE CLOCK. IT SEEMED THE GOAL NOT EXACTLY TO BRIDGE THE TWO WORLDS, BUT HULK GOT THE SENSE DESMOND NEEDED TO INFORM THE OTHERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF “SAVING” THE ISLAND MISSION AND THIS WOULD LATER HAVE ADDED BENEFIT OF GOING FORWARD IN THEIR NEW LIVES, KNOWING THEIR “OTHER” HISTORY IN THE ALTERNATIVE TIME-LINE. THE SHOW REALLY, REALLY TRIED TO MAKE THIS INTENTION CLEAR.

AND THEN IT JUST TURNED OUT THEY WERE DEAD.

OR SOMETHING.

TO BE HONEST THE MEANING OF THIS LACKS ABJECT CLARITY ON ANY LEVEL. YES THERE SOME INTENTIONAL VAGUERY INVOLVED IN THE REVEAL, BUT THE WAYS IN WHICH IT IS CLEAR LACK = COMPLETELY UNSATISFACTORY, ESPECIALLY FOR LOST STANDARDS. AND SO, THE FOLLOWING 10 PROBLEMS CONSTITUTE THE WAYS THE LAST 15 MINUTES OF FINALE ULTIMATELY FAILED THE SERIES.

"MAN. ALL THOSE TIMES WE FOUGHT AND ALMOST DIED, AND THEN ACTUALLY DIED. GOOD TIMES!"

PROBLEM #1 – IT OUTRIGHT SENTIMENTAL.

NOW, HULK NO GO SO FAR AS SAY THE ENDING CHEESY, IT JUST OVERTLY SENTIMENTAL. AS SUCH, ONE’S REACTION SORT OF DEPEND ON ONE’S THRESHOLD FOR SENTIMENTALITY. A LOT OF LOST VIEWERS OKAY WITH THE SENTIMENTAL ASPECT. THEY SAYING GOODBYE TO CHARACTERS THEY LOVE AND IT TRUE JOY TO SEE THEM BE HAPPY, YOU KNOW, SINCE ALL THE CHARACTERS GET THEIR BEAUTIFUL HAPPY-FUN-TIME MOMENT IN THE THE “PLACE THEY MADE FOR EACH OTHER” [EYE ROLL] BUT STILL, HULK’S PROBLEM NOT THAT IT SENTIMENTAL IN AND OF ITSELF, IT THAT IT THE SHOW WAS NEVER SENTIMENTAL.

HULK BET YOU MAY ARGUE THE SHOW WAS SENTIMENTAL BEFORE. THAT OKAY, BUT HULK ARGUE IT NEVER WAS. IT WAS EMOTIONAL AND THAT A HUGE DIFFERENCE. COMPARE THE FINALE TO, SAY, THE INCREDIBLE MOMENT WHERE DESMOND ABLE TO CALL PENNY ON THE PHONE FOR THAT BRIEF MOMENT ON THE FREIGHTER. AFTER AN ENTIRE NARRATIVE OF DESMOND TRYING TO REACH PENNY, IT FINALLY HAPPENS AND THE TWO OF THEM JUST SOBBING UNCONTROLLABLY… HULK ADMIT. HULK TEARED UP. BUT THE MOMENT = HANDLED WITH GRACE AND BUILDUP. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHILE IT HAPPENING, WE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANT FOR THESE TWO PEOPLE AS IT WAS HAPPENING. NOW IMAGINE IF THIS EMOTIONAL MOMENT GOT THE SAME MISE EN SCENE TREATMENT AS THE FINALE. (4)

THERE VAST, INHERENT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TWO CHARACTERS COMING TOGETHER IN JOYFUL WAY, AND EVERYONE GETTING TOGETHER FOR BIG GROUP HUG ON THEIR WAY TO HEAVEN. HULK ALSO WILLING TO BET SOME READERS JUST THINK HULK BIG MEAN FUDDY-DUDDY WHO TRYING BE WAY TOO HIP TO BE SENTIMENTAL AND STUFF. THEY MIGHT THINK HULK LIKE THOSE PEOPLE WHO FIND SAP IN ANY FORM TO JUST BE SO OBVIOUSLY STUPID (POSSIBLY LIKE THE CHURCH OF SOUTH PARK). WELL YOU WRONG. HULK LOVE EMOTIONAL STORIES. HULK LOVE OPTIMISTISM AND HOPE. HULK LOVING DR. WHO FOR PETE’S SAKE! BUT LOST NEVER DARED BE SENTIMENTAL BEFORE. IT NEVER TRIED OR WANTED BE THAT KIND OF SHOW. IT WANTED TO BE DEEP. IT WANTED TO RESONATE. IT WANTED TO BE COMLEX AND EVASIVE.

SO WHY BE SENTIMENTAL NOW?  SOME MAY ARGUE THE SHOW EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE SENTIMENTAL AFTER THIS LONG RUN. THAT FAIR, BUT HULK DISAGREE. A SHOW SHOULD NO CHANGE ITS IDENTITY JUST BECAUSE IT OVER. BUT EVEN IF THE SENTIMENTALITY THREW SOME PEOPLE FOR LOOP, THAT ONLY SMALL SMALL PART OF THE BIGGER PROBLEMS OF THE LAST 15 MINUTES…

"I WILL MAKE TWO DIFFERENT NARRATIVES! OR WAIT, NOT AT ALL!"

PROBLEM #2 – THE NARRATIVE FEINT

CONSIDER THE LAST SEASON AS A SINGULAR SEASON OF TELEVISION. WHAT BECOME OBVIOUSLY CLEAR, THAT THE WHOLE HAWKING-ESQUE SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION OF TWO ALTERNATIVE TIME-LINES DIVERGING FROM A POINT = NOTHING BUT A NARRATIVE FEINT BEFORE GETTING TO THE TRUE REVEAL OF THEM ALL BEING DEAD. JUST TO CLARIFY, THE WRITERS OBVIOUSLY NOT SO WILLY-NILLY THAT THEY JUST DECIDE CHANGE COURSE HALFWAY THROUGH SEASON (FINE, NEED A CONCRETE REASON? CHARLIE’S PLOT IN THE SEASON OPENER WITH HIS NEAR-DEATH. IT MAKE IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THEY KNEW WHERE THEY GOING WITH THIS PURGATORY THING). SO THE HAWKING SCIENCE STUFF MEANT AS NOTHING MORE THAN A FEINT IN THE STORY. CAUSE IT SURE AS SHIT NOT CONGRUOUS WITH WHAT FOLLOWED. SO IN TERMS OF NARRATIVE CONSTRUCTION… WHY? WHY MAKE THE SUDDEN AND BRASH ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN THE SCIENCE OF TWO TIME-LINES? ULTIMATELY, IT CAN ONLY MAKE IT FEEL HOLLOW. BECAUSE WHY WOULD A META-PURGATORY SETTING TAKE SO MUCH TIME TO TIE INTO THE H-BOMB PLAN? IT WOULD NOT. IT JUST FEELS LIKE THE WRITERS SETTING UP THE BIG CURVE AND LESS SOMETHING PURSUED FOR ITS OWN REASONS/WORTH. IT NOTHING MORE THAN AN EMPTY, HALF-SEASON-LONG RED HERRING. AND IN TERMS OF NARRATIVE, THAT FEEL DISHONEST IN WAY THE SHOW HAS NEVER FELT BEFORE. SURE, THE SHOW HAS WITHHELD THINGS BEFORE, OR DROPPED STORY LINES, OR CHANGED DIRECTION OF MEANING, BUT THOSE WERE OFTEN DONE IN THE NAME OF BUILDING TO GREATER STORY CONTENT. THE SHOW HAS NEVER DIPPED INTO OUTRIGHT FEINTING. LOST ALWAYS PLAYED A MORE DELICATE GAME THAN THAT… OR AT LEAST THEY DID UNTIL THAT MOMENT.

GEE, HULK WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN...

PROBLEM #3 – THE DRAMA SUCK

AS FOR THE ALTERNATIVE-SUNK-ISLAND-TIMELINE (HULK HAVE NO IDEA WHAT CALL IT SO IT GOING BE DIFFERENT EVERY TIME) HULK JUST WANT SAY THIS: IT WAS A DRAMA SUCK. CONFUSION AND MYSTERY ARE GREAT FOR GETTING VIEWERS INVESTED, BUT WHEN THESE THINGS IMPOSED OVER THE SAME MOMENTS THAT AUDIENCE SUPPOSED TO BE EXPERIENCING ON PURER, VISCERAL LEVEL, WHETHER IT SOMETHING FUNNY, JOYFUL, CATHARTIC, ANYTHING, THEN THE IMPOSED LAYER OF MYSTERY ROBS THE MOMENT OF IMPACT. THIS A BASIC STORYTELLING TRUTH.

SO EVERY TIME A CHARACTER “WOKE UP” IN PURGATORY, AT TIME WE NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENING. DESMOND GOING AROUND NEAR KILLING PEOPLE FOR BUNCH OF EPISODES JUST SEEMED CRAZY, BUT IT SURE AS SHIT NOT EMOTIONAL. WE NO UNDERSTAND IT. YOU MAY SAY, BUT LOST ALWAYS CRAZY! TRUE, BUT THEY SHOWCASED AMAZING ABILITY TO TOW THE LINE BETWEEN MYSTERY AND CHARACTER RESONANCE ALL THROUGHOUT THE RUN OF THE SHOW. IN SOME MOMENTS THEY WERE PERFECTLY INTERTWINED. FOR EXAMPLE, TWO CHARACTERS WOULD TALK IN RIDDLES ABOUT THE ISLAND’S MYSTERIES, BUT REALLY IT ABOUT WHAT THEIR CHARACTERS THINK OF THE ISLAND MYSTERY. IT ABOUT THEIR PERSPECTIVES. MEANWHILE, THE MYSTERY IN THE ALTERNA-TIMELINE JUST FELT BIZARRE. THE CHARACTER “WAKING UP” ONCE THEY GONE THROUGH THE RINGER OF THEIR PALE IMITATIONS OF A FORMER LIFE. AND THEN THEY JUST WENT ALL DOE-EYED AND POD PEOPLE. ON PURE DRAMA LEVEL IT NO WORK. IT UNDERMINES HOW WE EXPERIENCE THE THINGS AS AUDIENCE. WE JUST SAT AROUND WAITING IN THE FINALE FOR THEM TO RECREATE MOMENTS WE ALREADY EXPEREIENCED. ULTIMATELY, IT BORING.(5)

"LOOK I KNOW I SAID WE'D MEET UP IN HEAVEN BUT I DIDN'T THINK THAT WOULD LITERALLY FUCKING HAPPEN. SO... UM. WHERE'S NADIA?"

PROBLEM #4- SAYID/SHANNON

ADMITTEDLY SMALL, BUT SERIOUSLY… THIS JUST NO FEEL LIKE RIGHT CONCLUSION TO EITHER OF THEIR STORY-LINES… WHATSOEVER. PERHAPS PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT THE SHOW NEVER SATISFACTORILY EXPLAINED WHAT THE NADIA PLOT FULLY MEANT. HULK THINK THAT THE WRITERS ULTIMATELY WANTED CONVEY THAT SAYID AND NADIA NEVER MEANT TO BE TOGETHER. THEY TRIED, BUT IT DIDN’T WORK. JUST ONE OF THOSE STAR-CROSSED THINGS. BUT FOR SOME REASON THAT THEME NEVER STRUCK A CHORD. NOT TRULY. IF DONE BETTER, THEN PERHAPS IT SHOW SHANNON COULD HAVE BEEN THE REAL GIRL WHO SAYID HAD CONNECTION WITH… THEN AGAIN, THIS NO WORK BECAUSE: A) SHANNON JUST SORT OF SHOWS UP AT LAST SECOND IN PURGATORY WORLD AND THEY SUDDENLY THEY LOVE AND HAPPY TO GET BACK TO THE FUCKIN’. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY B) BECAUSE THAT WAS NEVER THEIR RELATIONSHIP IN FIRST PLACE. IT WAS NEVER DEEP. THEY FLIRTED. THEY ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER. THEY HAD A QUICKIE AND THEN SHANNON KILLED. SO WHY THEY SUPPOSED BE SOUL MATES NOW OR SOME SHIT? IF SHANNON SO IMPORTANT WHY DID SAYID NEVER MENTION HER AGAIN? SERIOUSLY, HULK PRETTY SURE HE NEVER MENTIONED HER AGAIN IN THE COURSE OF THE SHOW. THEY WERE JUST TWO PEOPLE WHO ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER BRIEF MOMENT. SO THE PICTURE OF BOTH OF THEM IN THE FINALE, HEADING OFF INTO SUNSET, JUST COMPLETELY WRONG.

WHOSE A LITTLE BABY? HOW OLD ARE YOU? ARE YOU EVEN HERE?

PROBLEM # 5 – BASIC LOGISTICS

SOME OF THE LOGISTICS OF THIS ALTERNA-PURGATORY ARE DOWNRIGHT NUTTERS. THERE TONS HULK COULD MENTION, LIKE HOW THERE LOTS OF NON-ISLAND PEOPLE INCLUDED IN THIS PLACE TOO, LIKE WHY WAS DESMOND SO EAGER TO RUN AROUND AND ALMOST-KILL PEOPLE WHEN REALLY THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING OUT THERE SHIT? LIKE IF JACK WAS IN PURGATORY TO DEAL WITH HIS DADDY ISSUES THEN WHY WAS HIS DAD NOT THERE UNTIL HE SHOW UP AT THE LAST SECOND TO TELL HIM HE DAD AND EVERYTHING BEING ALL BETTER FOR SOME REASON? LIKE WHERE THE FUCK ARE MICHAEL AND WALT? (ONLY TWO ORIGINAL LOSTIES NOT INCLUDED).LIKE WHERE THE HELL ARE MILES AND LAPIDUS? THEY GOT WAY MORE ISLAND TIME THAN LIBBY AND SHANNON. HULK GUESS THEY AREN’T TWO OF THE MAIN LOSTIE’S FUCK BUDDIES SO WHO CARES, RIGHT? (HULK JOKING. BUT REALLY IF YOU SOMEHOW INFER EITHER ONE IS A SOUL MATE IT IS A GRAVE OFFENSE TO THE CONCEPT. SHANNON TAPPED SAYID. AND LIBBY WAS, LIKE, THE FIRST GIRL WHO TALKED TO HURLEY. THAT NOT A SOUL MATE MAKE. (6)

BUT THE BIGGEST ROADBLOCK IN HAVING THE PURGATORY DEFINITION MAKE A LICK OF SENSE? AARON. WHY WAS HE A BABY IN THIS PURGATORY WORLD? IF THEY ONLY GO THERE WHEN EVERYONE DIE, WHY HE A BABY? HE GOT OLD RIGHT? MAYBE IT CAUSE HE WAS BABY ON ISLAND SO IT REFLECTIVE OF THAT? BUT THAT MEAN HE GOT BORN INTO PURGATORY WITH ABSOLUTELY NO UNDERSTAND. AND IF HE GET TO LIVE HIS LIFE WITH CLAIRE AND KATE IN THE REAL WORLD AFTERWARDS WHY WOULD THEIR ONLY IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM BE THE BABY ONE? … HULK MEAN… HULK BRAIN HURT… OR HECK, MAYBE AARON NOT REALLY THERE AT ALL AND IT JUST A PROP BABY. YOU KNOW, SO THAT KATE CAN HAVE HER SPIRITUAL AWAKENING MOMENT WHEN SHE SEE AARON’S HEAD CROWNING OUT CLAIRE’S VAGINA.

[KATE VIEWS BABY HEAD RIPPING AUSSIE VAGINA] KATE: “HOLY SHIT, I’M DEAD! THAT’S CRAZY! WELL, TIME TO SMILE LIKE THIS IS TOTALLY AWESOME OR SOMETHING.”(7) … THINK ABOUT IT. THAT WHAT THE WRITERS ACTUALLY DID. THEY MEANT IMPLY THAT KATE’S MOTHERHOOD ROLE = HER TRANSCENDING MOMENT, HULK KNOW, BUT THAT NOT EXACTLY HOW IT PLAYED OUT IN TERMS OF DRAMA. THERE THIS INCREDIBLE META FUNNINESS TO IT AND IT  KEPT HULK LAUGHING TO HULKSELF FOR, LIKE, WEEKS.

BUT THE AARON CONUNDRUM SPEAK TO THE PROBLEMS MOST. FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT IF HULK REALLY IMPORTANT IN SOMEONE’S LIFE BUT HULK NOT REALLY CARE ABOUT THAT PERSON? DOES HULK HAVE TO SIT AROUND AND HELP SOMEONE DEAL WITH THEIR SHIT? IS IT REFLEXIVE LIKE THAT? OR IS HULK JUST A PROJECTION? AGAIN, IS AARON REAL?

*GASP* WAIT…DOES AARON JUST GET BROUGHT TO HEAVEN TO “MOVE ON” AS A BABY? DID HE NOT GET A CHANCE TO SORT OUT HIS OWN PURGATORY BASED ON THE PRESUMED LIFE HE HAD GOING FORWARD? DID HE HAVE SUCH A MEANINGLESS LIFE THAT ALL HE NEEDED TO DO TO “MOVE ON” WAS JUST BE BORN? DID HE GET NO SAY IN ANY OF THIS?!??!

…THE LOGIC SORT OF TERRIFYING.

SO NOW THEN…. THE THING ABOUT PROBLEMS 1 -5 THAT HULK NOT REALLY GIVE SHIT ABOUT THEM. IT MAY NO SEEM THAT WAY, BUT HULK ALWAYS WILLING OVERLOOK ANY PLOTHOLE, WRITING CONVENIENCE, TONE CHANGE, OR WHATEVER, AS LONG AS IT IN THE PURSUIT OF SOMETHING MORE EFFECTIVE: OFTEN A RELEVANT THEME, RELEVANT META VALUE, OR HELL, EVEN A REALLY GOOD JOKE. BUT IT HAVE BE IN THE NAME OF SOMETHING WORTHY… TURNS OUT PROBLEMS 1-5 ACT MORE INDICATORS OF BIGGER ISSUES. THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE LAST 15 MINUTES NOT THAT DECISIONS NO LOGISTICALLY COMPUTE. IT THAT THEY NO THEMATICALLY COMPUTE…

PROBLEM #6 – WAIT, WHY THEY ALL TOGETHER AGAIN?

SO THEIR PURGATORY-HEAVEN-THINGY = THE PLACE BUILT FOR EACH OTHER. FINE. BUT WHY EXACTLY DID THEY DO THAT? EVEN THOUGH THERE A FEW GREAT CORE RELATIONSHIPS, HULK FELT MOST OF THESE PEOPLE BARELY KNEW ONE ANOTHER. IT 6 YEARS OF TV SHOW, BUT IN SHOW TIME TERMS SOME SPENT AS LITTLE AS 40 DAYS TOGETHER, IF THAT (SORRY BOONE). AND WITH THE ACT INTERACTIONS SOME ONLY SPOKE A FEW TIMES AT MOST. THIS BECAUSE THE THEMATIC RESONANCE OF LOST‘S FIRST SEASON (THE BEST SEASON BY THE WAY) DEALT ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T KNOW/TRUST EACH OTHER TRYING TO SURVIVE TOGETHER, WHICH IS WHY THE STORY NARRATIVE LARGELY CENTERED AROUND THEIR OWN BACK STORIES AND PERSONAL DEMONS. WHILE A FEW LOSTIES DID END UP BECOMING CLOSE, MOST SPENT THE ENTIRE SHOW REMAINING AT A DISTANCE, BASICALLY FOCUSING ON THEIR OWN INTERNAL SHIT.

SO WHY THE HELL WAS THE END THE SHOW WAS ULTIMATELY SAYING THAT THE CAMARADERIE AND FRIENDSHIP = THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THEY EVER HAD? HULK KNOW THAT IT A VALUABLE MESSAGE WORTHY OF ANY SHOW, HELL, IT EVEN A GREAT FINAL MESSAGE FOR LOST… EXCEPT THE SHOW RARELY TRIED TO IMPLY THEIR DEFINITION OF DEPENDENCE WAS SYNONYMOUS WITH “FRIENDSHIP.” THE JOURNEYS WERE LARGELY SOLITARY. SO WHEN THE SHOW HAS THIS ENDING WHERE THEY JUST ALL SO HAPPY TO BE TOGETHER LIKE THEY ALL WERE IN THE SAME FRAT OR SOMETHING, IT NO COMPUTE. THE SHOW, FORALL IT’S “LIVE TOGETHER, DIE ALONE” MANTRA, RARELY TRIED TO PURSE THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TOGETHER, AND REMAINED FIXATED ON THE ALONE.

BUT MORE THAN THAT, THE THINKING IMPLIES A FIXED “ISLAND-ONLY” LIFE FOR THESE PEOPLE. YES, HULK KNOW THEY ALL GOT CALLED TO ISLAND FOR THE IMPORTANT DEED OF POSSIBLY TAKING OVER FOR JACOB (THE RELATIVE WORTH OF THAT KINDA SHADY TOO) BUT MOST LOSTIES HAD ALL THESE OTHER RELEVANT THINGS IN THEIR LIVES. KATE PRESUMABLY WENT BACK AND RAISED AARON AND DO WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE. CLAIRE TOO. DID HER AND AARON GROW UP TO HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP? DID SAWYER HAVE ANOTHER LIFE? DID THEY FIND SIGNIFICANT OTHERS TO SHARE THEIR JOY WITH? ALL OF THEM, WHAT DID THEY DO AFTER? BECAUSE APPARENTLY THEIR JOURNEY INTO THE AFTERLIFE INVOLVES ALL THE PEOPLE FROM THE PSYCHO-ISLAND AND NOT THE PRESUMED LOVED ONES THEY SPENT THE REST OF THEIR LIVES WITH. IT CONJECTURE, BUT BASED ON THE DEFINITION OF THE PURGATORY IT HIGHLY RELEVANT CONJECTURE.

IT GET AT HEART OF WHY THE WHOLE LAST 15 MINUTES JUST FEEL WRONG. HULK KNOW RELATIONSHIPS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE, BUT REALLY, WHY IT THESE RELATIONSHIPS??!?!? THE SHOW NEVER TRULY SUPPORTED THE IDEA BEHIND THIS KIND OF HAPPY GATHERING FOR THEM. FOR FUCK SAKE CLAIRE, MOST OF THESE PEOPLE LEFT YOU THERE OR TRIED TO KILL YOU. AND AGAIN, HULK’S POINTS ABOVE WITH THE SAYID/SHANNON THING SORT OF HIGHLIGHT THE ABSURDITY OF ALL OF IT.

SO WHY DO IT? UNFORTUNATELY, THE ONLY ANSWER TIE BACK TO SENTIMENTALITY. BECAUSE ON A THEMATIC LEVEL… IT JUST NOT MAKE SENSE FOR LOST… EMOTIONALLY, IT JUST FELT LIKE THE CONSOLATION PRIZE.

PROBLEM #7 – PURGATORY DUPLICITY – WE ALREADY BEEN THERE!

SO, WITH THE ALTERNATIVE TIME-LINE, THEY WERE BASICALLY IN LITERAL PURGATORY…. HERE THE THING: THEY ALREADY WERE IN PURGATORY. FROM ONSET OF SHOW THE AUDIENCE GUESSED THE ISLAND = PURGATORY. THE SHOW RUNNERS CAME OUT SURPRISINGLY EARLY ON AND SAID THIS NOT CASE. BUT THE REASONS EVERYONE GUESSED THAT BECAUSE THE SHOW SO CLEARLY AND OBVIOUSLY USED THE ISLAND AS SYMBOLIC PURGATORY. ALL THE CHARACTERS ARRIVED IN PLANE CRASH, THEY LITERALLY “LOST,” THEY EACH BROUGHT WITH THEM A GREAT DEAL OF EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE, SO THEY SORTED OUT THEIR SHIT ON MYSTICAL ISLAND AND PROMPTLY DROPPED DEAD THE MOMENT THEY FIGURED IT OUT. MEANING THEY “MOVED ON” SO TO SPEAK…

SO… WHAT… THE ALTERNA-TIMELINE LIKE… SECOND PURGATORY? HULK AWARE THERE SEVERAL HINDU/OTHER RELIGIOUS TENETS INVOLVED IN THIS IDEA AND REPEATING LIFE UNTIL BE COME MORE AND MORE PURE (MMORSE DOES GREAT JOB EXPLAINING THIS IN COLUMN HULK LINKING TOO LATER SO HULK NOT GOING BOTHER EXPLAINING IT WORSE) FOR HULK, THIS UTILIZATION NOT EXACTLY WORK, BUT FOR SAKE OF ARGUMENT, LET’S ALL SAY EVERYONE ON BOARD WITH THE CONCEPT AND FIND IT INTERESTING: THE LOSTIES REPEATING THIER LIVES, GETTING IT MORE PERFECT, SO THEY CAN ASCEND TO THE FINAL HEAVEN… FINE… BUT IT STILL THE DRAMATIZATION OF THE EXACT SAME THING EXPERIENCED ONCE BEFORE. WITH THE RARE EXCEPTION, THE ALTERNA-TIMELINE NOT THEM GETTING SECOND CHANCES TO DO THINGS THEY NEVER DID. THEY ALREADY DID THEM. ALL THE LESSONS THE MAIN CHARACTERS LEARNED WERE THINGS THEY ALREADY LEARNED ON ISLAND. WHY WASTE A WHOLE SEASON ON IT? IT COMPLETELY WITHOUT DRAMA. BUT EVEN WORSE, IT COMPLETELY WITHOUT POINT.

SERIOUSLY, ASIDE FROM SOME SHEDDING LIGHT ON HINDU CONCEPTS OF MULTIPLE LIFES, WHAT WAS NEW THEMATIC THING EXPRESSED IN THE PURGATORY PLOTLINE? HULK TRULY BELIEVE THAT IF THE SHOW DITCHED THE ENTIRE PURGATORY PLOTLINE AND THE ENDING CHURCH THEME, THE SHOW WOULD NOT HAVE LOST A SINGLE CRITICAL THEME WITH THE CHARACTERS.

THINK ABOUT IT, ON THE ISLAND: JACK LEARNED TO EMBRACE HIS DEATH. KATE EMBRACED MOTHERHOOD. SAWYER EMBRACED TAKING CARE OF OTHERS AND FRIENDS. HURLEY EMBRACED LEADERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY. BEN LINUS ACCEPTED HIS GUILT AND MISDEEDS. JIN AND SUN ACCEPTED EACH OTHER (REMEMBER: IN THE FIRST SEASON THAT WAS THEIR CENTRAL PROBLEM. THEIR PLOTLINE ESSENTIALLY RESOLVED AFTER 3 SEASONS SO THE SHOW SPENT THE NEXT 3 SEASONS JUST KEEPING THEM APART). MICHAEL ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS ACTIONS AND RETURNED TO THE ISLAND, SACRIFICING HIMSELF ON THE FREIGHTER. CLAIRE ACCEPTED THAT SHE HAVE PRETTY SERIOUS CASE OF POST-PARTUM DEPRESSION. SHANNON ACCEPTED NOT BEING SUCH A PRISS AND SLEPT WITH A MINORITY (OH COME ON). MILES ACCEPTED THAT HE IS AWESOME… AND LOCKE… WELL MAYBE LOCKE THE ONLY ONE WHO DIFFERENT BECAUSE HIS LAST MOMENTS INVOLVED HIS ACCEPTANCE THAT HE A CONFUSED, GULLIBLE FOOL… HOW SAD(18). BOONE ACCEPTED THAT HE WAS LOCKE’S LACKEY/TOOL (SERIOUSLY, THIS JUST RECONFIRMED IN THE PURGATORY PLOT LINE). JULIET ACCEPTED THAT SAWYER WILL ALWAYS HAVE A BONER FOR KATE SO THE ONLY WAY TO GET HIM TO COMMIT IS TO DIE (OKAY THAT NOT WHAT THAT SAYING, BUT COME ON, SHE CAN ONLY LOCK THAT DOWN IF KATE’S NOT AROUND). CHARLIE ACCEPTED THAT HE’S SEMI-WORTHLESS AND ONLY GOOD FOR A GIRL WHO HAS GOT MAJOR DADDY/BABY-DADDY ISSUES… OKAY SO EVEN THOUGH HULK JOKING WITH A BUNCH OF THESE AT THE END, THE POINT THAT ALL THEIR ISSUES ALREADY SOLVED ON A THEMATIC LEVEL, SO THERE NOTHING REALLY TO BE ADDED IN THE “DO OVER.”

HULK JUST CAN NO GET OVER IT. THE FINALE JUST FELT LIKE WAITING FOR CHARACTERS TO JUMP THROUGH HOOPS AND BEATS THAT ALREADY HAPPENED. THERE NOTHING “NEW” TO IT. THEIR MOMENTS OF TRANSCENDENCE = EMOTIONAL BEATS WE ALREADY HAD SATISFACTION OF REALIZING.

ON A THEMTATIC LEVEL IT REPETITIVE. AND ON A DRAMATIC LEVEL IT DOWNRIGHT SUCKS.

IN SCREENWRITING, THERE A LOT OF TALK ABOUT CLARITY AND ECONOMY. A MOVIE OR TV SHOW MEANT TO OPERATE IN TERMS OF BOTH. HULK KNOW THAT LOST BOTH THRIVED IN AND OPERATED UNDER THE VEIL OF MYSTERY AND ALLURE. BUT CLARITY AND ECONOMY MATTER IN THE LONG RUN. AND THE FINALE’S ENDING REVEAL HIGHLIGHTED A COMPLETE DISINTEREST IN BOTH OF THEM.

"TRUST ME, I WAS A TERRIBLE DOCTOR, I DESTROYED YOUR CHILDHOOD, MY TAKEN FORM DIRECTED YOU TO CERTAIN DOOM, AND I HAUNTED YOUR DREAMS. BUT TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN KIDDO, YOU'RE DEAD!"

PROBLEM # 8 – THE LECTURE

THERE FAMOUS ANECDOTE FROM THE FIRST FEW SEASONS OF LOST, IN WHICH THE WRITERS SAID IF THE SHOW EVER CANCELED, A TALKING MONKEY WOULD COME OUT AND EXPLAIN THE UNSOLVED CORE MYSTERIES OF THE SHOW VERBATIM. THE IDEA QUITE FUNNY, AND HULK ALWAYS APPRECIATED THE WRITERS’ CANDOR IN KNOWING THAT IT WOULD BE THE HILARIOUS/COMPLETELY UNSATISFACTORY WAY TO HANDLE THE STOPPAGE OF THE STORY AND WRAP UP THE MYSTERY.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE LAST 15 MINUTES CAME WAY TOO CLOSE TO THE MONKEY SPEECH.

IN THE ENDING MOMENTS, AS HULK SAT BEFORE HULK’S TV,  WATCHING THE LAST FEW MINUTES, HULK WAS DEEPLY WORRIED AND INTERESTED, ACHING FOR STORY AND THEMATIC CLARITY. THEN CHRISTIAN SHEPARD LOOKED ALMOST DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA AND LECTURED RIGHT AT HULK, TELLING HULK A GREAT DEAL OF WISHY-WASHY SENTIMENTS AND WAS ESSENTIALLY BEING EVASIVE. MORE SO, HE SAYING THAT SAYING HIS EVASIVENESS CRITICAL TO HULK’S CATHARSIS… NOW… HULK WOULD HOPE AT THIS POINT IT EVIDENT THAT HULK NOT SOME SNOT-NOSED, HIGH-SCHOOL-LEVEL, INDIGNANT TWERP WHO NO LIKE BEING TOLD WHAT TO THINK. THAT NOT HULK AND THAT NOT WHAT HAPPENING HERE… IT JUST THERE A LEVEL OF EGREGIOUS HALF-TRUTH COMING ACROSS FROM A CHARACTER WHO NOW SUPPOSED TO BE REPRESENTING ABSOLUTE PERFECT WISDOM.  AND THE HALF-TRUTH CONCERNS THE DISMISSAL OF CURIOSITY IN FAVOR OF EMBRACING UNKNOWABLE COMPLEXITY. JACK WANTS TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENING AROUND HIM AND CHRISTIAN TELLING HE CAN NEVER KNOW. NOR SHOULD HE TRY TO KNOW. HE MUST EMBRACE HIS LACK OF UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPT IT. CASTING ASIDE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THOSE WORDS (AND ODD POLITICAL DEDUCTIONS THAT COME WITH IT), THERE SOMETHING TO THE OUTRIGHT TELLING THAT DEEPLY UNSATISFACTORY. IT NOT JUST WITHHOLDING, BUT IT OUTRIGHT TELLING THE AUDIENCE “HEY! I’M BEING WITHHOLDING! DEAL WITH IT!” IT FAR MORE PATRONIZING THEN THE MERE DRAMATIZATION OF WITHOLDING, WHICH WHEN DONE WELL CAN BE TRANSCENDENT (I.E. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, MADE ROUGHLY SOME OF THE SAME POINTS IN STARK, GORGEOUS, DRAMATIZED FASHION). HECK, THERE PLENTY OF TIMES LOST DRAMATIZED THIS VERY SAME IDEA TO INCREDIBLE EFFECT (WHAT’S DOWN IN THE HATCH? WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE BOMB WENT OFF), ETC. THAT SPOKE TO THE VERY SAME IDEA…. ONLY IT NOT A LECTURE.

BELIEVE HULK, THE DRAMATIC LEVEL OF TO THE LAST 15 MINUTES = ABSOLUTELY PARAMOUNT. AT THAT MOMENT, THE AUDIENCE MIRED IN NOTHING BUT CONFUSION, TRYING FOLLOW ALONG AND UNDERSTAND. AND HULK IMAGINE THAT MUCH OF WHAT HAPPENING HAVE BE REALIZED, NOT TOLD. CATHARSIS SHOULD BE EXPERIENCED, ESPECIALLY AN INTENDED CATHARSIS THAT MEANT TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SHOW. IT THE OLD ADAGE OF “SHOW DON’T TELL”  SO WHY THE LAST MOMENTS OF THE SHOW A LECTURE DIRECTLY TO THE AUDIENCE? COMPARE IT TO THE MATRIX RELOADED, WHICH NO MATTER HOW INTERESTING A CONVERSATION, RELIED ON A LECTURE FOR A CLIMAX. EVEN COMPARE IT TO RESOLUTION OF LOST‘S ON-ISLAND PLOTLINE, WITH THE OBVIOUS METAPHOR OF THE CORK IN THE BOTTLE… IT A MOMENT GROUNDED WITH AS LITTLE INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE, BUT FULL OF EMOTION AND BEAUTIFUL IMAGERY SO WE GET IT… IT NOT A LECTURE.

SO WHAT IF THE CHURCH SCENE HAD MORE OF DRAMA AND RELIED ON IMAGERY? WOULD IT HAVE BEEN SO PAINFULLY OVERT WITHOUT THE LECTURE? IF IT JUST SHOWED THE CHARACTERS HUGGING AND GOING INTO THE LIGHT? WOULD NOT HULK HAVE UNDERSTOOD THE THE SHOW WAS BEING SYMBOLICALLY WITHHOLDING AND LET HULK MAKE UP HULK’S OWN GODDAMN MIND? WHAT IF IT WAS ALL UNSAID?

HULK THINK IT BETTER THAN SOME GUY NAME CHRISTIAN SHEPARD SPITTING HALF-TRUTHS.

PICTURED: A CHURCH

PROBLEM #9 – THINGS JUST GOT ECUMENICAL UP IN HERE!

THE ENDING SCENE IN THE CHURCH ULTIMATELY JUST ABOUT CHRISTIANITY, EVEN IF HULK NOT SURE THAT DARLTON’S INTENTION. YOU MAY SAY, “BUT HULK, ALL THOSE DIFFERENT RELIGIONS REPRESENTED IN THE WINDOW! IT ABOUT ALL THE FAITHS!” … RIGHT.

FIRST OFF, HULK WANT BE REAL CAREFUL HERE. IN DISCUSSING VARIOUS TAKES ON NOT JUST RELIGION BUT SPIRITUALITY, THERE A BIG CHANCE TO OFFEND. PLEASE KNOW THAT NOT HULK’S INTENTION. HULK KNOW IT DANGEROUS GROUND BECAUSE THESE CONCEPTS NOT JUST PERSONAL, BUT INTRINSIC TO ONE’S IDENTITY. SO JUST KNOW THAT HULK TALKING ABOUT THEM IN TERMS OF CLARITY OF EXPRESSED IDEA AND NOT, YOU KNOW, ACTUAL BELIEFS. IT THEOLOGICAL CONVERSATION IN THE REALM OF PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE, NOTHING MORE… SO CONCERNING THE WHOLE CHURCH SCENE:

FIRST OFF YOU CAN CALL IT “THE CHURCH SCENE” AND EVERYONE ON PLANET KNOW WHAT YOU FUCKING TALKING ABOUT. SHIT, JUST GOOGLE IT AND SEE WHAT COME UP. THIS PERHAPS IMPLIES THE FINAL SCENE NOT AS PANTHEISTIC AS INTENDED. IT MEANT TO BE SO MUCH MORE, BUT IT ULTIMATELY JUST THE CHURCH SCENE. AND IT REALLY NOT REPRESENT “ALL FAITHS” IN THE WAY IT THINK IT DOES.

IT CALLED BEING ECUMENICAL. SOME HISTORY: THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT AIMED TO COMBINE THE CHRISTIAN FAITHS INTO UNIFIED GROUP, TO BOTH END STRIFE/ACHIEVE PEACE/CREATE SINGULAR CHRISTIAN MESSAGE. IN RECENT YEARS, ECUMENICISM COME TO DEFINE THE DESIRE TO BE INCLUSIVE OF ALL THE WORLD’S FAITHS INTO A SINGULAR MESSAGE OF PEACE, SIMILARITY AND COHESIVENESS. IT OBVIOUSLY SIMILAR TO UNITARIANISM, BAHA’I, THE NEW MONASTICS, AND OTHER MOVEMENTS THAT SEEM WELL-MEANING AND OFTEN PUTTING LOTS GOOD OUT IN THE WORLD. BUT THE PROBLEM WITH THIS KIND OF “INCLUSIVE” THINKING SORT OF OBVIOUS: IT DONE THROUGH THE LENS OF CHRISTIANITY (OR INSERT WHATEVER CHIEF RELIGION THE MOVEMENT CENTERED AROUND). OFTEN TIMES WE AS INCLUSIVE-CULTURE LIKE TO BELIEVE RELIGION ALL SAYING THE SAME THING. HULK NOT DENYING THERE VAST AMOUNT OF OVERLAP. NEARLY ALL HAVE VERSIONS OF CHRIST-LIKE FIGURES, VIRGIN MARYS, ANGELS, DEMONS, ETC. BUT WHAT IT REALLY DOING = JUST LOOKING FOR THE WAYS OTHER RELIGIONS LIKE CHRISTIANITY, NOT THE WAYS THE DIFFERENT. AND IT LARGELY THE WAYS IN WHICH RELIGIONS DIFFERENT THAT DEFINE THEM.

IT SURELY NOT INTENTIONAL,  BUT THE LENS OF THE BASE RELIGION SKEWS EVERYTHING. SOMETIMES IT NOT EVEN ALL THAT STRONG A DIFFERENCE. BOTH CHRISTIANITY AND HINDUISM HAVE A “FINAL ASCENDANCY” BUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOW THOSE EXPRESSED/REALIZED = VITAL. AND SOMETIMES THE ECUMENICAL INCLINATION NEED NOT BE CONCRETE IN TERMS OF THEOLOGY. IT CAN BE MORE ABOUT LIFESTYLE. MEANING THE INCLINATION TOWARD ECUMENICISM CAN END UP GLOSSING OVER THE COMPLICATIONS IN FAVOR OF HOMOGENIZED IDEAS. LIKE HOW SO MANY PEOPLE USE THE TENETS OF BUDDHISM TO APPROPRIATE SENSE OF BALANCE AND INNER PEACE IN OUR CRAZED WESTERN CULTURE. THE PROBLEM IS THE CENTRAL IDEAL OF BUDDHISM ACTUALLY FAIRLY DARK. IT ABOUT THE ABANDONING SUFFERING, WHICH ESSENTIALLY MEANS TURNING YOUR BACK ON THE WORLD AND NOT BEING INVESTED IN ANYTHING. SO YEAH… NOT EXACTLY A COMMUNAL SOLUTION, BUT MORE IMPORTANT IT NOT REALLY BHUDDISM. THE PROBLEM THAT YOU NOT APPROXIMATING YOUR RELIGION INTO THE WORLD, YOU APPROXIMATING THE WORLD’S REALITIES INTO YOUR RELIGION/LIFESTYLE. AND THAT SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY.

NOW OF COURSE THIS ALL BETTER THAN THE BLIND DOGMATISM THAT COMES WITH CERTAIN RELIGIOUS FERVOR. HULK WILL TAKE ECUMENICISM IN THE FACE OF EXTERNALIZED HATRED EVERY SINGLE TIME. AFTER ALL, “BEING RELIGIOUS IS THE HUMBLE BELIEF THAT ALL OTHER RELIGIONS ARE WRONG.” BUT EVEN ECUMENICISM STILL ABOUT TAKING WHAT YOU WANT AND APPROPRIATING INTO YOUR OWN VIEW. IN THE INHERENT BASTARDIZATION OF SOMETHING THAT, ON A PHILOSOPHICAL LEVEL, SUPPOSED TO BE THOUGHT OF AS COMPLET. (NOTE: HULK NOT THINK ANY RELIGION SHOULD BE VIEWED AS “COMPLETE” HULK JUST WANTED HIGHLIGHT THE PARADOX OF ECUMENICISM BEING MORE RELIGION-LIKE THAN ONE THINKS. INSTEAD OF RULES, FLEXIBILITY BECOMES THE RULE. ANYCRAP, THIS GETTING REFLEXIVE SO HULK SHOULD MOVE ON).

REALLY THE WHOLE THING ABOUT ECUMENICAL ACTUALLY BEING GOOD OR BAD = SEPARATE THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT THAT WHOLLY DEPENDENT ON WHETHER OR NOT ONE RELIGIOUS. SO HULK NOT GOING GO DOWN THAT ROAD. HULK WOULD JUST ADDRESS ONE ASPECT OF IT: ONE COULD ARGUE WE LARGELY A CHRISTIAN CULTURE AND SO THAT JUST WHAT THEY USING TO EXPRESS THE IDEAS… FINE… BUT SOMETHING TELL HULK THAT NOT HOW WHAT DARLTON WANTED DO. HULK THINK THEY WANTED TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF A SINGULAR MONO-RELIGION AND DID ODDLY PISS-POOR JOB AT IT. SUFFICE TO SAY THAT THIS DISPLAY OF ECUMENICISM NOT AN IDEAL REPRESENTATION OF PANTHEISM.

AND THE MOST RELEVANT POINT = THIS: LOST USUALLY SUPER GOOD ABOUT SHYING AWAY BEING ECUMENICAL. THESE GUYS SUPER-WELL-FUCKING READ AND KNOW THEIR THEOLOGY, SO THE SHOW RARELY TREATED IT AS MERE LIP SERVICE. THE SHOW PRESENTED VARIOUS RELIGIOUS CONCEPTS AND SIGNATURES TIME AND TIME AGAIN OVER THE SERIES, ALL HINTING THAT THAT THEY A PART OF AN INDEPENDENT CENTRAL ISLAND MONO-MYTH,  A GREAT HUMAN CONCEPT BEYOND RELIGION ITSELF… BUT THE IDEAS NEVER AS CONCRETE AND TANGIBLE AS THEY WERE IN THE PURGATORY CHURCH. SURE, THEY HINTED, BUT EVEN WHEN RELIGIOUS, IT RARELY FELT RELIGIOUS. NO BIG AFTERLIFE. NO CHURCH GATHERINGS. USUALLY SOME NATURAL EVENT WOULD HAPPEN AND ONE CHARACTER WOULD SEE IT THROUGH THE LENS OF FAITH AND ANOTHER THROUGH THE LENS OF SCIENCE. THE CHARACTERS WOULD HAVE THEIR OWN IDEAS AND USE THEIR OWN ISLAND TOOLS, RELIGIOUS OR SCIENTIFIC, TO TRY AND DISCERN, BUT THE SHOW ITSELF HAD DISTINCTLY NEUTRAL TONE ON THE MATTER. EVEN THE INFAMOUS JACOB/MIB EPISODE HAD CONTEXT-LESS LIGHT/ENERGY DESCRIPTION; THE CONTEXT-LESS CORK; ALL OF IT PART OF THE SHOW’S OWN MONO-MYTH AND THEY WORK. ALL BECAUSE THEY PLAYED INTO BASIC STORY THEMATICS.

WHICH JUST MAKES THE CHURCH SCENE FINALE PRETTY FUCKING WEIRD. IT DISTURBINGLY ECUMENICAL.  THE CHURCH. THE PEWS. CHRISTIAN SHEPARD. AND EVEN ALL THE OTHER RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS ETCHED INTO A STAIN GLASSED WINDOW AND THERE FEW THINGS MORE CHRISTIAN THAN A STAIN GLASSED WINDOW. NO TELL HULK THE PRODUCTION DESIGN OF ALL THIS NO MATTER. IT MATTER MORE THAN ANYTHING. AND IT MAKE THE SPIRITUAL INCLUSIVENESS FEEL LIKE LIP SERVICE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SHOW’S HISTORY.  IT ABSOLUTELY OVERT. IN THE SHOW’S FINAL MOMENTS, IT TOOK A SHOW THAT ALWAYS FLIRTED WITH THE CONCEPTS OF RELIGION, APPROPRIATED THEM INTO SOMETHING BIGGER, AND THEN JUST TOOK EVERYTHING IN A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS AND ODDLY CHRISTIAN TURN.

AND IT’S AN EVEN BIGGER PROBLEM WHEN THEY IMPLIED THE FOLLOWING:

IDIOT

PROBLEM #10 – THE BIG ONE – THE MAN OF SCIENCE IS A FOOL

THE LAST 15 MINUTES OF LOST JUST FOR THE MAN OF FAITH.

AND HULK CANNOT RECONCILE THAT. HULK HAS TRIED FOREVER TO TRY AND MAKE THE FINALE WORK IN HULK’S BRAIN, TO WRESTLE STUFF OUT OF THAT LAST SCENE AND APPROXIMATE SOMETHING THAT RESONATES. SOMETIMES IT FEEL LIKE HULK COME CLOSE. LOOKING AT THE HISTORY OF THE SHOW AND PARTICULARLY SOME INFO IN THE LAST SEASON, IT REVEAL SOME BITS OF HOPE. HULK WILL SOON LINK TO MMORSE’S GREAT BIT ABOUT MINKOWSKI SPACE (WHICH OBVIOUSLY RELEVANT BECAUSE THE MINKOWSKI CHARACTER APPEAR REGULARLY). BUT THE THEORY ESSENTIALLY WORK LIKE THIS: THE WHITE BALL OF LIGHT AT CENTER OF ISLAND, FOR ITS MANY PURPOSES AND REPRESENTATIONS, ALSO A BIG BALL OF MINKOWSKI SPACE THAT ABSORB THE LOSTIES IN DEATH AND CREATE THIS PURGATORY WE NOW SEE. THIS RELEVANT BECAUSE MINKOWSKI SPACE APPROXIMATES SPACE TIME AND MEASURES IT WITH ONE TIME-LIKE DIMENSION (MEANING TIME CONVERGES, “THERE IS NO ‘NOW’ NOW”). AND THAT THE FINALE’S SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION. IT ALMOST ADEQUATE. BUT REALLY, WATCHING THAT SCENE IN THE CHURCH, WATCHING THAT ENTIRE PURGATORY STORYLINE IN LAST SEASON… IT NOT PRESENT IN THE SAME WAY SCIENCE OR NEUTRALITY OFTEN PRESENT IN THE SHOW. IT SHOWN IN COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY.

TO ILLUSTRATE WHY THIS A PROBLEM, HULK GOING TO COMPARE IT TO ANOTHER SHOW THAT CREATED A THEORETICALLY VERSION OF THE AFTERLIFE: SIX FEET UNDER DID A BRIEF EXPLORATION OF “HEAVEN” THAT ALSO EXPLORED THE SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS OF DEATH, PARALLEL LIVES, REALITY, AND EVEN MINKOWSKI SPACE. AND QUITE FRANKLY, THEY DID IT IN FAR MORE INTERESTING WAY. NOT THAT HULK SAYING LOST SHOULD HAVE APED 6 FEET OR ANYTHING, THE TONES OF THE TWO SHOWS QUITE DIFFERENT, BUT THERE SEVERAL LESSONS LOST SHOULD HAVE ABSORBED. FOR ONE, IT SHOULD HAVE TAKEN A LARGER CUE ON THE “NO TELL” POLICY. HULK REFERENCED THE “THE LECTURE” ABOVE AND IT SO SURPRISING TO HULK THEY NO PUSHED IT FURTHER. LOST CERTAINLY A WEIRD AND COMPLEX ENOUGH SHOW TO GET AWAY WITH LOT MORE INTERESTING THINGS: VISUALS. TRANSITIONS. CINEMATICS. METAPHOR. SO WHY CONVEY THEIR POINT WITH AN INSANELY LINEAR PATH ABOUT THE VAGUERY OF DEATH EXPLAINED TO US VERBATIM? SIX FEET UNDER SIMPLY EXPOSED THE CHARACTERS TO THE CINEMATIC REALITY OF MINKOWSKI SPACE, WHOSE STRANGE, ABSTRACT ASPECTS WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE FOR LOST (MINUS THE “QUIRK” OF COURSE) . SO WHY NO GO THERE? THE SHOW EASILY EARNED THE RIGHT TO GO OUTRIGHT CEREBRAL. IT CONSTANTLY FAVORED METAPHOR. BUT IN THE END, IT INSTEAD OPTED TO KEEP THINGS ODDLY LOGISTIC. SADLY, THIS CHOICE TO BE OVERTLY STRAIGHT-FORWARD ONLY HIGHLIGHTED THE WAYS IN WHICH IT NOT LOGISTIC AT ALL.

EVEN WORSE IT LECTURED SOMETHING HULK FIND TO BE VERY OBJECTIONABLE WITHIN CONTEXT OF SHOW. THEY BASICALLY IMPLIED: THERE SOME THINGS SCIENCE CAN NO FIGURE OUT SO ULTIMATELY YOU HAVE TO GO ON FAITH. IT THE ONLY TRUE PATH TO “MOVING ON.”

WHY WOULD LOST EVER SAY THAT?

SURE, CHARACTERS ARGUED THAT VERY PERSPECTIVE BEFORE IN THE SHOW. BUT THEY JUST THAT. A PERSPECTIVE. ONE SIDE OF THE COIN. THE BLACK AND WHITE. JUST PART OF THE DUALITY LOST FOUND SO INTERESTING. EVEN WITH JACK’S STORYLINE AND HIS REALIZATION THAT LOCKE WAS “RIGHT,” THAT OBVIOUSLY TALKING MORE ABOUT FAITH IN SELF AND INSTINCT. THE FAITH TO HELP AND HAVE ACCEPTANCE. IT A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT KIND OF FAITH. BUT IN THE FINAL MOMENTS OF LOST, THE TRADITIONAL VERSION BLIND FAITH BECAME THE SHOW’S OUTRIGHT PERSPECTIVE. IT CEASED NEUTRALITY. MAYBE THEY MEANT ONLY TO SPEAK TO THE NATURE OF DEATH (WHICH HULK COULD ARGUE NOT EXACTLY TRUE (9)), BUT IT SPEAK TO SOMETHING HULK FIND VERY UNSETTLING…

GOING BACK TO LOOK OVER THE SHOW, THERE WHOLE BUNCH OF REOCCURRING PLOTS THAT FEATURE SCIENTISTS MISUSING THE “UNIQUE PROPERTIES” OF THE ISLAND, WHICH BASICALLY WE FIND OUT = THE CENTRAL WHITE LIGHT. AT FIRST, HULK JUST THOUGHT IT OVERT WARNING ABOUT REAPING THE LIGHT OF EARTH/RESOURCES, OR THE APPLICATION OF SCIENCE TO HORRIFIC MEANS MEANS (H BOMBS AND SUCH). WHICH, YOU KNOW, TOTALLY REASONABLE THING TO SAY AND HULK ON BOARD. BUT THE REALIZATION OF THE FINALE IMPLY IT MORE TROUBLING THAN THAT. THE LIGHT NOT JUST THE “ENGINE OF THE WORLD,” THE LIGHT = “MINKOWSKI SPACE/HEAVEN.” SO WOULD THIS NOT BE SAYING THAT SCIENCE INTENTIONALLY CANNOT GRASP THE NATURE OF CREATION? OR THE CREATIVE INSTINCT? OR THE AFTERLIFE? THAT IT CAN ONLY MANIPULATE AND RUIN IT? WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT, IT IMPLY THAT SCIENCE INHERENTLY CORRUPTS. THAT IT DESTROYS THE AFTERLIFE AND TO KILL IT WOULD BE TO EXTINGUISH THE VERY MEANING OF LIFE.

IT IMPLIES SCIENCE ROBS US OF HEAVEN.

AND HULK THOUGHT THE WHOLE TIME LOST BEEN ARGUING THAT SCIENCE AND RELIGION THE SAME DAMN THING. BUT THROUGH THE LENS OF THE FINALE, IT REALLY NOT IMPLYING THAT WHATSOEVER. EVEN GOING BACK TO THE PARALLEL TIME-LINE HAWKING IDEA CREATED IN “LA…X”, IF IT JUST A RED HERRING AND THE PURSUIT OF SCIENCE JUST SOMETHING THAT CORRUPT HEAVEN, THEN THEY UNINTENTIONALLY DISCOUNTING THE WORK AND MESSAGE OF ONE STEPHEN HAWKING, A MAN THEY CLEARLY LAUD (REALLY, THEY USE THE IDEAS, BUT THEY ULTIMATELY SAYING IT NOT TRUE).

MAYBE NONE OF THIS INTENTIONAL. IN THAT CASE IT STRIKE HULK AS A MASSIVELY MISGUIDED USE OF METAPHOR. THEY MEANT ONE THING, AND WHOLLY IMPLIED ANOTHER.

NOW BEFORE JUMP ON HULK OVER SOMETHING OBVIOUS, OF COURSE THERE THINGS SCIENCE NOT FIGURE OUT YET. BUT HULK ARGUE THAT EXACTLY WHY WE HAVE SCIENCE. TO TRY AND FIGURE IT OUT. TO STRIVE AND COME TO GRIPS WITH THE WORLD AROUND US. TO UNDERSTAND. SCIENCE JUST A LOGICAL PROGRESSION. BECAUSE SCIENCE NO ACCEPT BLIND FAITH, IT TRY TO FIGURE OUT THE WORLD NOT FLAT, OR PUT A MAN IN SPACE, OR APPROXIMATE HOW SPACE TIME WORKS.  HULK NOT MEAN TO KEEP BRINGING UP THESE “OLD ADAGE” THINGYS, BUT THERE THIS GREAT EXAMPLE OF THIS DILEMMA CONCERNING SUNSETS. A SUNSET = A TRULY GORGEOUS THING, SO A HUMAN BEING LOOKS AT IT AND CAN NO UNDERSTAND WHY SOMETHING CREATED BY “NOTHING” COULD BE SO DAMN BEAUTIFUL, THUS THE CONCLUSION = “GOD MUST HAVE DONE IT.” WELL, INSTEAD SCIENCE ASKS WHAT IF IT MORE THAN THAT? SCIENCE INQUIRES ABOUT ATMOSPHERIC DENSITIES AND THE REFRACTIVE NATURE OF LIGHT. IT STRIVES TO TRACE THE ORIGIN AND INTERPRET THE HAPPY ACCIDENTS OF NATURE WE SEE AS BEAUTY. BEAUTY CAN BE HOW SCIENTIFICALLY WE UNDERSTAND THAT. AND OF COURSE THERE WILL BE ANOTHER QUESTION THAT COMES FROM THAT, AND ANOTHER, AND ANOTHER. OF COURSE WE CAN’T ANSWER THEM ALL IN A SINGLE LIFETIME.

BUT GUESS WHAT LOST? THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE JUST ACCEPT AND STOP TRYING. SCIENCE ABOUT THE NEXT STEP. THE NEXT LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING. IT THE JOURNEY OF TIME.

WHAT IT ULTIMATELY COMES DOWN TO THAT THERE THIS IDEA THAT WE NEVER UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENS IN DEATH. BUT BELIEVE IT OR NOT, SCIENCE IS PART OF THESE THINGS. SCIENCE, IN ITS PURSUIT OF TRUTH ON EVIDENCE, WANTS TO TELL US EXACTLY WHAT LIFE AND DEATH IS WHETHER IT COMFORTING OR NOT. BUT SO OFTEN IN TV SHOWS, SCIENCE IN THIS CAPACITY = THE PURSUIT OF CHEATING DEATH. IT SEEN AS A PATHOLOGICAL, OFTEN VIOLENT OBSESSION, A LONE SCIENTIST HELL-BENT ON STAVING OF DEATH.

THIS WAS JACK. JACK WANTED TO “FIX EVERYONE” AND THAT WHAT APPARENTLY MADE HIM NOT AT PEACE. THIS CHARACTERIZATION DEEPLY MISGUIDED. JACK’S LACK OF PEACE COME FROM OTHER ISSUES. HIS WANTING TO FIX EVERYONE JUST WHAT MADE HIM A GREAT PERSON. A TRUE LEADER (REMEMBER THAT THE “SPIRITUAL” LOCKE BASICALLY KILLED BOONE IN THE PURSUIT OF HIS PIOUS JOURNEY). JACK SHOULD ALWAYS STRIVE TO FIX EVERYONE. AND PART OF THAT = THE NATURAL INCLINATION TO WANT TO TO UNDERSTAND. KNOWING LIMITS IS ONE THING. BUT DISCOUNTING THE THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE ANOTHER. AND IN THAT FINALE, HULK WANTED TO UNDERSTAND. NO, IT NOT CRIPPLE HULK BECAUSE HULK DIDN’T GET “THE ANSWERS.” NO IT NOT BECAUSE HULK FEAR DEATH AND SO HULK JUST REACTING FROM THAT. HULK THINK THAT LOST’S APPROACH LIKE THE LAZINESS OF THE SUNSET, IT SAYING ONE CANNOT KNOW SO DON’T BOTHER…

IT IMPORTANT REMEMBER HULK NOT IMPLYING THAT SOMETHING HAVE LINE UP WITH HULK’S PERSONAL SENSIBILITIES IN ORDER FOR HULK TO LIKE. TO CITE THE TIME HONORED WISDOM OF ART: IT NOT “WHAT IT ABOUT” IT “HOW IT ABOUT.” THIS PRACTICALLY A REQUIREMENT OF WATCHING ANY MOVIE. HULK CAN LOVE DIRTY HARRY AND IT BASICALLY ADVOCATING POLICE FASCISM. WHY? BECAUSE IT SELF-AWARE. IT HAVE GREAT EDITING. IT COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. MEANWHILE, MICHAEL MOORE CAN MAKE FILMS THAT TAP INTO THE SAME “WHAT” HULK USUALLY BELIEVE POLITICALLY-SPEAKING, BUT THE “HOW” HE MAKE THOSE MOVIES VIOLATE SO MANY CORE RULES OF DOCUMENTARY FILM-MAKING THAT HULK CANNOT ABIDE THEM. HULK COULD WATCH A MOVIE ABOUT FAITH AND AFTERLIFE WITH BIG BOLD RELIGIOUS IDEAS AND STILL TOTALLY LOVE IT. GUESS WHAT? HULK LOVED THE BATTLESTAR GALACTICA FINALE AND THAT WAY, WAY, WAY MORE RELIGIOUS THAN LOST. BUT THAT SHOW HANDLED ITS RESOLUTION IN A MUCH MORE COMPELLING FASHION AND TOTALLY MADE SENSE WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE SHOW. IT NOT THE WHAT IT ABOUT. IT HOW IT ABOUT.

AND LOST WAS ALWAYS SO CAREFUL AND CONSIDERATE WITH THE HOW, WASN’T IT?

AND THEN SUDDENLY, THE LAST 15 MINUTES OF THE FINALE WWER SOMETHING ELSE. IT WAS SENTIMENTAL. IT WAS BAD STORYTELLING. IT WAS A-DRAMATIC. IT WAS COMPLETELY DISHONEST TO TWO CHARACTERS.  IT WAS FULL OF CONFUSED LOGIC.  IT WAS CONVENIENT. IT WAS REPETITIVE. IT WAS LECTURING. IT WAS ECUMENICAL. IT WAS ULTIMATELY EXCLUSIVE.

IT WAS NOT LOST.

AND THAT’S A DEAL-BREAKER LADIES.

PART 3 – THE AFTERMATH OF “THE PROBLEMS”

DESPITE ALL THIS, HULK NO THINK LOST “FUCKED IT UP” OR “SHIT THE BED.” THEY DID SOMETHING UNCHARACTERISTIC AND MISGUIDED. THAT IT. AND WHAT LEAD TO THAT CONCLUSION WERE SIMPLY THAT THE TEN PROBLEMS LISTED ABOVE NOT CRITICAL IN AND OF THEMSELVES, BUT WHEN BANDED TOGETHER IT CREATE A BIGGER PICTURE OF SOMETHING BEING “OFF”. EVEN IF THIS ALL NOT SEEM SO BAD, NO TELL HULK THAT IT MEAN HULK’S CONCERNS TRIVIAL. YOU MAY THINK HULK JUST HAVE A SAD CASE OF THE WHAT-HAVE-YOU-DONE-FOR-ME-LATELY’S?  BUT THE LAST 15 MINUTES = THE FINAL IMAGE OF THE SERIES. THE LASTING IMPRESSION. AND IT IMPORTANT. THE ENDING IS THE CONCEIT.

BUT HULK NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO MATTER HERE. THE PUBLIC OPINION CRUCIAL AND IT DIVERGED WILDLY. SOME LOVED THE CHANCE TO SEE THEIR CHARACTERS TOGETHER AND AS HAPPY AS THEY WANTED TO FEEL. SOME JUST FELT LIKE IT WAS A DUMB REVEAL. SOME GOT MICRO-ANALYTIC. A LOT OF PEOPLE SHRUGGED.

PREDICTABLY, THERE WERE A GOOD PORTION OF PEOPLE PISSED ABOUT THE LACK OF ANSWERS AND DEMANDED MORE. THE VIDEO PRETTY HILARIOUS, BUT THE MORE HILARIOUS THING THAT MOST OF THOSE QUESTIONS YOU COULD ANSWER WITH BASIC SYMBOLISM OR EVEN MINOR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SHOW’S THEMATIC ISSUES. HULK MEAN, HOW DID THEY EVEN WATCH THIS SHOW WITHOUT DOING THAT?(10) BESIDES, TURNS OUT THE SHOW HAD PRE-FILMED AND THE SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED THE EPILOGUE. IT WAS MET WITH A LARGE THUD. TURNS OUT ALL THE ANSWERS NOT WHAT PEOPLE WANTED. WHY? BECAUSE THE WAY THEY GOT THOSE ANSWERS JUST = “THE LECTURE” TIMES TEN. IT ANTI-CLIMACTIC. IT IMPOSSIBLY BORING. THERE ABSOLUTELY NO DRAMA OR CATHARSIS OR STORY OR ANYTHING. IT JUST A PERSON JUST TELLING YOU ANSWERS. THIS TRULY FELT THE MONKEY ANECDOTE. AND HULK ARGUE THIS WHAT HAPPEN WHEN PEOPLE THINK THEY WANT ANSWERS AND NOT WILLING TO PURSUE THE MORE SUBTLE OR THEMATIC “ANSWERS.”

MEANWHILE, THE CRITICAL OPINIONS OF THE FINALE (AS IN FROM ACTUAL CRITICS) SEEMED EQUALLY SPLIT. DEVIN FARACI CALLED IT LOST‘S “BIG GNOSTIC WET FART ENDING.” PERHAPS THAT BIT HARSH, BUT HIS APPRAISAL  FILLED WITH IMPOSSIBLY GOOD INSIGHTS ABOUT GNOSTICISM/ ZOROASTRIANISM AND THE LAZINESS WITH WHICH IT USED THOSE CONCEPTS. IT REALLY A GREAT READ, EVEN THOUGH HULK DISAGREE SLIGHTLY ABOUT ITS DEVALUING OF CERTAIN ON-ISLAND PLOT LINES. HULK MORE HOLDS THE FAILURES OF THE ENDING REVEAL TO BE IMPLICATE OF THE PURGATORY PLOT LINE (THOUGH OBVIOUSLY, NOT SOLELY).

ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE THE EXCEPTIONAL COLUMNS OF M. MORSE. HE HAD A MUCH MORE POSITIVE TAKE ON THE FINALE. THE PAGE COUNTER SORT OF WEIRD ON THIS THING SO HAVE TO START AT “1” AND GO IN OTHER DIRECTION: http://www.chud.com/23907/back-to-the-island-lost-season-6-episodes-17-18/

THE FIRST THING YOU MAY NOTICE THAT EVERYTHING IN THIS COLUMN FANTASTIC. IT STALWART. DEEPLY INTELLECTUAL. GENUINE. HIS ACCOUNT OF THE PURGATORY AND RE-TRIALS OF LIFE. THE REFLECTIONS. THE CAPACITY FOR EXAMINATION. ALL WONDERFUL. AND HIS ACCOUNT OF MINOWSKI SPACE AND IT’S IMPACT ON  THE FINALE = REALLY WELL-THOUGHT OUT AND COMPLETE. HULK OBVIOUSLY HAVE DIFFERENT TAKE ON WHETHER THE SHOW ABANDONED SCIENCE IN NAME OF RELIGION, BUT THAT NOT BECAUSE EITHER OR US NECESSARILY MISSED ANYTHING. IT AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ONE. IF HULK FORCED TO DISAGREE, HULK WOULD SIMPLY ARGUE THAT THE APPRAISAL TOO WILLING TO MAKE CONNECTIONS SEEM SOLID WHEN THEY MORE TENUOUS TO HULK. FOR EXAMPLE, MINKOWSKI SPACE, AS INTERESTING AS IT IS, COMES OFF AS SCIENTIFIC PATCHWORK CURE-ALL TO EXPLAIN LOST’S “HEAVEN.” IN PRACTICAL REALITY MINKOWSKI SPACE MORE OF A WORK AROUND FOR CATEGORIZING TIME SINGULARITY IN MATHEMATICAL TERMS. MEANING IT ABOUT MAKING THE MATH WORK RATHER THAN BEING CREATED AS A CONCEPT FOR US FIGURING OUT HOW TIME WORKS. THIS MAY SEEM LIKE WEIRD OBSERVATION GIVEN THAT HULK PREVIOUSLY ARGUED THAT THE LOST SCIENCE CAN BE PSEUDO SCIENCE AND THAT TOTALLY COOL, BUT HULK ARGUING THE PROVERBIAL “STAGE” OF THE LAST 15 MINUTES REQUIRE THAT THIS SCIENTIFIC THEORY BE A BIT MORE COMPLETE AND INTEGRAL. FOR EXAMPLE, THINK OF HOW MUCH CARE, TIME, AND ATTENTION WENT INTO THE ESTABLISHING THE CONCEIT OF THE NARRATIVE FEINT: TO JUSTIFY STEPHEN HAWKING’S IDEA THAT TWO CONCURRENT TIMELINES COULD ORIGINATE FROM A SINGLE POINT OF HISTORICAL INFLUENCE. THEY KNEW THEY HAD TO JUSTIFY IT OR ELSE THE AUDIENCE WOULD HAVE ABANDONED. AND THUS, THE CONCEPT HAMMERED INTO OUR HEADS. SO WHY DID MINKOWSKI SPACE NOT GET THAT TREATMENT? SERIOUSLY, HULK THINK THAT THE CONCEPT ONLY REGISTERED WITH, LIKE, 3% OF VIEWERS, IF THAT. BUT NO WORRY IT ONLY THE END OF THE SHOW! IT HAD TO BE BECAUSE THEY WANTED IT TO BE A REVEAL.

BUT BEYOND THE AUDIENCE-INDUCED-LOGIC, HULK’S MAIN ARGUMENT ABOUT THE LAST 15 MINUTES LARGELY A MATTER OF TONE. HULK ARGUE MMORSE BRILLIANTLY SUMS UP THE WHAT OF LOST, BUT HULK ARGUE THERE SOMETHING DIFFERENT GOING ON WITH THE HOW.(11) EVEN IF ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATIONS CAN BE FOUND FOR THE LAST 15 MINUTES, THEY NOT WHAT YOU EXPERIENCING IN THAT MOMENT.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING, LOST WOULD ALWAYS PRESENT EVIDENCE WITH CRYPTIC, BOLD IMAGERY THAT ALWAYS LEFT IT UP TO YOU. AND IN THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT OF THE SHOW, THE WRITERS SHOVED YOU IN A SINGULAR DIRECTION. EVERYTHING ELSE BECAME LITERAL WINDOW-DRESSING. WE GOT AN AN UBER-STRAIGHTFORWARD, OUTRIGHT EXPLAINED-TO-YOU, HYPER-CHRISTIAN MOMENT. MAYBE THE SHOVE NOT INTENTIONAL, BUT IT WAS CERTAINLY A SHOVE. HULK GUARANTEE THAT THE WHOLE ROOM HULK IN WHILE WATCHING FELT IT. THE INESCAPABLE TRUTH THAT A MAN NAMED CHRISTIAN SHEPARD GUIDING PEOPLE FROM A BARELY-EUCIMENICIZED CHURCH INTO THE LIGHT OF WHAT CAN REALLY ONLY BE CALLED “HEAVEN”. AND WHEN THEN SCIENTIFICALLY INCLINED MIND CHIRPS UP, THEY TOLD NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT, FOR IT SOMETHING THEY CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW. THAT = A SHOVE.

YOU MAY SAY: “HULK, WHY DOES THAT BOTHER YOU SO MUCH?” DIDN’T HULK MENTION THAT HULK ALWAYS LIKED THE WAY THE SHOW BECAUSE IT NO TRY AND ANSWER EVERYTHING? THAT THINGS SHOULD BE AMBIGUOUS? SO WHY YOU GETTING SO PISSED THAT THE SHOW ESSENTIALLY CONVEYING THAT SAME MESSAGE?”

AGAIN. IT NOT THE WHAT IT THE HOW. HULK THINK IT CONVEYED THAT MESSAGE WITH ZERO COMPLEXITY OR DRAMA. AND HULK THINK IT DID IT IN AN ALMOST JUVENILE SORT OF INDIGNATION AND ALL SORTS OF NARRATIVE/THEMATIC HOLES.

IT NOT LIKE HULK SAYING ALL THIS OUT OF SOME EMOTIONAL REACTION, HULK LITERALLY BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS QUESTION/PROBLEM/DILEMMA FOR WELL OVER A YEAR.

THE FOLLOWING SORT OF LAME CONJECTURE, BUT HULK FEEL IT RELEVANT:

HULK WANT KNOW WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF THE WRITERS NO GO IN THE PURGATORY DIRECTION… IF THE “ALTERNA-WORLD” STILL JUST ANOTHER TIMELINE SET OFF BY THE H-BOMB. HULK ARGUE IT STILL WOULD HAVE CONVEYED EVERYTHING WITHOUT THE OVERT PROBLEMS AND IT COULD HAVE DONE SO BEAUTIFULLY: A LIFE ON ANOTHER EARTH. A SECOND CHANCE. IF THE ISLAND A METAPHORICAL PURGATORY, THEN THE SECOND ALTERNATIVE TIMELINE COULD BE A METAPHORICAL AFTERLIFE. A CHANCE FOR THE LOSTIES TO GET THAT HAPPINESS AND CONTENTMENT. HECK, YOU CAN EVEN HAVE THEM REALIZED THEY DIED IN THE OTHER TIMELINE, HAVE THAT REALIZATION CONNECT THE ON-ISLAND PLOT LINE AND ALLOW THE LOSTIES TO SAVE THE LIGHT OF THE ISLAND, WHICH IN TURN COULD BE ACCREDITED TO CREATING THE MULTIPLE TIMELINES TO BEGIN WITH, WHICH IN TURN GIVES THE WHOLE FATALISTIC DESIRE TO DETONATE THE H-BOMB A FUCKING POINT, AND IN TURN ALLOW FOR THE CHARACTERS IN THE ALTERNATIVE WORLD TO GRASP ALL THIS AND GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO METAPHORICALLY “MOVE ON.” NOT IN LITERAL CREEPY RELIGIOUS SENSE, BUT MOVE FORWARD WITH THEIR LIVES IN PEACE AND TRUE HAPPINESS IN THE WAY THAT THE MISTAKES OF THE “PAST” LIFE DIDN’T ALLOW THEM TO. WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN SENTIMENTAL MAYBE TOO? SURE. BUT IT WOULD HAVE FELT LIKE LOST. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY IT WOULD STILL CONVEY ALL THE SAME RELIGIOUS OVERTONES, LIKE HINDUISM MULTIPLE CHANCES OF GETTING RIGHT BEFORE MOVING TO ASCENDANCE. IT COULD USE THE NON-INVASIVE LOSTIAN TRICK OF INCORPORATING ALL THOSE RELIGIOUS IDEAS INTO THE PRODUCTION DESIGN. BUT IT WOULDN’T HAVE CENTERED AROUND A ECUMENICAL HEAVEN. IT WOULD HAVE CENTERED AROUND THE CHARACTERS.

HULK KNOW GETTING INTO THE “WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE” GAME = LAME CONJECTURE. AT WORST, IT A FAN WRITING SOMETHING HE WISHED HAD HAPPENED. HULK KNOW THIS, BUT HULK JUST TRYING SHOW HOW IT POSSIBLE TO ASSIMILATE THE SAME THEMES INTO A NARRATIVE DECISION THAT LESS OVERT AND EXCLUSIVE.

SO HULK ASK AGAIN, WHY COULD THIS NOT HAPPEN?

LOST COULD ALWAYS DO IT BEFORE. IT COULD BE TRANSCENDENT. IT COULD PLEASE THE MAN OF SCIENCE AND THE MAN OF FAITH. SO WHY NOT NOW? WHY SAY THE MAN OF SCIENCE IS LIMITED IN THE FINAL MOMENTS? WAS THAT THE INTENTION THE WHOLE TIME? HULK NOT THINK SO, BUT TRUTH THAT HULK NOT REALLY KNOW.

HULK JUST KNOW THESE TEN CENTRAL PROBLEMS OF THE LAST 15 MINUTES INADVERTENTLY CORRUPT A STORY THAT 99.9% GENIUS. THE WRITERS WANTED TO LEAVE A BIG BOLD OPEN ENDED ANSWER BUT THEY DID IT IN THE WRONG WAY. IT NOT OPEN ENDED. IT A LAUNDRY LIST OF CONTRADICTIONS. AND UNLIKE BEFORE, IT NOT LIKE HULK FEEL LANY ONE OF THEM COULD BE TRUE (THE “ALL ANSWERS IN SUBSET B” THING). INSTEAD HULK FEEL LIKE NONE OF THEM COULD BE TRUE.

AND AT CORE, THE PROBLEMS REALLY ALL THE SAME.

ON EVERY CONCEIVABLE LEVEL, IT NEVER FELT LIKE LOST.

PART 4 – WHAT THIS MEAN FOR HULK, GOING FORWARD

THE DOLL-POINTING JOKE THAT HULK USED IN TITLE OF ARTICLE ONE THAT OFTEN USED BECAUSE IT ANALOGOUS TO FEELING “VIOLATED.” THIS A CRASS, HORRIBLE WAY OF PUTTING IT AND HULK NOT TRYING BE CRASS. BUT THE REASON PEOPLE USE THE TERM “VIOLATED” FAIRLY OBVIOUS: ALL THESE UPDATES, REBOOTS, REMAKES AND SHITTY PREQUELS PISS PEOPLE OFF BECAUSE THEY NO ABLE LOOK AT THE PROPERTIES THE SAME WAY.

ON ONE LEVEL, OF COURSE THIS INSIPID. PEOPLE INTERNALIZE THEIR LOVE OF PROPERTIES. THEY NO DIGEST AND PROCESS THEM. JUST SIMPLY ABSORB EVERYTHING IN EMOTIONAL AND VISCERAL TERMS. AS A RESULT, THEY OFTEN TAKE THE REPULSION TOO FAR, AND YES HULK SPECIFICALLY REFERENCING THE POPULAR “GEORGE LUCAS RAPED MY CHILDHOOD” VIEWPOINT. THE SENTIMENT RIDICULOUS, INSOLENT, GUARDED, ADOLESCENT BULLSHIT. ONE THAT COMPLETELY LACK PERSPECTIVE. WHY? BECAUSE GOING THAT FAR IMPLY THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS FILMS DON’T STILL EXIST OR HAVE INHERENT VALUE. AND BOY CAN THE ORIGINALS STILL BE ENJOYED. BETTY HADN’T SEEN THEM SINCE SHE WAS A KID SO SHE AND HULK WATCHED A FEW YEARS AGO. IT WAS PURE JOY. EVER SIT A LITTLE KID DOWN IN FRONT OF THEM? STILL WORK LIKE GANG BUSTERS.

BUT HERE THING… THE PUBLIC CONVERSATION CONCERNING STAR WARS VASTLY DIFFERENT NOW. THE ORIGINAL MOVIES ARE NOT TARNISHED, BUT THE PREQUELS HAVE UNDENIABLY AFFECTED THE BEHAVIOR OF THE CULTURE, HOW WE TALK ABOUT GEORGE LUCAS, AND EVEN MANY OF THE PLOT IMPLICATIONS OF THE ORIGINALS. AND HONESTLY, THAT CULTURAL CONVERSATION MATTER. THE COMMUNITY OF FANDOM, FOR ALL IT’S PROBLEMS, STILL A WONDERFULLY BINDING THING. AND WHEN THE CULTURAL CONVERSATION SHIFT TOWARD DEVISIVENESS BECAUSE SOMETHING HAS DEEPLY WOUNDED THE OVERALL QUALITY OF SAID PROPERTY, THEN THAT MATTERS.

ENDINGS MATTER. YOU CAN NO DISMISS THE REALITY OF THE ENDING HAVING THE ABILITY TO “TARNISH” SOMETHING. THE WIRE FINALE UPHOLDS THE LEGACY OF IT BEING POSSIBLY THE BEST SHOW EVER. AND THAT HAPPENS DESPITE THE ENTIRE LAST SEASON BEING RIDDLED WITH TONE PROBLEMS. AS INTERESTING AS MCNULTY’S SERIAL KILLER FEINT OR TEMPLETON’S OVERT BOLD-FACED LYING MIGHT HAVE BEEN, NEITHER PLOT FELT LIKE THE WIRE. BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER, BECAUSE THE FINALE CORRECTED THAT AND GAVE THE SHOW THE MOST PERFECT SEND-OFF IMAGINABLE. THE SAME EXACT TONE-FIXING THING TRUE OF THE LAST SEASON OF BUFFY TOO. FINALES MATTER. THEM THE BREAKS. IT REALLY HOW YOU FINISH.

SO WHEN IT COMES TO LOST, EVERY SINGLE THING HULK SAID ABOUT THE SHOW IN PART 1 OF THIS PIECE, STILL ABSOLUTELY TRUE. THE SHOW ACCOMPLISH SO DAMN MUCH AND SHOULD BE LAUDED FOR YEARS TO COME.

BUT STILL, THE CULTURAL CONVERSATION HAS CHANGED.

AND THAT CONVERSATION ALWAYS SEEMS TO LAND ON THE FINALE. AFTER THE FIRST SEASON OF LOST, HULK WAS RUNNING AROUND EVERYWHERE TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO WATCH THE FREAKING SHOW. IT WAS INCREDIBLE, RESONANT, FULL OF SO MUCH PROMISE. AS SEASONS WENT ON HULK BECAME MORE HESITANT, WAITING TO SEE IF THE SHOW COME THROUGH. MAYBE COMING THROUGH WAS IMPOSSIBLE. MAYBE THEY TRIED ACCOMPLISH THE MOST DIFFICULT TRICK EVER, BUT HULK HAD FAITH BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS PULLED IT OFF THAT TRANSCENDENCE BEFORE. AND THEN THE FINALE LET THE AIR OUT. THE CONVERSATION FIXATED ON THE BASIC APPROPRIATION: UNLIKE BATTLESTAR OR EVEN THE SOPRANOS, WHOSE CONVERSATIONS FOCUSED ON THE VARYING INTERPRETATIONS OF LARGELY SYMBOLIC MOTIFS, THE ENDING OF LOST SIMPLY CAME DOWN TO A MANNER OF “I WAS OKAY WITH IT” OR “I WASN’T OKAY WITH IT.” THE EFFECT HAS BEEN DISHEARTENING.

SO HULK HAVE THIS KICK-ASS T-SHIRT OF DESMOND AND DANIEL FARADAY STANDING BY THE B.T.T.F. DELOREAN.

THIS ONE

HULK LOVED THIS SHIRT.

AND NOW, HULK FEEL TINGE OF NOT LIKING WEAR IT.

HULK KNOW THAT KIND OF STUPID. BUT HULK NOT ANGRY, OR SMASHY, OR FEEL VIOLATED.

HULK JUST FEEL A LITTLE SAD.

THERE JUST SO FEW THINGS ON THIS EARTH THAT ONE CAN TRULY LOVE. YES, WE SHOULD BE RATIONAL AND BALANCED ABOUT IT, BUT IT SO NICE TO HAVE THINGS IN OUR LIVES THAT FOR LACK OF BETTER WORD, PURE.

BUT HULK SIMPLY HAVE TO ADMIT: THE FINALE HAS CHANGED HULK’S ABILITY TO PURELY LOVE LOST.

SO DARLTON, HULK KNOW IT WEIRD FOR HULK TO CRAZILY DISSECT THIS THING THAT MUST BE DEEPLY PERSONAL FOR YOU BOTH. JUST KNOW THAT HULK REALIZE THERE BIGGER PICTURE TO ALL OF THIS AND HULK HOPE YOU CONTINUE TO KEEP PUTTING GREAT STUFF INTO THE WORLD. HULK GREATLY LOOKING FORWARD TO PROMETHEUS FOR ONE. SERIOUSLY, RETURNING RIDLEY SCOTT TO SCI-FI = A TRUE HONOR. SO HULK LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE.

AS FOR THIS OPEN LETTER? IT NOT SUCH A BIG DEAL. IT JUST HULK TRYING TO EXPLAIN A FEELING. TO SUM UP AN EXPERIENCE ABOUT THIS SHOW YOU SHARED WITH US.

SEE YOU IN ANOTHER  LIFE BROTHERS (METAPHORICALLY OF COURSE),

-HULK

P.S. – HULK INVITE ANY AND ALL TO DISAGREE. PLEASE. FIND ERRORS IN HULK’S LOGIC. CONTRADICT HULK. THE THING ABOUT ALL OF THIS IS THAT HULK SO DESPERATELY WANT LIKE THE FINALE. BUT HULK CAN NO RECONCILE WHAT THEY TRIED DO, EVEN YEAR AND HALF LATER.

BRING THE JACKFACE!

ENDNOTES:

(1) – EVERYONE USES THE DEVICE OF PUTTING “LOST” IN ALL CAPS, BUT THAT LOSES EFFECT WITH THE ALL-CAPS-HULK-TALK. SO HULK BOLDING IT EVERY TIME. SORRY IF ANNOYING.

(2) – AS MUCH CRAP AS THEY GOT FOR THEIR “LITERAL CORK” AND KEYSTONE, IT REALLY NO DIFFERENT THEN THE BIG MYTHIC SYMBOLIC STUFF THAT CENTER AROUND MOST FANTASY/SCI-FI. LOST WAS NEVER AFRAID TO USE AN OBJECT AS A BIG BROAD METAPHOR. THEY ALWAYS DID. EVEN IF YOU FOUND IT SILLY, IT STILL FELT LIKE THE SHOW.

(3) – AND YES, TO ACTUAL SCIENTISTS READING THIS, HULK KNOW THAT LOST = MOSTLY PSEUDO-SCIENCE. SOMETIMES EVEN JUNK SCIENCE. HULK ARGUE THIS OKAY BECAUSE THEIR INTEREST PURELY AT ARMCHAIR LEVEL AND WHAT MORE COULD EXPECT? IT HARD BE EXPERT AT LOTS THINGS. HULK WOULD NORMALLY ARGUE THAT FULL COMMITTING TO SCIENCE INVOLVED SHOULD BE STRIVE FOR, BUT HONESTLY THE SHOW MORE INTERESTED IN WHAT THOSE SCIENTIFIC EXPLOITS SAY ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS THAN WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT SCIENCE. SO THEY DECIDED MASSAGE SCIENCE INSTEAD OF OUTRIGHT VIOLATING IT. IT ABOUT A DIFFERENCE IN GOALS. AND THE GOAL OF LOST A PURE ONE… USUALLY… HULK WILL GET TO PROBLEMS WITH THE PURGATORY SCIENCE LATER.

(4) – FOR A MUCH MORE EXTREME EXAMPLE, IMAGINE IF A GAME OF THRONES ENDED WITH ALL THE DEAD CHARACTERS GETTING TOGETHER AND HUGGING. RIGHT. IT RIDICULOUS. YOU MAY ARGUE THAT EXTREME AND G.O.T. A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT KIND OF SHOW, BUT HULK ARGUE LOST  = A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF SHOW TOO. IN THE VEIL OF ALL THOSE MYSTERIES,AND GRIMNESS, WHERE OFTEN THE ONLY HOPE A LITERAL RAY OF LIGHT OR A MERE CHANCE AT SURVIVAL, WHATEVER MADE YOU THINK THAT SHOW WOULD END WITH A BIG HAPPY HUG IN HEAVEN? TO HULK, G.O.T. MAKES JUST AS MUCH SENTIMENTAL SENSE.

(5) – FOR EXAMPLE, HURLEY’S NUMBERS EPISODE. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE NUMBERS SUPPOSED TO MEAN BUT THE TONE OF THEM SO ROOTED IN PARANOIA, QUIRK, AND HURLEY’S FEARS THAT IF FEEL INTEGRAL. THEY THE SAME THING REALLY. MEANWHILE, THE “WAKING UP” MOMENTS IN PURGATORY NO INTEGRATE WITH TONE OR HIGHER PURPOSE UNTIL THE ACTUAL REVEAL IN LAST 15 MINUTES OF SHOW… ONE WONDERS WHY IT BECAME BORING OVER THE COURSE 6 EPISODES.

(6) – PEOPLE WRONGLY GIVE THE WRITERS OF SCI-FI/FANTASY A LOT OF CRAP ASSUMING THEY KNOW NOTHING OF WOMEN/RELATIONSHIPS AND LIVE IN THEIR MOMS BASEMENTS,  BUT COME ON GUYS. TRUE LOVE NOT = HAVING A HOT HOOKUP OR JUST A GIRL TALKING TO YOU... YOU KNOW BETTER.

(7) – SORRY FOR THIS “RIPPING VAGINA” IMAGERY, BUT HULK  CONSTANTLY SURPRISED BY AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WHO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE MEDICAL SPECIFICS OF BIRTH. YES. THERE OFTEN GREAT DEAL OF DAMAGE AND TEARING AND ALMOST EVERY BIRTH REQUIRES A LOT OF STITCHES… ALSO: GIRLS WITH LOWER BACK TATTOOS! THERE IS A PRETTY HIGH CHANCE YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET AN EPIDURAL. THE NEEDLE CAN NOT GO THROUGH SKIN ANYWHERE CLOSE TO A TATTOO (IT OFTEN HAS SPREAD INVISIBLE UNDER THE SKIN) BECAUSE IF ANY INK (EVEN DECADES OLD) GETS INTO YOUR SPINAL FLUID YOU COULD EXPERIENCE PARALYSIS OR DEATH. YOUR TATTOO ARTIST LIKELY NEVER INFORMED YOU. THIS SUCKS. HULK SORRY TO BE ONE TO TELL YOU. GET IT LOOKED INTO IF PLAN ON HAVING KIDS!

(8) – AND EVEN THOUGH LOCKE WAS “RIGHT” ABOUT THE ISLAND, HE WAS ULTIMATELY DUPED BY THE MIB IN REALLY CRAPPY FASHION. UGH. HEARTBREAKING. AND FOR A SHOW THAT ULTIMATELY TRIED TO ADVOCATE BLIND FAITH, IT SEEMS BLIND FAITH SERVED LOCKE SUPER SHITTILY.

(9) – OKAY HULK’LL DO THIS. BEWARE, HULK’S PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT DEATH/SPIRITUALITY WITHIN: HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT DEATH. YOUR HEART STOPS PUMPING BLOOD. YOUR BRAIN STOPS WORKING. SCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE = YOU CEASE TO BE. IT NOT COMFORTING FOR SURE, BUT THAT WHAT HAPPENS ACCORDING TO SCIENCE. AND DESPITE A LOT OF CLAIMS, THERE NO REAL SCIENCE TO THE SOUL. BUT HERE THE THING, EVEN THOUGH IT HARSH, PEOPLE STILL HAVE TO SIMPLY BE AT PEACE WITH “THE END.” WHICH ODDLY WHAT LOST ALSO TRYING TO SAY, JUST WITH A MORE TRADITIONAL AND OVERT HEAVEN MODEL. WHETHER OR NOT BELIEVE IN IT, THE CONCEPT OF HEAVEN ABOUT BEING AT PEACE. SO HULK USE THE HEAVEN METAPHOR TO BE AT PEACE WITH LIFE AND LIKEWISE AT PEACE WITH DEATH. THUS HULK TURN TO THE SCIENTIFIC REALITY THAT IT JUST OVER. HULK NO HAVE TO GO INTO DEATH WITH WORRIES ABOUT THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS. HULK CAN JUST TRY AND BE GOOD AND HAPPY, HERE AND NOW. HULK CAN STRIVE FOR PEACE AT THIS MOMENT NOW. AT ALL MOMENTS… SOME ARGUE WITHOUT HEAVEN THERE NO GUIDE TO MORALITY, BUT EVEN SCIENCE ARGUE WE MUST BE GOOD SO WE CAN CO-EXIST ON THIS PLANET. SO THAT WE CAN MAKE GOOD ON THIS ONE CHANCE. IT’S “LIVE TOGETHER OR DIE ALONE” REMEMBER? LOST SAID THIS SO MANY TIMES AND TOOK IT TO HEART. HULK NO THIS MAY SOUND AWFULLY GRIM TO SOME, BUT HULK ARGUE IT STILL SPIRITUAL IN THE PUREST SENSE. HULK WILL PUT IT THIS WAY: PEOPLE WHO OFTEN FIND RELIGION OFTEN CITE A BEAUTIFUL “AWAKENING MOMENT” WHERE THEY OVERCOME BY COMFORT AND EMOTION THAT COMES WITH EMBRACING GOD. IT A KIND OF JOY THAT RESTS IN THE BONES… WELL, THE MOMENT HULK FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGE DTHAT HULK BEEN WRESTLING WITH LOGISTICAL CONCEPT OF AFTERLIFE FOR HULK’S ENTIRE LIFE AND ALL IT DID WAS MAKE HULK UNEASY, AND WHEN HULK DECIDED THAT HULK’S TRUE FEELINGS IN LINE WITH ATHIESM, IT AT THAT MOMENT HULK FELT TRULY HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE WITH LIFE/DEATH FOR FIRST TIME IN HULK’S LIFE. HULK FELT IT IN BONES. IT WAS HULK’S SPIRITUAL MOMENT.  BUT THE KIND OF WONDERFUL THING ABOUT SCIENTIFIC ATHEISM, WHILE IT STILL ABSOLUTE AND NOT AGNOSTICISM, IT STILL NOT A BINDING BELIEF. IF GOD COULD ALL OF A SUDDEN BE SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN (AND INTELLIGENT DESIGNERS, NO, IT CAN’T YET). HULK WOULD SIGN UP. BUT BEING RELIGIOUS CAN OFTEN BE BINDING. SPIRITUALITY WORKS BEST IN NON-BINDING FLUX, JUST LIKE THE EVOLUTION OF SCIENTIFIC PROGRESSION.

(10) – THERE ONE WAY IN WHICH HULK UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE FASCINATE OVER ANSWERS. IT GO BACK TO HULK’S THEORY THAT LOTS OF VIEWERS JUST NOT PERCEPTIVE TO SUBTLETY. THE SUBTLE THINGS INSTEAD AFFECT THEM ON A VISCERAL LEVEL, SO THAT. THEY CAN FEEL “GOOD” OR FEEL “BAD” ABOUT WHAT HAPPENING. BUT WHEN COME TO SUPPORT AND ANSWER WHY THEY LIKE/NOT LIKE WHAT THEY SAW, THEY POINT TO THINGS THEY UNDERSTAND AND THAT OFTEN MANIFESTED IN TANGIBLE, OBVIOUS THINGS. HULK TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE. AND IN LOST‘S CASE THE INABILITY TO ARTICULATE SUBTLETY MANIFESTS ITSELF BY SAYING THE PROBLEMS OF THE SHOW BECAUSE THEY NOT “ANSWER” THINGS.

(11) – AND THE HOW EVEN IMPACTS THE WHAT… AND MAYBE THE OVERT NATURE OF THE “HOW” WITH THE ENDING, IMPLY ONE TERRIFYING THING… THE SHOW NOT REALLY BEING SYMBOLIC OR METAPHORICAL ANYMORE. IT BEING LITERAL.

RANDOM THING #1! BY THE WAY. IF THE WHISPERS THE PEOPLE LEFT ON ISLAND WHO CAN NO “MOVE ON” THAT EVERYONE WHO DIE ON THE ISLAND, ARE ALL OUR LOSTIES THE WHISPERS? LIKE WOULD JACK BE A WHISPER? BUT PRESUMABLY NOT THOSE WHO LEFT THE ISLAND? HULK NO GET.

RANDOM THING #2! WITH M.MORSE HERE A GOOD PLACE START WITH HIS WORK ON CHUD: http://www.chud.com/author/jesse-custer/page/6/ AND HERE HIS BLOG: http://losttherewatch.blogspot.com/ HE GREAT. READ HIS STUFF.

 

 

 

HEY EVERYONE! HULK HERE! PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A FULLY RE-WRITTEN, UPDATED VERSION OF THIS COLUMN RIGHT HERE: http://badassdigest.com/2013/12/11/hulks-screenwriting-101-excerpt-the-myth-of-3-act-structure/

PLEASE CHECK IT OUT! HULK THANK!

*  *  *

HULK HEAR IT ALL THE TIME: “PROBLEMS IN THE FILM’S SECOND ACT.”

ALL… THE FUCKING… TIME.

NOW HULK UNDERSTAND THE INTENTION OF THE STATEMENT, IT USUALLY IMPLY WHEN FILM TREADING WATER, OR LOSE TRACK CHARACTERS, OR RUNNING OUT OF STEAM, OR CRAMMING STUFF IN, OR WHATEVER. HULK GET HOW COMMENT INTENDED. THE PROBLEM WITH THIS GENERIC “SECOND ACT” DESIGNATION THAT REALLY IT CAN IMPLY A PROBLEM WITH ANYTHING IN THE “MIDDLE PART” OF STORYTELLING. IT BEYOND VAGUE. SO WHAT CREATE SUCH WISHY-WASHY STORYTELLING? AND THE EVEN WISHY-WASHY-IER WAY OF EXPLAINING IT?

IT BECAUSE EVER-POPULAR NOTION OF THE 3 ACT STRUCTURE = THE MOST ABOMINABLE WAY TO EXPLAIN STORYTELLING IMAGINABLE. EVEN IF SOMEONE WROTE A STORY USING THE MODEL AS GUIDE, IT STILL, ESSENTIALLY, A MYTH.

IN ORDER TO EVEN DISCUSS, HULK FIRST MUST DEFINE WHAT CONSTITUTE AN “ACT.” PEOPLE USE THE WORD ALL THE TIME WITH OUT REALLY BOTHERING THINK WHAT IT MEAN. IT SORT OF JUST GENERAL PLACEHOLDER FOR “BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END.” AND WELL… THAT MEAN NOTHING.

SO HULK, AS WELL AS MANY SCREENWRITERS, PROFESSORS, ACTUAL GOOD BOOKS ON SUBJECT, AND MANY OTHER SMARTER PEOPLE THAN HULK, DEFINE THE END OF AN ACT AS FOLLOWING: A POINT IN STORY WHERE CHARACTER(S) MAKE CHOICE AND CAN NO LONGER “GO BACK.”

THE “POINT” OF COURSE = PURPOSELY VAGUE.  AFTER ALL, THERE MANY DIFFERENT KINDS STORIES, ALL WITH MANY DIFFERENT KINDS GOALS. BUT YOU MAY SAY “BUT HULK, COULDN’T THAT POINT REALLY BE ANYTHING? LIKE A CHARACTER JUST LEAVING HIS HOUSE AND GRABBING COFFEE OR SOMETHING?” OKAY IT HAVE BE SLIGHTLY MORE VALID THAN SIMPLE CHANGE IN ACTION OR ENVIRONMENT. THE ACT BREAK CAN BE NEW AND INTERESTING PLOT POINT, A POIGNANT CHARACTER DECISION, A PERSONALITY REVEAL, TWO PREVIOUSLY UN-MET CHARACTERS BECOMING FRIENDS, OR EVEN, IF HANDLED CORRECTLY, SOMETHING AS INSIPID AS “NO! THE BAD GUYS ARE HERE! RUN!” … IT CAN  BE ANYTHING AS LONG AS IT HAVE CHANGING NARRATIVE VALUE. THE CHARACTERS ALWAYS HAVE MOVE FORWARD IN SOME NEW REALITY/SITUATION.

THE TRUE END OF ACT CREATE PROPULSION.

WITH THIS DEFINITION, IT MEAN FILM CAN HAVE ANY NUMBER OF ACTS DEPENDING ON WHAT TRYING TO SAY/DO. A MOVIE LIKE MALCOLM X HAVE ABOUT 9 DISTINGUISHABLE ACTS IN HULK’S ESTIMATION, EACH FOCUSING ON TIME IN HIS LIFE WHERE MALCOLM GO THROUGH PERIOD OF FOCUS AND COME TO NEW KIND OF ENLIGHTENMENT OR CHARACTER REALITY. IT TRULY EPIC FILM THAT TAKE THE STANDARD BIOPIC (WHICH TEND JUST JUMP FROM EVENT TO EVENT IN PERSONS LIFE) AND SEPARATE THEM INTO VERY OBVIOUS “SECTIONS” OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. IT ONE OF HULK’S FAVORITE MOVIES TO POINT TO WHEN COMES TO MULTI-ACT-LABELING.

AND HECK, SOME MOVIES HAVE UPWARDS OF 20 ACTS. IT ALL A QUESTION OF WHAT STORY YOU WANTING TELL AND THE BETTER YOU UNDERSTAND THIS “MOVING FORWARD” MARKING OF ACT BREAKS, THE BETTER THE SCREENPLAY AT PROPELLING NARRATIVE IN MEANINGFUL WAY.(1)

IT STRANGE WHEN YOU LOOK AT CERTAIN-OH-SO-TERRIBLE MOVIES WITH THIS DEFINITION OF AN ACT-DEFINING AND REALIZE “HOLY CRAP, SOME OF THESE MOVIES DO NOTHING LIKE THAT!”

*COUGH COUGH*

YUP. THIS TINY BIT OF ADVICE  OF IGNORING 3 ACT STRUCTURE IN FAVOR OF CONSTANT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WOULD SAVE HUNDREDS OF MOVIES.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE RECENT-AND-UTTER-SHIT-FEST GREEN LANTERN HAVE ONE REAL GENUINE ACT BREAK. REPEAT. ONE. OH SURE, THERE STUFF THAT HAPPEN, BUT IN TERMS OF MAIN CHARACTER PROPULSION? NOPE. TO REITERATE THE PLOT: HAL JORDAN = A PISSY-ASS FIGHTER PILOT, HE GIVEN LANTERN RING, ZAPPED TO OA (NEITHER HIS DECISION), TRAIN FOR ALL OF TWO SECONDS AND QUIT TO GO BACK BEING PISSY-ASS NON-FIGHTER PILOT. IT NOT UNTIL 90 DIFFERENT SCENES OF RELATIVE MOPING, FUTZING AROUND IN SUIT, AND FUCKING REJECTING BLAKE LIVELY’S ADVANCES, THAT HE EMBRACE BEING LANTERN AND MAKE ACTUAL FUCKING DECISION TO CHANGE CHARACTER AND GO BACK TO OA. AND NO TELL HULK THAT HAL GETTING THE RING = AN “ACT BREAK” BECAUSE HE THEN SPENT THEN ENTIRE “MIDDLE” OF MOVIE GOING BACK ON THAT. REPEAT, THE FILM HAVE ONE ACT BREAK. THAT IT. EVERYTHING ELSE, OUTSIDE OF HECTOR HAMMOND WHO THE ONE AN ACTUAL STORY ARC, JUST = STUFF HAPPENING. THERE NO CLEAR CHARACTER MOTIVATION AT PLAY IN ANYONE ELSE. THE FILM, ALONG WITH HUNDREDS OTHER MOVIES, PLAIN NO REALIZE WHAT “ACTS” MEAN. THEY NO REALIZE THAT CHARACTERS HAVE MAKE DECISIONS.

AND HULK BLAME THIS STRINGENT BELIEF IN EXISTENCE OF “3 ACT STRUCTURE” FOR CRAP LIKE THIS. HULK REALLY DO.

FOR STARTERS, IT GO BACK TO THAT PROBLEM OF PEOPLE NOT EVEN TRYING DEFINE “ACT BREAKS” WHATSOEVER. THIS WHOLE BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END THING MAKES SOME BASIC SENSE IN TERMS OF “SUMMARIZING” A PLOT, BUT IT LITERALLY GIVE ZERO INDICATION OF HOW ACTUALLY WRITE THAT STORY. IF USING THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE THEN THE 1ST ACT ALL “INTRODUCTION/SET UP” AND THE 3RD ACT “THE CLIMAX!” WHICH BOTH VAGUE BUT PRETTY  SELF-EXPLANATORY… BUT THEN THERE THAT SECOND ACT WHICH OFTEN JUST DEFINED AS “RISE IN CONFLICT”… SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK THAT EVEN MEAN?

YOU KNOW… THE CONFLICT! JUST, UM, RISE IT!”

WHATEVER IT MEAN, IT CERTAINLY NOT GOOD STORYTELLING. SURE, HULK GUESS IT AN INCREDIBLY VAGUE SUMMARY OF WHAT HAPPENING, BUT AGAIN, IT NOT INSTRUCTING HOW ACTUALLY DO THAT. NONE OF THE GOOD STUFF WHICH CRITICAL TO CHARACTER ARCS, MOTIVATION, RELATIONSHIPS, PROPULSION. NONE OF IT!

MOST OF TIME IT LEAD WRITERS TO JUST TRY MAKE CONNECTING POINTS BETWEEN THE BEGINNING AND ENDING. THAT ABOUT IT. WHICH MEAN CHARACTERS NOT MOVING FORWARD IN ANY DISCERNIBLE WAY. JUST WAITING AROUND FOR 80 MINUTE MARK SO THAT THEY CAN BEGIN THAT ENDING THINGY. IT A SHELL GAME OF UNMOTIVATED EVENTS ALL BECAUSE THE DEFINITION OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE = COMPLETE ASS.

AS RESULT, WE HEAR IT ALL THE TIME: “THE PROBLEMS IN THE FILM’S SECOND ACT.”

SO OKAY, LET’S GET SERIOUS. IF THE 3 ACT MODEL SUCKS AND ACTS MERELY JUST CAN-NO-GO-BACK, HOW ACTUALLY APPROACH STRUCTURE THEN? LET HULK COMPARE THE TRADITIONAL 3 ACT MODEL WITH THAT OTHER OH SO FAMOUS ACT MODEL CREATED BY THE GREATEST STORYTELLING GENIUS OF ALL TIME: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

THIS GUY

FACT: SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS HAD 5 ACTS…  REPEAT: 5… NOT 3.

AND FOR SAKE OF EXPLANATION, HULK WILL USE MOST SHAKESPEARE’S MOST POPULAR PLAY, ROMEO AND JULIET (2), TO HELP ILLUSTRATE HULK’S UPCOMING POINT ABOUT NATURE OF STORY STRUCTURE.

THE 1ST ACT COMPRISED OF INTRODUCTIONS AND ESTABLISHING OF PRE-EXISTING CENTRAL MAIN CONFLICT (I.E. TWO FAMILIES AT ODDS, ROMEO LOVESICK PUP OVER ROSALINE, JULIET NAIVE AND LOVELORN GIRL). NOW, THIS PRE-EXISTING CONFLICT IN BACKGROUND SORT OF IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT CREATE A CONDITION OF THE WORLD THE AUDIENCE ENTERING. IT CREATE SENSE OF SPACE, HISTORY, AND BELIEVABILITY. AND IT BIG SURPRISE TO HULK HOW OFTEN IT IGNORED IN TRADITION OF GRAND BLOCKBUSTER  FILMMAKING THAT SO POPULAR NOWADAYS. AND HECK, EVEN IF IT SOME INTRICATE HUMAN DRAMA, THE PRE-EXISTING CONFLICT GIVE REASON FOR THE OCCURRENCE OF THE MAIN ACTION WHICH SPUR PLOT INTO EFFECT.

THE 2ND ACT USUALLY COMPRISED OF SOME KIND OF TURN OR REVERSAL WHICH CHALLENGE OR DEEPLY WORSEN THE MAIN CONFLICT, USUAL IN FORM OF RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT, REVEAL, OR SURPRISE (I.E. STAR-CROSSED TEENAGERS ROMEO AND JULIET MEET AND GO GA-GA OVER ONE ANOTHER, WHICH HUGE PROBLEM GIVEN THE NATURE OF THE PRE-EXISTING CONFLICT). BASICALLY THIS ACT FEATURE THE MAIN DEVELOPMENT OF THE STORY. MEANING IF HAD TO EXPLAIN WHAT THE MOVIE ABOUT, THE CONFLICT BEING DESCRIBED SHOULD BE THE THING HAPPENING SOMEWHERE IN HERE, REVEALED IN WHICHEVER WAY BENEFIT THE STORY MOST.(3)

THE 3RD ACT COMPRISE A TURNING POINT. NOW, HULK REMIND YOU THIS NEED NOT BE A “TWIST” BUT MORE A SPURRING ACTION THAT MAKE THE CONFLICT INFINITELY MORE COMPLICATED (I.E. MERCUTIO DYING, ROMEO THEN KILLING TYBALT). OFTEN THESE MOMENTS SURPRISING. THEY DEEPLY AFFECT NOT ONLY THE SERIOUSNESS OF MAIN CONFLICT, BUT EVEN ALTER THE ACTUAL DIRECTION OF IT. THIS THE SORT OF THING ALLUDED TO IN THE “RISE IN CONFLICT” STATEMENT, BUT YOU KNOW, WAY MORE SPECIFIC. THE 3RD ACT SUCH GREAT OPPORTUNITY IN STORYTELLING AND SHAKESPEARE’S 3RD ACTS OFTEN THINGS OF BEAUTY: GREAT INVERSIONS. BEST INTENTIONS GONE AWRY. DEATHS! LOSS! CONFUSION! SUDDEN CHAOS! THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT EVEN THOUGH THESE THIS 3RD ACTS DON’T FINISH THE ARC OF THE STORY, THEY STILL CLIMAX-WORTHY IN SCALE, AND NOT JUST “HEY, LET’S PUT AN ACTION SCENE HERE!

“SO, MY FIRST ACT IS GONNA BE THIS FIGHT. THEN MY SECOND ACT IS GOING TO BE THIS FIGHT. MY THIRD ACT IS THE HOUR-LONG FIGHT SCENE WHERE NOTHING CHARACTER WISE ACTUALLY HAPPENS!”

BUT THE REAL KEY WITH THE THIRD ACT TO MAKE THE “TURNING POINT” ONE THAT DEEPLY AFFECTING AND TO CHANGE THE ARC OF THE STORY. IT SOMETHING FAR MORE IMPORTANT THEN JUST “PUTTING THINGS IN PLACE FOR CLIMAX”. SPEAKING OF WHICH…

THE 4TH ACT THEN “THE SPIRAL” AND IT ACTUALLY FULL OF DECISIONS THAT CAUSE CHARACTERS SINK TOWARD THE REAL CLIMAX (I.E. ROMEO AND JULIET DECIDE GO ON THE LAMB, HATCH PLAN TO FAKE DEATHS, ETC). IN TRUTH THIS THE POINT WHERE YOU REALLY ARRANGING AND SETTING UP THE CLIMAX, BUT IN THAT GOAL IT IMPORTANT REMEMBER THAT STAYING TRUE TO CHARACTER ARCS. IT REALLY THE BEST PLACE TO EXPOSE THE DEEP CHARACTER FLAWS THAT WILL EITHER BRING DOWN HERO OR ALLOW THEM SUCCEED. (MEANWHILE, THE THIRD ACT TURNING POINT CAN SOMETIMES ALLOW FOR MAIN CHARACTER ACTING OUT OF CHARACTER. IT A NEAT LITTLE DISTINCTION). THE 4TH ACT ALSO GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR QUIET MOMENTS OF REFLECTION BEFORE THE FINALE, BUT IT CAN NO JUST BE ALL REFLECTION AND PAUSING (COUGH COUGH GREEN LANTERN). AGAIN, THAT “FULL OF DECISIONS” ASPECT NEED BE THERE. THE PACE SHOULD QUICKEN. THINGS SHOULD FEEL LIKE THEY FALLING OUT OF CONTROL. IT THE SPIRAL.

AND THE 5TH ACT WHERE AUDIENCE GET THE CLIMAX/RESOLUTIONS/WEDDINGS/TRAGEDY/FALLOUT/ETC. (I.E. ROMEO AND JULIET KILL SELVES, FAMILY HEARTBROKEN AND DECLARE PEACE). (4) THE MOST IMPORTANT THING REMEMBER THAT IT NO JUST “WRAPPING THINGS UP” BUT THE ENCAPSULATION OF THE STORY AND SHOULD EXHIBIT ALL THE POINTS ONE TRYING MAKE IN MOVIE. THE CLIMAX AND RESOLUTION = THE GOAL OF YOUR MOVIE. IT SHOULD BE THE SUMMATION OF EVERYTHING YOU WRITTEN SO FAR. IT SHOULD NO BE FREAKIN’ AFTERTHOUGHT.

AGAIN, THIS 5 ACT STRUCTURE THING JUST AN EXAMPLE. CAN DO WHATEVER YOU THINK BEST. LIKE THE 9 ACTS IN MALCOLM X. BUT IF LOOKING FOR TOOL TO HELP STRUCTURE YOUR STORY THEN, WELL, ONE COULD DO A LOT WORSE THAN SHAKESPEARE. NO MATTER WHAT THE STORY: TRAGEDY, COMEDY, OR HISTORY, HE USED THIS SPECIFIC 5 ACT STRUCTURE EVERY TIME. THE INTRO, THE CONCEIT, THE TURN, THE SPIRAL, THE CLIMAX. HE GET HEAPED WITH PRAISE OVER MASTERY OF LANGUAGE AND THE DEEP RESONANCE OF THEMATICS, SOME EVEN CREDIT HIM AS THE FATHER OF PSYCHOLOGY, BUT HE JUST SO FUCKING BRILLIANT AT STORY STRUCTURE TO BOOT… IT SORT OF UNFAIR. AND HULK KNOW IT MAY SEEM LAME BRING UP SUCH AN OBVIOUS CHOICE AS “BEST WRITER EVER” BUT, WELL, HE WAS.

AGREES

SO NOW THEN.

HULK WANT YOU GO BACK TO TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE FOR SECOND. YOU MAY NOTICE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT WHEN COMPARING IT TO SHAKESPEARE’S MODEL. THE WAY THE SECOND ACT DESCRIBED IN 3 ACT STRUCTURE = THE SAME WAY ACT 4 DEFINED IN SHAKESPEARE’S MODEL. HIS “SPIRAL” REALLY SIMILAR TO THE “RISE IN CONFLICT.”

HULK ARGUE THIS SO FUCKING TELLING IT NOT EVEN FUNNY.

IT MEAN THAT THIS LITTLE WAY SHAKESPEARE ESCALATING THE STAKES AND POSITIONING THE ENDGAME = THE SAME EXACT WAY HOLLYWOOD SCREENWRITERS HANDLE THE ENTIRE MIDDLE PARTS OF THEIR GODDAMN MOVIE.

NO WONDER THEY AIMLESS AND BORING.

FOR ONE, IT NO MISTAKE THAT SHAKESPEARE’S ACT 4 ALWAYS THE SHORTEST, LEAST INTERESTING, AND LEAST COMPELLING OF EVERY SINGLE ONE HIS PLAYS. SO IMAGINE TRYING FIT THAT SAME STORY TELLING LOGIC INTO THE 30-60 SUM ODD PAGES THAT MAKE UP SECOND ACTS? IT MEAN THEY CHARACTERS JUST WAITING AROUND. IT MEAN THE WRITERS JUST TRYING COME UP WITH DISTRACTIONS AND B.S. CONFLICTS THAT NO HAVE DO WITH THE POINT OR AFFECTING THE ARC OF STORY. IT MEAN THAT WRITERS END UP CRAMMING TOO MUCH GOOD STUFF IN “FIRST ACT” TO TRY AND ESTABLISH ALL NEEDED DETAILS WHEN REALLY THEY MISSING GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPING A STORY AT ORGANIC PACE.(5)

SO MAYBE SHAKESPEARE NOT YOUR THING. YOU MAY ASK “HULK, HOW THIS 5 ACT WORK WITH POPULAR MOVIE GOING? I NO REMEMBER SEEING FIVE ACT MOVIE BE BIG HIT.”

THIS WHERE HULK POLITELY REQUEST YOU LOOK AT HOST OF EXAMPLES. HECK, LOOK HULK’S OLD BUDDY/GREAT MOVIE IRON MAN, WHICH HAVE EXCEPTIONAL STORY STRUCTURE. THE ONE THING EVERYONE SEEMED LOVE THAT IT SPENT SO LONG BEFORE TONY ACTUALLY BECOME “IRON MAN” SO THEY GET EXPERIENCE ALL THE GREAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT TO GET THERE. EVERYONE LAUDED THE FUN SENSE OF ADVENTURE THAT CAME FROM HIM ACTUALLY BUILDING THE SUIT. IT NEVER RUSHED GETTING TO “THE ACTION” THAT CAUSE THE STORYTELLING = THE ACTION. BUT THIS BIG BUDGET MOVIE!!! HOW THIS HAPPEN? GOOD STRUCTURE THAT’S HOW. GUESS HOW MANY ACTS THE MOVIE HAVE?

YUP. FIVE.

“OBIDIAH, I KNEW HIM WELL!”

NO BELIEVE HULK?

ACT ONE – INTRO + STATE OF PRE-EXISTING CONFLICT – WE GET SEE TONY AS PLAYBOY AND THE EXTERNAL MORAL CONFLICT OF SUPPLYING WEAPONS.

TWO – THE CONCEIT AND PUTTING AT ODDS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONFLICT – TONY CAPTURED AND PUT IN TERRORIST CAMP. DISCOVERS REALITY ABOUT HIS WEAPONS BUILDING AND LIFE THREATENED. BUILDS PROTOTYPE SUIT AND ESCAPES.

THREE – THE TURNING POINT – TONY NOW BACK AT HOME, HE MAKES MORAL DECISION SHUTS DOWN WEAPONS OPS CHANGE DIRECTION OF HIS LIFE. TONY DECIDES TO CONTINUE ON PATH AND BUILD NEW SUIT. OBADIAH REVEALED AS BAD GUY BEHIND TONY’S KIDNAPPING. TONY GOES LIVE W/ SUIT.

FOUR – THE SPIRAL/ESCALATION OF CONFLICT – TONY CONTINUES USE THE SUIT OUT IN REAL WAR CONFLICT AND HAS “HERO TRIALS” SO TO SPEAK, ADMITS TRUTH TO RHODES, GETS SIDELINED BY OBIDIAH, NOW IN GRIM CIRCUMSTANCE. NOTICE THAT THESE DEVELOPMENTS FEEL MORE OF THE ACTION-Y WHEEL-SPINNING ACTIVITIES THAT REEK OF STANDARD ACT 2 DEVELOPMENTS ONE SEES IN 3 ACT STRUCTURE. BUT IN THIS MOVIE? BECAUSE IT COME AFTER THE AWESOME SUIT-BUILDING TURN OF ACT 3, IT FEEL FRESH AND EXCITING TO NOW SEE IRON MAN IN ACTION. AND IT GO ON FOR PERFECT SHORTER LENGTH OF TIME BEFORE MOVING TO INEVITABLE FINALE.

FIVE- = CLIMAX/CONCLUSION/RESOLUTION – TONY’S CONFLICT WITH OBIDIAH COMES TO CONCLUSION BOTH PERSONALLY AND AS, YOU KNOW, BIG IRON MEN FIGHTING IN DEATH SUITS. THE IMPORTANT PART THAT ALL THE PLOTS ALL COME TOGETHER EVEN THOUGH THE ACTION FELT UNDERWHELMING. HULK ACTUALLY FIND THAT PART KINDA NEAT AS IT MEANT “THE ACTION” = THE LEAST INTERESTING PART OF BIG SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER. THAT AN ACHIEVEMENT.

“IT’S CALLED CHARISMA AND CHARACTERIZATION BITCHES”

SOME OF YOU MAY ARGUE THERE LOTS OTHER POSSIBLE ACT BREAKS IN IRON MAN. THAT THAT ABSOLUTELY TRUE. GREAT WRITING FILLED WITH “MICRO-ACTS” WHICH HELP PROPEL EVERY SCENE FORWARD.  THERE REALLY MANY DIFFERENT STORIES: TONY’S ARC WITH PEPPER HAVE IT OWN ACT BREAKS. TONY’S RELATIONSHIP WITH OBIDIAH HAVE ITS OWN BREAKS. IT WHAT MAKE A STORY FEEL PROPULSIVE + ORGANIC. AFTER ALL, EVERY SCENE SHOULD HAVE REAL GOAL AND OBJECTIVE TO IT. SO GOING BACK TO THE POINT AT HAND, LABELING ALL THAT GREAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND DECISION-MAKING IN THE MIDDLE OF MOVIE AS JUST “RISE IN CONFLICT” = FUCKING ASININE.

AND IT NOT JUST SHAKESPEARE AND IRON MAN FOLKS. HULK FIND MOST TRADITIONAL NARRATIVES (AT LEAST THE WELL TOLD ONES) HAVE ABOUT 5-6 ACTS. IT JUST A GREAT MODEL FOR TRADITIONAL STORYTELLING. NOTICE THAT ALL ONE HOUR TV DRAMAS ALL SEGMENTED INTO 5 ACTS? YES IT FOR COMMERCIAL BREAKS, BUT THIS MAGIC NUMBER NO REAL ACCIDENT AND IT REALLY HELP MAKE TV SHOWS PROPULSIVE. AGAIN, LIKE ANYTHING, YOU MORE THAN ALLOWED TO BREAK AWAY FROM THIS MODEL, BUT YOU BE SURPRISED HOW MANY NON-TRADITIONAL NARRATIVES UTILIZE 5-6 ACTS.

PEOPLE LOOOOOOOOVE TALK ABOUT QUENTIN TARANTINO’S NON-LINEAR STORYTELLING AS COUNTER EXAMPLE TO “ACT-BASED” STORYTELLING. PARTICULARLY WITH PULP FICTION. BUT GUESS WHAT? THAT MOVIE EXACTLY 5 ACTS (PLUS LITTLE VIGNETTES). RESERVOIR DOGS? 5 ACTS. BOTH KILL BILLS? EACH ONE HAS 5 ACTS. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS? 5 ACTS. YOU SENSE THEME?

“TO BE OR NOT TO BE”

HULK JUST CAN NO EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH.

A STORY A MULTIFACETED THING. IF YOU WANTING TO STRUCTURE YOUR STORY, REMEMBER TO HAVE BOTH ACT STRUCTURE FOR THE MAIN PLOT AND ACT STRUCTURE FOR THE EACH OF YOUR CHARACTERS PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENTS. BY HAVING ALL THESE VARYING STRUCTURES, EACH WITH THEIR OWN BEATS, IT CREATE A CONSTANT SENSE OF “MOVING FORWARD” FOR MOVIE. THAT WHY THEY CALL IT “DEVELOPMENT” AND IT THE KEY TO BRINGING YOUR AUDIENCE ALONG FOR JOURNEY.

PERHAPS YOU THINK HULK BEING TOO HARD ON 3 ACT STRUCTURE. THAT PERHAPS HULK SIMPLIFYING IT IN EFFORT TO TEAR IT DOWN.

FINE.

READ THIS “SUMMARY” OF 3 ACT STRUCTURE AND ENJOY THE BIGGEST EXAMPLE OF MISSING THE FUCKING POINT IN HISTORY:

http://www.lavideofilmmaker.com/filmmaking/screenplay-tips-three-act-structure.html

… WOW. HULK MEAN… WOW. THIS GIVEN AS ACTUAL ADVICE. AND WHAT ABOUT THAT AMAZING PART WHERE HE TAKE ACT 2-4 OF SHAKESPEARE’S WRITING AND ESTABLISH IT AS HIS “ACT 2” WHICH NOT ONLY HILARIOUS IN ITS OVER-SIMPLIFICATION BUT IT ACTUALLY IGNORE 3 ACT STRUCTURE RULES BECAUSE THE CONCEIT INTRODUCED IN SECOND ACT NOT END OF FIRST. THE WHOLE THING LAUGHABLE.

YUP, ALL YOU’LL EVER NEED TO TELL A STORY!

PLEASE. IF YOU WRITING SCREENPLAY. HULK TELLING YOU. THE 3 ACT STRUCTURE = GARBAGE.

STOP CITING IT IN ARTICLES.

STOP TALKING ABOUT IT WITH FRIENDS.

IT WILL NOT HELP YOU.

IT CAN ONLY HURT YOU.

STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM ANYONE WHO EVEN CLAIM IT EXIST. IF THEY SAY IT DO. SAY “OR COURSE SHIT HAS BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND ENDING YOU INSUFFERABLE TURD” THEN THROW A DRINK IN THEIR FACE AND RUN AWAY…

… OKAY, MAYBE HULK GETTING CARRIED AWAY. PERHAPS ALL THIS ADVICE USELESS.

AFTER ALL, IT PARTICULARLY TELLING OF HOLLYWOOD THAT THEY EVEN FAIL AT THE BASICS OF THIS SUPPOSED 3 ACT STRUCTURE. BECAUSE SO MANY MOVIES GREEN-LIT ON JUST A “PITCH” AND SOME STARS ATTACHED, YOU BASICALLY HAVE MOVIES BEING MADE THAT HAVE ONLY FIGURED OUT THE CONCEIT, MEANING THEY ONLY KNOW THE FIRST ACT… AND THAT FUCKING IT. THE ENDINGS OF THESE BARELY ESTABLISHED CONCEITS UNIFORMLY TEND BE TERRIBLE. IT BECAUSE THE WRITERS JUST KEEP WRITING IN STRAIGHT LINE FROM THEIR STARTING POINT, PURSUING THE FALLOUT TIL THEY JUST RUN OUT OF STEAM. YOU BE STUNNED BY AMOUNT WRITERS THAT NO PLAN OUT MOVIE AND JUST SORT OF WRITING STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. AND YES, THERE SOME GENIUSES WHO GET AWAY WITH WRITING LIKE THAT BUT TRUTH IS, THOSE GENIUSES HAVE INHERENT UNDERSTANDING OF PACING, DEVELOPMENT, CHARACTERIZATION, AND PROPULSION SO IT FLOWING OUT NATURALLY TO THEM.

IT REALLY INCONCEIVABLE TO HULK THAT FOLKS CAN START MAKING MOVIE WITHOUT TRULY “KNOWING” THE ENDING. IF YOU WANT BE WRITER, ALWAYS KNOW YOUR ENDING. HECK, YOUR ENDING SHOULD BE  IT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU DOING. TO REITERATE, NO ONE EVER SEEM REALIZE THAT THE ENDING IS THE CONCEIT. IT LITERALLY THE COMPLETE SUMMATION OF WHAT YOU FUCKING TRYING TO SAY.

OH BALLS

TO SUMMARIZE THIS INSANE RANT:

THE AMOUNT OF ACTS MOVIE SHOULD BE DEPENDENT ON STORY WANT TO TELL. EACH ACT SHOULD REACH THIS MOVING FORWARD POINT IN ORGANIC, EARNED WAY. AND TOTAL NUMBER DEPENDENT ON HOW MUCH TRYING ACCOMPLISH WITH STORY. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THEY SHOULD ALL TIE TOGETHER IN COHERENT WAY.  AND THEN, ULTIMATELY, IT SHOULD TRY BE DONE WITH BEST ECONOMY POSSIBLE WITHOUT LOSING ANYTHING CRITICAL OR AFFECTING THE ORGANIC QUALITY.

HULK LOVE BRINGING UP THE ORIGINAL KUNG FU PANDA ALL THE TIME, NOT BECAUSE IT GREAT MOVIE, BUT BECAUSE IT KNOW PERFECTLY HOW TO INTEGRATE SIMPLE STORIES INTO COHERENT AND ECONOMIC NARRATIVE. IT SO TRUE TO THE BASICS AND YET COMPLETELY EFFECTIVE. IT STORYTELLING 101.(6)

HULK KNOW, HULK KNOW. HULK REFERENCE STORYTELLING 101 ALL FREAKING TIME. IT SORT OF BECOMING HULK’S MANTRA. BUT IT STUNNING HOW OFTEN PEOPLE FORGET THE MOST BASIC TENANTS.

AGAIN, HULK’S EMPHASIS ON STORYTELLING 101 NOT A HOW-TO-GUIDE OF STRINGENT RULES, IT MERELY A TOOL HELP MAKE WHAT YOU WANT DO MORE FOCUSED. BECAUSE IN ORDER INVERT RULES, ONE MUST UNDERSTAND THE RULES IN FIRST PLACE. HULK HEARD THIS ALL TIME IN WRITING CLASSES AND THE REBELLIOUS MINDED YOUTH TEND PAY IT NO HEED. BUT IT NOT UNTIL MUCH LATER IN LIFE, AFTER LOGGING ABOUT 1000-2000 HOURS OF SCREENWRITING THAT HULK REALLY “GOT IT” SO TO SPEAK.(7)

NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, STORYTELLING LARGELY ABOUT PROBLEM SOLVING. ONE CAN ALWAYS COME UP WITH GREAT IDEAS THAT MOTIVATE AND EXCITE, BUT THE OTHER HALF THAT EQUATION FIGURING OUT HOW MAKE TRANSLATE TO FULLY FORMED REALITY. HOW MAKE A MOVIE THAT TRUE TO THAT CONCIET? ONE THAT WORK ON EVERY LEVEL? ULTIMATELY, THE WRITER ASK HOW MAKE THIS SCENE WORK? HOW ESTABLISH WHAT WANT SAY?

IT PROBLEM SOLVING.

AND TAKE HULK’S ADVICE. THE 3 ACT STRUCTURE NO HELP YOU PROBLEM SOLVE.

JUST DIE ALREADY

ENDNOTES:

(1) YES, EVEN WITH “CHASE MOVIES” THE SIMPLE ACT OF “IT THE BAD GUYS! RUN!” WORK IN TERMS OF CHANGING THE SITUATION REALITY, BUT IT OFTEN BECOME SO DULL AND REPETITIVE THAT MORE INTERESTING THINGS HAVE BE GOING ON/DEFINING THE SITUATION. THIS THE CHIEF REASON MICHAL BAY MOVIES NO WORK. IT ONLY THE CHASE. SURE, HE SOMETIMES ABLE TO MASK THIS MACGUFFIN/SET-PIECE-JUMPING WITH DISTRACTING VISUALS OR ATTEMPTS AT QUASI-RACIST COMEDY, BUT THE CHASE ALWAYS BECOME BORING. THERE NO ACTUAL INTRIGUE.*

*OKAY MR. HULK THERE A CHASE MOVIE THAT JUST ALL PLOT BUT STILL WORK?” YES. IT CALLED THE FRENCH CONNECTION. THAT MOVIE KICKS 100% ASS BECAUSE IT WORK OFF PURE INTRIGUE AND TWO LIKABLE CHARACTERS/ACTORS YOU FOLLOW DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. IT PERFECT. ALSO FX’S “THE SHIELD” KNEW HOW DEAL CREATE A STREAM OF SHIFTING NARRATIVE INTRIGUE ACROSS 6 SEASONS. IT CAN BE DONE.**

**MEANWHILE, JJ ABRAMS  ONLY SEEM KNOW HOW PRESENT THE MOST APPETIZING INTRIGUE EVER, BUT THEN HE NOT KNOW HOW DELVE INTO IT… WHATSOEVER. EVERYONE ALWAYS DEMAND “ANSWERS” OF JJ’S WORK, BUT REALLY THEY JUST WANT CATHARSIS. OR HECK EVEN DEVELOPMENTS WILL DO… YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK IF THEY DON’T JUST WANT STORYTELLING… THE MYSTERY ONLY GO SO FAR.

(2) SORRY FOLKS, IT NOT HULK’S FAVORITE PLAY, BUT IT BEST KNOWN. SO IT HELPS WHEN TRYING EXPLAIN.

(3) AND NOW, HULK HAVE A HELPFUL TOOL FOR YOU! SOMETIMES THERE EXPRESSION USED IN SCREENWRITING CALLED “PAGE 17” WHICH MEAN THAT BY PAGE 17 THE AUDIENCE SHOULD NOW HAVE IDEA WHERE THE FILM GOING. IT SOUND DUMB AND IT CERTAINLY NOT HARD OR FAST RULE, BUT YOU BE STUNNED BY NUMBER OF SCRIPTS THAT HIT THE CONCEIT OF THEIR MOVIE EXACTLY ON PAGE 17. IT JUST SORT OF GOOD PLACE TO AIM BECAUSE IT GIVE ENOUGH ROOM BOTH ESTABLISH THE WORLD AND THEN BE ON WAY. NOT ALWAYS, BUT GENERALLY IF YOU WAITING TIL PAGE 30 TO GET TO FREAKING CONCEIT YOU WAITED TO LONG. ANYCRAP. AIM FOR PAGE 17-ISH.

(4) HULK JUST WANT MENTION THAT ROMEO AND JULIET MIGHT BE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD PLAY IN HISTORY. YES, SHAKESPEARE CRITICIZING OVERZEALOUS AND DOMINEERING PARENTAGE (AND RACISM BY PROXY) AND EVEN THOUGH HE UNDERSTANDING OF YOUNG LOVE AND ALL THAT, SHAKESPEARE ALSO CLEARLY EXPRESSING THAT ROMEO AND JULIET WERE DUMBASS BRATS WHO TOOK THEMSELVES WAY, WAY, WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. THEY WEREN’T IN LOVE. THEY WERE INFATUATED. THE PLAY ABOUT THE PRATFALLS OF INFATUATION. THERE. HULK SAID IT*

*OOOOOH, AND RANDOM NOTE ON SHAKESPEARE: HULK TALKED ABOUT CHARACTERS HAVING MAKE DECISIONS. WELL HAMLET A PLAY THAT LITERALLY ABOUT INDECISIVE CHARACTER. THE KEY THAT IT STILL HAVE TONS NARRATIVE STEAM AS IT DEAL WITH OTHER ASPECTS OF HIS CHARACTER AND EXPLORE THE EFFECTS OF HIS MIS-STEPS ON ACCOUNT OF SAID INDECISIVENESS. AND IT MAYBE BEST PLAY EVER. MOVING ON!

(5) LET HULK EVEN THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX HERE. SO MANY MOVIES SO CAREFUL TO TELL EVERYTHING ABOUT CHARACTERS RIGHT UP FRONT SO YOU KNOW EVERYTHING RIGHT AWAY. HULK THINK THIS MISTAKE. THINK ABOUT IT. IF A CHARACTER REVEAL AND “TWIST” WORK SAME WAY IN TERMS OF PROVIDING NEW INFORMATION TO AUDIENCE, WHY NO TAKE LONGER REVEAL SOME GOOD INFORMATION AND MAKE SECOND ACTS MORE INTERESTING? ATTACK THE BLOCK GREAT EXAMPLE OF MOVIE THAT TAKE LONGER TIME REVEALING THE CHARACTERS AND PROVIDING INTRIGUE WHILE THE A PLOT DEVELOPED AROUND THEM. SO HULK ASK, WHY NOT INTRODUCE A CHARACTER OVER LONGER PERIOD OF TIME? HULK RECENTLY ESPOUSE THE INCREDIBLE MERITS OF HAPPY-GO-LUCKY BECAUSE IT GRADUALLY REVEAL THE MORE DIMENSIONS OF ITS MAIN CHARACTER OVER ENTIRE COURSE OF MOVIE. AND NOT TO BEAT DEAD HORSE, BUT GOING BACK TO GREEN LANTERN THAT MOVIE SO QUICK TO HURRY UP AND ESTABLISH ALL THE ASPECTS OF HAL JORDAN THAT PERTINENT BEFORE HE GET RING THAT THERE LITERALLY NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT HIM AFTER HE GET IT. AND HEY REMEMBER THE FAMILY THEY INTRODUCED AT THE BEGINNING THAT NEVER SHOW UP IN REST OF MOVIE? UGH.

(6) TO ILLUSTRATE FURTHER, HULK GOING COMPARE IT TO AVATAR, WHICH ALSO HIGHLY AWARE OF ALL IT’S STRUCTURAL BEATS. YET KUNG FU PANDA ACTUAL KNOW HOW INVEST SENSE OF EMOTION AND MAKE THE STORY FEEL BOTH REAL AND INTEGRATED TO ALL THE CHARACTERS AT HAND. YES, THEY BOTH SIMPLE APPROACHES TO STORY. BUT KUNG FU PANDA USED THAT SIMPLICITY TO ACHIEVE A COHESIVE NARRATIVE, WHILE AVATAR WAS PAINT-BY-NUMBERS. ANYCRAP…

(7) IT BRING UP INTERESTING DILEMMA WITH REGARD FILM CRITICS. THE SCREENWRITER SEEM LOVE LAMBAST THE CRITIC AS KNOW-NOTHING-WANNABE. THIS STRIKE HULK AS MISGUIDED AND GROSS MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE ROLE OF CRITICS. THEIR JOB, IN THIS ERA ESPECIALLY, TO FOSTER AND ENGAGE IN A DIALOGUE WITH CONSUMERS. AND TO DISMISS THE CRITIC’S REACTION = TO INDIRECTLY INSINUATE CONSUMER HAVE NO VALUE EITHER. WHICH A BIG, BIG PROBLEM. BUT, ON OTHER END OF SPECTRUM THEY DO HAVE  POINT.  WRITING A COHESIVE NARRATIVE AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TASK AND UNLESS HAVE REAL FAMILIARITY WITH THE PRACTICE ITSELF, NOT JUST THE END RESULTS, IT EASY TO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THE PROBLEMS ONE ENCOUNTERS MANIFEST ON SCREEN. THERE A MILLION WAYS A GOOD SCRIPT CAN BE MASSACRED BY FINAL PRODUCT OR WAYS A CRAPPY SCRIPT CAN BE ELEVATED TO SOMETHING MORE FUNCTIONAL, BUT ALL OF THAT COMPLICATION CAN BE OBSCURED WHEN VIEWING THE FINAL PRODUCT. WHAT CRITICS MISS MOST OF ALL = THAT WRITERS OFTEN ACUTELY AWARE OF THEIR OWN WORK’S FAILINGS. BUT THEY WENT WITH THEIR CHOICE BECAUSE THEY FELT IT MAY HAVE ACHIEVED A LARGER GOAL, OR IT WOULD COME OFF DIFFERENTLY, OR SIMPLY BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE DID SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND THEY HAD NO CHOICE. WRITING LARGELY A GAME OF “WHAT LOSES HERE?” IN ORDER CONCENTRATE ON A, B, AND C, SOMETIMES D FALLS BY WAYSIDE.  AND THERE ALWAYS SOMEONE IN AUDIENCE WHO CARE ABOUT D. ULTIMATELY, THE BEST FILMS NAVIGATE THIS DIFFICULT PATH SEAMLESSLY. THEY PICK THE RIGHT THINGS FOCUS ON AND KEEP EVERYTHING BALANCED WITH TONE… AND IT ABSURDLY DIFFICULT.