Lost: The Complete Sixth Season

Photo #2

Film (with rating): Lost: The Complete Sixth Season (NR)


Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment


Summary: One of television’s most intense, mysterious and
popular shows wraps up in this sixth and final season. The fate of Oceanic
815’s survivors and all who joined them on their journey is revealed, along
with answers to many of the secrets and questions woven into this epic


Review: I know there is a lot of controversy–as there always
has been–surrounding “Lost” and this finale. From the very first
season, theories spun back and forth over the water cooler and on the Internet.
What is the island? Who is the smoke monster? What’s up with Walt? Why can
Locke walk? Who built that statue? The list is endless. Check out any message
board or even the Amazon.com comment section for any of the series’ DVD
compilations and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Everyone has an opinion and
a theory, and everyone believes something different about what “Lost”
was really all about at its core.


In Season Six, those theories exploded. As the series
wrapped up, about half the fans felt betrayed at the end, and half felt
completely satisfied and emotionally exhausted. Without going too much into
spoilers here with my review, let me just say that the entire six-season run of
“Lost” was not about numbers, the Dharma Initiative, time travel,
polar bears, Jacob’s reign or the Man in Black. It was, at its heart, about the
main characters. The Oceanic 815 survivors. “Losties” fell in love
with Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Hurley and the rest of the crew from the time they
landed on the mysterious island until the final credits rolled. We cared about
them, mourned them, celebrated with them. They became people we knew and loved
because they were flawed, honest and real. Like us.


In that light, I fall strongly into the “loved it”
camp regarding Season Six and the ending. Yes, the “flash sideways”
stuff proved confusing and difficult to follow in the beginning, but it didn’t
critically detract from show’s plot momentum. The conclusion is extremely
emotional and touching (and yes, it even involves a dog, which just about
sealed the deal for me), and encourages some personal soul searching. Old
friends are brought back for this season, new friends find answers and many
loose ends are satisfyingly tied up. Is every question answered? Absolutely
not. Was that disappointing? You bet. (I mean, what is up with the light??)

But in the end, again
remember, we’re talking about a show revolving around lost souls and their
journey. It’s life. And as in life, not everything is answered neatly and
wrapped up with a bow. Some things remain a mystery and we accept that for what
it is.


Those “Lost”-bashers who argued that the series
ended on a weak and cop-out note failed to see that the series is not about
answering all those smaller “X-Files”-flavored questions, but
answering the biggest question of them all: Are we all lost and alone in this


The DVD collection is beautiful, as to be expected. For
those just entering the “Lost” world, I would suggest planning a few
weekends to get caught up with the first five seasons (especially the first
one) and then dive into Six.


And when it comes to the last episode, remember, it’s not
about checking off the “answered” or “not” boxes next to
the list of endless questions this series sparked. The ending is about Jack,
and Sawyer, and Kate, and Locke and everyone else who spent six years with us
in our homes, showing us that this journey is not one we need to go through


Extra highlight: Ah, so many! Start with the excellent
“The New Man In Charge.” “See You in Another Life, Brotha”
is also a good one for those looking for more explainations.


What to serve for dinner: As the show was shot on location
in Hawaii, serve up an island feast. Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, Island Style
Fried Rice, Tropical Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette and Coconut and Chocolate
Pie (allrecipes.com).



Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs


*   3
tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons sherry

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 2 inch pieces

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained



In a shallow glass dish, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar,
sherry, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic powder. Stir the chicken pieces and
pineapple into the marinade until well coated. Cover, and marinate in the
refrigerator at least 2 hours. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil
the grill grate. Thread chicken and pineapple alternately onto skewers. Grill
15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until chicken juices run clear.


Island-Style Fried Rice


*   1 1/2
cups uncooked jasmine rice

3 cups water

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 (12 ounce) can fully cooked luncheon meat (such as SPAM), cubed

1/2 cup sliced Chinese sweet pork sausage (lup cheong)

3 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/2 cup chopped green onion


Bring the rice and water to a boil in a saucepan over high
heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender,
and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the rice cool completely.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat, and brown the luncheon
meat and sausage. Set aside, and pour the beaten eggs into the hot skillet.
Scramble the eggs, and set aside. 
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat,
and stir in the rice. Toss the rice with the hot oil until heated through and
beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic powder, toss the rice for 1
more minute to develop the garlic taste, and stir in the luncheon meat,
sausage, scrambled eggs, pineapple, and oyster sauce. Cook and stir until the
oyster sauce coats the rice and other ingredients, 2 to 3 minutes, stir in the
green onions, and serve.




*   6
slices bacon

1/4 cup pineapple juice

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

freshly ground black pepper to taste

salt to taste

1 (10 ounce) package chopped romaine lettuce

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

1/2 cup chopped and toasted macadamia nuts

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted


Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high
heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. In a cruet or jar with a
lid, combine pineapple juice, red wine vinegar, oil, pepper and salt. Cover and
shake well. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, pineapple, macadamia
nuts, green onions and bacon. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
Garnish with toasted coconut.





*   1 (9 inch) unbaked
pie crust

1 cup milk

1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup cornstarch

7/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup white sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crust for 15 minutes, or
until golden brown. Set aside to cool. In a medium saucepan, whisk together
milk, coconut milk and one cup sugar. In a separate bowl, dissolve the
cornstarch in water. Bring coconut mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and
slowly whisk in the cornstarch. Continue stirring mixture over low heat until
thickened, about 3 minutes. In a glass bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 1
minute or until melted. Divide the coconut pudding evenly into two bowls. Mix
chocolate into one portion. Spread on the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the
remaining portion of pudding on top of the chocolate and spread smooth.
Refrigerate for about an hour. Whip cream with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks
form. Layer the cream on pie; if desired garnish with chocolate shavings.


What to talk about over dinner: The list is endless! What is
the island? Discuss the “purgatory” theme. Who was your favorite
character? Your least favorite? Why? Who had the biggest emotional growth while
on the island? What was your favorite episode? Why did any of them want to get
off the island when they faced a terrible life back home? Which long-gone
character did you love seeing in Season Six? Why could the MIB not leave the
island? What was the light? What did you think about Jacob? What did you think
about Locke and Ben this season? Is this really the Garden of Eden? Discuss
“live together, die alone.” How much does Vincent rock? What
“Lost” character would you be? Why were no children born on the
island? What was the purpose of the numbers? Why did Hurley never lose any
weight? How could Hurley see dead people? Did you feel cheated or satisfied at
the ending? Why? Do you believe what Jack’s father said to him?  How would you have wrapped things up?
How would you explain the unanswered questions? Compare the very first opening
scene to the very last closing scene.


Or just don’t discuss theories at all. Instead, talk about
the last episode. Do you think this is how things work? Are we really never
alone, especially at the end?

Crazy Heart

Photo #1Film (with rating): Crazy Heart (R)


Studio: Fox Home Entertainment

Summary: An aging country legend on a broken-down path of
self destruction finds redemption and love in the arms of a journalist.


Review: I know this is not a new release this week, but with
nothing out there tickling my fancy, I decided to pull a former Oscar winner
out of the pile. I’ll be honest: “Crazy Heart” almost got shut off
half an hour in. And again at 45 minutes. The movie is slow. Beyond slow at
times. And who cares about this burned-out drunk playing and puking in bowling
alley after bowling alley? Eventually, I did. The only thing keeping my
attention was Jeff Bridges’ amazing performance. Understated, raw, real and
surprising, Bridges nailed this movie. He saved it and brought together every
last string, making it sing.

It took some time for me to really care about his character,
Bad Blake, but that was by first-time director Scott Cooper’s design. Bad is a
tough guy to know and like, but once you do, you do. Bad, who has been demoted
to playing in bowling alleys and barfing in trash cans out back in the middle
of his set, is obviously a train wreck. His one-time backup singer Tommy (Colin
Farrell, in a surprising, touching and fantastic unnamed cameo) is a thorn in
Bad’s side, as are the dive owners who won’t let him run up a bar tab.

But then Bad meets Jean, played competently yet
unimpressively by Maggie Gyllenhaal. This single mother to a sweet
four-year-old boy touches something in Bad that makes him want to be better.
The movie gripped me and didn’t let go when Jean flew out to meet Bad at his
home, and events transpired that changed everyone’s lives. I found myself
cheering on this guy, who in the beginning of the film, seemed like a total
burnout waste. I wanted him to succeed, and my heart went out to him. Bridges
absolutely deserved his Oscar for his performance, as did Ryan Bingham T-Bone
Burnett for the song “The Weary Kind.” 

Speaking of that, another huge perk for this film is the
awesome score. Much of it is sung by both Bridges and Farrell–a huge surprise,
but a good one. In fact, I’m tempted to download the entire soundtrack
featuring both actors.

On the negative side, I disliked the ending, I wasn’t a big
fan of Gyllenhaal’s character (and I don’t think she really deserved an Oscar
nod for this performance at all), and I didn’t buy the chemistry between Jean
and Bad. Yet Bridges’ strength overshadowed the film’s flaws.


Extra highlight: Don’t bother. Go to iTunes and listen to
the soundtrack instead.


What to serve for dinner: Go with a Bad specialty: biscuits
(allrecipes.com). Serve them with sausage gravy for a real Southern treat, or
just use them as dinner rolls alongside baked chicken and steamed broccoli.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together
the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the
mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away
from the side of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20
times. Pat or roll dough out to 1-inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter
or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the
excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 13 to
15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

Sausage Gravy (cooks.com)

1/2 lb. bulk sausage

4 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 1/2 c. milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage, crumbling well. Pour off all but 2-3
tablespoons of grease. Sprinkle flour on top. Increase heat to high and cook,
stirring, until flour starts to brown. Add milk, stirring constantly and
continue cooking until gravy thickens. Add salt and pepper. Serve over hot
biscuits or toast.

What to talk about over dinner: What was your favorite song
in the film? What was the moment you began to like Bad? How would you have
written the ending? Or did it have to end like this? What did you think of the
scene at the mall? Who knew Jeff and Colin could sing like that? Who do you
think in today’s music world compares to Bad? When did the movie begin to pick
up for you? Compare this to Bridge’s other performances. Were you as shocked by
Farrell’s appearance as was I? What did you think of it