December 27th, 2009

NCC-1701 Nebula 1

A 1999 interview with John Hughes

A blast from the past: This 1999 chat is apparently the last interview writer-director John Hughes ever gave. Talks about his films, the music for them, and some of the people influenced by him, like Kevin Smith:
I brought up Kevin Smith, writer/director of Clerks and Chasing Amy, who has more than once mentioned Hughes as an influence, even going so far as to base his upcoming Dogma around a quest by his recurring characters, Jay and Silent Bob, to find Shermer, Illinois (a mythical Chicago suburb where many of Hughes' teen films were set). "Someone mentioned that to me," Hughes says. "I saw Clerks, and it made me a little jealous. I wanted to do something similar. I like how he stays in New Jersey and retains that regional flavor. I admire what he's doing."
Via Kevin Smith, in fact; someone passed him along the link on his Twitter feed.
Me 1

Nursing a sick car back to health

Mom and Dad got me home this morning, as I needed a ride back from their place after Christmas. Dad and I then spent some time with my long-neglected car, jumping it, running it for the first time in a couple of months and then taking it for a several-block spin around my neighborhood. Dad, much better at car stuff than I, gave me some pointers on what it likely needs, some of which I knew. It wouldn't start after that, so we jumped it again, and I let it run for a while. I've been letting it run on and off this afternoon, glad that it has plenty of gas and hoping that it keeps running. And it has gotten enough charge to be able to start again. So far I've let it be stopped for the length of a Lost episode, and it started again. This week: Get a couple of things checked by professionals, and (if all goes well) get its oil changed and start driving it regularly again.

I both miss driving and know that I need to retrain myself driving. I drove some last month -- a company car for a work errand (as in, Portland to Auburn, Wash., 150 miles one way), and a MUCH SHORTER trip into Newberg when I was staying with my folks at Thanksgiving -- and a little earlier this month, when I gassed up a company car. But the longest road trip I did this year was to Eugene back in February, and the longest trip after that was to go to Tigard for the Star Trek preview screening. Otherwise, very little driving. This year I've likely driven the least of any year I've been a driver. If this works, I can do longer trips again. I've missed doing that.
Whale fluke

............................. TSOL ............................. (huh. Sounds like "LOL.")

Ever watch Jaws backward? You watch it backward and it's about a shark throwing people up until they open the beach. (I like that old joke.)

In that spirit, someone should watch Lost backward when it's done. Might blow their mind. (Notice I avoided the "probably makes as much sense that way" crack, huh?)

In other Lost news, I've been experimenting today with watching the 2nd season Lost DVDs at one step faster than normal speed, with subtitles on. I kind of want to power through this season, get the basic story info, and get more quickly to Season 3. And it hit me this weekend how close Season 6 is to starting, and now that I'm actually involved with the show I want to see as much of it as possible before the final batch of episodes air.

By the way, I decided there's another reason I'm liking Lost. I once decided that disaster films were always to some extent hobbled by having to so quickly, broadly sketch each character, because disaster films -- this applies to alien invasion films, too -- usually have gigantic casts. At some level, the characters are going to be cartoons, or at least cartoonish. Mars Attacks! takes that to a nice extreme, I think (yeah, I kind of get a sick kick out of that flick), but you know what I'm talking about. So I decided that a disaster or alien invasion could be told in a TV series or miniseries, leading up to the invasion or disaster but giving the characters time to be a little more carefully sketched out.

Lost is doing that in its own, strangely structured way: show the disaster, then show all those flashbacks, filling in the blanks of the survivors' lives. I watched one of the Season 1 documentaries where the show runners explain they did that because the idea of "survivors on an island" didn't seem compelling enough: why are those specific people on the island? was and is the cooler, more compelling question. Of course there's a "tying everything and everyone together" quality to those flashbacks, too ("Oh, those two ran into each other before the flight?"), but ultimately they tell us more -- more story, more character, and more depth. Or, at least, they should. I'm sure each of the Lost fans reading this can think of a flashback that made them go Um, no, that doesn't really fit. (Don't give me examples of flash-forwards that do that, though. I'm not to that part of the show yet.)