Category Archives: Entertainment

Dollhouse

It’s over. Just like that!  I caught the series finale of Dollhouse on Hulu w/o even realizing it was the series finale until some pretty crazy stuff (i.e. the world nearly destroyed gets miraculously saved) started going down.  I’ll say one thing for commercials… at least they keep you in the loop.  With my work/volunteer hours, it’s rare I’m consistently home in time to watch any show the night it airs.  Even when I am home in time to catch it, I’m usually an ep or 2 behind, so I pretty much watch all my TV on hulu or the network site.  Which means… no commercials reminding me the series finale is coming, no previews, no hype or warning that a show is about to end.
 
Anywho… the ending was very disjoint and probably massively confusing for a lot of people since it picked up from an unaired ep (actually, it was only aired in Europe but was on the DVD) of season 1.  Thankfully, my friend loaned me the ep so I at least wasn’t completely clueless when I saw the finale.  It was a decent ending (which flashes 10 years into the future) but rushed and felt like they were trying too hard to cram in all the Buffy/Angel/Firefly alums (except for Amy Acker… what’s up with that?? Even Summer Glau who was only in a couple of eps this season made a short cameo in the finale) to tie up as many loose ends as possible.  I haven’t decided whether I’d consider it a good wrap up of the series.  Overall, I was entertained (but I’m pretty easily entertained).
 
SPOILER ALERT!
 
I like the Adelle / Topher storyline.  They did a good job of growing & nurturing that relationship from a faux big scary lady boss bent on rising up the evil corporate ladder and the geeky genius who time & time again is betrayed and berated by her as she uses him to climb her way up to a much more humane and likable mother/son relationship.  Topher’s character growth was one of the better (maybe really the only) one out of the complete cast.  You see him gradually realizing that all this tech he helped developed that he was so proud of and hyper geeked out could and was in the plans to be used as a weapon for world domination / destruction.  He begins to realize his own hand and unknowing contribution to this cool technology turned weapon and starts feeling remorseful and resentful of himself.  He’s a tortured soul and completely off his rocker by the finale (he was driven to it by the Rossum folks who killed a person in front of him every day he didn’t deliver them the tech they wanted) but he got his moment of redemption in the end, when he uses his genius for good rather than evil (though, he was never really an "evil" guy) and sacrifices himself to save the world/humankind.  Go Topher! I think he’s my favorite character on the show.
 
Priya/Tony (Sierra/Victor) – There was an interesting twist w/ Tony choosing to implant himself with portable wiping tech so he can download skills on the fly to fight the waging war.  Basically, he chose to be Victor over leading a house on the prarie life as Tony with Priya and their son. I think I would have preferred if he died in the end tho and Priya raises T (Tony Jr.) to finally know who his dad was (it was their agreement to keep the kid in the dark about all the business w/ the wiping tech – daddy dearest included).  This would have been the bitter to the sweet. The Priya/Tony relationship was much better cultivated than the Echo/Paul.  You root for them the entire series, so it would have been WAY more of a heart wrencher if Tony had died.  I also think the guy who plays Tony was one of the better actors on the show.  He displayed quite a bit of range and was decently convincing in most roles.  He does an awesome portrayal of Topher (they imprinted Tony w/ Topher on various occassions towards the end), which is hilarious!  Anyhow, the happily ever after for those three is aight, but a little too sappy go lucky for me.
 
Echo/Paul – I was left with an "eh?" bordering on "creepy!" feeling about how they left this one.  They set the stage with Paul telling Echo that for 10 year’s he’s been trying to connect with her but she just won’t let him in. How she’s got hundreds of personalities in her head but is the loneliest person he knows.  Then he proceeds to get shot in the head and Echo has a massive breakdown when the reality of that finally sets in and she realizes w/o him she’s all alone.  In the 11th hour when they’re about to reset the world (or what’s left of it), Echo finds a package left for her by Alpha. It’s an imprint of Paul… which she proceeds to imprint herself with!! WTF!  She then has a little tete-a-tete with Paul inside her own head (so maybe that’s just a "tete") where he asks her if she’s sure she has room for him in her head… he’s got a lot of baggage afterall.  She tells him she’s sure and they’ve got plenty of time to learn all about each other.  The series ends with her going to take a little nap in her cubby in the floor… presumably so she can start the process of going insane by having conversations between herself and the imprint of Paul in her head. Or will she alternatively flip between herself and Paul and act out their little love story.  Either way, it’s weird and creep!
 
Just about any other ending would have left me more satisfied and a lot less creeped out. I would have preferred Echo and Paul just end up together — cheesy as it is. Or slightly better would be if she decides to stay in the Dollhouse as "Echo" but Paul wants to leave and forget the whole thing ever happened.  Maybe he promises he’ll never forget her and hopefully after a year underground she’ll finally be ready to let him in and she can come find him on the outside.  When the big hard reset happens she has her little breakdown and realizes she never told Paul she loved him and what if he forgets her and she really is all alone.  While sad, that would have been way more satisfying.  Plus, it leaves room for a movie afterwards or something.  =)
 
Anyhow, all criticisms aside, it’s unfortunate the series had to end so quickly.  Technically there were 2 seasons, but just 26 eps, so really just barely more than 1 standard season.  The eps since they knew they’d be canceled really kicked it up a notch.  They expedited the larger, overarching storyline so they could get to the big finale.  I doubt they could have done anything to really change the outcome of the series being cancelled, but I bet it would have done a little better if there was more of that earlier. Season 1, especially, felt so episodic – almost like a showcase of Dushku’s acting range (or lack there of).  If you’re going to be episodic like that, you need to have some combination of likable/believable characters, good writing (which it had), good acting, and intriguing storylines/cases.  There are only so many twists on the rich guy filling out weird fantasy scenario and even one is one too many. 
 
Nevertheless, it sucks another Joss Whedon show is off the air.  =( 
 
 
 

Saddest movie ever…

I just watched "La Sau Rieng" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv8I62pJPWY) from beginning to end.  Oh… did the waterworks flow!  It was SUCH a good movie though.  T made us watch it over the weekend and the second there was a plea to watch something else, he said, "Oh, let’s just fast forward it a little to the good part."  The "good part" was as it turned out the point about which the knob on the waterworks was turned full blast.  Once it was turned on, there was no going back.  So having missed a third of the movie, I decided to go back and watch what i missed and all that did was just make everything all the more sad.
 
Spoiler alert…
 
 
Here’s the story… a young woman (22) and young man from a poor province in Viet nam promise each other they will wait for one another as he goes off to study to become a teacher and she stays back in her rural hometown.  The young man goes off to study and literally minutes after he’s left town, the young woman is forced into marriage with a rich woman’s eldest and slightly mentally ill son, whose fancy she happen to catch.  This is back in the feudal era of Viet Nam when rich landlords rented out parts of their land to people who would then farm the land and pay their dues to the landlord.  So you either did what your landlord / landlady wanted or they took your house, your living, everything you have and own and out the door you go.
 
The mentally ill son of the rich landlady gets hit by a car and dies leaving behind the young woman and a son who are now living with the rich landlady and her daughter — let’s call her mean duck waddler (she waddles back and forth when she walks…quite amusing).  The young lady works day in and day out basically as a servant.  To prevent her grandson from building a close bond with his own mother, the rich landlady instructs him to call his mom by "chi hai".. meaning eldest sister.   Mother and son aren’t even allowed to ackhowledge each other as such. 
 
Heart-wrenching moment #1 (where T fastforwarded to) is a scene between the young woman and her mother who has made the long an expensive journey to visit her daughter and grandson.  The young woman’s mother learns from her grandson that her daughter gets beatings all the time and has to cater to the rich, fanciful whims of the in-laws.  She’s shocked, saddened and remorseful to learn of the hardship her daughter has to endure.  The young woman is sad for her own mom and tells her not to come visit again… to save herself heartache by considering her daughter dead and not giving another thought to her.   Her fate is what is is and there’s nothing that can change.  Mother and daughter separate never to see each other again.
 
6 years later, the young man finally tracks down the young woman (who by now has aged beyond her years due to all the manual labor and beatings from her in-laws).  He arranges to meet her that evening to take her away and live the life they were meant to live 6 years ago when they promised to wait for each other.  Coincidentally, that day her in-laws threaten to kick her out of their home.  That evening, the  young man arrives but the young woman’s heart is wrenched from the cries and pleas of her son not to leave her that she stays, giving up her chance at true love and happiness for the sake of her son.
 
20 years later, her son is set to be married.  He’s fallen in love with the daughter of a rich family and it excited by the opportunity it’ll open up to him.  Now with the collapse of the feudal system, his mom has returned to selling fish and shrimp at the market.  Although a doctor, he’s poor, having to work and go to school at the same time.  Ashamed of his mother’s lowly stature in society, he’s lied to his fiance and told her that his parents are dead.
 
There’s a heart-wrenching scene where he begs his uncle to deliver a message to his mom asking her to stay down in the rural province and not come to his wedding… that he will send her money every month, but that she can’t come to the weddinig or come visit.  He speaks of being ashamed of the living his mother is making and that his rich to-be-in-laws would not approve of their daughter marrying into a poor family such as his.   The son leaves and his mother comes in, having heard his words from outside the house.
 
Heart-wrenching scene #3… the son returns to find his mother there.  She tells him that she won’t blow his cover and will return to the province and join a monastery so that no one can find her and discover that she is his mom.   In an endeavor to teach him to not be driven by money but value people for who they are and to be true to himself and not such an ungrateful money-seeking person (my words, not hers), she asks him if she can just stay one night and then she will leave for good.  Just one night, she’ll cook his favorite dinner, tell him stories and sing him to bed at night and then the next day will leave for the monastery.  He asks her why she has to go so far and asks her not to foresake him.  She tells him, "A child may leave their mother, but a mother cannot leave her child."  She goes on to further say that he will always be her son but wonders aloud how when he was small she would give him pastries and candy and he would attach himself to her and follow her all around but now, after she’s given him a lifetime of dedication to raising him that he is so quick to let her go… so SAD!  She goes on to further say, "No, son, I will not leave you.  If I could have left you, I would have done it 20 years ago when I had the chance to start over with my life.  But it was your cry and your plea that made me stay."
 
Just then, his fiance comes by… the mom lies and pretends she was his nanny and the fiance is estatic and warm to her… happy to meet any connection to her fiance’s family and treats her with as much affection, respect and love as is befitting.  At this point, it’s just too much and the son breaks down and confesses to everything… to the identity of his mother, to lying about who his parents are, etc.  His fiance is surprisingly understanding and upon learning the truth bows and apologies right away to her mother-in-law.  Keep in mind, she’s the daughter of a millionaire and she’s bowing to a lower class woman who she could probably own as a servant if she wanted.  Now that’s a girl with a good heart and good soul.  The son asks his mom to go out back while he works things out with his fiance.
 
Just then, the girl’s father shows up.  He’s here to put an end to all this talk of his daughter marrying this lowly son of a woman who sells fish at the market.  The dad is really laying into the his daughter’s fiance.  He accuses him of trying to sneak and lie his way into his family fortune and the dad will have none of that!  The daughter is so distraught by the threat of her dad marrying her to some other dude that she runs off.
 
The mom finally makes an appearance and sees that the man criticizing, patronizing and threatening her son is none other than the young man she was in love with 26 years ago, who 20 years ago arranged a secret meeting with her to take her away and build a life together.  The young man who grew up with her in the same small town and who, then, valued people’s souls more than he valued their fortune.  There’s a wonderful moment where she puts him in his place.  It’s evident they still in some way love one another, but upon seeing how money has changed him, she can find no affection for him.  He urges her to search her memory for some remembrance of him but she rebuffs him saying that the man she once knew is now dead.  That man can’t be the same one she sees before her today because that man knew and loved poor people.  That man once taught and corrected unlearned, mispoken words without judging without condescending.  The man she sees before her doesn’t resemble that man at all.  She turns to her son and with reproach says, "Son, what is this man doing here?"  Before her son can answer, the man chimes in but, ashamed of himself, can’t come out with the truth (of blocking the marriage of his daugther and her son) but also can’t lie or excuse himself.  He just turns and leaves but not without one last hope, one last plea that the spark between him and the love of his life might be rekindled.  But nope, she will have none of that and says to him, "There’s nothing left to say between the two of us."  With that he leaves, head bowed…
 
Moments later, the fiance returns with a suitcase in hand.  She’s packed and left her home of comfort and fortune and begs her mother-in-law to take her in, declaring her true and deep love for her son.  The mother, turns to ask her son if he truly loves his fiance to which he answers that he does.  With that, a smile breaks across her face as she tells the two young lovers that they need to keep each other in their hearts and strive to keep and protect that happiness and never to sacrifice it.
 
What a good movie! 
 
 
 
 
 

I want to see this…

Sadly no one wants to see this with me.  It’s times like these when having a significant other is nice — you always have someone who’ll go see whatever movie you want to see (at least if you’re lucky and your s/o is nice like that).  I may have to go it alone on this one.  The last movie I saw alone was Forrest Gump.  My bros & I went to the movies but they wanted to see the latest Star Trek movie and I didn’t (well, if we’re being honest, it was really because I already stood in line opening night to see it w/ my fellow trekky friends) so I went to see Forrest Gump.  Well, there I was watching Forrest Gump, which is SAD!!  I was sitting there alone discretely wiping away tears hoping the people next to me didn’t think I was some weirdo. I’m not sure watching it with other people would have helped any, but at least there’s the comfort of them already knowing I’m a weirdo but for other, more legitimate, reasons.
 
 

Craziness!!

On a whim, my friend and I went parasailing after work today… holy cow it was SO much fun!!  I have to admit, I got a wee bit quesy up in the air, but I kept it in.  =) It was actually more fun than sky-diving believe it or not… maybe because you’re up there with someone and you can talk and enjoy the view and take in the experience together with someone else.   It’s definitely much more relaxing.  You’re up, you sit, you chill out a bit… catch the sunset, the view of the Space Needle, feel the breeze… absolutely amazing.  And then you’re down again before you know it.  The wind gets a bit choppy up there which makes for a little excitement, but otherwise, it’s a smooth ride.  The roughest parts are the take off and landing.  I think that was the scariest aspect of the whole thing for me.  The landing especially because they reel you back in at an alarming pace and all of a sudden you’re on the deck of the boat just like that!  It was crazy fun and I’m so glad I did it.  Thanks, J!  =)