Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Underrated X-Files episodes that deserve credit

Lately, I've pulled out some of my old X-Files DVDs to re-watch some episodes. I must say, that the show holds up remarkably well. Plenty of the episodes that I recall as stellar upon the initial viewing remain stellar such as "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" (hell any Darin Morgan episode for that matter), "Beyond the Sea", "One Breath", "Duane Barry", "Small Potatoes" and "Pusher", to name a few. However, there are also a good number of episodes that I think never received the acclaim they deserved. It could have been because they had the misfortune of being overshadowed by the mythology episodes or the audience didn't fully appreciate them.

However, these are the episodes of the X-Files that I think were really exceptional and never received their due credit. And no, I will not be including "Teso Dos Bichos", "Badlaa", or "Fight Club". Those episodes were atrocious the first time I watched them, and I'm sure they are now. As a matter of fact, it's hard for me to call anything really exceptional from season 6-9 (with the exception being the David Duchovny penned/directed outing, "The Unnatural").

These are my choices, feel free to agree or disagree all you want.


BLOOD



This Glen Morgan & James Wong episode (which features a story credit to Darin Morgan- who will go on to become the best writer of the series) is a very spooky tale which has townspeople committing murder after receiving messages from electronic devices. Of course, as with everything on the X-Files, it is a tad more complex than that. We soon discover that the town has been the subject of a controlled experiment with a chemical compound. All of this culminates in a shooting at a clocktower. The old chestnut of subliminal messages is used here and works amazingly well (the theme is used again in "Wetwired"- another solid episode). Although the shooting at the climax of the episode is memorable- my favorite moment would be the creepy scene with Mrs. McRoberts and the mechanic. There is a sense of unease that director David Nutter captured beautifully. Former porn star, Ashlyn Gere (who Morgan and Wong would work with again on Millennium and Space: Above and Beyond) showed she had some genuine acting chops with her role as McRoberts, who killed the mechanic due to her rape phobia. A very effective and jarring episode which also features the second appearance of the Lone Gunmen (and made me a fan of Frohike's for life)- and remains one of the most disturbing X-Files ever.


RED MUSEUM





"Red Museum" is tied to the mythology arc- but never seems to be remembered by X-Files fans. Written by series creator, Chris Carter, this episode is in ways, a sequel to the previous season's "The Erlenmeyer Flask". The episode has all the ingredients of a classic X-File: a Peeping Tom, kids being abducted and being returned with "He is One" or "She is One" on their backs. You have a cult called The Church of the Red Museum who are all vegetarians and contrast the meat-eating townspeople, who are becoming increasingly hostile. Then, you throw in the killer of Deep Throat, the Crew-Cut Man and this episode is an over the top success. But it ultimately falls by the wayside with fans. I do understand some thought it was a mistake for the Crew-Cut Man to die, but I'd prefer Mulder's search for vengeance to be thwarted somewhat. Also, this episode reminds me that Mulder (at least in the earlier seasons) used to have a brain when he starts discussing "walk-ins" with Scully. By the way, the scene with Scully and Mulder enjoying ribs together is priceless. I think the episode was quite disturbing which was something that show used to do very well.

This episode was supposed to be linked with an episode of the CBS show, Picket Fences, but it never materialized. It's too bad, I would have enjoyed to have seen the case carry over to another series. But, cross-network promoting was something that CBS had no interest in.

3







This episode has gotten a fair share of backlash from fans but I like to think that most of that backlash was from the "shippers" who only want Mulder and Scully to be together. Personally, I think this episode was the perfect opportunity for Mulder to be vulnerable enough to sleep with someone. He was at a point where he was at rock bottom. The X-Files are re-opened but he is emotionally dead without Scully (who has been abducted). When Mulder goes to Los Angeles, the fires that are plaguing the state at the time, is a nice stand-in for Hell. A series of vampire-like murders are occurring and Mulder meets up with a woman named Kristen (played by Perry Reeves, who was Duchovny's real life girlfriend at the time), who may be a part of the trinity of killers.

Mulder is at his worst here and comes across Kristen, who is just as damaged as he is. The two have sex (although in famous Chris Carter fashion, it remains ambiguous because you never see it)- and in the end, Kristen sacrifices herself to stop the killers once and for all. All is left is a fiery blaze, and all Mulder has left to cling to is Scully's necklace.

I think the direction and music for this episode are top-notch. Glen Morgan and James Wong re-wrote a Chris Ruppenthal script which apparently included a lot of bloodsports and violence. Even though that aspect was watered down, I still find a lot of interesting things in this episode. Perry Reeves does a good job with her performance, however the real guest star is Frank Military, who steals every scene as John/The Son. He burns up the screen with his manic performance and he really made the episode special. He literally scares the living shit out of you because his intensity is off the charts.

It may always be loathed because fans are not pleased that Mulder had sex with someone else. But get over it, the man has to be human every once in a while. I applaud Morgan and Wong for showing the humanity (shippers would be pissed again with another Morgan and Wong script, "Never Again" which had Scully having sex with killer Ed Jerse).

FRESH BONES





Perhaps this episode's lack of notoriety is due to following, "Die Hand Die Verletzt" which was Morgan and Wong's swan song for The X-Files (they returned in the fourth season). I'm not sure why this Howard Gordon penned episode never really is recognized but it is a chilling hour. The episode centers around a number of voodoo related incidents happening to troops who are working at a processing center which holds Haitian refugees. Initially it seems that the culprit is voodoo practitioner and refugee, Pierre Bauvais. But in true X-Files fashion, the real culprit is Colonel Wharton, who has been beating the refugees. In the end, an already dead Bauvais turns the tables on Wharton.

As strong as Howard Gordon's script is, the performances are top-notch including Daniel Benzali as Wharton and Bruce Young as the charismatic Bauvais. I think the first scene with Bauvais in his cell may be one of the best acted scenes in the series. I absolutely love the passion in which Bruce Young recited his lines- you would truly believe that Bauvais is a powerful man. And I remember freaking out when I saw the refugee's fingers come out of Scully's hand and started to strangle her. I still think this episode is pound for pound one of the scariest X-Files ever.

SOFT LIGHT



I love the premise of this episode. Dr. Chester Ray Banton (played by future Monk star, Tony Shalhoub) is a man who is literally terrified of his own shadow. It turns out that he survived an accident when he was researching dark matter, and now his shadow is a black hole and kills anyone that it comes across. As great as that idea is, the episode really kicks into high gear when X, Mulder's informant (played with great intensity by Steven Williams), arrives. He manipulates and uses Mulder to find out where Dr. Banton is being held out- and tries to abduct the scientist, but allows him to flee when his two associates are killed by Banton's shadow. In the end, X is able to abduct the scientist and also damages his relationship with Mulder. The final shot of Banton receiving the "brain suck" he so dreaded is heartbreaking.

This episode was the first episode from writer, Vince Gilligan, who would go on to be the best writer of the show after Glen Morgan, James Wong and Darin Morgan left (and who would go on to create the brilliant series, Breaking Bad).

GROTESQUE





Howard Gordon wrote this horrifying episode which is about a serial killer who claims that a gargoyle spirit committed the crimes. This episode was the darkest episode of the series to date, and in many ways, seems like the template for the look and theme of Millennium which would debut in the next season. The premise of this episode seems to be based on the John Douglas comment of catching a killer by getting into the mind of one. Mulder eventually becomes obsessed with the case, to the point where everyone around him questions his sanity. In the end, Mulder's former mentor is the one who has become consumed by the darkness he was chasing for so many years. It's a cautionary tale of not becoming what you are trying to fight. As good as the guest cast (including Kurtwood Smith) all are- I think that Levani Outchaneichvili really steals the show. He would later on portray the demonic Yaponchik on Millennium.

D.P.O.




When I first saw this episode, I didn't really care too much for it. I thought it was kind of a let-down following the mythology episodes that preceded it. Re-watching the episode now, I can appreciate it. I guess Darren Oswald and his pal Zero (played by Jack Black) are the closest the X-Files will ever come to Beavis and Butthead. I really enjoy the nice metaphor of the lightning powers being connected to Darren's out of control hormones. It's not a complex episode at all, and the episode is very straight-forward, but it's wonderfully executed. Giovanni Ribisi is outstanding as the emotionally fractured and destructive Darren, who spends his days creating accidents and slaughtering cattle with his abilities.

This episode is either frowned upon or appreciated by X-Files fans, but I think it requires a second viewing. While it's not the best episode, I think there is something truly special with this tale. I think it deserves a second chance, and you won't be disappointed by what you see.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hmmm does this explain my birth sign?

I don't pay much attention to that whole astrology nonsense, but this article although poorly written, does have some correct traits about a Sagittarian male (or at least from my perspective):

Sagittarius Men


A man who loves social life and curious about every new progress, new development to make sure he is in the era and always have all up date information. He likes to know what the latest trend of fashion is and make sure he is not out of style. You can easily spot him at the grand opening of new pub, new restaurant for he loves to participate in social activity.

There is a few Sagittarius who is a private person as well, but you could see that he will be ahead of his friends. He will know what the best seller’s book is and what the top 10 hot hit of the week are. The hottest movies showing now, he must have already seen it. He hates routine, it makes him bored. He likes to get to his goals and succeeding in doing so is his true reward.

Money making is O.K. but it is not his true joy, for he can easily spend them in a short while. They say if you want the truth, go and ask Sagittarius. They are right, you can ask him and he will tell you all the truth and very straight forward. Even he may speak bluntly, his friend’s loves him. If you have problems, all your friends may feel sorry for you, but Sagittarius will be the one who will give you a helping hand first and even expect no return favor.

That’s why he is a real charmer even sometimes big mouth. When he is mad he can be quite fierce but quickly dissolve and easily forgotten. He is not a person who will take revenge, so if he says he going to burn down your house, you can relax. He likes compliments and sweet words, so you can manipulate him easily. If he knows you are not sincere, you will totally become meaningless to him. Some Sagittarius is gifted musician, or singer.

He is a happy soul, has a good humor and has lots of jokes. He loves freedom, lively and very energetic. If he is working, he will take his job seriously. He likes to travel, likes to see new exciting places. Going out or traveling make him happy. Sagittarius man is like a free bird. He lives as if everyday is Sunday. He will hardly be in a bad mood, but if he is in a bad mood, you will better leave his sight.

If you want to talk to him in such mood, try to avoid issue of commenting his life. He flirts like other man, but he has a built in brake, so he will come back to you by himself. If he disappear for a few days, not to worry for he is only recharging his battery to be that same lively person again, them he will be back. He has allergies to Pretty woman, so in love with many women for him would be normal. Setting dating schedule is his games and its fun for him, and this will keep him from being bored.

He hates obligations, so the word “marriage” would suffocate him. If you allow him to have freedom, he will not go anywhere. He falls in love as easy as he catches cold, especially if she is cute, funny and she has a strong personality. No one can tell how long he will be in love each time. If you want to really hold Sagittarius man, act like you are in an adventure movie. At all time, you should make yourself lively, tells him some jokes, always be cute so that it will ease up his allergy to other pretty woman a bit.

Turkey is not the only thing you can eat for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shame, Shame on you Redskins





I am livid beyond words with the loss last night to the Philadelphia Eagles. Chad Dukes summed up my frustrations with the nonsense with the Redskins players and personnel. The man has earned my undying respect because I know how he feels as a fellow diehard fan, and he took the words right out of my mouth.



I am just disgusted with the way the Redskins organization has fallen apart in over the last decade. Since Dan Snyder has taken over, it's been one mistake and disaster after the next. I remember when the decision was made to bring Deion Sanders in and get rid of a Redskin workhorse, Brian Mitchell. The Redskins get Deion and think they're going to buy themselves a Super Bowl win? What did they get in return? The Redskins were made to look like buffoons, Deion left after one piss-poor season, and Brian did great in Philly.

I may live in Los Angeles, California right now- but I will always be a loyal Redskins fan. I've been a fan since I was two and a half years old. I was the one who made my family Redskins fans. My family have been putting money into the product and organization for decades. I am cut from the cloth of Redskins fan who cared about community, who went to the old RFK Stadium, who was used to playoff games, had faith in the heart of our team.

Does this team have heart now? Well, watch our overpaid big baby, "Fat" Albert Haynesworth, doing what he does best, rolling over and just giving up.



I am disgusted by the millionaires who could care less about their performance and how it comes off to the loyal fanbase, who pump money into their wallets and pay for their mortgages. Call me selfish or pardon me if I seem entitled, but I expect a little bit more than the visual abortion I saw on that field Monday night. We are a disgrace to the National Football League, and I'm tired of it. I'm sick and tired of Dallas Cowboys fans consoling me. They are laughing at us?! They've won only two freaking games all season and meanwhile, they look down on us?!! I should be looking down on them, but no, it always ends with the Redskins fans having to take the abuse.

I have Redskins memorabilia all over my house. I have autographed footballs, pics with my favorite player, Joe Theismann, who was my childhood hero. I was brought up on the old school of football, and their mentality. So, it makes me livid to see these players nowadays with their "me, me, me" philosophy. There is no team anymore- it's just players coming in, raping the fans for their money and moving on. Its players like that- who make the ones who actually try look bad.

Stick your heads in the ground like an ostrich all this week, Redskins staff and players. You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be kissing each one of our asses one by one for sticking through with you after what I saw Monday night.

Monday, November 8, 2010

X-Files 3???? Really??


There was an interview with David Duchovny in France's TVMag where it was suggested that the third X-Files script was being penned (I would assume it be the team of Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz writing the script)- and would be returning to the show's labyrinthine mythology.

I was shocked that the movie was greenlit considering the box office failure that was X-Files: I Want to Believe, a movie that was geared towards the shippers (the fans who wanted Mulder and Scully to be together) and was an independent story.

However, Latino Review reports that the news was an error and that a script has not been written as of yet. I guess it would be nice for the fans that are left to have one last hooray for Mulder and Scully- but who really cares at this point? The original mytharc was so muddled by the end of the show that it was clear that Chris Carter had no clear idea where he wanted to take the storyline. And most importantly the great characters that supported Mulder and Scully in their adventures are already gone (X, Krycek, Cigarette Smoking Man, the Lone Gunmen), and I think the magic is honestly gone for The X-Files. It's something that can live on in comic form, but as a film franchise is pretty dead in the water.

I would suggest to Chris Carter, instead of focusing on a new X-Files movie, how about fans of Millennium get that feature film that has been discussed for over a decade now? Fans deserve it and dammit, Lance Henriksen deserves it as well. If you have written that script, Mr. Carter, I humbly apologize and encourage you to push for it. Shove it down a Fox's exec's throat if you must, but make it happen.

Like the poster on Mulder's wall says: I want to believe.

Just one more thing

As you can tell this Caprica fan, did not take the news of the cancellation very well: