Brandon's Corner: Lost, The Leftovers, and the Legacy of Lindelof

damon-lindelof-wackadooOriginally I was going to write about Tomorrowland. Then I was sure I was going to write on Far From the Madding Crowd to simply shine a light on the heinously under recognized Michael Sheen. I just couldn't do it. I have failed you, Anakin, I have failed you. This topic though I'm going to talk about, has been on my mind non-stop. I just can't stop thinking of Damon Lindelof. "Lindelof Who?", you might ask.  Well, then. . . Let's begin. Damon Lindelof is either one the greatest minds ever to come to entertainment, or one of the worst, or maybe he's a combination of both depending on who you are talking to. As the title of my article suggests Lindelof is the key mind behind Lost. I know, just saying that word can either stimulate a person to cringe or look back with fond memories. Either way, this guy has spearheaded one of the most influential pieces of entertainment of all time.

Lost, whether you like it or not, has some of the most clever storytelling told on any screen. It's disjunctives connectivity between past and present and lives provides for breathtaking experiences mixed with some of the most mind-blowing mystery and enigmatic elements one will ever see. It also contains some of the most gut-wrenching emotion.

The only issue, well, let's not to dive into the problems with Lost. We could be here a while. This, though, holds the reason why this guy is so dang confusing when it comes to appreciating. He doesn't provide what many believe the sense of closure we deserve or any explanation for why things happen. There is also an alarming amount of fluff, trails that don't matter, and complete lack of pacing in his storytelling.

This is shown most recently in Tomorrowland, as Lindelof's and Brad Bird's screenplay is riddled with unfocused pacing, exposition that never quite finds its groove, no subtlety to its message, with a lack of concentration to its better parts. What should have been at the forefront of its tale -  one of hardened, veteran genius and his relationship with an extraordinary girl (and I'm not talking about Britt Robertson!) - is thrown under the bus for an inordinate amount of time spent on a cheesy caricature. Wow, what a indigestible piece of entertainment. I feel terrible even saying that as I know how much work went into it, but I got to be honest. Tomorrowland just doesn't work.

LeftoversThough even if I see there is some problems with narratives he's worked on, at the center of all of Lindelof's work lies mind-blowing ideas and some of the most provocative undertones one will ever come across. For all its issues, even Tomorrowland has some brilliant ideas. There is the fascinating thoughts on how we view destruction, a potentially controversial love story between two unlikely figures, and above all our perception of what the future truly holds.

These types of provocative themes and thoughts on issues are shown in all of his work, whether it be The Leftovers, Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness, or - dare I say - even World War Z. Above all though, I want to talk about The Leftovers. Much of the reason I wanted to write this article in the first place is because of it. The Leftovers, if you haven't heard is an HBO show about a small town in New York called Mapleton and their response to to a world wide event that causes the disappearance of two percent of the world's population. IT IS MY FAVORITE TV SHOW OF ALL TIME (and I put that it in all caps for subtleties sake).

That being said, let's be honest. It is not perfect, as is the case with almost anything that has Lindelof's fingerprints on it. I am not always convinced that his pacing works or have faith that answers will be given to enough of the questions raised. When The Leftovers is brilliant though, it is above and beyond what I can even put to words. There is an ethereal brilliance to the show that transcends rationality. It digs deep and personally into issues of grief, spirituality, and existentialism with the greatest of ease, that it is almost scary. It is these terrifying thoughts on how we deal with tragedy that makes this show so engaging and utterly captivating.

To put it simply, I think the guys is a bona fide genius. At least I think. . . What makes the guy even harder to diagnose is that he is a strong collaborator. He rarely if ever takes it solo, as the charismatic Lindelof has talked at length about the strength of two minds working together towards a goal. This also means, how much credit he should get for all of his projects becomes confusing to say the least. Is Leftovers and Lost at its best because of Tom Perrotta or Carlton Cuse? Is Lindelof to blame for what I perceive to be weaknesses in storytelling, or is it the people he works with? Either way, I'm not even sure if I truly care.

star-trek-into-darkness-handsAll I care about is how much profound emotion I feel when I watch any of his stories play out on screen. To be honest, I have literally cried so many times in the films and series he has been a part of, that it is mind boggling. I used to never cry during visual narratives. Then a little piece of brilliance came out called Star Trek Into Darkness. There is a scene in that film that brought closure to my Grandpa recently passing away. Ever since then, Damon Lindelof has thrown salt in my eyes with his dramas.  It's kind of painful but so cathartic that I can't help coming back for more waterfalls of pure emotion.

In summary, well, I'm not sure if I need a summary. You either like the guy or you don't. Personally I love the guy and think he has one of the most brilliant minds I have ever come across. With that in mind, many of you will hate his work. I understand. The pacing and lack of focus in Lindelof's narratives can be a burden to get through. That being said, his stories are more rewarding than anything I have ever come across. So, if you are anything like me and enjoy anything this guy has spearheaded - for goodness sakes - check out more. This type of talent doesn't always come along all that often. When it does we got to suck it till its dry and no longer has any flavor left. Hopefully he's top-notch sucker we can dine on for years to come and hopefully pull the fuzz off while were at it.