TV

The O.C.

Noah Davis

Fans knew: when Ryan carried Marissa's lifeless body towards the camera, "Hallelujah" playing in the background, the show was finished as well.

The O.C.

Airtime: Thursdays 9pm ET
Cast: Benjamin McKenzie, Peter Gallagher, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Benjamin McKenzie, Kelly Rowan, Autumn Reeser, Melinda Clarke
MPAA rating: N/A
Subtitle: The End
Network: Fox
US release date: 2007-02-22
Website
Trailer
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The O.C. is over.

Three and a half years ago, Fox's hit show arrived brilliantly, a combination of beauty, wit, and charm that hadn't been seen since Beverly Hills 90210. Ryan (Benjamin McKenzie), Seth (Adam Brody), Summer (Rachel Bilson), and Marissa (Mischa Barton) provided optimum escape. The O.C. had something for everyone: teenyboppers emulated Marissa's look, college-aged males drooled over Summer, and adults watched as well, at first to check out the phenomenon, and then because they couldn't turn away.

The first season wasn't flawless (the Oliver subplot being the most egregious misstep), but it was damn good television. More flaws emerged over the next couple of seasons: the writing lost sizzle and some characters, most notably Kirstin (Kelly Rowan) and Sandy (Peter Gallagher), turned stale. Ryan continued to make the worst decisions imaginable, and, with the exception of the cleverly set up Spiderman-ish, upside-down kiss in the rain, the Seth and Summer relationship was increasingly tedious. Yet The O.C remained "important" (more on this in a minute), and so we continued to watch.

Then, Marissa died.

Fans knew: when Ryan carried her lifeless body towards the camera, "Hallelujah" playing in the background, the show was finished as well. For all her faults -- wooden acting, rumors of being "difficult" -- Barton provided the show's most compelling character. While Ryan brooded, Seth quipped, and Summer was, well, Summer, Marissa overdosed, became a lesbian, and had boys fighting over her. Riding the wave, Mischa attended fashion shows, hung out with A-listers, and became tabloid fodder. It was Marissa's world, the Cohens were just living in it. Her death was tragic.

Creator Josh Schwartz attempted to save Season Four with a series of ever more ridiculous scenarios. Ryan brooded some more, then decided to pursue ultimate fighting. Summer went to Brown, became a hippie, and was expelled for freeing rabbits. An earthquake struck Newport Beach. Kirstin and Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke) ran a prostitution ring. This was too much, even for a show that always bordered on absurd. Fox's cancellation of The O.C. sparked only mild protest and no surprise.

How will The O.C. be remembered? Probably somewhere between 90210, which remains beloved and in syndication, and Melrose Place, which cannot be found anywhere. The first sign of The O.C.'s afterlife? SOAPnet announced it will show episodes at 5pm Monday-Friday, beginning 9 April. The lead-in is 90210. And let's not forget the imitators: Laguna Beach was touted as "the real life O.C.," and The Hills followed closely in its wake. Aside from MTV, Bravo brought The Real Housewives of Orange County, a Laguna Beach for Kirstins.

Ultimately, however, The O.C.'s legacy will not be in defined by silly spin-offs or Kristin Cavalleri's stardom. Instead, the series will remembered for Alex Patsavas. The O.C.'s music director made more of an impact on pop culture than anyone else affiliated with the program. She discovered and showcased great music by indie bands. Being on Seth Cohen's iPod became a mark of "making it." Death Cab for Cutie owes their career (or at least their cars) to a poster hung on the wall of Newports' gnarliest dork.

This strategy of "breaking" bands has since become commonplace, brought to the mainstream in 2004 by Zach Braff, who perfected the formula on his Garden State soundtrack. The O.C. did it first. Unfortunately, Patsavas and Schwartz fell victim to the notion, "If some is good, more is better," destroying the soundtrack's small band charms with overexposure. Much of the action in Season Two revolved around having the kids stand around and watch performances at the local venue, the Bait Shop. "It" bands from the Killers to the Kaiser Chiefs took the stage to play awkward, lifeless versions of their latest singles. Mix CDs were sold everywhere from Tower Records to Second Life. Braff's music that "will change your life" caught fire (partially because Garden State had become a better product than The O.C.), and he, not Seth Cohen, became the genre's most effective tastemaker. Even so, Patsavas' influence cannot be denied. Without her, 15-year-old girls wouldn't be debating the merits of Death Cab.

Looking back, it's fitting that "Hallelujah" played as Ryan carried Marissa's body away from the fiery wreck. Leonard Cohen's masterpiece has been covered ad nauseam. The one more overkilled use symbolized how out of touch The O.C. had become. Instead of finding something new for that devastating moment, Schwartz and company went with the familiar and the safe. As the credits rolled, we knew that The O.C.'s long tumble from the top was complete. This doesn't alter the fact that the series redefined the pinnacle.

7

From drunken masters to rumbles in the Bronx, Jackie Chan's career is chock full of goofs and kicks. These ten films capture what makes Chan so magnetic.

Jackie Chan got his first film role way back in 1976, when a rival producer hired him for his obvious action prowess. Now, nearly 40 years later, he is more than a household name. He's a brand, a signature star with an equally recognizable onscreen persona. For many, he was their introduction into the world of Hong Kong cinema. For others, he's the goofy guy speaking broken English to Chris Tucker in the Rush Hour films.

From his grasp of physical comedy to his fearlessness in the face of certain death (until recently, Chan performed all of his own stunts) he's a one of a kind talent whose taken his abilities in directions both reasonable (charity work, political reform) and ridiculous (have your heard about his singing career?).

Now, Chan is back, bringing the latest installment in the long running Police Story franchise to Western shores (subtitled Lockdown, it's been around since 2013), and with it, a reminder of his multifaceted abilities. He's not just an actor. He's also a stunt coordinator and choreographer, a writer, a director, and most importantly, a ceaseless supporter of his country's cinema. With nearly four decades under his (black) belt, it's time to consider Chan's creative cannon. Below you will find our choices for the ten best pictures Jackie Chan's career, everything from the crazy to the classic. While he stuck to formula most of the time, no one made redundancy seem like original spectacle better than he.

Let's start with an oldie but goodie:

10. Operation Condor (Armour of God 2)

Two years after the final pre-Crystal Skull installment of the Indiana Jones films arrived in theaters, Chan was jumping on the adventurer/explorer bandwagon with this wonderful piece of movie mimicry. At the time, it was one of the most expensive Hong Kong movies ever made ($115 million, which translates to about $15 million American). Taking the character of Asian Hawk and turning him into more of a comedic figure would be the way in which Chan expanded his global reach, realizing that humor could help bring people to his otherwise over the top and carefully choreographed fight films -- and it's obviously worked.

9. Wheels on Meals

They are like the Three Stooges of Hong Kong action comedies, a combination so successful that it's amazing they never caught on around the world. Chan, along with director/writer/fight coordinator/actor Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao, all met at the Peking Opera, where they studied martial arts and acrobatics. They then began making movies, including this hilarious romp involving a food truck, a mysterious woman, and lots of physical shtick. While some prefer their other collaborations (Project A, Lucky Stars), this is their most unabashedly silly and fun. Hung remains one of the most underrated directors in all of the genre.

8. Mr. Nice Guy
Sammo Hung is behind the lens again, this time dealing with Chan's genial chef and a missing mob tape. Basically, an investigative journalist films something she shouldn't, the footage gets mixed up with some of our heroes, and a collection of clever cat and mouse chases ensue. Perhaps one of the best sequences in all of Chan's career occurs in a mall, when a bunch of bad guys come calling to interrupt a cooking demonstration. Most fans have never seen the original film. When New Line picked it up for distribution, it made several editorial and creative cuts. A Japanese release contains the only unaltered version of the effort.

7. Who Am I?

Amnesia. An easy comedic concept, right? Well, leave it to our lead and collaborator Benny Chan (no relation) to take this idea and go crazy with it. The title refers to Chan's post-trauma illness, as well as the name given to him by natives who come across his confused persona. Soon, everyone is referring to our hero by the oddball moniker while major league action set pieces fly by. While Chan is clearly capable of dealing with the demands of physical comedy and slapstick, this is one of the rare occasions when the laughs come from character, not just chaos.

6. Rumble in the Bronx

For many, this was the movie that broke Chan into the US mainstream. Sure, before then, he was a favorite of film fans with access to a video store stocking his foreign titles, but this is the effort that got the attention of Joe and Jane Six Pack. Naturally, as they did with almost all his films, New Line reconfigured it for a domestic audience, and found itself with a huge hit on its hands. Chan purists prefer the original cut, including the cast voices sans dubbing. It was thanks to Rumble that Chan would go on to have a lengthy run in Tinseltown, including those annoying Rush Hour films.

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