We Had to Go Back | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

We Had to Go Back

Taylor Morden, the filmmaker behind "The Last Blockbuster," uncovers "Lost"

It's hard to imagine a more influential show than "Lost." Maybe "The X-Files" was the first TV show people obsessed about on the internet, but "Lost" was the first that took the audience on such an unpredictable ride that the speculation between episodes and seasons became a huge part of the experience. The term "Mystery Box" was even coined because of the deep well of questions the show continuously raised. "Lost" was a phenomenon that hasn't been successfully repeated since the show ended in May of 2010 and, even with a divisive final season, it's a show that still inspires debate and arguments over a decade later. To this day, there's no other piece of pop culture I've written or obsessed about more than "Lost."

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Taylor Morden
Taylor on the set of “Lost” in 2010. The only thing that make this movie better is an appearance by Bend’s own Matty Fox. Mr. Fox, if you’re reading this… the island needs you.

Filmmaker Taylor Morden has already proven he knows how to deconstruct a pop cultural phenomenon with his 2020 documentary ,"The Last Blockbuster" (which, in transparency, I appear in), so it makes perfect sense for him to go back to the island for "Getting Lost," a documentary focused on the series just in time for its 20th anniversary.

"I first discovered 'Lost' like many people did in the early 2000s, when everyone I knew was talking about it," says Morden. "It was partway through the first season, and I caught a random episode and it made no sense whatsoever. Shortly thereafter I was able to rent the first season on DVD from Blockbuster video and was hooked immediately. The 'Lost' online community, the theorizing, the sense of 'we're all in this together' that came from trying to solve the mysteries of the island.... these are things that I'll never forget. So, that's what made me want to tell that particular story. Just like with 'The Last Blockbuster,' or my Ska documentary, this movie is semi-autobiographical."

Obviously there are still just as many people still in love with "Lost" as Morden. He launched an Indiegogo to raise funds to finish the film and, in just over 24 hours, reached his $42,000 goal. As of this writing, with 33 days remaining in the fundraiser, he's reached almost $55,000. "We were skeptical going into it that the audience would be there for this doc," says Morden. "That's always a concern. Seeing it go so well, so quickly, has really reminded us that the 'Lost' fan community is one of the best fandoms out there. People who still love 'Lost' all these years later have been through a lot with this show. Even making this movie I constantly hear from people who hated the ending. So that has made the 'Lost' community pretty strong and tight knit. We are humbled to be a part of it."

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Taylor Morden
Taylor Morden interviews Sonya (Penny) Walger for “Getting Lost.”

I was one of the few who didn't hate the ending of "Lost," instead finding that most people who didn't like it also didn't really follow what happened. Anytime someone would say, "Awww, that's lame! They were dead the whole time," that instantly showed me they weren't paying attention.

"I think 'Lost' asked a lot from viewers," said Morden. "More than a network television show ever had. Most of the people I know that loved the ending of 'Lost' were the ones on the message boards, listening to the podcasts, theorizing, rewatching, etc... they really put in the work. Many of the more casual viewers didn't like it, which in hindsight is pretty fair. I think general audiences have come around on it partly because new viewers can binge the show, which makes it easier to follow. Do I think we are going to change any minds about the ending? Probably not. Am I willing to explain the polar bears for a thousandth time to try? Definitely."

Earlier this year, "Vanity Fair" published an excerpt from cultural critic Mo Ryan's book "Burn it Down: Power, Complicity and a Call for Change in Hollywood," a revealing exposé on systemic abuse in the entertainment industry. Most of the excerpt was focused on the toxic culture behind the scenes of "Lost," which, as a diehard fan, I found heartbreaking to read...as did Morden.

"We were well into production when that came out, and we strongly considered just scrapping the whole project," says Morden. "It seemed in bad taste to honor a show that had put so many people through such a hard time. But after talking with some people from the book and other fans that were similarly heartbroken, we decided to include this topic in the documentary and address the full story of 'Lost.' It's a tough thing to grapple with, separating the art from the artist, and it happens to fandoms all the time. 'Lost' fans seem particularly adept at considering new information and changing their opinions based on these revelations."

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Taylor Morden
Taylor Interviews Jorge (Hurley) Garcia for “Getting Lost.”

Whether you're a fanatic, a casual watcher, a disgruntled ex or haven't seen the show before, "Lost" sparked the cultural imagination like a wildfire. It's been long enough since it ended that a deep dive into the fandom, the culture and the legacy of the show is needed. It's time for a reappraisal of the ending and what the series as a whole was trying to say. With "Getting Lost" not only interviewing die-hard celebrity fans but also many people involved with the show itself, it's looking like Morden, just as he did with "The Last Blockbuster," is making the definitive look at an iconic cultural phenomenon.

The indiegogo page for the film is located at:

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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