Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image)

Monday, January 21, 2019

True Detective season 3 episode 3 - "The Big Never"

From the chaotic details established in the premiere, a story is beginning to coalesce in the detectives' minds. While the big picture remains foggy, at least one thing now seems clear: the Purcell children had a "secret friend," likely an adult, with whom they were meeting and communicating. They didn't just lie to their father about meeting a classmate on this particular day - the children hadn't hung out together for months before the disappearance. This dawning realization, stretching from a conversation between Hays and West early in the episode to the discovery of a photo album (with a first communion snapshot echoing Will's death pose), lends the 1980 sequence one of its primary throughlines. Another important element reveals itself when Hays stumbles across the probable crime scene in the woods (a stash of toys and a bloody rock suggest a meeting and a murder - or accident?), and then he proceeds to a dirt road where a not-entirely-trustworthy farmer (Mike Hickman). The man claims he's already been visited by police and mentions an interracial couple who used to show up nearby in a brown car, but not on the same days he'd spot the children wandering by.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Patreon update #55: The Missing Pieces kicks off Lost in Twin Peaks podcast for the 2nd tier plus preview archive opened to all patrons

While the shift to monthly rather than weekly podcasts offers me some relief from a constant workload, it's also necessary to acommodate the growth in content. Not only will my now-monthly main podcast be stuffed with more material in each entry, I've also supplemented my approach by adding a lengthy monthly podcast entirely focused on Twin Peaks, episode by episode. For now, it's available only to $5/month patrons; eventually I will start releasing episodes on a six-month delay for all patrons (so the $5/month patrons will retain their head start for the entire series). Only when the podcast is almost finished - around late 2021 - will I begin to publish these episodes publicly as weekly podasts on iTunes. So if you don't want to wait half a year, let alone two and a half years, to listen this material, now would be a great time to become a second-tier patron! This entry, actually a jump ahead to the thirty-second episode, covers The Missing Pieces. I explain this in my intro on Patreon, which I'll reproduce here:
#32?! My brand new "Lost in Twin Peaks" podcast kicks off today by jumping ahead a little...ok, a lot. But I want to save the pilot for next month when it will be the 30th anniversary of February 24, 1989, the day Agent Cooper arrived in Twin Peaks to investigate the Laura Palmer murder. So first up, what is officially a much later episode of the podcast can also serves as a useful warm-up for the season proper. Besides, Charles de Lauzirika - who produced the boxset which debuted this assembly of deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me - once speculated that The Missing Pieces could make a good, if highly abstract, introduction the world of Twin Peaks. I guess we'll find out...
Meanwhile, I also posted my second weekly journal, updating all patrons on my activities, and I finally adjusted the availability of all my biweekly previews - nearly thirty - going back to the beginning of 2018 so that every single one is now open to patrons at all levels. Considering some of these were originally exclusive to the (now-defunct) $10/month tier, it's quite a deal. Although a few are from posts that were eventually published on this site, most are still in my backlog so these previews remain exclusive sneak peeks.

(includes links to every single biweekly preview from the past year

Line-up for Lost in Twin Peaks #32

Monday, January 14, 2019

True Detective season 3 episodes 1 & 2 - "The Great War and Modern Memory" & "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"

This True Detective viewing diary is being written while the new series airs. As such, future readers need not worry: there are no spoilers for upcoming episodes.

If "The Great War and Modern Memory" - the first half of True Detective's return to HBO after a three and half year hiatus - is at pains to establish one virtue above all others, that virtue is maturity. Having made a splash as the intense wunderkind behind the first True Detective in the winter of 2014, series writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto flamed out spectacularly with a rushed second season the following summer. Abandoning most of the qualities that made the first season so popular, Pizzolatto's ambitious sophomore slump received a widespread backlash targeting not just the messiness of the storytelling but the hubris of Pizzolatto himself, whose offscreen interviews and on-set domineering rubbed many critics the wrong way. Just shy of forty when the show ended, his rising star looked more like a shooting one, which had burned out much more quickly than expected. HBO dragged its feet commissioning a third season and Pizzolatto disappeared from the public eye. There were hints that perhaps HBO would seek another project from him and then, little by little, word got out that True Detective was slowly and surely assembling a third season after all. Now, in a surprisingly different cultural moment, that third season arrives with a confident but relatively muted rollout, as if to announce that the newly middle-aged showrunner has been humbled without losing his identity. That's the background. But what do we see onscreen?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Patreon update #54: Weekly journals begin and preview of Warden/Limo driver character studies

Again we have a week of light output, despite the fact that 2019 will be a major year for the site. The reason is that I just got back from New York tonight, so expect Patreon & other content to pick up next week. For now, there are two offerings, both available to all patrons. The first is my biweekly preview, featuring another dip into the "runners-up" characters from Twin Peaks' third season (in this case, the warden undone by "Mr. Strawberry," and the limo driver bemused by Dougie). The second post is my very first weekly journal, which will be a recurring feature from now on - albeit usually shared on Sunday or Monday rather than late in this week. This informs readers what I've been up to, in this case watching a lot more TV and film than usual despite (or maybe because of) doing less work for the site. I learned that Veronica Mars will be resumed this summer on Hulu, which is addressed in the journal entry. Unaddressed, because I only found out about it a couple days ago, is the much more imminent return of True Detective. I'll go into more detail in tomorrow's journal entry but if I like what I see, expect a weekly viewing diary to begin within twenty-four hours. See you then (hopefully).

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Patreon update #53: Upcoming Patreon approach & Video Essay Highlights on YouTube

2019 begins quietly as I prepare some big podcasts for later in January. Yesterday, however, I offered a full list of what to expect in the near future - both as immediate content and as long-term changes to the reward structure. I'll link that Patreon post and also reprint its contents below; if you haven't become a patron yet but have been waiting for the new year, hopefully this gets you excited. I also decided to cross-post an illustrated excerpt from my 10th anniversary podcast episode on YouTube (it was already shared on Vimeo in September; the full episode was also illustrated back then). Since this coming year promises a return to video essays after a two-year gap, it's a good time to re-visit or discover my previous video essay work.

New patron rewards:

Become a $1/month patron for monthly episodes of the general podcast, biweekly previews of upcoming content, and weekly journals covering my progress on various projects

Become a $5/month patron for monthly episodes of my Twin Peaks rewatch podcast for seasons 1 and 2 (and the film) six months ahead of any other patron


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Patreon update #52: FREE Blade Runner 2049 conversation w/ Max Clark plus preview of Civil War Cinepoem

This is my last update of the year, and only the second that doesn't feature a new podcast episode. From now on, updates will continue on a weekly basis but podcasts will not (although when they do appear they will be consistently jam-packed with material).

This entry includes a look back at 2018 and a sneak peek of 2019. I had three guests on the show and two of those episodes have been made partially and entirely public on YouTube. Now it's time to present the first, and as yet patron-only, conversation, a great-in-depth discussion with friend of the show Max Clark on Blade Runner 2049, the compelling sequel to the beloved 1982 sci-fi classic. If you're a patron who enjoyed this episode before, feel free to share it with others; and if you're not a patron who's curious what you missed, jump right in!

The sneak peek for the coming year is my first video preview since January: a minute from an upcoming resumption of my long-stalled Cinepoem series, featuring two excerpts from two Civil War poems (one by Walt Whitman, the other by Herman Melville) intersecting with a variety of impressionistic film clips. I was really excited to return to this form, and hopefully you like this glimpse as well.

See you in 2019.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Patreon update #51: Before Sunset (+ Twin Peaks season 3 blu-ray special features, It's a Wonderful Life, 2000s politics: Bush administration/Obama campaign & more)

At the end of Before Sunrise, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) hatch a plan to meet on the six-month anniversary of their rendezvous. Well, six months ago I cross-posted my podcast review of Before Sunrise on this site so here we are: the characters are reunited! Of course, it took them a bit longer than it took us - nine years to be exact. Choosing Before Sunset as my last film in focus for 2018 not only serves as a sequel to my earlier episode but also a continuation of my month-to-month Ethan Hawke series, which began with him as Dead Poets Society's shy young prep school student in early autumn and will conclude with him as First Pastoral's fanatical pastor in the dead of winter. By the way, it won't take nearly as long for us to reach the next chapter in Jesse's and Celine's ongoing relationship; my plan for January is to review a Hawke/Richard Linklater double feature of Before Midnight and Boyhood.

Indeed, this is my last weekly episode of Lost in the Movies for the forseeable future; from now on, a somewhat beefed-up podcast will drop once a month for all patron tiers. I will also be debuting a Twin Peaks rewatch/introcast podcast for the second tier (the first tier will get access to each episode six months after they premiere, and eventually - years later - I will publish the episodes as a weekly public podcast). I'll have more information in upcoming Patreon updates, because I still plan to write about what I've been up to and link what's available every week on this site. This will include some form of wrap-up/look back at the past year, which not only saw extensive work on Patreon and in-depth retrospective activity for my tenth anniversary, but also my busiest year ever on this site, with over two hundred posts.

For now, in addition to the Before Sunset review and a more detailed announcement about 2019, I (finally!) dive into the blu-ray special features for Twin Peaks: The Return (er, Twin Peaks season 3, er, Twin Peaks: The Limited Event Series); finish my viewing of the CNN documentary series The 2000s, which leads to some thoughts on the previous decade's political landscape; catch up with the last batch of Twin Peaks feedback from the past few months; and conclude with an Opening the Archive entry on the Christmas movie, although of course it's much more than just that.

Thanks for following along this year, and see you again soon.

Line-up for Episode 50



TWIN PEAKS REFLECTIONS: Twin Peaks season 3 blu-ray special features

FILM IN FOCUS: Before Sunset

OTHER TOPICS: CNN's 2000s documentary - Mission Accomplished/Quagmire/Yes We Can, NY Times Magazine Afghanistan article, podcast recommendation

LISTENER FEEDBACK: Hands in Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me book interview, is the Evolution of the Arm a good guy?, The Return's connections to seasons 1 & 2, Maddy's murder and Laura's spirit, podcast recommendation, Red

OPENING THE ARCHIVE: It's a Wonderful Life


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Patreon update #50: Requiem for a Dream (+ The Blue Rose Magazine in 2018, The Green Book, A Charlie Brown Christmas/It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, Sherilyn Fenn in Twin Peaks season 3, who is Red? & more) and preview of Mary Shelley review

Christmastime is (almost) here with the first of two archive pieces paying tribute to the holiday. This one doubles up a couple Charlie Brown Christmas specials, one from the sixties and one from the nineties, to find out what they tell us about changes in both pop culture and Peanuts canon across the years. I also reflect on Requiem for a Dream over the span of nearly two decades to revisit the early millennium's zeitgeist, much as I did with The Social Network last week. To continue this running theme of cinematic historiography, yesterday's biweekly preview explores how a Mary Shelley biopic straddles the eras of Reason and Romance (which bleed together more than we sometimes remember).

For "Twin Peaks Reflections" I survey a great year of issues for The Blue Rose magazine (including an amazing interview with Sheryl Lee), other topics include The Green Book and Richard Ojeda, and as always there's a ton of compelling listener feedback on Twin Peaks (this week perhaps a bit more than usual).

Stay tuned for one more podcast in a couple days, my last of the year before I take a revamped approach in 2019.

Line-up for Episode 49


WEEKLY UPDATE/Patreon: 2nd tier biweekly preview - Mary Shelley

TWIN PEAKS REFLECTIONS: The Blue Rose Magazine in 2018

FILM IN FOCUS: Requiem for a Dream

OTHER TOPICS: The Green Book, Conspiracy Theory, Richard Ojeda, podcast recommendation

LISTENER FEEDBACK: The Owl Cave ring and Annie's nurse, Sherilyn Fenn in season 3, did Lynch care about the Audrey/Cooper romance?, who is Red?, is Audrey dead?, "Mike is the man" & Halloween

OPENING THE ARCHIVE: A Charlie Brown Christmas & It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Patreon update #49: The Social Network (+ the Angela Nagle immigration controversy, LeftTube, Fire Walk With Me as Twin Peaks episode, the RR counter/the ring in season 3, Disney's aesthetics/ideology, the Hollywood War and Peace & more)

The Social Network - which I've been planning to make a film in focus since June - is a movie I've covered a couple times before, first in a review/discussion disguised as a Facebook page and later as a visual tribute alternating between the film's images of paper and plastic as methods of communication. This time I take a more straightforward approach and reflect on the film's triple status: as a document of the early 2000s when Facebook was born, as a reflection of the turn-of-the-decade when the film was released, and as an artifact explored in today's context when Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have become deeply entangled in our political and cultural landscape.

Speaking of politics and culture, I've been waiting a couple weeks until I could devote an entire "other topics" section to the backlash against Angela Nagle, author of the popular but controversial Kill All Normies, who recently wrote an essay attacking the left's position on open borders. I think both her approach and the reaction to her speak of a growing rift on the left, a phenomenon I've already begun to explore on previous episodes. I've had a lot to say about this on Twitter and hopefully here I'm able to hopefully organize various responses into a cohesive analysis of what's going on, with Nagle and with the left and the issue of immigration more broadly.

This podcast also concludes the exploration of my "4 Ways to Watch Fire Walk With Me" study by examining that film in relation to a dozen Twin Peaks episodes, continues a conversation with listeners about Sherilyn Fenn's and Audrey Horne's on/offscreen stories in The Return, and follows up my two-part review of the Soviet War and Peace by dipping into the archive for my review of the Hollywood adaptation, directed by King Vidor and starring Audrey Hepburn, Mel Ferrer, and Henry Fonda.

Line-up for Episode 48


WEEKLY UPDATE/recent posts: added Christmas highlight to the sidebar

WEEKLY UPDATE/work in progress: Twin Peaks blu-ray features & John Thorne interview for podcasts

TWIN PEAKS REFLECTIONS: Fire Walk With Me as Twin Peaks episode

FILM IN FOCUS: The Social Network

OTHER TOPICS: Controversy over Angela Nagle's "The Left Case Against Open Borders", podcast recommendation

LISTENER FEEDBACK: LeftTube recommendations, the RR counter scene, Leland/Bob, Teresa's ring, the Pink Room & the Red Room, Twin Peaks truckers, the aesthetics & ideology of Disney



Friday, November 30, 2018

Patreon update #48: Training Day (+ Fire Walk With Me as Lynch project, the Soviet War and Peace - 1812 & Pierre, Jonathan, CNN's The 2000s, Twin Peaks fan theories, Ocasio-Cortez clapbacks, Bernie 2020? & more) and preview of Lady Bird review

Just in time for November, my monthly Ethan Hawke series continues with Training Day - a film mostly celebrated for Denzel Washington's iconic performance as a corrupt LAPD cop but also including an Oscar-nominated turn by Hawke as the rookie protagonist. My "Twin Peaks Reflections" attention to the recent Fire Walk With Me essay resumes; I analyze the Twin Peaks movie as a David Lynch project. I also conclude the reading of my War and Peace essay for "Opening the Archive." There are two long sections this week, as I delve into political subjects I discussed on Twitter in "Other Topics" and share extensive listener feedback for my last couple episodes. At the outset of the episode I lay out more specific plans for 2019, as some tiers will shift and a new Twin Peaks project will launch; meanwhile, for my biweekly preview I share parts of an upcoming review of Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird.

Line-up for Episode 47


ANNOUNCEMENT - 2019 Plans for 1st/2nd tier restructure & Twin Peaks rewatch

WEEKLY UPDATE/Patreon: 2nd tier biweekly preview - Lady Bird

WEEKLY UPDATE/work in progress: Cinepoem, Mad Men viewing diary, Mary Shelly review

TWIN PEAKS REFLECTIONS: Fire Walk With Me as Lynch project

FILM IN FOCUS: Training Day

OTHER TOPICS: Jonathan, Ollie Klublershturf vs. the Nazis, random TV viewings, CNN's 2000s documentary - I Want My MP3/The iDecade/The Financial Crisis, CGI Lion King, CBS sports montage, John Carpenter's special effects, Dr. Amp's early musical, The Magnificent Ambersons on Criterion, Evangelion on Netflix, Nicolas Roeg & Bernardo Bertolucci died, ridiculous Dear Prudence letter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez clapbacks, Stephen Hawking vs. Joe Lieberman at 2000 Democratic convention, "Thomas Jefferson" disses Ocasio-Cortez, donut Twitter celebrates the new Democratic Caucus chair, Bernie Sanders' "not racist" statement, should Sanders run in 2020?, Eric Erickson celebrates Augusto Pinochet, podcast recommendations

LISTENER FEEDBACK: my disclaimer about how I'll respond, Michael & Us covers Donnie Darko, Judy as repetition, different versions of the Palmer house, One Eyed Jack's & spirit world, Teresa & the dirt mound, Cooper leading Carrie to her death?, Laura & the ring, Lynch vs. Frost on Judy, do theories overlook flaws?

OPENING THE ARCHIVE: War and Peace (Soviet adaptation) 


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Patreon Update #47: Steamboat Willie's 90th anniversary & 9 other classic Mickey Mouse cartoons (+ Lindsay Hallam's Fire Walk With Me book, the Soviet War and Peace - Andrei & Natalya, Democrats in the midterms, Vic Berger's Walkaway video, Nazis vs. MAGA normies, Armistice Day, Halloween/political podcast recommendations & more)

Mickey Mouse, Laura Palmer, and Leo Tolstoy star in this week's eclectic podcast episode (with guest appearances by Vic Berger, Kurt Vonnegut, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). In some ways, though, the lead subject is Lindsay Hallam, an author whom I interviewed last week about her new book on Fire Walk With Me. "Twin Peaks Reflections," continuing its synchronization with my "5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me" series, discusses that book and the talk we had about. My film in focus becomes films in focus as I celebrate not just the ninetieth anniversary of Steamboat Willie, the first-distributed and first-sound-designed Mickey Mouse cartoon, on November 18, 2018, but also nine more Mickey shorts from the thirties, ranging from sharp black-and-white to lavish Technicolor. These were a lot of fun to revisit.

The bulk of the episode, however, is consumed by a mammoth "other topics" discussion, my first in about a month. There are a few readings or viewings to touch on but, aside from a lengthy segue on Halloween podcasts, the topics are mostly political. A couple weeks after the fact, I finally offer my response to the "blue wave" (or was it?) midterm elections and some of the spillover into the already-coalescing new Congress. I share a hilarious Vic Berger video about a rally gone wrong (including some audio), muse on the ridiculous but unsettling exchanges between fascists and run-of-the-mill Republicans on Twitter, and reflect on the centenary of Armistice Day. And of course, I offer another big round-up of podcast episodes, all featuring a political context but with subjects ranging from existentialism to the Haitian Revolution.

The podcast closes with part one of my War and Peace review from ten years ago, discussing the Soviet adaptation's structure and the parts focused on the characters of Andrei and Natalya. I'll pick up with the 1812 and Pierre sections next week - see you on the other side of Thanksgiving.

Oh and one more thing - early on the episode, I discuss some potential ideas for my approach to both Patreon and Journey Through Twin Peaks in the new year. Expect more concrete plans for this in the next few weeks including some public Patreon posts.


THOUGHTS ON MY APPROACH TO PATREON & TWIN PEAKS VIDEOS IN 2019 (plus a brief update on my Lindsay Hallam interview)

TWIN PEAKS REFLECTIONS: Lindsay Hallam's Fire Walk With Me book & my interview with her

FILM IN FOCUS: Steamboat Willie (+ 9 Mickey Mouse shorts from the 30s)

OTHER TOPICS: The 2018 Midterms & Democrats in the House, Hill Street Blues, Mary Shelley and biopics, Frankenstein LIFE special edition, Halloween podcast recommendations, Vic Berger's Walkaway video, Nazis vs. "normie conservatives", Kurt Vonnegut & a centenarian on Armistice Day, political podcast recommendations

OPENING THE ARCHIVE: War and Peace (Soviet version)


Friday, November 16, 2018

Finding the Missing Pages: interview w/ Lindsay Hallam, author of Devil's Advocates - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

This is the fifth entry in 5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me, concluding the series.

With the explosion of Twin Peaks literature following Brad Dukes' 2014 oral history Reflections, it's become easy to forget how thin that library was for several decades. Despite its presence in David Lynch monographs and the occasional TV history, virtually no books broached the series as their central subject. Now, thankfully, our shelves have been well-stocked with scholarly studies, episodes guides, fan theories, and historical overviews. Even so, until very recently there remained a glaring blind spot in this collection. The 1992 prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, has grown in reputation since its initial critical savaging and box office disaster, but most Peaks books still - of necessity - treat it as an offshoot of the series (occasionally, it's even sidelined as an irrelevant tangent). Certainly no tome took the film as its sole focus until now. Two books have been published since the premiere of The Return in 2017, one by Maura McHugh for the Midnight Marauders series (which I've not yet read but am looking forward to) and the other by Lindsay Hallam for the Devil's Advocates series.

Devil's Advocates - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is primarily divided into four big chapters: "Filled With Secrets: Fire Walk With Me as a Twin Peaks Film"; "Cherry Pie Wrapped in Barbed Wire: Fire Walk With Me as a Horror Movie"; "'Since I was Twelve': Fire Walk With Me as a Trauma Film"; and "We Live Inside a Dream: Fire Walk With Me as a David Lynch Film". These thematic studies are interspersed with a selective study of the film's plot (not exactly chronological, different scenes are aligned with different topics) and make ample use of both an overflowing bibliography and Hallam's own keen insight; the book manages the neat trick of being a grand survey and a personal perspective. Hallam, a British film scholar who specializes in horror and trauma cinema, doesn't just cite her fellow authors, she engages directly with their words: amplifying arguments, contesting claims, and connecting different points of view. She concludes her study by looking at the paratexts that surround the film (including not just the original series and supplemental spin-offs but Showtime's 2017 third season) and, perhaps most interestingly, tracing Fire Walk With Me's echoes in recent art horror films like It Follows and Personal Shopper.

While her scholarship breaks new ground, Hallam's enthusiasm is also contagious. She's a diehard Twin Peaks fans going back to her teenage years in Australian suburbia. We decided to start our conversation not in the bracing clarity of her final analysis, but the intoxicating confusion of her first encounter...