Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): September 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Twelve Weeks of Twin Peaks


Originally this post announced "Six Weeks of Twin Peaks" - a few days before Showtime revealed that Twin Peaks would be returning to the air in 2016. In celebration of that decision, I am doubling the length of time during which I will focus on the 1990-91 TV show and 1992 movie. That means, in addition to Part 4 of the video and the Sheryl Lee post (as well as an unplanned Part 3 of the John Thorne interview) there will be three additional posts on Twin Peaks. I'm not totally sure what they will be yet, though I have some strong ideas. Stay tuned!

The rest of the announcement remains as written, despite the changes. (updated 10/16)

Obviously, 2014 has been the year of Twin Peaks for me - in the spring I re-discovered the series through the critical essays in the book Full of Secrets, was invited to take part in an online conversation on Fire Walk With Me, and found out that an upcoming blu-ray would feature the long-awaited deleted scenes from the film. These three separate but serendipitous factors led me to devote numerous posts to the Twin Peaks phenomenon this year, including a monthlong retrospective of David Lynch, a review of The Missing Pieces from Fire Walk With Me, and an interview with Brad Dukes, author of a new and essential Twin Peaks oral history. I haven't been immersed this deeply in a single subject since I went on a huge Beatles kick ten years ago (in my pre-blogging days).

All obsessions must wind down eventually, and as the year ends I will initiate several projects I've been planning for a while. But the focus on Twin Peaks will intensify before it abates. On Tuesday - the only time I will be violating my once-a-week-on-Monday-morning posting rules (due to a delay in the video's completion) - I am posting the first chapter in a 4-part video series on Twin Peaks. From this point on, for six weeks, every weekly post will be devoted to the show and film. This will include a 2-part interview with John Thorne, who published the Peaks fanzine Wrapped in Plastic for thirteen years, a sampling of the alt.tv.twin-peaks archive from the early nineties (to glean contemporaneous reactions for the show), and finally an interview with Martha Nochimson, who authored probably the best books of Lynch scholarship, The Passion of David Lynch and David Lynch Swerves (as well as a recent lightning-rod article about David Chase). During this time, I will also be posting parts two and three of the video series.

In mid-November, I will start to redirect my focus toward other movies and shows, setting up several years covering old and new favorites, another TV series episode guide, and probably all the movies in my collection that I haven't yet reviewed. But there will still be three big Twin Peaks posts in store, if all goes according to plan. The first, of course, will be the final chapter of the video series in early December (each chapter will be appearing at three-week intervals). Then I hope to post a long-awaited analysis of Sheryl Lee's performance in Fire Walk With Me, my favorite element of what has recently become my favorite film, but an element I haven't had the chance to zero in on yet. That post will also include short looks at Lee's work on the series and her subsequent filmography. Finally, next year on the 25th anniversary of the show (April 8) I would like to present a comprehensive overview of the entire Twin Peaks cycle - analyzing each chapter of the saga in terms of narrative events, behind-the-scenes context, contemporaneous critical and viewer reaction, my own opinion of it, and its place in the big picture of the ongoing story. The essay will most likely be book-length and should close out my yearlong focus. [not sure about this part anymore - with 9 new episodes coming in 2016, perhaps it's best to forestall any ruminations on "the big picture..."]

For now, you can check out all of my previous blog posts on Twin Peaks, which have been gathered in a consistently updated directory.

Originally this was an announcement of the upcoming first video essay, but I revised/deleted that post the following morning.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Growing Up is Hard to Do: Boyhood, The Giver, fragments of memory, and notes on the "death of adulthood"


The following is a double review of two recent coming-of-age films followed by images, videos, and observations gleaned from a much longer essay for which these reviews were originally intended.
Jonas did not want to go back. He didn't want the memories, didn't want the honor, didn't want the wisdom, didn't want the pain. He wanted his childhood again, his scraped knees and ball games. He sat in his dwelling alone, watching through the window, seeing children at play, citizens bicycling home from uneventful days at work, ordinary lives free of anguish because he had been selected, as others before him had, to bear their burden. 
But the choice was not his.
The Giver (1993), by Lois Lowry
When the first whispers of Richard Linklater's Boyhood reached my ears - or rather my eyes, since I "heard" about it on Twitter - I knew I would like it. Shot sporadically over an entire decade, the film anchors its universal coming-of-age tale in a very specific place (rural and suburban Texas) and time (the post-9/11 era). Onscreen we simultaneously watch Mason, the character, and Eller Coltrane, the actor, grow from 7 to 18. While widely acclaimed, this novel approach has also also been called a gimmick, implying that novelty masks an uninteresting story. But the approach is the story.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fragments of Cinephilia, Pt. IV


Short thoughts on: Love Exposure • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm • Kwaidan • The Honeymoon Killers • Richard Linklater  Les Bonnes Femmes • Running on Empty • Phantom of the Cinematheque • Out 1

My response to Boyhood, The Giver, and the recent spate of "death of adulthood" articles is almost entirely written but won't be ready in time for Monday morning. Hence I'll hold off on it till next week and present some oldies instead. For the fourth time (but the first in two years) I am collecting IMDb comments (mostly) left many moons ago during the era when those boards were my main online cinematic stomping ground. Most notably, my first response to the epic and enigmatic Out 1 is recorded below: I wrote these words in the immediate afterglow of a very memorable screening. Enjoy. (And if you do, make sure to check out the previous round-ups.) Disclaimer: my opinions circa 2007 are not necessarily still mine although I suppose I wouldn't re-post them if I didn't think they had some merit (even if 2014 me disagrees with their premises).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cooper and Laura: a visual tribute to the stars of Twin Peaks


(The following visual tribute contains spoilers)


Through the darkness of future past
The magician longs to see
One chants out between two worlds
Fire walk with me

• • •

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Darkness of Future Past: visual tribute to an episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion


Last week I posted an autobiographical film I made ten years ago, and next week I'll be covering both Boyhood and The Giver, each a coming-of-age film with a twist. In keeping with the theme, this week's visual tribute offers another walk down memory lane - for the characters of Neon Genesis Evangelion (a series I began covering a couple years ago, and plan to resume next year). Once again there are several layers to the long strange trip: Episode 21 features numerous flashbacks but when the show originally aired in 1996, these memories actually belonged to the future (the show's "present" takes place in a post-apocalyptic 2015, and the flashbacks begin in 1999). For me the timeline is even more interesting: had I watched the show when it aired, I would have been roughly the same age as the youngest characters but in terms of actual chronology I am the same age as the slightly older generation (who are around thirty in the 2015 scenes and went to college in the mid-00s). As is often the case, the sci-fi elements of the show provide an intense, amplified backdrop for the drama but the humiliations, heartbreaks, and losses are all too human. The trip down memory lane is not always a pleasant one. This is one of my favorite episodes and I hope you enjoy the striking pictures with or without context. Happy Labor Day...