Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Last Words? - discussing The Final Dossier w/ Twin Peaks Unwrapped (+ another status update)


For the first time in two and half months - and perhaps the last time ever - I can provide fresh coverage of brand new Twin Peaks material. I bought The Final Dossier in the evening of October 31, braving Halloween traffic to pick up a copy ordered from a local bookstore. Late that night, ten minutes before midnight to be exact, I opened it up and began to read. When I finished it a mere two and half hours - this was a stunningly quick read - I was wiser to this universe, and a year older (well, sort of; November 1 was my thirty-fourth birthday).

I found the book refreshing and shared some initial thoughts on Twitter, beginning with this tentative prediction: "I don't think we've seen the last of Twin Peaks." A week or two later, I recorded the following discussion with Twin Peaks Unwrapped, paired with an equally long conversation they held with John Thorne.



As for other plans...


Monday, November 13, 2017

Fear The Double: discussing Lost Highway w/ Fireside Friends podcast (+ "5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me" status update)


This weekend I was invited as a guest onto Fireside Friends, hosted episode by Ryan Persaud and Allen Ibrahim. Under discussion was Lost Highway, a film I'd been meaning to rewatch ever since The Return ended. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and similar cases emerging from Hollywood almost daily, the film felt particularly relevant. We talk about this aspect of the work, as well as Mary Sweeney's editing of the film, its ties to season three of Twin Peaks, its roots in Fire Walk With Me, the convolutions of its narrative, and its relationship to the O.J. Simpson trial and the avant-garde classic Meshes of the Afternoon (referencing my video essay on the subject). And, on a lighter note, Lynch's propensity for absurdly decadent party scenes, with requisite reference to Crazy Clown Time.

Listen to Fireside Friends

In other news, I was not able to keep up with even my back-up schedule for "5 Weeks For Fire Walk With Me." I do plan to continue publishing those pieces, however, although I'm not sure if I'll try to squeeze them all in before the original deadline (releasing two or three in a single week) or spread them out into December, rendering the title of the series as "5 discreet weeks over a long period" rather than "5 weeks in a row." Oh well - stay tuned for those, and also another recently-recorded podcast in the next few days...

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fire Walk With Me belongs in the Criterion Collection


This is an entry in 5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me. Next week I will discuss the history of the movie's production, reception, and legacy.

What is this movie? Is it a movie at all? Of course it is, and attempts to claim otherwise dissolve into babbling mystification. Yet they persist - primarily because the TV show which Fire Walk With Me descends from remains more legendary than the film but also because the film itself is so abrasive and overwhelming that it makes sense to retreat into the most convenient explanation: this is a TV spin-off and, good or bad, it can only be appreciated in relation to the series. Furthermore, many viewers, probably a substantial majority, reach Fire Walk With Me after watching two seasons of a surreal soap opera, so it's difficult for most to disentangle their knowledge of the show from their experience of the film even if the relationship is subversive rather than complementary. In a few weeks, I'll write about Fire Walk With Me both as a component of a larger story and as a standalone film (or perhaps several: a lucid psychodrama, a formally hypnotic art film, a hybrid slasher/American giallo/psychological horror flick, an entry in David Lynch's own unique bigger-than-life - and certainly bigger than TV - filmography). For now, I don't merely want to isolate Fire Walk With Me from Twin Peaks but to explain why it can stand side by side with the other titles in the Criterion Collection, which it officially joined two and half weeks ago. Fire Walk With Me needs defending not just for its place within a saga, or even as a bold rejection of that saga defined precisely by said rejection (still therefore dependent on what it negates), but as a movie movie, a piece of cinema history valuable on its own filmic terms.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lost in Twin Peaks #8: discussing Fire Walk With Me & the end of season 3 w/ Twin Peaks Unwrapped


Although I initially planned to kick off my "5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me" series with a review/response to the new Criterion Collection edition (look for that as next week's entry), it makes sense to begin with what I recorded first. A couple weeks ago, in anticipation of this upcoming release, I joined hosts Ben and Bryon of the Twin Peaks Unwrapped podcast for our first post-season three discussion. This is also the first official "Lost in Twin Peaks" segment since before the third season began (my appearances since then have been to discuss films or the ongoing series); hopefully there will be more to come this fall and winter.

We cover Fire Walk With Me from several angles, focusing on how the new season does or doesn't change our view of the material (particularly the ending of the film), why it would be a bad idea for David Lynch to release a recut of the movie including The Missing Pieces (as producer Sabrina Sutherland has said he would consider), and if the film functions as a standalone. My segment appears in the latter half of the episode; the rest is devoted to a fascinating discussion of the UK Twin Peaks Festival, sprinkled with snippets of Sutherland's Q&A. (And make sure you check out this episode's amazing cover art, which doesn't show up in the embed.) See you next week for more Fire Walk With Me.

Friday, October 20, 2017

"5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me" begins next week


UPDATE: “5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me” will begin next week (the week of October 22) rather than this weekend as originally announced, and the podcast posts before the Criterion review.

This week the Criterion Collection released DVD and blu-ray editions of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Considering its inclusion in a deluxe Twin Peaks boxset three years ago, this may seem anticlimactic; aside from a couple new interviews, it's nothing we haven't seen before. However, I think Criterion spine number #898 is significant and worth celebrating, for reasons I'll explain more in-depth in a few days, after I've had a chance to rewatch the film.

This review/statement of "Why Fire Walk With Me Belongs in the Criterion Collection" will discuss the new interviews and older special features, but will particularly pay attention to Fire Walk With Me's legacy as cinema, and not just a part of Twin Peaks. It will also kick off "5 Weeks of Fire Walk With Me" during which I am planning to celebrate this great, still underrated film with a new post each week. (This ended up appearing as the second entry instead.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Early thoughts on Twin Peaks season 3: a conversation w/ Lindsay Stamhuis on 25 Years Later


A month ago, when the finale was only a week old, I took a few hours to chat with Lindsay Stamhuis (of the Bickering Peaks podcast) about the new season of Twin Peaks. Both parts of the discussion have now been published on 25 Years Later in print form (thanks to Lindsay for transcribing them!) and you can read them for yourselves. These were initial reflections so in some cases I'm asking more questions than teasing out answers - not that I'm not necessarily much closer to final conclusions about most of this stuff now! What do you think?



With the release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me on Criterion Collection this week, I'm planning something special. I had hoped to maybe do a full week of posts - a "5 Days of Fire Walk With Me" line-up covering various aspects and perspectives on the film, but it's Sunday afternoon and I haven't done anything to prepare for that so it seems unlikely. However, there will is a podcast appearance already recorded, and I'll probably write at least one new piece, so stay tuned.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

3 years of Journey Through Twin Peaks (& how it began)

Newfound Lake, NH
(site of some early inspiration)

On October 1, 2014, I uploaded the first Journey Through Twin Peaks video. Since then, this series has become by far my most popular work, and certainly one of the projects I'm proudest of. Journey took about four and a half months to complete, and began as the coming-together of several different ideas. By the fall of 2014, I had already been publishing a lot about Twin Peaks for six months, ever since I casually decided to read a book of Twin Peaks essays (Full of Secrets, edited by the late David Lavery) that had been sitting on my desk for four months, and in my online cart for half a decade before that. What follows is a short history of the process that led to this video series, if you find such things interesting! (Well, it was supposed to be short but it ended up kind of long - in fact I will follow up at another time with parts 2 and 3, as I enjoyed revisiting this process, however navel-gazey...)

Thank you to everyone who has watched, shared, commented on, or otherwise engaged with Journey Through Twin Peaks. I hope it continues to help people in their own journeys with this work.

And here is where the playlist for Journey Through Twin Peaks begins:



Thursday, September 28, 2017

TV Countdown - Twin Peaks


Yesterday's essay on all three seasons of Twin Peaks - one of the longest pieces I've ever written - represented several opportunities for me. First of all, it's always a pleasure to take part in Sam Juliano's "genre" countdowns on Wonders in the Dark - the site whose journey has been most intertwined with my own for nearly a decade now. This is, I believe, the tenth such countdown since the exercise began in 2010, with some authored all by one writer but most featuring dozens of different contributors. I've participated in five of these: the Musical Countdown (a visual tribute to The Gay Divorcee featuring Arlene Croce's descriptions, a video essay and written essay for 42nd Street, and a written essay on An American in Paris), the Comedy Countdown (a video essay featuring multiple critical perspectives on Modern Times), the Western Countdown (a written essay on several versions of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid - make sure to read the extensive comment by Paul Seydor, who edited one of those versions), the Romance Countdown (a video essay on different genres featured in Lady and the Tramp, and a written essay on the TV and film versions of Marty), and now the TV countdown - the first to expand its scope beyond just a film genre into an entire medium (the entries included everything from game shows to prestige miniseries - where else could you find the avant-garde, Brechtian seven-hour opus Our Hitler: A Film from Germany literally back-to-back with The Flintstones?!!)

That said, the opportunity also provided a chance to reach a milestone with another long-running companion of this site: Twin Peaks. Back in 2014, when The Missing Pieces (deleted scenes from the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me) looked like they would place the final punctuation (probably a question mark, naturally) on the Twin Peaks cycle, I hoped to write a lengthy, comprehensive essay covering the entire series from pilot to feature film. This project eventually evolved into my Journey Through Twin Peaks series, but putting the show into words remained unrealized until now. I didn't plan to write this much, but the final result clocks in at over 11,000 words (approximately 22 pages) and is about as comprehensive as I could manage - though undoubtedly many (including me) will look back and say "But what about..." The big "missing piece" is the feature film, my favorite part of Twin Peaks but beyond the purview of a "TV countdown" (though inevitably the subject emerges anyway in several paragraphs). However, the Criterion Collection release of that film is imminent and I'll probably write something new and in-depth on Fire Walk With Me for that event; taken together, this essay and that will probably represent my most concentrated yet comprehensive written analysis of Twin Peaks.

And that brings me to the final key opportunity - Twin Peaks' high placement on this poll (it comes it at #2, just below The Twilight Zone) meant that it was delayed until just a few weeks after the third season finale. Hence, aside from scattered thoughts on Twitter and other forums - and very immediate reactions contained within a review focused on Parts 17 and 18 - this gives me my first real opportunity to grapple with the new material as a whole. I hope you enjoy the results - and please feel free to join the conversation on Wonders, which always fosters a lively discussion.

I've placed the introduction here and then you can follow the link to read the rest on Wonders (I'll archive it here eventually too, but not for a while).

Twin Peaks is not a TV show.” You’ve probably heard this refrain before, perhaps moderated to “Twin Peaks is not normal television,” or, more generously to the medium, “Twin Peaks changed TV forever.” However phrased, the essence remains the same: Twin Peaks still stands out boldly from the rest of the televisual landscape, twenty-seven years after its debut on the ABC network immediately following America’s Funniest Home Videos. As if to cement this iconic status, when the series returned for an eighteen-hour limited run this summer (dubbed by Showtime’s marketing department as Twin Peaks: The Return although filmmaker David Lynch, co-creator with author/TV writer Mark Frost, simply calls it the third season) this transgressive reputation persisted. Even against the tighter competition of “Prestige TV,” critics were dazzled by its revolutionary nature, especially the (literal and figurative) atomic blast of Part 8, which could almost have been a program of standalone avant-garde Lynch shorts. Yet the story of Twin Peaks is – like everything else in Twin Peaks – a dual narrative, embedded at once in the world of surrealist cinema (and Lynch’s own private universe) as well as TV conventions it embraced, wrestled with, and frequently overthrew.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dr. Amp's America: discussing Twin Peaks: The Return w/ Discourse Collective


This spring, I joined several of the hosts of the left-wing political/cultural podcast Discourse Collective to discuss Twin Peaks as it existed at that time. With eighteen more hours of material to address, I returned to the show last week and we dug into the show's portrait of an economically devastated America, the impact of the atomic bomb, the depiction of otherworldly entities beyond our understanding, and whether or not the Twin Peaks universe simply illustrates Alex Jones' perception of everyday reality. With Will Menaker (of Chapo Trap House fame) taking part as well, it was a great conversation. What else would you expect from a podcast that uses "The Pink Room" track as its personal theme, whether covering the DSA convention, the Paris commune, or the evolution of 4chan? (That said, this time they put a little twist on that opening.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

The World of Twin Peaks - discussing the third season w/ the Beyond the Filter podcast


The show is over, but as I mentioned last week the conversation is just beginning. One of the highlights of this season for me was the generosity of podcasters invited me onto their platforms to discuss Twin Peaks: The Ret-- er, season three. (After being told in the early months of this year that this was not the third season but one big eighteen-hour film called Twin Peaks: The Return, we are now informed that this was a Showtime marketing label, and Lynch prefers to call this the third season of good old regular Twin Peaks.) On these episodes we would all reflect on the partial work we'd seen and speculate on where it might be going. Now, of course, we have a complete work on hand.

Tonight Liz Ryerson, host of Beyond the Filter, guides a conversation not just through the broad expanse of the new season (focusing on the big picture so as not just fall into the rabbit hole of the finale - though of course, we get into that too), but also the original series, Fire Walk With Me, and Lynch in general. We discuss these works in relation to TV conventions, trauma, social context, and the art world in an in-depth discussion that's one of the best I've had on Twin Peaks (the episode itself is extensive, but we also spoke at length before and after the recording). If you're looking for somewhere to digest what you've just seen, in a context much wider than these eighteen episodes (wide as that context already is), this is a great place to begin.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What's next: TWIN PEAKS & more


It has been a week and a half since the finale, but my activity around the show has not really slowed down - if anything it's only escalated! (Twitter in particular has been nonstop.) I mentioned on a podcast a few weeks ago that while Parts 17 and 18 would bring to a close the experience of reacting to new, fresh Twin Peaks, in a sense the end of The Return would be more of a beginning. Now that we can see how this series functions as a whole, and the ways it does and doesn't fit in with the already existing Twin Peaks, we can begin the real work of diving into and exploring this world. (Meanwhile, of course, you can explore all of my previous work on Twin Peaks while waiting for some of my long-term responses to The Return to emerge.)

First of all, though, thanks to everyone who has read, shared, commented on, or otherwise engaged with my writing on The Return. It's been wonderful to see that the essays - meant to be real-time reactions rather than careful retrospective analysis - have resonated with other viewers, including those who created a lively, impromptu community in the comments sections each week (if you haven't read the responses yet, please do - the discussion for the last episodes in particular is close to, or perhaps already has, exceeded the longest thread on any of my blog posts). For years, comments on this blog have been minimal, with conversations and observations emerging on other platforms if anywhere. I'm glad to see that this home base has life in it yet!

Speaking of which, I have many plans for the next year of Lost in the Movies, so many plans that in fact I'm not sure they all can be contained in a single year - some might spill out into the latter half of 2018 or even further. And, of course, a lot of this involves Twin Peaks.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Parts 17 & 18 - "The past dictates the future."/"What is your name?"


Poor Cooper. He stands uniquely in David Lynch's work - a hero so sterling and steadfast that when the narrative mill eventually demands more complexity and darkness, it must manufacture an evil copy of him to do the trick. Twenty-five years ago, the second season of Twin Peaks struggled up to that endpoint, providing a serviceable backstory to set him up for his final Lodge confrontation with a shadow-self who feels as incongruous to him as to us. When "the good Cooper" returned in Part 16, it was with the full force of the first season's bravado - commanding but generous, cheerful yet sensitive, enthusiastic and wise at the same time. This is the Cooper who shows up at the sheriff's station in Part 17 to oversee the destruction of his doppelganger and the Bob bubble - emphasis on "oversee" since it's Lucy (in a marvelous twist!) and Freddie the Glove who do most of the heavy lifting. And this is the Cooper who, in the spirit of The Wizard of Oz and one of the better moments from the old "Leland's wake" episode (where the original series went horribly wrong, erasing the Palmers and kicking Coop out of the FBI), says goodbye to his lovably cartoonish friends and associates before heading into that humming door beneath the Great Northern. This takes Cooper right into the darker, deeper, more abrasive realm of Twin Peaks where he has always been much more lost. The first half-hour of the two-hour finale is an absolute joy and delight, a satisfyingly zany conclusion to a story that doesn't take itself too seriously. And then, with the length of a feature to go, the true brilliance begins - and we are reminded why Cooper is, and will remain, "poor Cooper."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

There's Always Music in the Air: anticipating tonight's Twin Peaks: The Return w/ Obnoxious & Anonymous


With less than five hours to go, everyone who's been following The Return is eagerly awaiting the two-part finale tonight. The Obnoxious & Anonymous channel is hosting a live discussion this afternoon and I plan to stop by for a little while (the whole thing will be four hours, with guests presumably coming and going during that time).

update: To my surprise, executive producer Sabrina Sutherland made an appearance, and we were all able to ask her questions! She couldn't answer many in too much detail but it was great to speak with her nonetheless.



It's been quite a journey but with Twin Peaks, there's never anything quite as powerful or overwhelming as the endings - of the mystery, of the second season, of the film and with it (for a time) the whole cycle. Hopefully tonight follows in that tradition.

See you on the other side.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Time and Time Again: discussing Part 16 and anticipating the finale w/ Twin Peaks Unwrapped


With just a few days to go before Twin Peaks is, once again, a (relatively) closed book I joined Ben and Bryon to discuss Sunday's episode and what we're anticipating, hoping for, and completely unable to predict about the two-hour finale. Topics include Diane, Audrey, Cooper's ultimate fate, and whether or not to expect a Lynchian twist. My guest apperance occurs in the second hour; during the first, the hosts go over Part 16 in great detail (earlier this week they had another episode to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Fire Walk With Me, including interviews with John Thorne and screenwriter Robert Engels; nobody works harder than these guys at getting their Twin Peaks material out there).

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 16 - "No knock, no doorbell."


So...that just happened. As I reach for comparisons, the first to come to mind is episode 16 of the original Twin Peaks: the one in which Cooper magically solves the show's central mystery, captures Leland Palmer, and (temporarily) expunges Bob from the material world. "No knock, no doorbell." has the same breakneck sense of pacing, a jaunty, breathless, butterflies-in-stomach eagerness to hit its marks and give us what we've anticipated for...well, sixteen episodes come to think of it (ok, that's cheating - the original episode 16 doesn't include the pilot in its count). Narratively the match isn't exact because Cooper's awakening precipitates but does not deliver a climax, and tonally the heroic return of our protagonist is a far more joyous occasion than the death of a killer. Stylistically though, and on a more fundamental level of spirit, this feels remarkably similar. As followers of my work may know, I am not the biggest fan of episode 16 - but I liked Part 16 quite a bit. True, David Lynch's open embrace of cheeky absurdity is a welcome addition to the original mix, since he didn't direct that earlier episode (Leland's capture has been compared to a Law & Order episode given its more straightforward approach); but some of the things I enjoy about this semi-resolution are the same as what I do like about that older one. What differs is the context.

The other comparison that just occurred to me, which feels more apt, is to the Neon Genesis Evangelion finale. Not to the sections featuring avant-garde animation or lengthy, psychoanalytical internal monologues but to a specific moment just before the end when the lead character, Shinji, himself awakens. (Skip two paragraphs if you care about a jarring, if brief, surprise twist in that episode.) The boy pops out of bed, greeted by his stereotypically ordinary parents (doing the dishes and reading the newspaper), and races out the door with his best pal Asuka. Schoolyard drama ensues and the whole thing has an air of wacky, antic energy, bubbling over with a sense of fun even as its setting is aggressively everyday. In this, I'm told, the spirit of the sequence corresponds with many other anime shows...without at all corresponding to the rest of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji's parents aren't truly kitchen-dwelling normies; his dad is a sociopathic warlord and his mother is dead (well, kind of, it's a long story). His gal pal/girlfriend is in real life catatonic following her own violent trauma, and the city he cheerfuly jogs through has - outside of this dream state - actually been devastated by a massive battle (in which he, no ordinary schoolboy, took part). Shinji, in the midst of a psychedelic reckoning both physical and metaphysical, actually exists in a post-apocalyptic society, his life a mixture of numb depression and intense trauma (far from being everyday in its milieu, the series features giant mechas battling otherworldly monsters over the fate of the world).

Shinji's classroom interlude is a fantasy and/or alternate reality demonstrating how his mind can create other realities. The sequence also offers what many frustrated viewers yearn for, the ability to relax alongside beloved characters without any anxiety (which the show otherwise cultivates). This is, in a word, fanservice - but delivered with a cheerful wink and sleight of hand. We enjoy the moment because it's enjoyable, and we appreciate it because it exists within a more profound if troubling frame.

Does Twin Peaks?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 15 - "There's some fear in letting go."


There are three possibilities. First possibility: Cooper is dead (although, as the giant Jeffries kettle reminds us, Mr. C is still Cooper in some fundamental sense as well). Wouldn't that be a pisser? David Lynch and Mark Frost string us along for fifteen episodes, allowing Dougie to elude numerous assassins, and then dispatch him by having the guy stick a fork into a wall outlet. The event is even triggered by him hearing the name of David Lynch's character (is Sunset Boulevard the first movie we ever see played in Twin Peaks?), as if to remind us exactly who is doing this to our beloved hero. The ultimate troll? Beyond pure sadism, this development could serve some dramatic purpose - forcing Mr. C to be the conduit (no pun intended) of Cooper's redemption or sending the good Cooper back to the Lodge/elsewhere (as the Log Lady says, death is not an ending, just a transformation) so he can find another way out or achieve something even more important, which we can't foresee. Yet I suspect the series isn't going to go there. For whatever reason, even though I was audibly shouting at my TV "Don't do it!", I'm not particularly worried about the character right now.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Into the Woods (discussing Twin Peaks: The Return Pt. 14 w/ Twin Peaks Peeks podcast)


All of the Twin Peaks podcasts I listen to have something unique to offer, and in Twin Peaks Peeks' case it's the hosts' fearless enthusiasm for in-depth conversations on various topics, using Twin Peaks as a springboard to discuss TV narrative structures, sociopolitical questions of representation, or their own personal experiences (such as their journey to the series' locations while The Return was being shot). When Ashley Brandt and Mat Olson invited me to make a guest appearance on their latest show, the episode was no exception - our conversation spilled over two hours (edited down to a still-generous chunk). I talk about how I got into Twin Peaks and what my approach to it is, and then we cover on Hinduism, superhero tropes, Eisensteinian montage, and (what were to me anyway) unfamiliar concepts like tulpas and misophonia. Speculation and reflection abound; this was a really fun discussion and I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed participating. Also, Brendan James was a recent guest so between that and Discourse Collective's interview with Will Menaker, I can now assert that Lost in the Movies officially shares of an extended podcast universe with Chapo Trap House! (Take that as you will...on a more serious note, I strongly encourage you to check out Chapo's recent coverage of Charlottesville.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 14 - "We are like the dreamer."


What's the biggest news this week? That the gang finally made it to Jack Rabbit's Palace? That the FBI has now linked up with both Twin Peaks and Las Vegas? That Chad was busted by his compatriots? Nah, of course not. We saw all of those things coming, even if we couldn't figure out when (especially after Part 13 tipped its hand about screwy chronology). Far more shocking and memorable were any of the following: Monica Bellucci finally appears as...Monica Bellucci! (In David Lynch's, er, Gordon Cole's dream!!) Sarah Palmer literally killed an obnoxious bar patron by removing her face and then biting off his neck!!! Andy is the one to make contact with the other side (specifically the Giant ??????? The Fireman)!!!! James' gloved British buddy was sent to Twin Peaks personally by the...Fireman!!!!! DIANE AND JANEY-E ARE SISTERS!!!!!! And yet in some ways the scene that affected me most was the final one, maybe simply because it was the cherry on top of everything else, the moment that tipped my overall impression toward something I've been wanting to feel but hadn't quite yet: the intoxicating desire to enter into mysteries that I suspect will never be solved.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13 - "What story is that, Charlie?"


Somewhere between watching last week's and this week's episode I finally got a grip (I think) on the shape of this series. (Hey, it only took twelve hours.) Nothing big - well, nothing big big, like no earth-shattering twist on the level of a quasi-comatose Cooper popping out in Dougie Jones' place in Las Vegas - is going to happen again until the finale. True, part 8 is already something of an outlier, but look what it actually achieved: not so much a crazy narrative development as a dazzling stylistic detour (whose explicit plot relevance, if any, probably won't be revealed until later). And I don't think we're headed for another part 8 any time soon, though I'm admittedly less certain about that. In a way, this is an odd statement to make right now: aren't I just repeating what I've been saying since the beginning? I have, more or less, voiced such views about Dougie/Cooper (and, with the series more than two-thirds over, I think I've won that bet). But I thought other parts of the narrative would pull the rug out form under us, or rather pull back the curtain and reveal a hidden reality or shocking secret that reoriented our understanding of what we were watching.

This created a nervous dynamic each week: particularly eventful episodes would excite me, inspiring me to think, "Oh boy, we're really onto something big now!" while more low-key episodes would frustratingly evoke the feeling of being stuck in a rut. But after mulling over last week's perplexing, frequently perverse installment I finally sighed in a mixture of relief and resignation. I've always said that David Lynch's notion of an ongoing narrative is different from Mark Frost's (and many other television writers'): less a cycle of beginnings, middles, and ends - existing within an overarching narrative perhaps, but still full of self-contained units - and more an extension of a single middle as long as possible. I should have listened to myself, despite Frost's deceptive proclivity to sprinkle breadcrumbs along the three-and-a-half month-long path. Set-ups and payoffs do exist, characters and storylines have moved (if not exactly advanced), and there are a few mini-arcs within the larger narrative. For the most part, though, The Return wants to linger and doodle between A and B, not leap from A to B to C and onwards.

So the best way to enjoy each week is simply to sit back and let it happen without too many questions or expectations. This isn't a slow-moving train, it's a train that has stopped and calmly rests in place, partly to refuel for the final destination (the terminal point within sight on the horizon, yet frustratingly no closer as each hour passes), but also to allow us to wander and explore this particular way station. In that sense, those who grumble that Lynch stretched a nine-hour story into an eighteen-hour one aren't necessarily wrong, but that's the point. Don't rush the journey, we'll resume eventually; for now, just enjoy the scenery. You'll miss it when it's gone.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 12 - "Let's rock."


Tonight's episode opens with possibly the most straightforwardly lore-y scene of the series so far. Not only does Albert speak the letters "UFO," he makes plain one of the lingering mysteries of Fire Walk With Me. The blue rose has long been a symbol of pure mystification ("I can't tell you about that," Chet Desmond once informed Sam Stanley...speaking of Chet, my condolences to John Thorne and his dream theory). The blue rose was a symbol of nothing that could be articulated except perhaps just that (the inability to articulate). Sure, for years fans speculated about a connection to the supernatural nature of certain FBI investigations, but within the text of the film itself (i.e. the most purely Lynchian slice of Twin Peaks), the blue rose remained enigmatic. The cover of The Entire Mystery blu-ray used it as a motif as if to say, "Here it all is, but see what you can make of it."

Frost, on the other hand, started pinning this phrase down as early as The Secret History of Twin Peaks last fall, using the book to suggest that "blue rose cases" do indeed denote a supernatural aura. Early episodes of The Return also hinted at a more specific meaning without zeroing in too close, but "Let's rock." tells us flat out: the Blue Rose squad continues the work of the Air Force's Project Blue Book, exploring some of their unresolved cases, and takes its name from the dying words of a woman in one of these cases. Granted, there's still an air of mystery here - the ultimate origin of the phrase remains ambiguous (why did that lady utters those two words?). Nonetheless, the expository nature of the scene and its determination to ground the story in both an in-world and historical backstory indicate this episode will be more interested in answering questions, drawing threads together, and turning corners than leaving us in darkness. This turns out to not quite be true.

At times, part 12 purposefully stalls us, spinning its wheels. The exposition becomes repetitious: Truman tells Ben everything we already know about Richard (and then Ben in turn tells Beverly this same information), Albert offers more evidence to Gordon that Diane is a traitor, Jerry continues to scramble around the woods (though at least he's reached a meadow), and even the coordinates that Diane enters into a map on her phone unsurprisingly point to the town of Twin Peaks. The Chromatics play again under the closing credits, and the Jacoby scene repeats a shtick (sometimes verbatim, perhaps even with the same footage) that was initially inventive but has become slightly tedious. Indeed, as that scene unfolded, I thought "There's gotta be a really specific reason this scene is placed here, beyond just being filler." I was right - the mind-numbing familiarity serves as the perfect counterpoint to what comes next: the revelation, finally, of a character viewers have been waiting months to see, in a manner as perplexing for us as for the character herself ("YOU'RE NOT GONNA TELL ME WHAT SHE SAID??!").

Thanks in large part to this scene as well as several other elements, the episode that begins in demystification winds up as perhaps the most mystifying episode of The Return so far.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Viva Twin Peaks! (discussing Twin Peaks: The Return Pt. 11 w/ The Lodgers podcast)


Among the many new Twin Peaks podcasts to emerge this year, one highlight has been The Lodgers, hosted by Kate Rennebohm and Simon Howell. While many podcasters approach the series from a background in TV (and a few from other esoteric angles, like Counter Esperanto's Weird Fiction), The Lodgers has a decidedly cinephiliac bent. I was delighted to join them last week to discuss not only the most recent episode of The Return ("There's fire where you are going.") but also the place of The Return within Lynch's larger filmography, the possible impact of Lynch's collaboration with editor Mary Sweeney, the balance (and at times imbalance) between Lynch and Frost, and links between Lynch and other long-form and/or narratively inventive film artists like Jacques Rivette, Mariano Llinas, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Plus, everyone really digs Candie's increasingly whimsical contributions to the show's atmosphere.

Listen here:



Monday, July 24, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 11 - "There's fire where you are going."


Wow, I'm still tingling after this one. The first half-hour of Part 11 can stand with the first half-hour of Part 3 and the last half-hour of Part 8 as among the most sustained sequences of The Return. Unlike those stretches, however, "There's a fire where you are going." jumps between many different characters and storylines. We are barely recovering from one traumatizing incident before we're thrust immediately into the next: from children discovering a bloodied Miriam crawling out of the brush (astute viewers noted that there must be a reason she was still breathing last week) to Becky screeching into her phone and rushing from the house, knocking her mother from the hood of the car before racing into an apartment building and firing several shots into the door where she believes her husband is having a tryst. Scored to a stabbing soundtrack, the camera careens through corridors and down stairs in a jagged, sped-up variation on Kubrick's signature Shining shot (which Lynch has already made his own through numerous variations in Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire - though never this fast and choppy), before settling on Stephen and his lover. I didn't identify her right away but am now pretty sure she's Donna's sister (the credits list Alicia Witt as Gersten Hayward and can't think who else she could be). As they pant and hold each other, the shot is too quick to be called a breather; it's more like a quick gulp before diving into even deeper waters.

In South Dakota, Twin Peaks takes perhaps its most direct cue from a recent prestige TV hit, evoking the sky swirls of True Detective (witnessed this time by Cole rather than Cohle). Twin Peaks' vision lingers longer and takes us further than the the cosmic cyclone glimpsed in the bowels of Carcosa but before Gordon is swept into a bleary tear in space/time, Albert pries him loose. Within minutes of this jittery threshold experience, they've discovered the headless corpse of Ruth Davenport and Hastings' own head explodes, thanks to a woodsman who casually flickers in and out of view. Neither Davenport's body nor Hastings' head are sickeningly real so much as hypnotically Baconesque - they look like Lynch sculptures, and probably were. After this queasy crime scene we receive a relative respite in the diner, less violent but still emotionally on-edge (Bobby-Shelly shippers, momentarily elated to discover Becky is indeed their mutual daughter, are instantly let down when Red arrives to make out with Shelly; clearly the teen lovers of seasons one and two are no longer together).

Before our jangled nerves have had any chance to calm, Lynch offers up the most memorable traffic jam since Godard's Weekend, or perhaps Lynch's own Fire Walk With Me - comic, agitating, and terrifying in equal measure (it's spurred by a pint-size hunter firing his father's gun). Dana Ashbrook does some of his best acting so far by simply reacting to this contained chaos with ever-evolving, finely attuned expressions that mirror our own. This mini-episode of hellish anxiety climaxes as a middle-aged driver screams in short bursts while her child passenger rises from her seat like a zombie, ooze dribbling down the sides of her mouth shuddering in the dim light as the traffic horns sound a symphony of appalling, yet somehow absolutely hilarious, horror.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 10 - "Laura is the one."


This week Twin Peaks both fulfilled my expectations and surprised me, in a fashion I've come to understand as the way this bird flies. The overall shape of the narrative remains legible, consistently defying attempt to render it more complex. By now theories that the different storylines of The Return take place in different timelines, different levels of reality, or even different universes seem quite out of step with the methodical connect-the-dots nature of the episodes. When alternate dimensions or time travel do pop up, they are presented in a clear, distinct fashion, not hidden in sly, deceptive ways. The biggest "twist," at least since the central premise was established in part 3, hasn't had any effect on the plot so far (part 8's atomic/fifties aside, which will presumably become relevant further down the line). While the purpose of the story remains oblique, it is possible to frequently see where certain points might be going - Mark Frost knows how to hit his beats, and how to tease and satisfy just enough while keeping us mostly in the dark. Nonetheless, The Return is as likely as any other David Lynch work to indulge moments of whimsical humor or visionary transcendence and part 10 does not fail to follow this trend. As the title was all I knew before watching this episode, both my predictions and surprises this week have to do with Laura Palmer.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 - "This is the chair."


For all its unpredictability, a definite pattern is emerging week after week on Twin Peaks: The Return, a pattern that other commentators had already begun to note. Aside from the two-part premiere, each plot-heavy, relatively straightforward episode has been followed by a more challenging, avant-garde episode, establishing a rhythm that corresponds to the differing interests and approaches of Mark Frost and David Lynch, as well as the demands of a televised narrative and Twin Peaks' yearning desire to break the mold and indulge in experimentation. Given the series' ostensible design as one big film, cut up arbitrarily at each hour mark, perhaps this alternation is a coincidence? Well, I would've been likelier to believe that before the one-two punch of "Gotta light." and "This is the chair." Their juxtaposition is too jarring, the delineation between them far too neat, to believe in an accident. Whether we characterize the modes of this series as Frost and Lynch, narrative and experimentation, breaking it down and breaking through, Cooper is not the only part of Twin Peaks that's split in two.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Twin Peaks Interlude: discussing Parts 1-8 w/ Twin Peaks Unwrapped


Last week, with a two-week break between episodes, Twin Peaks Unwrapped for a discussion about Parts 1-8. We talk about the value of Dougie (and waiting for Coop), whether we are going to get stories or glimpses of the vast ensemble, and the power of part 8.



See you Sunday.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 - "Gotta light?"


Through almost my entire history of watching Twin Peaks, I've watched it alone. I saw the first two seasons on my computer screen, with headphones, in the summer of 2008. Fire Walk With Me soon became one of my most memorable solo viewings of any movie, a visceral experience I had to write about as soon as I finished, because it was so overwhelming. I immediately rewatched much of the series, writing about each episode - again, by myself. When I rewatched Twin Peaks six years later (aside from one episode with a friend, after buying a used VHS tape at a dying rental store), it was again a private experience; I finally saw a screening of Fire Walk With Me at a local library, with a crowd and my cousin (a newly-minted Peaks fan) but by this point I'd seen the movie a half-dozen times and had plenty of opportunities to think about it. The new series, initially, followed suit. I was visiting a friend in New York for the premiere, but he'd never watched Twin Peaks and didn't want to start with The Return so he sat in the other room focused on his own work, only poking his head back in when I yelled loudly at the glass box monster.

Tonight, at my parents' house after a long week spent with family,  I was surrounded by other viewers including an aunt eating Cheerios, the aforementioned cousin, my mother - who quickly left the room (around the time the dusty ghost monsters were ripping up the bloody doppelganger) - and a visiting sister who just watched the finale for the first time a few days ago. My sister hadn't even had time yet to watch the film, let alone any new episodes, so I was prepared to occasionally catch her up to speed when old and new characters appeared. As it turned out, that wouldn't be an issue. We sat spellbound for much of the episode, but also talked, noticing details, drawing comparisons, occasionally just marvelling (or cringing), laughing at jokes and asides. On the one hand, this would seem a wildly inappropriate way to watch one of the most immersive, meditative, visual pieces (not to underplay one of Lynch's most evocative soundscapes) of...well, cinema (the televisual aspect seems almost incidental) in the past hundred years. And indeed, I may wake up early tomorrow, before work, to pull a chair up much closer to the TV and rewatch the whole hour alone, soaking it in without any company or distractions.

Yet to be honest, this feels like the perfect time to make Twin Peaks communal. Not only are we all - recent, veteran, and brand-new Peaks viewers - equally lost in uncharted waters (this is radical new territory for an already radical series) - we are also undergoing one of Lynch's deepest dives into world history and mythology. This is, somehow, the history of the human race, and the modern age, and we're all in it together.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 - "There's a body all right."


This Twin Peaks is a slippery beast. If you think you have a handle on its pacing, it speeds up or slows down accordingly. If you think it's going to stretch out story beats, it hurls a half-dozen major plot points - and suggestive dramatic tidbits - in scene after scene (and yet, even still, you're left hungering for more). And halfway through the episode, when you think it has established itself as primarily as an expositional hour, with Frost's narrative twists and turns leading the way, Lynch suddenly makes room for not one, not two, but three ambient setpieces in which we linger on locations and soak in the mood. Of course, Twin Peaks was always defined by abrupt shifts in tone, and it had its fair share of slower and faster episodes, maybe even parts of episodes (though I don't think the pace ever fluctuated so sharply before). But perhaps over the years and through multiple rewatches - and other shows echoing Twin Peaks' unpredictability - we grew used to these dazzling surprises. Part 6 in particular is a thrilling reminder that despite prestige TV's vaunted imagination, there's still nothing else like Twin Peaks. I mean, sure, we saw a talking dream fish on The Sopranos but we didn't see a talking braintree popping up through the concrete like a weed to matter-of-factly hiss, "Squeeze his hand off!" to a near-comatose insurance salesman wrestling with a small bald assassin while his wife bashes the little man over the head from behind.

Friday, June 16, 2017

"I have no idea where this will lead us": talking Twin Peaks: The Return Pt. 1-6 w/ Obnoxious & Anonymous


One month (and six hours of television) later, I'm back on Obnoxious & Anonymous, where Cameron and I discussed the first third of Twin Peaks: The Return for a whopping three hours. Topics include whether we're dealing with include Cooper's identity (and why he's unlikely to "snap back" any moment), what Audrey's and Laura's roles will be, whether we are dealing with multiple words, the possible relevance of Richard and Linda, and much, much, much more.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6 - "Don't die."


Well, can you blame me? I imagine a lot of people are going to top their recaps or reviews with this picture tonight and tomorrow. This moment was the closest part 6 came to fan service - for three weeks, viewers have been predicting that "I know where she drinks" referred to Diane, and that Diane would be played by Laura Dern (although I don't think anyone predicted she'd be sporting that very Lynchian wig). The scene unfolds with fairly conventional buildup and payoff (Albert speaking her name) with a cute nod to Diane's forty hours of masked identity, as she is identified by the back of her head before finally turning around for the camera. It's a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see how her character develops, but this very brief bit is entirely unrepresentative of the rest of "Don't die." It's also something we all saw coming. As such, it's not very typical of Twin Peaks: The Return, or perhaps especially of part 6. I predict this will be one of the more frustrating and alienating episodes for many viewers, but while it didn't do as much for me as part 5, I liked it (probably more than part 4). Parts of it made me uncomfortable, but in interesting ways. It also helps that I'm sold on the Dougie/Coop scenario - but we'll get to that momentarily. After all, why rush? The Return certainly isn't.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 - "Case files."


Two weeks ago, I wrote that Twin Peaks" The Return was going to allow us to crawl into corners of the narrative, to get lost inside of it. This is the part - or damn it, the episode - where that magic spell really hits. "Episode" is fitting because, despite the claim that this is all one big movie, more or less arbitrarily sliced into chunks to prolong the experience, "Case files." feels like a TV episode in the best possible way. This works as a weekly, episodic, self-sustained entry of a serialized drama. It takes strength both from its reliance on a larger canvas which we can't yet fully see and from its isolated joys and sorrows. We dip into at least a dozen different stories, check in with members of an expansive ensemble, intrigued by what we glimpse and (this is key) emotionally invested in their experiences. Some of these experiences - quite a few, actually - are set in the town of Twin Peaks itself and connected to familiar characters (either directly or indirectly), which heightens our engagement. Other are not, yet they connect with us too; possibly the most affecting image is the final one, set in Las Vegas and commenting directly on the discovery, loss, and re-discovery of humanity through art. Though it cuts even deeper, part 5's fast-paced, eclectic structure evokes the best of Twin Peaks' first season, a combination of visiting colorful characters, dropping breadcrumbs along a dark wooded path, and carving out moments of ecstasy, suspense, and raucous comedy. Celluloid or digital, feature-length or serialized into standalone entries, the essence of cinema is and always will be emotion. That was certainly the essence of Twin Peaks, no matter how that was buried or what it was packaged inside.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Twin Peaks & the World w/ Discourse Collective: Lynch, Politics & Prestige TV

(Francesco Bongiorni for The Washington Post
- I LOVE this illustration)

A few weeks ago, the left-wing cultural podcast Discourse Collective invited me to discuss Twin Peaks with them. The episode was released yesterday but recorded before the new series premiere, so we only discuss the original series and Fire Walk With Me. The series is contrasted with the present-day craze for "prestige TV" (as covered in Matt Christman's recent "How TV Became Respectable Without Getting Better") and we also dig into Lynch's tangled political history (which I also talked about on a recent episode of Twin Peaks Unwrapped if you want to hear more). Hopefully we can all return to the subject after the new series has wrapped up.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Son of Man on Wonders in the Dark + Learn About Lost in the Movies


Time for a status update - especially as I have several items to link. It's been a wild week and I'm still catching up with so much commentary on Twin Peaks. As you've probably seen if you're reading this, I reviewed all four hours of Twin Peaks: The Return since the premiere on Sunday and eagerly await the fifth hour on June 4. The third and fourth will air next week, but I already streamed them since they were available early on the app; from June on, one hour will play live and show up to stream simultaneously every Sunday and my review will appear shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, there are a few non-Twin Peaks developments to report. Several weeks of Wonders in the Dark's tribute to co-founder Allan Fish will climax soon with Sam Juliano's essay on the late critic (which I am eagerly anticipating). The Allan Fish Online Film Festival focuses on movies available to the public via free online venues like YouTube, with a variety of writers highlighting obscure films just as Allan did. I participated by offering up my review of Son of Man for reprinting. It's a great movie (the video itself is embedded in the piece) which Allan himself introduced me to. If you're unfamiliar with it, I highly suggest you visit my review, linked below. That's the spirit of this whole endeavor, after all.


Allan had a huge impact on my work, and by coincidence, the day the above piece went up I was in New York City, meeting with Sam and his family as well as several other Wonders alumni, and we all talked warmly about Allan, his work, and the site that brought us all together.

Finally, last week - after months of other tweaks to make Lost in the Movies more presentable and navigable, I finally created a mobile template for easier phone/tablet use. Along with this (since you can't see the sidebar on mobile), I wrote an "About" page to consolidate my various directories and categories. This can also be handy for visitors using computers, of course. Especially if new readers/viewers discover my ongoing Twin Peaks work this summer, I hope a few will explore some of the other stuff I've been up to over the past decade. This is the best way to do so:


See you on Sunday.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 4 - "...brings back some memories."


By now, Twin Peaks: The Return has settled into a groove of telling several stories, each involving familiar characters from the old series and a central hub (Cooper's disappearance). Whether it will stay in this mode or not, this is the most conventional hour so far - if you can call a TV episode conventional when it includes a man transplanted into a lookalike's body who is so unfamiliar with human ways that he drapes a tie across his head like a bonnet and eats pancakes with his fingers, several minutes of a man in the woods spray-painting hanging shovels gold, and a long parodic beatnik monologue from Michael Cera playing a Wild One knockoff who for some reason has taken Marlon Brando's last name rather than his parents'. His parents, as we all suspected, are Andy and Lucy but I don't think anyone predicted the apple would fall this far from the tree (while still remaining just as lovably goofy in a different way). The actors all look like they wanted to burst out laughing, and I sure as hell did. Incredibly silly? Maybe, but it was also one of the funniest things I've ever seen on Twin Peaks.


Twin Peaks: The Return Part 3 - "Call for help."


Several weeks ago, revisiting Mark Frost's book The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I came across a reference to "the Brothers Grimm -- who I've since learned drew inspiration for their stories from real events in their own dark woods..." Clearly a throwaway line, this nonetheless got me dreaming of some sort of Twin Peaks/fairy tale crossover. And, in a way, that's what we get in this episode. Cooper, sent hurtling through outer/inner space by the arm/tree doppelganger (I think), arrives outside of a tower surrounded by tumultuous seas, draped in a purple haze. Inside the tower he finds a woman with her eyes stitched shut, sitting in front of a fire as an ominous force bangs on the door or the wall of this room. She seems to be locked in here by a monster, a monster who must not be allowed to meet the visiting stranger.

Twin Peaks: The Return Parts 1 & 2 - "My log has a message for you."/"The stars turn and a time presents itself."


High in the skyline of New York City, ignoring the blinking lights of Manhattan to focus his attention on a box within the room, a young man waits patiently for something to happen. The box is some cross between a sophisticated scientific experiment, characterized by advanced technology, and a magician's crystal ball (closer to a crystal cube), summoning presences from beyond. He's been told to expect an apparition inside this framed glass, and has even learned that others witnessed this visitation themselves while refusing to pass along any details. Perhaps the vision must be experienced personally to be understood. When ..."something" appear, pacing inside the frame like a prowling lion before leaping violently toward the screen, the watcher releases a loud yelp and jumps from his seat. It is happening again.

Unfortunately, no cute, curious girl arrives with a tray full of coffee to keep him company (she's my favorite new character so far - I hope she's ok though that's an awful lot of blood). On the other hand, he can count his blessings: the fantastic, ferocious specter does not escape its cage. Or does it? Remaining physically trapped within its frame, it nonetheless insinuates itself in his, or - why continue the conceit? - my imagination. As I watched the premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return in a friend's Brooklyn apartment, the image of a character gazing at, and recording his experience of gazing at, a giant glass box (not a television in his case, but some sort of teleportation device) certainly felt like a bit of a funhouse reflection. And I would imagine others, watching in places more geographically distanced from Manhattan than me, could also taste the resonance.

It would be difficult to imagine a scenario - urban, high-tech, sci-fi - further away from any preconceptions we might have had about Twin Peaks going in, yet somehow it perfectly encapsulates the experience of watching it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Anticipation of Another Place: Speculating about Twin Peaks: The Return w/ Obnoxious & Anonymous


The video below includes some discussion of potential spoilers. In fact, you don't even want to see pictures of cast members, aside from Cooper (probably a lost cause at this point!) don't scroll down since the video's thumbnail includes some images of that from trailers and official images released by Showtime.

Nearly three years ago, the first podcaster/YouTuber to invite me onto his show was Cameron Cloutier of Obnoxious & Anonymous. Back then we had no idea the series would ever return. It's appropriate that now, on the eve of new Twin Peaks, my final appearance to be released before the premiere is this episode of Obnoxious & Anonymous. We recorded it on short notice the other night but were able to conduct a long chat about various aspects of the series - rumors of how it might begin and what it might include, our hopes and fears, what the reaction will be like, what the town will be like, and what role Laura Palmer will play.

I may publish one more post, a final look back and forward before our conception of Twin Peaks changes forever. Then again, I'm going to be extremely busy for the next few days so I may not. Either way, for highlights I've everything I've ever written, edited, recorded, or otherwise published about Twin Peaks, check out Sunday's round-up.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

TWIN PEAKS & David Lynch reading / viewing / listening on Lost in the Movies

(picture from Variety)

^ Top 25: My best work on Twin Peaks ^

With a week to go until Twin Peaks: The Return hits Showtime, and my character series on pause till the summer, it's a good time to round up some of my past work on the original 1990-91 series and 1992 feature film (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me). I will be writing about the premiere immediately after it airs next Sunday (as I will for every subsequent episode); until then, you can get your Twin Peaks fix with these pieces.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Character Series will resume this summer - new Twin Peaks coverage begins immediately after the premiere


The writing has been on the wall since at least mid- to late March. There was no way I could finish the TWIN PEAKS Character Series on schedule. Each entry got longer and longer and I kept falling further and further behind. There was a shot - back in the period from December to February, I could have focused most of my "online/creative work" time exclusively on these character studies, and I think I could have managed to get far enough ahead to finish them before the new series premieres on May 21. Instead I violated the rule I've known for years, yet thrown aside at every opportunity: You can only have one priority at a time. I tried to do a little brainstorming for screenplays (what a dismal waste of time that was), some video essay work, and even set aside time to watch other video essays and TV episodes in anticipation of projects that were maybe a year or more on the horizon. Meanwhile my comfortable backlog of character pieces kept growing smaller until I was barely ahead. By the time I abandoned that approach and focused as much time as possible on the character series, it was too late. You reap what you sow.

This hiatus is both a relief and a major annoyance. It's a relief because I am now setting NO deadline. The work will be finished when it's finished, and in fact I'm not going to publish any of the remaining twenty pieces until all of them are done. This work has pretty much taken over my life in the past few months, so now I'll be able to visit friends I've delayed seeing, watch movies and read books (this year so far has been a virtual desert for intaking media that wasn't Twin Peaks), exercise, take care of tasks that have gone on the backburner, and generally just relax. I can earn more money as well, since some of my work is based on my own schedule/input and that's fallen by the wayside too (it's been months since I even contemplated a Fandor video). Also, the loss of a deadline means I can take my time with all these crucial characters. I'd like to think I wouldn't have cut corners anyway (and it's a moot point since finishing them on schedule was clearly a mathematical impossibility), but now I can write them when I feel like it, not when I have to.

On the other hand...that deadline existed for a reason. No matter how I rationalize it, it's just plain dumb to conduct a series of character studies that will be purposefully outdated when I publish them. Because I have no desire or intention to include the new material; I think it's going to violate all sorts of precepts that these studies are based on, and even if it doesn't it would make the upcoming pieces seem totally out of step with the sixty-two that came before. At most, I will add a few notes in the "Showtime" section at the end of each entry. But the character series becomes a tad perverse at this point, an exercise in nostalgia that grows more irrelevant by the week. More importantly than all of that, even knowing that I'm no longer going to pressure myself to write the pieces, I hate that they're now going to be hanging over my head when the new series airs. In a way this project was a purging, one last chance to get all analytical about Twin Peaks before I shift into another mode entirely. One of the treasures of David Lynch's work is the ability to enter it like a dream and float through without any expectations. With the left-brained approach to these pieces still kicking around in the back of my brain, I feel like that's going to be somewhat compromised. And it irks the hell out of me.

I'm also quite skeptical that I will have the will or interest to tackle Cooper up to the season two finale when I already know what happens to him after that. For that reason, I'm considering jumping ahead to my number-one entry in the next few days and seeing if I can write and store away that entry for my own purposes before new Twin Peaks airs. But frankly, even that might be an impossible task (how absurd it was to think I could do twenty entries in ten days - I'm not even sure I can do one in a week).

Oh well. I hope you enjoy the pieces when they eventually appear - right now I'm thinking maybe four a week, Tuesday through Friday (so that my responses to the new episodes can stand for a full day), starting the last week of June and finishing the last week of July. I have to admit there's a chance I'll abandon the project if it just seems too irrelevant or burdensome, but I doubt it because I tend to be anal about eventually finishing what I started, even if it takes forever.

From now on, the main priority of this site will be covering the new Twin Peaks, and doing so in a more impressionistic, meditative manner that allows me to savor the work and share that experience with you.

Everything else can, and will, wait.