Lost in the Movies: January 2019

True Detective season 3 episode 4 - "The Hour and the Day"

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. Incidentally, I'm going to switch to a first-name basis for the detectives to match other characters; it just flows better.

Mahershala Ali continues to flourish as the undoubted protagonist of True Detective. For whatever reason, his makeup/performance as the elderly Wayne feels slightly less convincing this round but he is still a strong presence in the younger sequences, an iteration of the Pizzolatto detective persona that feels fully lived-in rather than superimposed on the actor. And after an unassuming debut, Stephen Dorff is emerging as a fascinating character in his own right, sturdy in both eras in very different ways. After the last episode hinted at the outcome of his friendship with Tom in the 1990 timeline, the roots are excavated in "The Hour and the Days"' 1980 scenes; Roland discovers the grieving alcoholic father at his absolute lowest and something in him pities the man. Both actors are excellent, and both characters are quite compelling. However, I think my favorite so far, for both acting and writing (and the way the two element complement one another), is Carmen Ejogo as Amelia. In the wrong hands, the part could miss the mark but Ejogo crafts a convincing portrait of curiosity, confidence, and confusion - do I get an A for alliteration, Ms. Reardon?

Patreon update #56: New introduction and preview of La La Land review

poster by Patrick Connan

This week I finally updated my intro video for Patreon to more accurately reflect new patron rewards (as well as a year of not getting my hair cut haha). I also tried to fix a few things from the previous video, including the no-no of filming from a low rather than high (or in this case, basically even) level. Couldn't quite get the eyeline right, though! I don't know how all you speak-to-the-camera YouTubers do it, day in and day out...a very simple minute of talking head video took me forever to set up. Anyway, now I have a teaser that's up to speed about the second-tier Twin Peaks podcast (just launched last week) as well as the rewards for all levels. In my biweekly preview, I share a glimpse of my "Unseen" series piece looking at La La Land in the context of 2016, and my weekly journal depicts my first week plunging back into a variety of ongoing projects after a trip to New York. In a few days, look for the official podcast, which will be one of my most packed yet.

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

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.

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) lives. 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.

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 serve 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

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?

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).

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


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