Lost in the Movies: March 2019

The path to Journey Through Twin Peaks

CURRENT STATUS: Completed the first video.

WORKING ON: From now on, progress will be recorded in a new post "The path THROUGH Journey Through Twin Peaks" which will be published on April 15.

You can bookmark this post to check back periodically. I will update each step to note when it is completed, bringing me that much closer to publishing new Twin Peaks videos. (final update on April 9, 2020)

What I will finish behind the scenes before Journey is published:

1) create all Patreon podcasts ahead of time through October 2019
(one main and one rewatch podcast each month)
completed May 15, 2019

2) create a viewing diary for Veronica Mars
(finish watching/reviewing seasons two and three and the feature film before the Hulu revival begins this summer)
completed June 5, 2019

3) research the work of Mark Frost
(finish watching Hill Street Blues season five and Buddy Faro, maybe re-read/re-watch books/films/episodes, etc)
(all except books are finished; reading about an hour each day but this no longer a necessary precedent)

4) create one 3 1/2 Minute Review video and two Side by Side videos
completed March 13, 2020

(I discussed the structure here)
completed April 8, 2020

6) Re-design the site
completed September 13, 2019 (advanced before #4)

What I will present on the site before Journey is published:

1) Publish, as frequently as necessary, the Veronica Mars viewing diary for the old episodes leading up to the Hulu premiere
(the Hulu viewing diary will go up alongside video essays if necessary)
completed August 2, 2019

2) Publish, once a week, seven non-Twin Peaks video essays leading up to the first Journey video
completed March 31, 2020

You can follow my progress even more closely in this Twitter thread (scroll up for first steps, scroll down for updates) where I added a few more steps: an interview with Martha Nochimson for the summer (completed August 2019) and creating/publishing a series of backlogged posts (completed November 2019, publication completed March 2020) and podcasts (completed January 2020, publication completed March 2020) as a stopgap in the fall and winter. In March 2020, I also created a new Twitter profile to focus exclusively on the video series, and I will be creating a "path through Journey Through Twin Peaks" thread and post in mid-April to discuss the steps to completing this new Journey once it has publicly begun.

The details:

Lynch Madness: choosing our favorite Lynch film on Twin Peaks Unwrapped (w/ Mya McBriar)

I joined the Twin Peaks Unwrapped podcast (along with Mya McBriar, of Twin Peaks Fanatic) for our first discussion in a year, and it was a doozy - not just a normal conversation, but a "March Madness"-style competition to determine our collective favorite Lynch films by setting two against each other in brackets and advancing until only one remained. You won't believe what happens next...

There are plans to use this format again for episodes, and I can't wait. It's of course ridiculous to set Lynch's film against each other this way, but by embracing that ridiculousness we had a blast and even managed to point out some interesting strengths, flaws, and surprises about the various works. How would you have voted in each step?

March 2019 Patreon Podcasts: LOST IN TWIN PEAKS #2 - Season 1 Episode 2 and LOST IN THE MOVIES #53 - John Thorne conversation, pt. 3 (+ Roma, problematic art/artists, Venezuela, Late Spring, The River, La Roue, Pandora's Box, Gone With the Wind, Ivan the Terrible Part II, Scarface, Jaws, The Seventh Seal, God's Country, Satantango, podcast recommendations, Listener Feedback bonus - Catholicism vs. Protestantism in First Reformed, Democratic Socialists of America, Spirituality & Psychology in Twin Peaks & much, much more)

As winter turns to spring, I thought my podcasts were going to become more streamlined, but even as I pare my approach down to its essentials there's way too much material to keep the titles short, let alone the episodes. For starters, my "Lost in Twin Peaks" rewatch podcast continues for second-tier patrons with an extensive overview of the first regular episode in season one. This incorporates everything from my analysis of the episode's structure to what went down on Cheers the night that Twin Peaks made its Thursday debut.

On the main episode, John Thorne and I wrap up our extended Twin Peaks conversation...for now. We zoom in on questions about Judy, the Experiment, and Diane (among others) and I won't be surprised if we do this again, soon, because just in the time since recording this John has already revised some of his thoughts on Cooper and written about them for The Blue Rose. The archive "favorites" series continues with a mix of very obscure, hard-to-find titles and a couple of the biggest blockbusters of all time, and after offering some brief reflections on the recent Academy Awards ceremony and the acclaimed nominee (but not winner) Roma I end the episode with an extended podcast recommendations session. This yields long deep dives into topics like problematic art and artists, the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, and Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign.

Lost in the Movies Episode 53: John Thorne's Twin Peaks conversation, pt. 3
(+ Roma, Oscars, True Detective season 1, podcast recommendations, problematic art/artists, Venezuelan crisis, favorite films archive #78 - 68: Late Spring, The River, La Roue, Pandora's Box, Gone With the Wind, Ivan the Terrible Part II, Scarface, Jaws, The Seventh Seal, God's Country, Satantango & more)

I've been thinking for a while that it might become necessary to present listener feedback as an independent, bonus entry alongside the main podcast and it surely was this month. Often the feedback circulates around Twin Peaks, but in February and March there were a number of topics provoking fascinating discussions. Some are tangentially Peaks-related (whether trauma or mysticism, or both, provides a better lens for the show's drama, branching off into conversations about Carl Jung and the David Cronenberg film A Dangerous Method, about early psychoanalysis). Others aren't at all (including a dive into the theology and ethos of First Reformed - ok, maybe that gets a little Peaks-y - and a fascinating report from a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, one of the fastest-growing political organizations in the U.S., about the community work they are doing in San Francisco). You'll have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post for the full array of topics, because I couldn't even to begin to fit them all into the title.

Lost in the Movies Episode 53 (listener feedback bonus)
First Reformed & Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Democratic Socialists of America, Spirituality vs. Psychology, Carl Jung, A Dangerous Method, Trauma in Twin Peaks, Netflix movies, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, DC vs. Marvel, True Detective season 3, critique of my Satyajit Ray video, how I cover Twin Peaks & more

Podcast Line-Ups for...

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The story is simple, straightforward, and the style carries the conviction of a raw immediacy difficult to fake. This is not to say that elaborate machinations and cagey deceptions were not involved in the events of April 11-14, 2002, in which the popular left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez was deposed (an occurrence all too familiar in the history of Latin America) and then restored (an occurrence not nearly familiar enough). Nor is this to ignore the sophistication of this documentary's analysis, its exacting deconstruction of the privately-owned media's duplicity as well as its own - consequently somewhat ambivalent - skill in shaping a narrative from a vast array of choices. The Irish filmmakers shot at a 200:1 ratio, meaning for every one minute of footage they used, three hours and nineteen minutes were discarded; struggling to tighten their focus, they hired a particularly crucial collaborator, editor Ángel Hernández Zoido, who has argued, "There are always hundreds of stories sleeping inside the material and you have to find them and wake them up." No, what I mean by observing - and praising - the story and style of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is that the filmmakers never lose sight of the essential truths at the film's core.

What are these essential truths? First, that the political tension in Venezuela hinges on class war, with Chávez's support rooted in the more impoverished sectors while the opposition's support is rooted in the more wealthy. Second, that the private media reflects its often oligarchical ownership by pushing narratives that relentlessly attack Chávez, through manipulation if necessary. Indeed, one of the film's most significant and highly cinematic observations is that an image used to justify the coup relies on a dishonest camera angle that denies wider context: Chávez supporters supposedly firing at a crowd of opponents when in fact their defensive fire was directed at hidden snipers in an area mostly devoid of protesters. Third, that the leaders of the opposition - despite their self-righteous claims to be resisting an authoritarian outlaw - gladly operate outside of the law when the opportunity arises; as soon as they have even a flimsy grasp on power they do not turn to democratic means to claim their legitimacy. Notably, although the details of the documentary can be, and frequently have been, vehemently if unconvincingly argued with lawyerly devotion, the film's critics tend to concede or avoid these broader, fundamental truths. They are essential not only because they make the most important facts clear but because they orient us toward the wider context and pattern.

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