Lost in the Movies: THE ARCHIVE Chapter 1: Look Ma, I'm blogging! (July - October 2008)

THE ARCHIVE Chapter 1: Look Ma, I'm blogging! (July - October 2008)

For close to three months, I posted every day, ranging from reviews of specific films to more general essays to fun exercises started by other bloggers (back then, "meme" had a different meaning). Simply writing down my thoughts about film and publicly sharing them on a basic Blogger template was thrill enough; there was a really fresh feel to these early days. The blogosphere was a thriving community at this time and I appreciated the back and forth that developed as we leapfrogged between one another's pages.

Subjects include The Dark Knight (the big blockbuster of this summer), an ideal "dirty dozen" double feature program, my "Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood" series covering cynical fifties films-about-films, a chronological study of D.W. Griffith, and my initial foray into Twin Peaks, which miraculously coincided with the birth of my blog and resulted in a first season episode guide.

This chapter also includes my immediate response to a shocking first viewing of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, my choice for the highlight of this period.


Landmarks of Early Film & Be Kind Rewind
I kicked off with a dual review that spanned 110 years of cinema, with “handcrafted” films as the subjects on both ends. A good place to start!

I'm Not There
Bob Dylans abound in Todd Haynes' multiverse

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Contrasting Andrew Dominick and Terence Malick under Western skies

The Wolf Man
Monster movie classic proves a fascinating disappointment

Storytelling Giant
Talking Heads videotape - building cozy homes in the wasteland

The Dark Knight
Reviewing my first new release - the big film of that summer

Spirited Away
Viewing Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece for the first time

The Brave Little Toaster
One of my favorite early reviews - a cartoon cult classic considered in the wake of its author's death

You Can Count on Me
A pleasant surprise to be found in this quiet world

THE AUTEURS: A Declaration of Principles
Launching my first series, meant to cover numerous directors (I only finished one)

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Biograph shorts, Part One
Reviewing a collection of early silent shorts, tracking the development of Griffith's technique

The Virgin Suicides
Sofia Coppola expressing her vision through various filters

I Was Born, But...
Yasujiro Ozu brilliantly captures kids at play with such dynamic energy that I always remember the film as a talkie

Dancer in the Dark
Cruelty without honesty - an acclaimed film I didn't care for on first view

A Man Escaped
Review of an iconic Robert Bresson film - but also the first (very casual, very offhand) mention of Twin Peaks on the site


Wintry, evocative mystery...plus my reflection on how cinema changed between '98 and '99

A dirty dozen
Six double features I dreamed up: this was the first post that attracted any real attention and it felt like I was officially joining the movie blogosphere

The Man You Loved to Hate/Foolish Wives
Examining Erich von Stroheim through a documentary and one of his own films

The Incredibles
Pixar's beloved superhero comedy has a surprisingly conservative worldview

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Biograph shorts, Part Two
Griffith's shorts grow more ambitious as he itches to make an epic feature

Why We Fight
I found this documentary's critique muddled in a way distinctly of this era

The problem with comic books (and movies)
Unpacking the inherent aesthetic issues with turning cinema into a wing of the comic book world (and to think, this was almost entirely pre-MCU)

Marveling at Wong Kar Wai's sequel to In the Mood for Love for the first time

That gum you like is going to come back in style...
And then there was Twin Peaks. I wrote this brief entry the night I finished David Lynch's series for the very first time

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Reviewing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me immediately after first viewing, I was deeply shaken, with many conflicting reactions to sort through

Critical idiocy vis a vis Fire Walk With Me
If I was shocked by Fire Walk With Me, I may have been even more shocked when I discovered how it was received. I'd never seen a greater gap between a work of art and its reaction, and still haven't.

The Dark Knight (revisited)
After a three-day Twin Peaks-writing bender, back to another familiar topic (though I'd return to Peaks again before long)

The War Tapes
One of several Iraq War documentaries I viewed around this time, this one with a focus on the grunt's-eye-view

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - The Birth of a Nation
The narrative facility and racist ideology of The Birth of a Nation are often treated as distinct phenomena - on this screening, I felt they may be more deeply connected

Twin Peaks in context
After watching the Gold Box special features, I returned with a Twin Peaks announcement

Dark Knights for Different Eras
Comparing The Dark Knight and The Birth of a Nation - Hollywood has long had a thing for masked vigilantes

A Real American Hero: The Buford Pusser Story (SIGHT UNSEEN BLOG-A-THON)
A $1 DVD that began life as a TV pilot, bizarrely mixing Nixonian early seventies Dirty Harry with Carteresque late seventies Waltons

Blue Velvet
Revisiting Blue Velvet in the wake of discovering Twin Peaks

Nanook of the North
Robert Flaherty's portrait is perhaps as much a home movie as a documentary

Farewell, termite
A tribute to the critic Manny Farber

Twin Peaks
Kicking off my Twin Peaks episode guide with a review of the pilot

Another dirty dozen
The first time I launched a "meme" (it meant something else back then): twelve hard-to-see films, cinematic holy grails

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Intolerance
Cutting across four different historical periods for Griffith's ambitious follow-up to The Birth of a Nation

Twin Peaks: Traces to Nowhere
Settling into the weekly TV environment with episode 1 (first after the pilot)

Our Hospitality
Maybe my favorite Buster Keaton, a visually rich experience with amazing stunts and gags

Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood: Singin' in the Rain (MOVIES ABOUT MOVIES BLOG-A-THON)
One of the most delightful films about film launches my Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood series, which guides us from the wry bemusement of Singin’ in the Rain to the icy cynicism of Sunset Boulevard

Pineapple Express
The characters seem to be writing this meta stoner comedy themselves

The Holy Grail
Collecting all the blogs that responded to my "12 hard-to-see films that you want to see" question

Silent Ozu
Reviewing the Eclipse set from the Japanese master, who was still working without sound (along with the rest of his industry) in the early thirties

Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood: The Bad and the Beautiful
Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood continues as the industry offers its own take on the director, star, writer, and especially producer

Twin Peaks: Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer
Reviewing the iconic episode 2 - brie and butter baguettes, Tibetan rock-throwing, and of course the Red Room

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Broken Blossoms
Griffith's return to a smaller scale after epic works

August Overlook
Highlighting work from August 2008


Lost Highway
Watching this David Lynch film for the first time, I grappled with the slippage between blurry overlapping realities

Jubilee & Radio On
Comparing two British counterculture films from the late seventies, a couple years apart yet suggesting different if overlapping cultural moments and musical movements

Warning Shadows
German Expressionism at its most German Expressionist

War and Peace
Detailed review of the USSR's massive Tolstoy adaptation, shortly after finishing the book and seeing the film on the big screen

Twin Peaks: Rest in Pain
The town gathers for Laura Palmer's funeral in episode 3

Twin Peaks: The One-Armed Man
Episode 4 is very underrated in my opinion (I think it's better than Tim Hunter's more high-profile follow-up)

Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood: A Star is Born
Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood takes a tragic view of the star system with Judy Garland and James Mason

Inland Empire
My first viewing of Lynch's final feature to date left me bewildered but intrigued

Fascinating social portrait of early America via gothic melodrama with Vincent Price and Gene Tierney

The Navigator
Buster Keaton gets nautical

An on-the-spot documentary captures a fire crew on September 11, 2001

The Small Back Room
The Powell and Pressburger team look back at the big war just a few years later with their study of an alcoholic bomb technician

Love and Death
A Brooklyn Yankee in the Romanov court

Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood: In a Lonely Place
The angst of the screenwriter in my Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood series - Bogie as an iconic Nick Ray antihero

Twin Peaks: Cooper's Dream
Visiting the Log Lady and exploring the woods in episode 5 (I'm much more taken with the episode now than I was at the time)

I Married a Witch
Veronica Lake sizzles as she wreaks vengeance on an old Puritan family

Force of Evil
Abe Polonsky's social critique as gangster film

Stage Door
Ginger Rogers and Kate Hepburn as backstage rivals

Bigger Than Life
The trouble-in-suburbia film that feels like an ancestor to both Fire Walk With Me and the Breaking Bad pilot

A minor film in their collaboration, but this was my gateway to the Astaire-Rogers kingdom

Kiss of Death
Iconic Udo and naturalistic New York meet in postwar noir

Road House
Long before Jacques Renault, there was Jefty

True Heart Susie
Jarringly simple Griffith early in the post-World War I era

Twin Peaks: Realization Time
Another episode I undersold at the time; now episode 6 might be my favorite non-Lynch of the whole series

Finding The Holy Grail
List of all the movies selected by various bloggers for my "Holy Grail" meme

Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Mild movie with Penelope Cruz as the highlight

Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood: The Barefoot Contessa
The Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood series grows even more tragic with the tale of a star told from several different perspectives

Farewell, Newman
Tribute to Paul Newman after he passed away (and yes, the title works as a Seinfeld joke but I think that was coincidental)

Another take on the Holy Grail: Apocryphal ephemera or, Mouse Guts
The story of how seven-year-old me was fooled into believing in a Universal horror film about a motorcycle-riding monster who killed mice

Twin Peaks: The Last Evening
My first attempt to suss out Mark Frost's perspective within Twin Peaks, reviewing the season 1 finale

September Overlook
Highlights from September 2008


The Verdict
Paul Newman, David Mamet, and Sidney Lumet craft an iconic Boston drama

Alfred Hitchcock really starts to become an American filmmaker with this cross-country journey

3:10 to Yuma
Clarity allows for ambiguity in sharp black and white western

The End of Summer in Early to Mid Autumn
I respond to a random movie quiz

Funny Face
Audrey and Fred (and especially Stan) remind us how modern and cutting-edge the fifties Hollywood looks in comparison to the thirties golden age

Tom Jones
In which the New Wave spirit is applied to a literary classic

Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood: Sunset Boulevard
My Hooray for (Hating) Hollywood series ends where it must, at the decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard...

War and Peace
Following my review of the Soviet adaptation, here's the Hollywood version of War and Peace (and how it differs)

Burn After Reading
At the time, I didn't care for the Coens' follow-up to No Country for Old Men

A B-movie for the nineties, with a Jon Voight performance that might be father's favorite (as well as Voight's own favorite)

October Oscars
Picking my own Best Picture year by year (a much-revised/expanded version of this exercise would go up five years later)

The Thief of Bagdad
Stunning design and Fairbanks' acrobatics mark silent adventure

Hoop Dreams
The coming-of-age basketball documentary would be my last review for a month that wasn't part of a larger series

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Way Down East
Griffith sets his 1920 hit in backwoods Maine to focus on daring ice floe stunts and close-ups of Lillian Gish

THE AUTEURS: D.W. Griffith - Orphans of the Storm
Griffith meets the guillotine in French Revolution tale

(I covered this period on Episode 1 and Episode 2 of my Patreon podcast)

(in which I review political fiction and documentaries related to the 2008 presidential campaign)

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