Lost in the Movies: THE ARCHIVE Chapter 38: The Juggler's Dilemma (March - September 2021)

THE ARCHIVE Chapter 38: The Juggler's Dilemma (March - September 2021)

After limping to the finish line of Journey Through Twin Peaks Part 5, I knew I needed to postpone the remaining Part 6 and build a backlog of other work. The wisest course would be to focus on a few key projects or commitments to carry me through the coming year, giving me plenty of room ahead of time to focus on Journey. Instead, I crafted a wildly ambitious plan for late 2021 through 2022 involving about a half-dozen major projects, more prolific and topical podcasts, and, for starters, wrapping up my Mad Men viewing diary - and even just that last step alone set me back by about a month.

While struggling behind the scenes, my output remained quite prolific, climaxing near the end of summer when I published thirty-one posts, videos, or podcast episodes in just eighteen days (a volume not quite reflected in this archive since many of these were grouped together in cross-posts); they include an essay about creating Journey Part 5 and a podcast on the full sweep of Mad Men (discussing episodes I wouldn't reach in my viewing diary for many months), while earlier posts ran the gamut from a written review of Charles Burnett's "guest from hell" quasi-comedy to a final, climactic showdown of all the previous "David Lynch/Twin Peaks Madness" group rankings to a dip back into my long-paused (and soon paused again) Citizen Kane video series.

The highlight for this period would probably be my Fire Walk With Me coverage for Patreon but since I slated this for public release in May 2022, I'll save it for a later archive chapter - instead I'll suggest Mad Men - "Mystery Date" (season 5, episode 4), structured around a notorious mid-sixties mass murder and spurring connections between Twin Peaks, fairy tales, and various character threads.


Mad Men - "Public Relations" (season 4, episode 1)
Holding onto or even expanding his status and power as partner at an up-and-coming agency, Don struggles more than ever with his identity as a bachelor in his late thirties

Sorry to Bother You (LEFT OF THE MOVIES podcast #3/LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #18)
At a time of growing labor struggles, I share my review of Boots Riley's surrealist, iconoclastic workplace satire with an added coda about what has changed in the few years since its release

Mad Men - "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" (season 4, episode 2)
An office Christmas party incorporates humiliation into celebration, as both Don and his daughter stumble in uncomfortable games with would-be partners

belated February 2021 Patreon podcasts: LOST IN TWIN PEAKS #25 - Season 2 Episode 17 and LOST IN THE MOVIES #76 - Twin Peaks Cinema: Kings Row / Political Reflections: Pandemic, Protest, Election, Insurrection & The Future (+ Us, Brideshead Revisited, documentaries on the Roosevelts, Reagan, and Lee Atwater, podcast recommendations, listener feedback, Twin Peaks Reflections: Nicky, Dougie, Hide-Out Wallie's, Timber Falls Motel, Milford family/The Secret History & more)
Catching up with my long-delayed "big episode(s)" by finally addressing a dark small town drama starring Ronald Reagan - alongside capsules discussing that president and his ideological opposite Franklin Roosevelt, plus a Jordan Peele thriller and a stately British miniseries (itself an icon of eighties conservatism); I also cast my own view back over the political tumult of the past year including Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, the 2020 campaign, the Capitol on January 6, and the disappointments of Biden's relief bill


Mad Men - "The Good News" (season 4, episode 3)
A visit with an old friend in California reveals just how much has been and will be lost as '64 gives way to '65

Blue Velvet (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #19)
In conjunction with a Patreon theme, my public episode explores this Lynch classic's sense of place as well as the bigger picture of its deleted scenes

Mad Men - "The Rejected" (season 4, episode 4)
While Don has a falling out with his secretary, Peggy and Pete show the silent generation split in two - one drawn toward bohemian experimentation, the other toward conventional domesticity

Mad Men - "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" (season 4, episode 10)
When Roger lashes out at Japanese clients, is he honoring his fallen comrades or simply guarding his own territory from Pete?

Mark Twain (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #20)
Ken Burns' documentary fuels a meditation on the zeitgeist(s) of nineteenth century America amidst its subject's personal/professional ups and downs

Mad Men - "Waldorf Stories" (season 4, episode 11)
An award leads to a lost weekend and an embarrassing new hire, while a fifties flashback reveals parallels to how Don got his own job

April 2021 Patreon podcasts: LOST IN TWIN PEAKS #27 - Season 2 Episode 19 and LOST IN THE MOVIES #78 - The Straight Story in Twin Peaks Cinema, Opening the Archive & Twin Peaks Reflections (w/ Ben's Civil War breakdown + Jean, Dick, the Briggs throne, orphanage & more)
Lynch's most old-fashioned slice of Americana makes an interesting companion piece to his most popular work but also, specifically, the odd Civil War storyline from the show's (rather less popular) middle period


Mad Men - "The Suitcase" (season 4, episode 12)
At the exact center of Mad Men's seven seasons, a grieving Don and a frustrated Peggy bond during a long night of boozing and brainstorming before, after, and (briefly) during Muhammad Ali's knockout of Sonny Liston

Films by Twin Peaks episode directors - The Wizard, Frances, Pay the Ghost, Heaven (TWIN PEAKS CINEMA podcast #4/LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #21)
Features directed by Todd Holland, Graeme Clifford, Uli Edel, and Diane Keaton provide fascinating connections to their season two work and Peaks more broadly - especially Clifford's poignant biopic of fallen star Frances Farmer

Here is where I laid out my grand plans for the coming year and a half - the last time I'd attempt a schedule of this scale and intricacy, it now stands as monument to a dream (or delusion)

Mad Men - "The Summer Man" (season 4, episode 8)
Betty and Peggy both struggle and revel in their new social roles, while a sobering-up Don's diary reveals his own insecurities

Mad Men - "The Beautiful Girls" (season 4, episode 9)
Don's preteen daughter and elderly secretary divide his attention while the women of the office reflect grimly on a panorama of feminine defeat

Holy Motors (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #22)
This quasi-anthology provides a prism to view changes in film technology and the gig economy over the past few decades, as well as a funhouse reflection of the acting profession

Mad Men - "Hands and Knees" (season 4, episode 10)
A Pentagon background check, Lane's tyrannical father, and the disloyal head of Lucky Strike attack the fledgling SCDP agency from three angles at once - all while Joan experiences one of her greatest personal crises

Citizen Kane at 80 (video): Returning to Mirrors of Kane series w/ "Thatcher" chapter
Walter P. Thatcher, Kane's acerbic, old-fashioned guardian, gets his own chapter on my ongoing Kane video essay series

Mad Men - "Chinese Wall" (season 4, episode 11)
All of life (and death) becomes a pitch meeting as SCDP scrambles to limit the damage from Lucky Strike's unlucky blow


High-Rise (LEFT OF THE MOVIES podcast #4/LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #23)
My frustrations with this J.G. Ballard adaptation produce a fruitful discussion (including dialogue with an admirer of the film), capped with a 2021 postscript exploring what has and hasn't changed in UK politics

Mad Men - "Blowing Smoke" (season 4, episode 12)
Several seasons of of tobacco corruption provide the rich soil, Don's drinking waters the roots, and a heroin addict offers the essential seed from which this episode's epiphany blossoms

Twin Peaks Unwrapped - Ultimate Lynch Madness (w/ Mya McBriar, Josh Minton, and John Thorne)
We rank past picks for best Lynch film and best episodes of seasons one, two, and three on this climactic podcast, timed for the thirtieth anniversary of the original series finale

Mad Men - "Tomorrowland" (season 4, episode 13)
As Don and Faye draw closer together, a trip to California offers a surprise for everyone involved

Inherent Vice (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #24)
This shaggy noir provides my first public discussion of a Paul Thomas Anderson film, recorded a few years earlier and revived to close off my second season of podcasts before big changes later in the year

Mad Men - "A Little Kiss" (season 5, episodes 1 & 2)
A rich double episode finds Don in a new apartment overlooking the city (where he "celebrates" his "fortieth" birthday) as the office is embroiled in a civil rights conflict

Summer 2021: status update
Checking in to promise a busy summer...
Mad Men - "Tea Leaves" (season 5, episode 3)
A newly overweight Betty has a health scare, Peggy questions her judgement after interviewing the eccentric Michael, and Don ponders the generation gap backstage at a Rolling Stones concert

Mad Men - "Mystery Date" (season 5, episode 4)
One of the most cleverly and provocatively structured episodes uses the brutal murder of young nurses in Chicago to explore several characters' crises in New York
My first prose essay on a film in over a year (the longest break in the history of this site) digs into the unusual implications of Danny Glover's trickster villain in Charles Burnett's slow-burn character/ensemble study

Mad Men - "Signal 30" (season 5, episode 5)
Pete's move to Connecticut provides a loud-sports-jacketed dinner party, a dreamy but disappointing Driver's Ed flirtation, and ultimately a subject for Ken's literary contemplation

Finishing Mad Men (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast bonus)
I offer my broad thoughts on the series in podcast mode in a nod to my behind-the-scenes activity (having spent the past month writing viewing diaries for seasons six and seven while publishing my earlier work)

Mad Men - "Far Away Places" (season 5, episode 6)
A trilogy of quintessentially mid-sixties stories - Peggy's metropolitan wanderings, Roger's psychedelic self-discovery, and Megan's disappearance from a Howard Johnson's - recall the narratives of Michelangelo Antonioni in what may be Mad Men's most adventurous outing

Mad Men - "At the Codfish Ball" (season 5, episode 7)
Coming off an exhilarating professional victory, Don and Megan expect further success at an awards ceremony but things go sour before long
After a bumpy July, held up by my Mad Men deep dive, I move my podcast to a weekly basis in order to catch up


Mad Men - "Lady Lazarus" (season 5, episode 8)
Megan's dreams run headlong into her job while Pete has an unexpected encounter with a neighbor's wife

Ill-Gotten Gains
Supernatural visions (embodied by an Eartha Kitt-voiced stop motion wood sprite) infuse the day-to-day horrors of a slave ship as I write about Amistad's gonzo doppelganger - both were released in 1997 and star Djimon Honsou

The Social Network (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #25)
After the Mad Men bonus, my third season of public podcast officially launches by examining the ever-shifting legacy of Facebook, and its abnormal yet quintessentially millennial founder, through the lens of different eras

Mad Men - "Dark Shadows" (season 5, episode 9)
A toxic fog, literal and figurative, settles over the city for Thanksgiving '66

Films by Twin Peaks episode directors - After Dark, My Sweet, Code Name: Emerald, Losing Isaiah, Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher (TWIN PEAKS CINEMA podcast #5/LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #26)
My final Peaks collaborator round-up features as eclectic a mix as any with theatrical features or TV movies from James Foley, Jonathan Sanger, Stephen Gyllenhaal, and writer Robert Engels

The Olympic Series: full directory
Inspired by the recent summer games in Tokyo (the first delayed event in Olympic history due to Covid-19), I lay out my plans for a monthly round-up of capsules on all the official documentaries
As SCDP lands Jaguar, Don struggles between a sense of newfound maturity and re-discovered immaturity while Harry Crane tangles with Hare Krishna

High and Low (LEFT OF THE MOVIES podcast #5/LOST IN TWIN PEAKS podcast #27)
In what proved to be my last "Left of the Movies" episode (at least for a while), I surround my discussion of Akira Kurosawa's two-tier crime classic with the contemporary context of American inequality and the post(?)-pandemic economic fallout

Mad Men - "The Other Woman" (season 5, episode 11)
The sleek Jaguar and a sleazy Jersey salesman force Joan - and her colleagues - to contemplate how far they'll go to get ahead

The Olympic Films, part 1 of 7: Summer 2021 (broadcast) / 2016 / 2012 / 2008 & Winter 1924 / 1928 / 1936 (+ 1932 bonus)
My first Olympic round-up (before this series too would stall) encompasses the earliest winter and latest summer games - stretching all the way from the cautious postwar optimism of the 1920s French Alps to the carefully quarantined determination of 2020s Tokyo

Eyes Wide Shut w/ guest Andrew Cook (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #28)
Posing questions we can't necessarily answer - just asking is intriguing enough - we dig into the mysteries of Stanley Kubrick's ever-more-topical tale about an elite sex cult

belated July 2021 Patreon podcasts: LOST IN THE MOVIES #81 - Twin Peaks Cinema: The Vanishing (+ Twin Peaks Reflections: Andrew, JJW, Josie, Blue Pine Lodge, Wind River, Josie's intrigue/Part 16, listener/viewer feedback, Rebecca & more)
The stirring subject, structural ingenuity, and existential anxiety of this eighties Dutch thriller (as well as the timing of its release, capturing a liberatory but unsettling international zeitgeist) make it prime "Twin Peaks Cinema" material - especially alongside my discussion of Peaks' tangled Josie storyline and my archive reading on an Alfred Hitchcock film about another ghostly female presence
Lane's triumphant morning turns into a disastrous day after a fateful confrontation about his finances


The long return to Journey Through Twin Peaks: a behind-the-scenes essay (pt. 3 of 4)
Finally putting a capper on the past year and a half - perhaps much longer than that - I detail the process that led to and through Part 5 of my video series

August 2021 Patreon podcasts: LOST IN TWIN PEAKS #31 - Fire Walk With Me and LOST IN THE MOVIES #82 - Twin Peaks Cinema: Bigger Than Life (+ Twin Peaks Reflections: Randy, Jones, Great Northern Hotel, Fat Trout Trailer Park, Windom Earle's scheme/My Life My Tapes, Afghanistan withdrawal, Nina Turner loss, other recent political developments & more)
My main podcast is dominated by the Peaksian subversion of a Nicholas Ray domestic melodrama and the quick dissolution of any modest hopes for the Biden era (with even his rare bold gesture inspiring a backlash); however, most of the material gathered here belongs to my sprawling, twelve-part coverage of Fire Walk With Me which concludes the Lost in Twin Peaks podcast for $5/month patrons
A season of limbo closes with an unforgettable closing line and shot, after Don struggles with a toothache, a ghost, and a choice about where his relationship is headed

JOURNEY THROUGH TWIN PEAKS: Season 3 in pieces (a summer of mini-chapters from the chapter 36 video)
Okay...one more postscript to the Journey Part 5 project (though to be fair, the last of these repackaged video essays went up the same day as that behind-the-scenes essay)

10 Connections between David Lynch's Eraserhead and Inland Empire + connections to Twin Peaks (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcasts #29 & #30, parts 1 and 2 + a patron podcast)
Lynch's first and last feature, linked by the avant garde, personal narrative, intense psychodrama, family, infidelity, Los Angeles, hidden spaces, long productions, climactic killings, and concluding embraces in light; for good measure and to close off this period, I also link to my brand new "Twin Peaks Cinema" episode on Eraserhead, which will not be officially cross-posted until later

Broken Hearts and Lonely Souls • discussing the Twin Peaks killer's reveal episode w/ PeaksChatz
Finally, another guest appearance on a podcast's episode 14 coverage before the next, much-heralded chapter of my online activity begins...

Next: Rise and Fall of the Grand Plan (September 2021 - January 2022)
(in which the Lost in Twin Peaks public podcast launches and sinks every other project before itself stalling)

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