M. Leary

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  1. A case could be made that there is a good version of this guy and a bad version of this guy. I do not have any good examples of the latter at hand, but surely there are some.
  2. This is not my favorite Jarmusch film, so take what I have to offer with a grain of salt. I have been thinking about Darren's tweet since I saw it, as I felt the same tension while watching Paterson the first time. But Paterson as a character definitely fits into the Jarmusch universe, which is populated by wanderers and dreamers who don't quite fit into what happens around them. Jarmusch films typically operate on two planes at the same time - a mainstream, normal, public stage which constantly runs in the background, and a character self-isolated from that mainstream in a variety of ways (beatnik, lower class, odd criminality, drug induced stupor, being an immortal vampire, etc...). While Jarmusch clearly identifies with this outsider motif, we always have to suspend a little belief to get into the same empathetic space. I tend to think of Jarmusch characters as occupying a bubble in the real world, and because typical narrative rules are suspended in this bubble, they are able to encounter gradations of grace, mirth, and decrepitude which one does not normally encounter "out there in the real world." So Paterson is a lot like Ghost Dog or even Adam (in Only Lovers...). His sense for poetry and desire to write pushes him outside the mainstream flow of life into this calm little eddy Jarmusch has constructed. Laura is beautiful, supportive, and because of that a little impossible to accept as a realistic human. But the supportive encouragement she offers is exactly what any artist longs for, so Jarmusch graciously gives that to Paterson. And it works. And to be fair, I have seen Laura in other women, so she may be less hard to imagine than we think. When she claims she loves his cooking, the smell of the bar on his body, etc... I am willing to accept this claim because elements of that are certainly true. This may be the closest Jarmusch has gotten to a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she also makes good sense in context of WCW's Paterson line "Besides, I know myself to be more the woman than the poet..." - there being a subtle collapse in the film between this male and female character. And the genius of Jarmusch is how he finds ways for the bubbles he constructs to overlap with what we feel is more realistic, part of the mainstream plane we inhabit as the audience. He sends us out of the theater primed for a Binx Bolling response to reality. In this case, when Paterson sits on the bench next to the Japanese man reading William Carlos Williams, they have a conversation which ties the entire film into a real state of affairs. William Carlos Williams did write, he wrote Paterson, and people like this Japanese man sit on benches in Paterson reading his words. And people do this because they find something more real and coherent in poetry than they do in the other areas of their life. I guess Jarmusch is willing to risk making a film feel tawdry or cockamamie in order to show us someone passing through that very experience. I write poems. I never share them because I am not very good at it. But I do it to order and catalog what otherwise might vanish. I would not mind meeting my Japanese guy on a bench to push me a bit harder, to take it a bit more seriously. So while I understand how Darren gets anxious during the film, I thought that was an element of the film. An anxiety certainly resolves in that quiet final act. TL/DR 1. Paterson is just like most other Jarmusch characters, living in bubbles slightly overlapping with reality. 2. Paterson and Laura are kind of indistinguishable as characters, which also happens a lot in Jarmusch. And some women do like that bar smell. 2. I write crappy poems, so I identify with the anxiety in the film and wish I could meet a Japanese guy on a bench.
  3. For those following Stephen Cone's work, I noticed BAM is playing his latest film, Princess Cyd. Seems to veer a bit from the Evangelical setting of the last two, but perhaps not? From this Salon interview:
  4. There were two shots in this last episode which I can't recall seeing elsewhere in Lynch:
  5. I have watched the whole thing, as it does speak well at times to issues of faith and trauma. But I just do not respond well to Lindelof screenwriting. He constructs storylines the same way my kids and I decorate our Christmas tree. Keep piling stuff on until it is effulgent. If you look too close, it won't bear up to much scrutiny in terms of proportion, scale, or coherency. But it is pleasant to look at from a distance. The last two episode prior to the finale are good examples of this, as they veered pretty wildly away from any and all plotting undertaken in Seasons 1-3.2 in an overt attempt to set up for a hugely meaningful finale. And Lindelof certainly delivers on that. But as a counter-example, something like Rectify does more heavy lifting with far less.
  6. Something about Colossal did not click for me. It deals with some pretty heavy themes - alcoholism, abuse, etc... - but these themes are only really present to drive the narrative hook. On account of this lopsided scripting, a pretty significant problem with the film emerges. All of the lead characters' inner demons But these deep flaws and corrupted desires they are experiencing through alcoholism, self-isolation, deception, and physical abuse are actually present within. To pretend they are elsewhere, located in some external form or cause, which can be dealt with through proxy, misunderstands how healing and freedom from addiction really occur. The only way people actually find their way out of addiction and abuse is slow, quiet, deeply internal and self-reflective work. Hard to build cinema around that, but several have managed.
  7. Please do! I have watched it several times since I watched the Bravo run as a teenager. Most of it ages very, very well (excepting the spotty bits in Season 2). But I keep coming back to it the same way I do the novels or theology texts I revisit as I get older. It is not that I find anything new; it is just good to treasure my connection to the work.
  8. Thanks for the link. I know Ramsay has been a favored director of several of us at A&F. I am kind of expecting this to land in the same emotional territory as Denis' Bastards.
  9. I actually did not mind this at all, and was grateful for the comedy of it. Wally Brando. Come on, that's funny. What else could we expect as the son of Andy and Lucy? They have produced a wanderer. But a self-aware, respectful, winsome wanderer. I do like the way this scene underscores the lines of family and history in Twin Peaks. When Wally comes back to TP, I imagine he feels the same way as I do when I return to the church I grew up in. Yeah, I find MSZ's comments on TP really odd, considering he finds no irony in the very raw and melodramatic The Leftovers. If anything, everything in this season is far more restrained than the first two seasons. And in the first two seasons, the odd variety of emotional expression we see in characters is mostly a by product of poor scripting and directing. Ben Horne, for example, must be taken ironically in the second season, just because Frost began using him as comic relief. In contrast, there is a very distinct turn toward comic relief in Season 3 (like Wild at Heart funny), but it does not feel ironic at all. It is cathartic. Andy and Lucy are lovely in this respect.
  10. That was quite affective. Also There is something about myself being older as well. I can't quite lay a finger on it, but there is something richer or heavier about the series each time I watch it. I guess I bring more personal history to it, which sadly over the past decade has been marked by significant loss. I have always resisted indulging this kind of reader response, as it lacks much critical precision, but it is hard to resist.
  11. This is good stuff, Joel. I stand corrected!
  12. Wow. The DV tones and palette feel much different, but yet so familiar. This most recent link makes Fargo look pretty derivative by comparison.
  13. Big bump. Finally watched the deleted/extra scenes which are available in Blu-ray. It is clear why all this was cut. But there are three specific wide angle shots of a church disgorging members at the end of a service (with some filter on the lens, but a sheer exercise in framing), of a bar (with an incredible low light framing of a street on the right third, lit in different ways by logging trucks coming around a bend in the road - counterbalanced by the sharp red neon of the bar on the left third), and a neighborhood street at night (with a Hitchcock, painted screen textured background of additional, window lit homes on a hill). I am stunned these did not make it into FWWM, as they are among the best shots I have seen in Lynch. Each is painstakingly manicured in its own way. Each would serve as a formal centerpiece for any single film. Each of them have a very distinct vibe and production design. The use of light in the two night sequences rivals the similar Mulholland Drive scenes, but there is something so referential about these lost FWWM moments - Lynch making some rare overtures to potential influences. Hitchcock. Bergman. Fellini. These shots are of the few places where I can think of Lynch as belonging to some tradition of filmmaking larger than his body of work.
  14. Amen. Not to mention that Duchovny's character is essentially the same in X-Files. Same diction and line reading. Same "I was an agent and had to do this thing and then ended up becoming that thing..." shtick.
  15. Dick famously hated Fancher's draft of the script (see pg. 19ff for the last interview with Dick on the film, and I think... anything. He died shortly after). And now Fancher has sole credit on this script. Dick's problem with the original was that it looked like a "lurid collision of androids and humans blowing each other up." This trailer looks like... androids and humans blowing each other up. Dick did like Peoples' rewrite of the script, though, especially the ending. As Dick describes it, Peoples essentially rescued the core themes of the novel by reconfiguring Fancher's script entirely. (Peoples also went on to write Unforgiven and Twelve Monkeys.) In the Starlog interview, he talks about how the idea for Do Androids Dream... came from his research for Man in the High Castle. While trawling libraries for primary material on the Gestapo, he encountered a diary of an S.S. soldier: "That was in the late forties when I read that diary and I still remember the one line he had in there: 'We are kept awake at night by the cries of starving children.' I still remember that line, and that influenced me. I thought, there is amongst us something that is bipedal humanoid, morphologically identical to the human being but which is not human... And there, in the forties, was born my idea that within our species is a bifurcation between the truly human and that which mimics human, and when I saw those stills of Rutger Hauer I thought Holy Jesus, it's come back!" Fancher's original script had Deckard trying to talk Rachel into committing suicide for some reason. Per Dick: "If I want to know if I've died and gone to Hell, that's how I'll know because they'll turn all my books over to Mickey Spillane to rewrite and they'll all come out with 'Two shots rang out because the replicant Rachel has shot herself, which is the least she could do.' But that's not there now. Peoples jettisoned all that crap." Oddly, Hampton does not see it this way. His account has always been nearly the opposite of Dick's: "Okay. I saw a script during that…I still hadn’t met David [Peoples], the film wasn’t finished being shot, but somebody sent me a script of David’s that he’d done. And I felt sorry for him, because it was good. It was slash-up—part mine, part his—but there was a lot of him in this script. This one I read, it wasn’t shot. It was, I guess, his first take on the whole thing. And it was really interesting. It was much more populist than mine, more accessible, I thought. But it was exciting, and he had a certain exciting way of writing. Not the way I write, you know, we write very differently. And I thought, They’re not going to do this either; this guy’s worse off than I am!" -- The problem with Fancher's account is that his original script is out there, and parts of it do read exactly like the end of a 128 page Spillane Hammer novel. Watching the trailer brought all this backstory to mind - as it seems like a trailer for the script Fancher had originally written.