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Ron Reed

TWIN PEAKS

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Darren H   

I agree that Lynch is not very interesting when his descents into the subconscious are interpreted by the viewer as descents into the subconscious. By that I mean a conscious, intellectual act by the viewer, either during or after the viewing experience. But as an aesthetic experience, many of his films still fascinate the hell out of me. I mean, he works in thread-bare archetypes (confronting one's dark side, for example), but, to me at least, he is able to articulate sorrow and tragedy and despair in cinematic language better than any other filmmaker.

This goes along with my recent comments about allegory in the thread for The Return: I was disappointed by the end of Twin Peaks because the narrative drive (we needs answers!) overwhelms the aesthetic experience, so all of those objects that had for two years been confused and shape-shifting images were suddenly weighted down with symbolic meaning. Twin Peaks is the deeply, overwhelmingly sorrowful story of a beautiful young girl who is sexually abused and murdered by her father. How the pieces fit together is, to me, irrelevant.

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NBooth   

I can see that. Mulholland Dr. is one of my top ten movies, but I've never been interested enough to revisit the three hour Black Lodge experience that is Inland Empire, for all that I can admire it on several levels. (OTOH, I think Lynch's recent Lady Dior short (linked in our thread on great commercials) succeeds precisely because he doesn't indulge in any sort of Lodginess (at least, in an obvious way--though there is a blue rose).

EDIT: Hmm. Darren must have been posting while I was. FWIW, I agree on the articulating sorrows bit.

Edited by NBooth

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Tyler   

A recent interview with Bob Engles was revelatory, but not necessarily in a good way (a poster here summarized the interview. On my browser, it's the last post on the page):

He confirmed that BOB, MIKE and the other Lodge spirits originated from Garmonbozia, a planet covered entirely in creamed corn and where everything moved backwards. He said that he revealed this to the guys from Wrapped in Plastic in an interview for their final issue, but they didn’t use it (because he thought they wanted to keep the secret to themselves).

That helps explain

why that old woman and the creamed corn kid show up in FWWM, I guess. To be honest, though, that sounds like an explanation South Park would make up for a spoof episode.

My general impression of FWWM, FWIW, is that it doesn't add much if you've watched the series, and you'd be quite lost watching the movie if you haven't.

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Persona   

I like your pet theory the best, NBooth, and remember thinking something along those lines, too.

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M. Leary   
Twin Peaks because the narrative drive (we needs answers!)

This is essentially the content of my "ugh" about the second season above. Which, to be fair, Lynch can't be blamed for. The difference between the first and second season is a great test case for how television (typically) corrupts our narrative reflexes. Your point is taken on Lynch as emoter par excellence. If I sit and file through all the Lynch images that come to mind first, they are all total expressions of some category of despair. (Lost Highway sax solos, Mulholland tiny parents, Inland Empire weird scene, Lost Highway Rammstein scene, Spike, decomposing ear, etc...)

I can see that. Mulholland Dr. is one of my top ten movies, but I've never been interested enough to revisit the three hour Black Lodge experience that is Inland Empire, for all that I can admire it on several levels.

I am happy to watch snippets of Inland Empire every now and then because it is so wonderfully informed by Lynch the painter. But yeah, I don't need to spend that much time in the Black Lodge either.

In regards non-Black-Lodge Lynch, I was once a pretty big advocate for Wild at Heart, but I am not so sure I am as on board with that one as I used to be. One significant thing I get left with after sifting through Lynch is the way that A Straight Story is a Disney film about mortality, broken families, and the cruel march of time. If the entire film were shrunk and condensed into 20 seconds, it would feel every bit as terrifying and inscrutable as Lynch's more abstract moments.

Edited by M. Leary

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Persona   

There was only one, it was three hours long.

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Darren H   

I've watched Inland Empire several times, along with "More Stuff That Happened" (or whatever the 90 minutes of extra footage on the DVD is called). I think it's among my favorite Lynch projects because of its strangeness. The less logical narrative, the better.

M, I used the word "sorrow" a couple times in my last comment, and I think that's what saves Lynch for me. There's certainly a fair amount of despair in his work, but he's not cynical or ironic about it. It's tragic. Violence is tragic, for Lynch. The Hollywood star-making machine is tragic. The sin and decay buried just beneath the surface pleasures of suburban consumption are tragic. It's not hard to point a camera at the world and show those tragedies, but making a viewer feel the sorrow of so much tragedy is Lynch's gift.

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M. Leary   

I've watched Inland Empire several times, along with "More Stuff That Happened" (or whatever the 90 minutes of extra footage on the DVD is called). I think it's among my favorite Lynch projects because of its strangeness. The less logical narrative, the better.

M, I used the word "sorrow" a couple times in my last comment, and I think that's what saves Lynch for me. There's certainly a fair amount of despair in his work, but he's not cynical or ironic about it. It's tragic. Violence is tragic, for Lynch. The Hollywood star-making machine is tragic. The sin and decay buried just beneath the surface pleasures of suburban consumption are tragic. It's not hard to point a camera at the world and show those tragedies, but making a viewer feel the sorrow of so much tragedy is Lynch's gift.

Put that way, sorrow really is a better word than despair in this context. (We don't see much actual sorrow on TV than in the first season of Twin Peaks, do we? Can't think of many cases.) I guess he has that in common with Jarmusch at his best. If only Jarmusch had directed Wild at Heart and Lynch had directed Mystery Train.

What always has astounded me about Blue Velvet is that it should feel over the top, but there is an earnestness about its more confrontational bits that transforms the film into a mode of... sorrow. And this also transfers over to the way Lynch depicts the abuse of women that in other hands (like von Trier's) would feel vile and mercenary. But there is a great tenderness in Lynch towards Rossellini, and Dern, and Watts, even though he asks them to go to such terrible places. You flip through books of his paintings, and read about his creative process, and you don't really expect this element of grace. But as an auteur, he is by far the most benevolent component of his films. The intense lament of Laura Dern throughout much Inland Empire becomes meaningful because we can sense Lynch's emotionally intelligent presence in the film's multiple loops and transitions.

That is a great little key, Darren. Time to pull out Empire again. Lynch is sounding as more and more interesting again as I tap this post out. (Oddly, Akerman's D'Est made me want to revisit it as well. If it were possible to make film mashups, I would probably start with these two.)

To be honest, my conflict with Inland Empire is that it is either a mediocre film, or it is one of the best films I have ever seen. I always feel it is like having to look at a masterpiece painting out of the corner of my eye.

There was only one, it was three hours long.

Yep. That's the one.

Edited by M. Leary

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Darren H   

For some reason I dismissed Lynch several years ago. But after hearing many of my cinephile fans sing his praise, I decided to give him a fresh look by watching everything he's made, again or for the first time, more or less in sequence. I watched Twin Peaks while running on the treadmill, and at some point eight or ten episodes in, I had to get off because I found myself crying. I remembered all of the quirkiness and strangeness of the show, but the sadness had been lost on me as a teenager. Maybe it's because Joanna and I have had first-hand experience with family tragedy and murders, but the sadness of the Laura Palmer story really overwhelmed me. The episode in which Leland is revealed as the murderer might be the best thing Lynch has ever directed. I still can't believe that aired in prime time on a major American network.

To be honest, my conflict with Inland Empire is that it is either a mediocre film, or it is one of the best films I have ever seen.

Fwiw, it's #14 on my list of favorite films of the decade.

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The episode in which Leland is revealed as the murderer might be the best thing Lynch has ever directed. I still can't believe that aired in prime time on a major American network.

Yes! I was mentioning this to some friends who were complaining about the finale of Lost. I mentioned that I watched every episode of Twin Peaks, even after everyone else abandoned it and it aired in the graveyard of Saturday night. I don't remember all the ins and outs of the series, but I mentioned that the Lynch-directed episodes were remarkable by TV standards of the time, and surely remain so today. One friend said, "I couldn't watch it. It got too creepy. I was frightened!"

Exactly.

Edited by Christian

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For those of you who are Twin Peaks fans, or fans of the USA cable series Psych, there is going to be a big Twin Peaks cast reunion in next weeks episode of Psych titled Dual Spires. Twin Peaks alumni appearing include,

Sherilyn Fenn - Audrey Horne

Sheryl Lee - Laura Palmer

Robyn Lively - Lana Budding Milford

Ray Wise - Leland Palmer

Lenny Von Dohlen - Harold Smith

Catherine E. Coulson - Log Lady

Dana Ashbrook - Bobby Briggs

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Wow. I *still* hold out hope that we'll see Kyle McLachlan in the role of Cooper again. Surely David Lynch still has ideas for that character.

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Tyler   

Watch Dual Spires on Hulu.

The whole episode was a lot of fun, but the final scene pushes it into epic geekout territory.

Edited by Tyler

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NBooth   

Watch Dual Spires on Hulu.

The whole episode was a lot of fun, but the final scene pushes it into epic geekout territory.

No kidding. I don't watch Psych, but I made a point of downloading this episode off Amazon, and I'm glad I did (Although it's funny seeing how affected the non-Twin Peaks castmembers [thinking photography dude and Mr. Cinnamon King] were compared to, for instance, Fenn).

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Gina   

I watched it even though I've never seen Twin Peaks, because I always watch Psych. It was confusing but fun. Any time something bizarre happened, I just thought, "Oh, that must have been another TP reference." :)

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