Why Twin Peaks is still relevant today:and why YOU should watch it (On DVD/CBS.COM/iTunes)
"She's dead, wrapped in plastic."
Those now famous words were uttered by actor Jack Nance over twenty five years ago when his character discovered the dead homecoming queen Laura Palmer washed ashore by his house.
Twin Peaks became a hit phenomenon for a brief period of time in the early 1990's before the Gulf War, ABC television and side projects by the show's creators ultimately destroyed it.
Here are some of the reasons why Twin Peaks is still relevant to today's pop culture and why you should see it. (Or why you should re-watch it.)
1. It's simply incredible. (Especially, Season 1)
2. HMM Well I was going to tell you that CBS.COM has all the episodes online to watch for FREE-but apparently (as of very recently) it has taken them off their site. I'll try to figure out if this is permanent or not and let you know. You can rent them; Netflix them or buy episodes online them from iTunes or buy the VHS/DVDs on Ebay or Amazon.
3. The first episode will knock your socks off (So if you are watching it with friends make sure your feet are clean and pedicured.)
4. It is one of Televisions most enduring shows. The central mystery of "Who Killed Laura Palmer" is so enthralling you will find yourself watching it at 4am as you curse yourself for not having gone to bed at a more reasonable hour.
5. It's weird. Really weird, but in an oddly fun way. There is a lady who carries around a log and talks to it. Her name is THE LOG LADY. (Enough said)
6. The weirdly interesting David Lynch (Blue Velvet; Mulholland drive; Wild at Heart; Erasterhead) and television veteran Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues) co-created this pioneering and uniquely original show.
7. Many of the most original TV series of the last twenty years owe a huge amount of gratitude to Twin Peaks for breaking the typical television mold. Scores of shows credit Twin Peaks as inspirational and influential. Without Twin Peaks one has to wonder if there would have been; Northern Exposure; X-Files; Six Feet Under; and basically all of HBOs current series.
8. A cast of thousands of great actors and actresses. Well, maybe not thousands, but tons of faces you now idolize;
- Kyle Maclachlan (Blue Velvet; Dune;Sex in the City)
- Lara Flynn Boyle (Wayne's World; The Practice; Ally McBeal)
- Miguel Ferrer (RoboCopTraffic; Mulan)
- Peggy Lipton (Mod Squad)
- The unbelievable amazing Piper Laurie (Carrie; Children of a Lesser God)
- Joan Chen (The Last Emperor; Lust~Caution; Mao's Last Dancer)
- Richard Beymer (West Side Story)
- The late Jack Nance (Blue Velvet; DUNE); David Duchovny (X-Files; Californication)
- Heather Graham (Boogie Nights; The Hangover; Swingers)
- and the incredibly fabulous Grace Zabriskie (Seinfeld, True Blood)
- (Just to name a few)
9. Soundtrack kicks butt. The soundtrack of Twin Peaks was written by the musical genius Angelo Badalamenti. The etherial, haunting music overlaid Lynch's stunning imagery pushed viewers to thrilling and frightening extremes. The use of this soundtrack-which was created with close collaboration with Lynch helped to set the mood for the entire series. This is one of Lynch's legacies; Making television shows as if they were short movies, without this soundtrack the show would not have been the success it was.
I recommend the soundtracks for Season 1 and the Major Motion Picture especially. Season 2 is great but a little less substantive than the others.
The soundtrack for Season 1 & 2 the Soundtrack to the Twin Peaks Major Motion Picture: Fire Walk With Me are available on i-Tunes
10. It is the best soap opera ever (If you would argue that Santa Barbara was the best soap opera I would disagree, but I would not hate you). Twin Peaks, is by definition somewhat of a soap opera, a fact acknowledge by its creators. I personally consider it a television drama mixed with a little tele-novella. While Twin Peaks surpasses the typical trappings of a soap opera, it has all of the outrageous fun soap opera fare: cliff hangers, mysteries, affairs, drug deals, murders, backstabbing, illegitimate children, black mail; and a whorehouse that conveniently doubles as a casino.
- If this is your first time watching Twin Peaks: DO NOT tell anyone you are watching it. People have a really bad habit of telling you the surprise twists in the show. DO NOT google Twin Peaks or risk accidentally discovering the secrets yourself.
- While you can watch it for free CBS.COM, I recommend getting/renting the DVD GOLD BOX Set which has behind the scenes features and a great picture quality. You can also get even better picture quality with downloading the episodes from iTunes which are in High Def.
- Watch Season 1. Watch Season 2 until the resolution to the central mystery of the show (Who killed Laura Palmer?) After that beware. Season 2 goes downhill for several episodes before picking back up before the end of the season. Lynch and Frost both had other projects at this point and they left the show in different and less capable hands. Only the last four or five episodes are particularly good.
- AVOID THE MOVIE AT ALL COSTS. Lynch himself created the movie and without Frost it is over the top bizarre and lacking the confines that allowed the show to be weird but lovable. BUT make sure you get a copy of the movie soundtrack which is a must have.
Rent This: BRICK (DVD)
This is the type of film that you don't see coming.
It will blindside you with its greatness.
If you have seen it you probably rented it on a lark, or you saw it in the theatre because it was between it and some movie about the apocalypse.
If you have seen this film then you can move on to my next review. You already know this film is wicked. Yes, wicked. As in: it's 1983 and you just watched your first Transformers episode. That is how good this film is.
Basically this is an old school murder mystery, thriller, mob movie set in a high school.
Before Inception and well after 3rd Rock From the Son this film showcased the acting abilities of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Yes, he was the little kid in 3rd Rock).
The entire film rests on the amazing acting abilities of its young actors, along with the intensely dense and film noir/Micky Spillane dialogue. The language is so thick with antiquated wording it takes several minutes to get your mind around it-as if you are watching a foreign film in a language you used to kinda-sorta know.
Keeping you on your toes, you are never quite sure what is around the bend. The suspense is so well done you want to know what happens next.
An amazing modern film that deserves more attention that it has received.
You ought to see this if:
- If you haven't seen this film before
- If you haven't seen this film for a couple years
- You are looking for a great film that will keep you guessing
- An intense, well written, well acted film is what you are looking for
Avoid this film if:
- Don't avoid this film.
It will blindside you with its greatness.
- Don't avoid this film.
Rent This: 2046 (DVD)
Aesthetic, slow burning gem of a film.
This is a film you have never heard of, but now you have and so you are bound by the dictates of good taste and human decency to see it.
Go out this second and rent it! You will probably not find this one at Blockbuster so go to your local independent video rental store and snap it up. Or you can Netflix-it, or even better, buy it!
The story takes place in mid 20th century Hong Kong as writer Chow Mo-Wan (played by the incredible Tony Leung Chiu Wai) is writing a novel set in the future. As the author encounters new neighbors and acquaintances he starts to weave them into his work. Li Gong (Memoirs of a Geisha) plays one of Chow Mo-Wan's love interests with the vitality and uncertainty of youth.
The plot takes its own time. Unfolding like a slow river. Meandering, taking curves and turns inevitably reaching its final destination. This is not a movie to watch when you are doing a million other things. To fully appreciate it you must relax; let it envelope you; and be carried away with the story.
There is only a hint of Science Fiction in this film. Although it is only a small piece to the actual story, that being said, the visuals from the fictitious 2046 are beautiful.
2046's soundtrack is amazing. Particularly the original works, which are so emotive and stimulating you will want to buy it immediately following the movie. (The Soundtrack is NOT available on i-tunes but is on Amazon.com). I often listen to it when I am writing to keep me in a meditative state and spark creativity.
This is one in a series of films with the character Chow Mo-Wan, so if it strikes your fancy you are in for further treats.
You ought to rent this because:
- Impeccable acting
- Astonishing visuals (Particularly color use)
- A soundtrack to die for
- Engaging storyline
- You hate subtitles
- You hate slow moving films
- You have poor taste in movies (and have no desire to change)
Rent This: Persuasion (DVD)
The BBC and Jane Austen at their best
Alright, I know what you are thinking. Jane Austen! She is my favorite! I just love period pieces! They rock!!!
While it is true that both Jane Austen and period pieces "rock" there is a segment of the moving going population who for some undisclosed reason detest period pieces.
I could devote an entire blog (and I have entitled WhyYouReallyDoLovePeriodPieces.Blogspot.com) to why everyone should love good period pieces, but instead let me speak to those of you who already do love them.
This production is hands down the best version of any Jane Austen book. PERIOD.
(Oh, and do not dare try to argue that Pride & Prejudice staring Keira Knightley comes close to trumping this film-because if you do, you will be wrong. Sorely wrong, so wrong that Alex Trebek would give you one of his condescending looks for having said so.)
The overall production value is astonishing. The sets, costumes and classical music selection are perfect. (Sadly you will have to compile your own soundtrack of the various classical titles yourself since no Soundtrack was ever released.)
The actors are some of the best in all of England. The casting of the late Corin Redgrave's (Vanessa & Lynn Redgrave's brother) pompous Sir Walter Elliot is shear genius. Amanda Root's performance as the near spinster Anne Elliot is subdued elegance. Not to be upstaged is the remarkable Sophie Thompson as Mary Musgrove. Fans of the BBC sitcom "Keeping Up Appearances" will delight in seeing Judy Cornwell as Mrs. Musgrove.
The story is a classic romance which transcends the time period. One of my favorite films of all time.
You ought to rent this film because:
- It is an incredible film
- The acting is superb and captures subtlety and nuance like nobody's business
- It's a above average period piece-enough said.
**** (4 out of 5 Asterisks)
An imaginative, light and beautifully drawn treat of a film.
Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature 2010, this movie is an unexpected treat for film enthusiasts.
Though the plot is what one might consider slight, the overall effect is engaging and if not thought provoking.
Set in post war France, and the United Kingdom an aging Illusionist travels wherever his mediocre agent can find work for him. Enter a young Irish girl who is mesmerized with his abilities and quickly adopts him as her Uncle. The two travel to London as this slow, beautifully drawn film comes to its placid end.
Director Sylvain Chomet, who also directed the Triplets of Belleville, brings the viewer into a surprisingly realistic world where one can find beauty at nearly every turn.
The art in the film stagers the imagination. Its simplistic realism is truly stunning. Several times while watching the film I found myself starring at the backgrounds rather than at the characters. There is very little use of computer animation, and when it is used it is done sparingly and only to enhance the overall mood-such as smoke emanating from a train engine etc.
With a few decidedly adult themed events this is probably best left for adults and teenaged children. Beware: This is not a Disney film and thus there are not sugar coated rainbows at every turn. To be certain the film is fraught with a few depressing story lines (a suicidal clown and an alcoholic ventriloquist).
A note: As with the Triplets of Belleville there is very little dialogue so most of the communication is non verbal.
Essentially this is a lovely bittersweet film reminding one of the feelings you get on lazy Sunday afternoons lounging around reading a good book and eating pretentiously delicious cookies.
You ought to like this film because:
- It is difficult to find a remarkable animated film
- It is difficult to find a remarkable film at the theatre nowadays
- Aesthetically stunning
You should like this film if:
- You enjoyed Triplets of Belleville
- You like slow moving foreign films
- You appreciate great animation
Do not see if you:
- Want an action packed extravaganza