Skip to main content

24-hour room service must be one of the premier achievements of modern civilization.

Twin Peaks
1.8: The Last Evening

The Season One finale was written and directed by Mark Frost. He’s rarely strayed into the latter camp, with only two other credits to his name (one being 1992’s Peaks-lite Storyville). Frost has clearly been studying some of cinema’s greats at times, and he throws some nice flourishes in the mix, but the episode as a whole continues the trend of the last half of this first run in being solid but unspectacular.


The first show of visual pizazz occurs near the beginning. Jacoby gets boshed on the head and lies prone. Frost tracks into his eyeball, which dissolves into the roulette wheel at One Eyed Jacks.


Coop’s undercover confidence and control over the situation speaks to his credentials as a smooth operator. He can Bond it with the best of them, is a master of Blackjack (“Mother always said I was born lucky”), and his pretence that he’s Mr Big (“I’m the bank”) enables him to ask Jacques about the chipped chip. We learn that Leo was “doing a number” on Laura and made her bite it (“Bite the bullet, baby. Bite the bullet”). Frost invokes Leone, offering a slow motion close up of Jacque’s lascivious mouth as he repeats the words.


Events at the casino culminate in Andy proving he’s a man after all when he shoots Jacques. It’s a tiresome development on a par with Al Powell in Die Hard, and we also have to contend with Lucy revealing she is pregnant.


Laura: Isn’t sex weird? This guy can really light my F-I-R-E… Here comes momma with milk and cookies.

As a result of trigger-happy Andy, it’s only later that Coop finishes up with Jacques.  As it turns out, he isn’t much help. Jacques got boshed on the head with a whisky bottle by Leo (a lot of boshing going on), so Coop assumes Leo took the girls to the train car alone (as Fire Walk With Meshows, this was not the case). This plays into the revelations about Laura’s mystery man on the tape James and Donna have retrieved from Jacoby’s house. We have James sulking at hearing that Laura thinks he’s dumb. The truth hurts, which is why they only now realise Jacoby didn’t kill her he was trying to help her. Something we established three or four episodes ago.


The retrospective queasiness, knowing Leland’s involvement, includes an additional signposting in the one of the concluding elements of the episode. Audrey, bedecked as the Queen of Diamonds in some tasty lingerie (the playing card is sewn on by a hunchback!), is to be the new girl ripe for her father’s sampling. 


Speaking of Leland, he sets up one of the main subplots of the first half of the next season when he smothers Jacques with a pillow, believing him responsible for Laura’s murder.


There are effective scenes, such as that one, dotted throughout. Another is the confrontation between Leo and Bobby. It concludes with Hank (who sports antlers at one point) shooting Leo through the window (very obliging of him). A bloody Leo is left slumped watching Invitation to Love on TV. In which the bullying biker is shot. The result is both tense and offbeat and the episode needed more of this sort of warped humour. Frost is less sure of himself at other times; the burning of the mill, where Catherine rescues Shelley, isn’t nearly as effectve.


It is at least preceded by an engaging sliver of backstory relating how Catherine and Pete first met. She tempers her nostalgia of “the lumberjack who could scamper up the tree like a cat” with the cold rebuke that it was a summer’s indiscretion, and designed to infuriate her father. There’s a nice thematic meeting point when Pete ventures into the mill to rescue her, however (“She’s still my wife!”). It’s a counterpoint to Leo’s wrathful attempts to her immolate his unfaithful spouse (“You broke my heart!”)


Still, too much of the episode is preoccupied with minor cliffhangers relating to matters about which we don’t much care. Ed finding Nadine having OD’d on pills, the discovery of drugs in James’ bike (“James, what kind of dangerous game have you been playing?”) Fortunately, the climax properis worth it. Coop returns to his hotel room, then answers a knock at the door. At which point he takes three in the chest.


It’s been said that the relationship between Lynch and Frost grew strained during the course of the second season. It would probably be an exaggeration to posit Frost as the series’ George Markstein to Lynch’s Patrick McGoohan, but it is certainly the case up to this point (and with the season two opener also) that the more outré elements of the show have derived from Lynch’s input. Ideally, the show boasts a fine balance between the two, but one of the complaints cast members made of the second run was that the leading lights weren’t around nearly enough. At this point though, the show is still pregnant with potential, and it will start its second innings strongly.











Comments

Popular posts from this blog

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

You're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
I’ve seen comments suggesting that John Sturges’ thriller hasn’t aged well, which I find rather mystifying. Sure, some of the characterisations border on the cardboard, but the director imbues the story with a taut, economical backbone. 

Poor Easy Breezy.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019)
(SPOILERS) My initial reaction to Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was mild disbelief that Tarantino managed to hoodwink studios into coming begging to make it, so wilfully perverse is it in disregarding any standard expectations of narrative or plotting. Then I remembered that studios, or studios that aren’t Disney, are desperate for product, and more especially, product that might guarantee them a hit. Quentin’s latest appears to be that, but whether it’s a sufficient one to justify the expense of his absurd vanity project remains to be seen.

He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
(1982)
(SPOILERS) I don’t love Star Trek, but I do love Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That probably isn’t just me, but a common refrain of many a non-devotee of the series. Although, it used to apply to The Voyage Home (the funny one, with the whales, the Star Trek even the target audience for Three Men and a Baby could enjoy). Unfortunately, its high regard has also become the desperate, self-destructive, song-and-verse, be-all-and-end-all of the overlords of the franchise itself, in whichever iteration, it seems. This is understandable to an extent, as Khan is that rare movie sequel made to transcendent effect on almost every level, and one that stands the test of time every bit as well (better, even) as when it was first unveiled.

Haven’t you ever heard of the healing power of laughter?

Batman (1989)
(SPOILERS) There’s Jaws, there’s Star Wars, and then there’s Batman in terms of defining the modern blockbuster. Jaws’ success was so profound, it changed the way movies were made and marketed. Batman’s marketing was so profound, it changed the way tentpoles would be perceived: as cash cows. Disney tried to reproduce the effect the following year with Dick Tracy, to markedly less enthusiastic response. None of this places Batman in the company of Jaws as a classic movie sold well, far from it. It just so happened to hit the spot. As Tim Burton put it, it was “more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie”. It’s difficult to disagree with his verdict that the finished product (for that is what it is) is “mainly boring”.

Now, of course, the Burton bat has been usurped by the Nolan incarnation (and soon the Snyder). They have some things in common. Both take the character seriously and favour a sombre tone, which was much more of shock to the system when Burton did it (even…

All the way up! We’ll make it cold like winter used to be.

Soylent Green (1973)
(SPOILERS) The final entry in Chuck Heston’s mid-career sci-fi trilogy (I’m not counting his Beneath the Planet of the Apes extended cameo). He hadn’t so much as sniffed at the genre prior to 1967, but over the space of the next half decade or so, he blazed a trail for dystopian futures. Perhaps the bleakest of these came in Soylent Green. And it’s only a couple of years away. 2022 is just around the corner.

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window.

Black Hawk Down (2001)
(SPOILERS) Black Hawk Down completed a trilogy of hits for Ridley Scott, a run of consistency he’d not seen even a glimmer of hitherto. He was now a brazenly commercial filmmaker, one who could boast big box office under his belt where previously such overt forays had seen mixed results (Black Rain, G.I. Jane). It also saw him strip away the last vestiges of artistic leanings from his persona, leaving behind, it seemed, only technical virtuosity. Scott was now given to the increasingly thick-headed soundbite (“every war movie is an anti-war movie”) in justification for whatever his latest carry-on carried in terms of controversial elements, and more than happy to bed down with the Pentagon (long-standing collaborators with producer Jerry Bruckheimer) to make a movie that, while depictinga less than auspicious intervention by the US military (“Based on an Actual Event” is a marvellous catch-all for wanton fabrication), managed to turn it into a parade of heroes pe…

Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…