Skip to main content

No, I don’t think I’ll call Mr Strawberry.

Twin Peaks 
3.5: Case files

(SPOILERS) I didn’t find the fifth instalment quite as compelling as the previous quartet, I suspect mainly because it flits about so much, from character to character and plotline to plotline, never alighting quite long enough to pick up steam. Nevertheless, it’s only comparatively weaker, as there’s some great, inimitable material here, and several lurches from comedy to extreme violence that couldn’t be more Lynchian.


Most substantial in coverage are the dual Coops. Real Coop-as-Dougie’s Chance the Gardener interactions are still diverting, but I’m definitely feeling it’s time to cut to the chase now. We’re almost a third of the way through the run, and you don’t want to end up feeling short-changed on having the series’ main character resuscitated. Although, that’s exactly the kind of thing Lynch would probably do: prevaricate by avoiding his most iconic figure.


Nevertheless, the ongoing theme of the instinctual essence of Coop, reduced to a guiding intuition whilst he’s operating on barely any motor functions at all, continue to mine rich comic seams. So he follows the guidance of a cowboy statue to work, and follows the coffee his well-meaning co-worker Phil (Josh Fadem) is carrying, managing to appropriate a cup through persistence (“Damn good Joe”; naturally, it belongs to Frank, although more surprisingly – and hilariously – Bob Stephenson’s Frank, initially put out, discovers he really loves green tea lattes).


Further signs of synchronicity and destiny are Dougie working at Lucky 7 Insurance; having covered the domestic scene, new-born Coop’s odyssey of American life now segues into the work arena. The highlight of which is another light switching on over a particularly ravaged looking Tom Sizemore as Anthony Sinclair when he claims “Littlefield’s legit”; “He’s lying” pronounces Coop, before returning to a torpor. The rest is par for the course: more japery involving a bursting bladder, being loaded with case files to look through, facing the wrong way in an elevator and finishing up once again at the cowboy statue as dusk falls.


Bradley Mitchum: And you let us know if this man ever comes through here again.

Other odd Coop-related scenes include Jade putting the key to Coop’s Great Northern room in the mailbox, and carjackers mirthfully blowing themselves up when they attempt to steal Dougie’s car, a particularly twisted Lynch set-up as we wonder if the druggie mum’s kid is going to get it. And there’s more, particularly unrestrained, violence as the Mitchum brothers lay into poor Supervisor Burns (“Are you trying to tell me you weren’t in on this?”), blaming him for Coop’s multi-jackpots (the disinterested casino girls are a classic Lynch tableau). Robert Knepper is the particularly vicious one (Rodney) but something tells me Jim Belushi (Bradley Mitchum) isn’t much better. It’s also impossible to believe Lynch and Frost would set this up without Coop finding his way back to the casino at some point (hopefully sooner rather than later).


Warden Murphy: What did this guy just do?

If Coop is just batty, Evil Coop is coming out with some bonkers stuff to more malignant ends. I wondered about the “You’re still with me. That’s good” in reference to Bob (complete with face morphing) as he looks in the mirror (Lynch’s use of jump cuts in these original series flashbacks is effectively jolting), suggesting that there’s more than one constituent to his form than simply Bob (the Coop facsimile is a separate shell, as was Dougie?) Most uncanny, though, is Coop’s phone call; aware that he is being listened to, he punches a botch of numbers into the phone after explaining to his watchers “No, I don’t think I’ll call Mr Strawberry”. Then announcing the key phrase “The cow jumped over the Moon” as all are distracted by the prison entering alert mode (James Morrison brings his best 24 super-seriousness to Warden Murphy). And a call box reduced in size to what? Why (something to do with Lorraine’s role)? All very baffling. I half expected evil Coop to spirit himself away at that moment, given his evident abilities, but maybe he’s just initiating an offbeat prison break plan.


Constance: Cause of death. It took me a while, but I think someone cut this man’s head off.

There are also separate examinations of his trail underway, with Constance winningly irreverent as she details her post mortem verdict (it looks like it is Major Briggs, and he has Dougie’s ring inside him, somehow). I hadn’t realised Don Harrison was played by Buffy guy Bailey Chase (probably because he was so non-descript in Season 4) Linking to this is Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) sending Lieutenant Knox (Adele Rene) to investigate the Major Briggs database hit. Then there’s Tammy looking at Coop’s/Evil Coop’s finger prints…


Jacoby: The same vast global conspiracy. Different day. You can’t see it, without a cosmic flashlight. Guess what? I’ve got mine. Oh yeah.

The rest of the incidents are Twin Peaks-based, which has perversely become the less interesting place to be in the season thus far, despite there being several standouts here too. Among them, learning why the former Dr Jacobi was spray-painting all those shovels gold; cashing in on conspiracy theorists, of course, the same saps who lapped up Mark Frost’s The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and selling them their own “shiny gold shovel. Dig yourself out of shit”. Only 29.99. Dr Amp’s Gold Shit-Digging Shovel. That’s right, “Shovel your way out of the shit!” He has his devoted viewers, two at least: Jerry Horne, who obviously likes a toke and a titter in the woods, and Nadine, who has probably ordered that shovel tout suite. It’s 7 o’clock, do you know where your freedom is?


Talking of the Hornes, perhaps the most disturbing scene comes from a previously unseen junior (Jerry’s junior, or a Ben offspring? Surely not Audrey’s? Or Johnny’s?) Eamon Farron’s Richard Horne, up to no good (drug deals, most likely) and meeting his contact by smoking by a non-smoking sign in the Bang Bang Bar, is a thoroughly irredeemable piece of work, grabbing and threatening Charlotte (Grace Victoria Cox), who mistakes his cool looks for a cool guy (“I’m gonna laugh when I fuck you, bitch!”) It’s a highly effective scene, as razor-edge in its impending violence as the evil-Coop lockdown scene is uncannily odd.


Only marginally less deplorable is Caleb Landry Jones playing his usual type (“What an asshole”) as, presumably, Shelly’s son-in-law Steven Burnett – he’s married to Amanda Seyfried’s Becky and appears to be a cokehead, which is a good fit for Jones, as he always looks like one (or grown-up Macauley Culkin’s little brother). Amusing too to see jock Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger) now reconstituted as a straight-edged boss. The season’s blissed-out par excellence moment so far finds Becky staring skywards from Steven’s sports car, listening to The Paris Sisters’ I Love How You Love Me; it’s Lynch girl overdrive (certainly more infused than coffee or green tea lattes will make you)


Andy: I haven’t found any Indians. Hawk, have you found any Indians, anywhere?
Hawk: No, Andy.

Apart from that, there’s a reminder that Hawk and Andy aren’t getting anywhere (these Indian jokes may run and run) and a marvellously unruffled Sheriff Truman, refusing to be stirred up by his on-the-warpath wife Doris (Candy Clark), who is enraged by a house full of leaks (“Can you get a bigger bucket?” he suggests nonchalantly) His unwillingness to be bated into an argument only adds fuel to her fire (“You’re impossible!”) The continued references to Harry are odd, though, since we know he won’t be appearing. He’s turned into Mrs Columbo.


This episode feels like it’s caught midway between events either side, without even a glimpse of Gordon and Albert. It’s still a cut above, but a shift down from earlier weird and wonderfulness.



Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Why would I turn into a filing cabinet?

Captain Marvel (2019)
(SPOILERS) All superhero movies are formulaic to a greater or lesser degree. Mostly greater. The key to an actually great one – or just a pretty good one – is making that a virtue, rather than something you’re conscious of limiting the whole exercise. The irony of the last two stand-alone MCU pictures is that, while attempting to bring somewhat down-the-line progressive cachet to the series, they’ve delivered rather pedestrian results. Of course, that didn’t dim Black Panther’s cultural cachet (and what do I know, swathes of people also profess to loving it), and Captain Marvel has hit half a billion in its first few days – it seems that, unless you’re poor unloved Ant-Man, an easy $1bn is the new $700m for the MCU – but neither’s protagonist really made that all-important iconic impact.

Stupid adult hands!

Shazam! (2019)
(SPOILERS) Shazam! is exactly the kind of movie I hoped it would be, funny, scary (for kids, at least), smart and delightfully dumb… until the final act. What takes place there isn’t a complete bummer, but right now, it does pretty much kill any interest I have in a sequel.

I have discovered the great ray that first brought life into the world.

Frankenstein (1931)
(SPOILERS) To what extent do Universal’s horror classics deserved to be labelled classics? They’re from the classical Hollywood period, certainly, but they aren’t unassailable titans that can’t be bettered – well unless you were Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan trying to fashion a Dark Universe with zero ingenuity. And except maybe for the sequel to the second feature in their lexicon. Frankenstein is revered for several classic scenes, boasts two mesmerising performances, and looks terrific thanks to Arthur Edeson’s cinematography, but there’s also sizeable streak of stodginess within its seventy minutes.

Our very strength incites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe.

The MCU Ranked Worst to Best

Can you float through the air when you smell a delicious pie?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
(SPOILERS) Ironically, given the source material, think I probably fell into the category of many who weren't overly disposed to give this big screen Spider-Man a go on the grounds that it was an animation. After all, if it wasn’t "good enough" for live-action, why should I give it my time? Not even Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's pedigree wholly persuaded me; they'd had their stumble of late, although admittedly in that live-action arena. As such, it was only the near-unanimous critics' approval that swayed me, suggesting I'd have been missing out. They – not always the most reliable arbiters of such populist fare, which made the vote of confidence all the more notable – were right. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only a first-rate Spider-Man movie, it's a fresh, playful and (perhaps) surprisingly heartfelt origins story.

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…

Rejoice! The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

Split (2016)
(SPOILERS) M Night Shyamalan went from the toast of twist-based filmmaking to a one-trick pony to the object of abject ridicule in the space of only a couple of pictures: quite a feat. Along the way, I’ve managed to miss several of his pictures, including his last, The Visit, regarded as something of a re-locating of his footing in the low budget horror arena. Split continues that genre readjustment, another Blumhouse production, one that also manages to bridge the gap with the fare that made him famous. But it’s a thematically uneasy film, marrying shlock and serious subject matter in ways that don’t always quite gel.

Shyamalan has seized on a horror staple – nubile teenage girls in peril, prey to a psychotic antagonist – and, no doubt with the best intentions, attempted to warp it. But, in so doing, he has dragged in themes and threads from other, more meritable fare, with the consequence that, in the end, the conflicting positions rather subvert his attempts at subversion…

I want to see what love looks like when it’s triumphant. I haven’t had a good laugh in a week.

It Happened One Night (1934)
(SPOILERS) In any romantic comedy worth its salt, you need to be rooting for both leads to end up together. That’s why, while each has its individual pleasures – and one is an unchallenged classic in every other department – the triptych of Andie McDowell ‘90s romcoms (Green Card, Groundhog Day and Four Weddings and a Funeral) fail on that score; she doesn’t elicit any degree of investment (ironically, she’s much better as a knockabout nun doing a dolphin impression in Hudson Hawk). Even Hanks and Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle are merely likeable; you can’t get that caught up if there aren’t any sparks flying (Crystal and Ryan, though). It Happened One Night has sparks in spades, the back and forth between Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert ensuring it’s as vital and versatile today as it was 85 years ago.

Just make love to that wall, pervert!

Seinfeld 2.10: The Statue
The Premise
Jerry employs a cleaner, the boyfriend of an author whose book Elaine is editing. He leaves the apartment spotless, but Jerry is convinced he has made off with a statue.