Skip to main content

It’s a goddam bad story, isn’t it, Hawk?

Twin Peaks
3.12: Lets rock.

(SPOILERS) I have to admit, this is the first episode of the run that felt merely “okay” to me. Not bad in any respect, but having little to really distinguish itself. You have to think Lynch stuck in that one sliver of a scene of Dale-Dougie playing ball (or rather, having a ball bounced off his head) because he realised Kyle McLachlan would be otherwise absent.


Instead, it’s almost The Gordon Cole Show. Repeated business with his hearing aid, and with some floozy (Bérénice Marlohe) he picked up in the hotel bar (leading to another mirthfully extensive sequence as she very laboriously prepares to leave when Albert calls by; this is evidently the kind of carry on Duchovny’s Denise was warning Cole about, in very meta fashion, way back at the beginning of the season). And Albert delivering some extensive exposition Tammy should surely be partially aware of, having compiled The Secret History of Twin Peaks, regarding the Blue Rose as a follow-on group from Project Blue Book.


Notably, Lynch and Frost are most definitely taking the interdimensional rather than extra-terrestrial path here, with Philip Jeffries, Albert, Coop and Chester Desmond (poor old Chester) – but no Windom Earle – on a quest to find answers to Blue Book anomalies that could not be reached “except by an alternate path”. Tammy’s induction, in a red-draped room, drinking quality vino (this is the new coffee of Twin Peaks, clearly) is accompanied by some of Chrysta Bell’s most oddball performance choices yet, as she attempts to express her enthusiasm in a manner that would make you squirm for her acting coach, if she had one.


Gordon Cole: What do we know, that we haven’t asked her about?

There’s also Diane’s cryptic text message (Q: Las Vegas? A: THEY HAVEN’T ASKED YET), the co-ordinates revealing, surprise, surprise, the town of the title, and, most disconcertingly, Diane uttering, Man from Another Place styl-ee “Let’s rock” in response to being deputised.


Ben Horne: I loved that bike that my father got me.

The second most significant chunk of the episode consists of the Hornes. Jerry finally gets out of the woods. Ben expresses regret over his grandson’s actions like a man struggling to look concerned (although he does stump up for the operation bill), and most importantly, finds his way to giving Sheriff Truman Coop’s Great Northern key, to give back to Harry (why not, there’s about as much chance of seeing the latter again as the real Coop).


Audrey: You’re not going to tell me what she said?

And then there’s Audrey. She’s back… and she’s a real bitch? Is this Lynch playing sadist with his once-prized Peaks totty? Now she’s middle-aged and heartless, reduced to some sort of marriage of convenience with Charlie (Clark Middleton, who I know best from Fringe), her “spineless no-balls loser” of a husband. What exactly is going on here is at least partially inscrutable, but Audrey’s waving her infidelity with Billy under her Charlie’s nose, who retaliates with audible silence when she demands to know the contents of his phone conversation with Tina (Billy’s other half). 


First Albert’s notable silence, now Charlie’s. A running theme? I half-expected a reveal that Audrey now has one leg (post-bank explosion), but thus far the explanations for how she got to where she is are entirely elusive. Also referenced: Paul and Chuck? Keep watching, and we’ll hear about more people we’ve never met.


Yes, I had a similar lack of a frame of reference for the bar scene at the end – Heineken aside – between Abbie (Elizabeth Anweis) and Natalie (Ana de la Reguera), discussing how Angela is off her meds and hoping Clark doesn’t fuck this up, and the arrival of Lynch regular (going back to Wild at Heart) Scott Coffey, as Trick, showing up shaken after a traffic altercation. At least there’s the comforting return of the Chromatics.


Sarah Palmer: I don’t feel good!

The rest is kind of piecemeal. Sarah Palmer gets freaked out – no one does freaked-out quite like Grace Zabriskie – with an extended meltdown in the supermarket when confronted by some newly arrived beef and turkey jerky and later rejecting Hawk’s offer of assistance in whatever way she needs (that ominous shot of the turning ceiling fan in her home, and Hawk thinking he heard someone else inside is almost as eerie as Lynch’s sound effects). Hutch and Chantelle put an end to the warden, much to the distress of his wee bairn. Doctor Amp is doing the vamp for liberty (“It’s working for me, Doctor Amp”), and Carl advises neighbour Kriscoll (Bill O’Dell) not to sell his precious red stuff (“Keep your blood”). Tres chic, tres bon, or turnip farm? I expected Let’s rock to rock a bit more than it does, with that title.








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…

Espionage isn’t a game, it’s a war.

The Avengers 3.3: The Nutshell
Philip Chambers first teleplay (of two) for the series, and Raymond Menmuir’s second (also of two) as director, The Nutshell is an effective little whodunit in which Steed (again) poses as a bad guy, and Cathy (again) appears to be at loggerheads with him. The difference here is how sustained the pretence is, though; we aren’t actually in on the details until the end, and the whole scenario is played decidedly straight.

Set mostly in a bunker (the Nutshell of the title), quarter of a mile underground and providing protection for the “all the best people” (civil servants bunk on level 43; Steed usually gets off at the 18th) in the event of a thermo-nuclear onslaught, the setting is something of a misdirection, since it is also a convenient place to store national security archives, known as Big Ben (Bilateral Infiltration Great Britain, Europe and North America). Big Ben has been stolen. Or rather, the microfilm with details of all known double agents on bot…

This is no time for puns! Even good ones.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
Perhaps I've done DreamWorks Animation (SKG, Inc., etc.) a slight injustice. The studio has been content to run an assembly line of pop culture raiding, broad-brush properties and so-so sequels almost since its inception, but the cracks in their method have begun to show more overtly in recent years. They’ve been looking tired, and too many of their movies haven’t done the business they would have liked. Yet both their 2014 deliveries, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, take their standard approach but manage to add something more. Dragon 2 has a lot of heart, which one couldn’t really say about Peabody (it’s more sincere elements feel grafted on, and largely unnecessary). Peabody, however, is witty, inventive and pacey, abounding with sight gags and clever asides while offering a time travel plotline that doesn’t talk down to its family audience.

I haven’t seen the The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, from which Mr. Peabody & Sh…

I know what I'm gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life is an unassailable classic, held up as an embodiment of true spirit of Christmas and a testament to all that is good and decent and indomitable in humanity. It deserves its status, even awash with unabashed sentimentality that, for once, actually seems fitting. But, with the reams of plaudits aimed at Frank Capra’s most enduring film, it is also worth playing devil’s advocate for a moment or two. One can construe a number of not nearly so life-affirming undercurrents lurking within it, both intentional and unintentional on the part of its director. And what better time to Grinch-up such a picture than when bathed in the warmth of a yuletide glow?

The film was famously not a financial success on initial release, as is the case with a number of now hallowed movies, its reputation burgeoning during television screenings throughout the 1970s. Nevertheless, It’s a Wonderful Life garnered a brace of Oscar nominations including Best Picture and…

Dude, you're embarrassing me in front of the wizards.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
(SPOILERS) The cliffhanger sequel, as a phenomenon, is a relatively recent thing. Sure, we kind of saw it with The Empire Strikes Back – one of those "old" movies Peter Parker is so fond of – a consequence of George Lucas deliberately borrowing from the Republic serials of old, but he had no guarantee of being able to complete his trilogy; it was really Back to the Future that began the trend, and promptly drew a line under it for another decade. In more recent years, really starting with The MatrixThe Lord of the Rings stands apart as, post-Weinstein's involvement, fashioned that way from the ground up – shooting the second and third instalments back-to-back has become a thing, both more cost effective and ensuring audiences don’t have to endure an interminable wait for their anticipation to be sated. The flipside of not taking this path is an Allegiant, where greed gets the better of a studio (split a novel into two movie parts assuming a…

He’d been clawed to death, as though by some bird. Some huge, obscene bird.

The Avengers 5.6: The Winged Avenger
Maybe I’m just easily amused, such that a little Patrick Macnee uttering “Ee-urp!” goes a long way, but I’m a huge fan of The Winged Avenger. It’s both a very silly episode and about as meta as the show gets, and one in which writer Richard Harris (1.3: Square Root of Evil, 1.10: Hunt the Man Down) succeeds in casting a wide net of suspects but effectively keeps the responsible party’s identity a secret until late in the game.

Dirty is exactly why you're here.

Sicario 2: Soldado aka Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
(SPOILERS) I wasn't among the multitude greeting the first Sicario with rapturous applause. It felt like a classic case of average material significantly lifted by the diligence of its director (and cinematographer and composer), but ultimately not all that. Any illusions that this gritty, violent, tale of cynicism and corruption – all generally signifiers of "realism" – in waging the War on Drugs had a degree of credibility well and truly went out the window when we learned that Benicio del Toro's character Alejandro Gillick wasn't just an unstoppable kickass ninja hitman; he was a grieving ex-lawyer turned unstoppable kickass ninja hitman. Sicario 2: Soldadograzes on further difficult-to-digest conceits, so in that respect is consistent, and – ironically – in some respects fares better than its predecessor through being more thoroughly genre-soaked and so avoiding the false doctrine of "revealing" …

Ah yes, the legendary 007 wit, or at least half of it.

The World is Not Enough (1999)
(SPOILERS) The last Bond film of the 20th century unfortunately continues the downward trend of the Brosnan era, which had looked so promising after the reinvigorated approach to Goldeneye. The World is Not Enough’s screenplay posseses a number of strong elements (from the now ever present Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, and a sophomore Bruce Feirstein), some of which have been recycled in the Craig era, but they’ve been mashed together with ill-fitting standard Bond tropes that puncture any would-be substance (Bond’s last line before the new millennium is one Roger Moore would have relished). And while a structure that stop-starts doesn’t help the overall momentum any, nor does the listlessness of drama director Michael Apted, such that when the sporadic bursts of action do arrive there’s no disguising the joins between first and second unit, any prospect of thrills evidently unsalvageable in the edit.

Taking its cues from the curtailed media satire of Tomorr…

He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.

Darkest Hour (2017)
(SPOILERS) Watching Joe Wright’s return to the rarefied plane of prestige – and heritage to boot – filmmaking following the execrable folly of the panned Pan, I was struck by the difference an engaged director, one who cares about his characters, makes to material. Only last week, Ridley Scott’s serviceable All the Money in the World made for a pointed illustration of strong material in the hands of someone with no such investment, unless they’re androids. Wright’s dedication to a relatable Winston Churchill ensures that, for the first hour-plus, Darkest Hour is a first-rate affair, a piece of myth-making that barely puts a foot wrong. It has that much in common with Wright’s earlier Word War II tale, Atonement. But then, like Atonement, it comes unstuck.

Never compare me to the mayor in Jaws! Never!

Ghostbusters (2016)
(SPOILERS) Paul Feig is a better director than Ivan Reitman, or at very least he’s savvy enough to gather technicians around him who make his films look good, but that hasn’t helped make his Ghostbusters remake (or reboot) a better movie than the original, and that’s even with the original not even being that great a movie in the first place.

Along which lines, I’d lay no claims to the 1984 movie being some kind of auteurist gem, but it does make some capital from the polarising forces of Aykroyd’s ultra-geekiness on the subject of spooks and Murray’s “I’m just here for the asides” irreverence. In contrast, Feig’s picture is all about treating the subject as he does any other genre, be it cop, or spy, or romcom. There’s no great affection, merely a reliably professional approach, one minded to ensure that a generous quota of gags (on-topic not required) can be pumped out via abundant improv sessions.

So there’s nothing terribly wrong with Ghostbusters, but aside from …