Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Twelve

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERS – These weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR TWELVE

“This week on Invitation to Love – The Return…”

Some of the most delightful meta-moments in the first incarnation of Twin Peaks were the tremendously ridiculous snippets from the soap opera show-within-a-show, Invitation to Love. Each week a Twin Peaks character would take a pause during their own overly complicated day to try to catch up with the soapy theatrics, and we the viewers were treated to over-the-top dialogue about who was sleeping with who and who was plotting to kill who, a whirlwind of melodramatic trash where over-acting actors rambled on about people we had never seen or cared about – all, kinda ironic, in the context of the actual soap opera, Twin Peaks, we had become addicted to.

Not surprisingly, one of the major complaints about Twin Peaks – The Return has been the absence of those juicy (and often hilarious) soap opera plot-lines…but here in Hour Twelve, Frost and Lynch redefine meta by delivering the long-awaited return of Audrey Horne… Continue reading

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Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Eleven

Cherry Pie

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERS – These weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR ELEVEN

“The cherry pie is life.”

Remember that movie Seven and the creepy mysterious box given to Brad Pitt, and how it turned out that Gwyneth Paltrow’s head was in the box? Remember what a shock and how gut-punching hearbreaking it was? Wow, how time’s have changed…and most people would now howl with laughter and delight at the idea Goop-y Gwynie’s head in a box. Well, there’s a mysterious box in this episode of Twin Peaks, too, and for a moment we wonder along with James Belushi (driven by a dream of what was in that box) and his brother, just what is in that box…carried by Dougie Jones…who they originally planned to kill.

Turns out…just as Belushi’s dream prophesized…it’s a cherry pie! Thanks to the one-armed man, Dougie bought the cherry pie and brought it with him (along with the $30 million claim check for the brothers)…and the cherry pie saves his life. Which leads to a delightful scene of the brothers and Dougie and Candy, Randie, and Mandie at a Vegas lounge enjoying that “Damn Good” pie and the dulcet tones of Angelo Badalamenti on the piano. Continue reading

Nevertheless They Persisted at Dunkirk

The closest we get to an audience proxy in Christopher Nolan’s relentless exercise in tension and survival is the young soldier played by Fionn Whitehead. He could be anyone’s son, and he’s a partly shell-shocked but still wily (and very observant) lad in Nolan’s wartime nightmare/day scream. We open with him walking through abandoned French coastal village streets as pamphlets rain down announcing, “We surround you.” That first gunshot, setting him off on a run for his life, is so piercing you feel like you’ve been shot at…and it invites the audience to partake in this immersive first-person narrative. He’s the first and last one we see in the film, and his Murphy’s Law-ridden week-long escape from the besieged French shores anchors the multi-POV time-collapsing narrative. Most notably, his struggle to survive is not alone. He doesn’t get from point A to point Z without interacting with others equally driven to survive, and not without help.

Elsewhere, on one fateful day, we have another brave boy named George (Barry Keoghan) selflessly join his friend (Tom Glynn-Carney) and friend’s father (a superb Mark Rylance) as they take their pleasure yacht to join a civilian fleet heading to Dunkirk to pick up some of the 400,000 soldiers stranded there between the English Channel and encroaching enemy tanks on the land. When he hops aboard the vessel after only supposed to have helped father and son set off, the wise elder tells him, “It’s a war, George.” To which George calmly and confidently replies, “I could be of use, sir.”

The film is filled with that kind of stark to-the-point dialogue, interspersed judiciously in a cinematic story otherwise devoid of spoken language but swelling with human emotion transmitted visually across a sprawling canvas of land, sea, and air. Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Ten

loglady_return

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERS – These weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR TEN

“Laura is the one.”

Critics have been saying that the Return of Twin Peaks has defied the normal episode by episode recap. More so than ever, I see my blogging about the Return as a diary capturing my thoughts, fears, sarcastic notes about plot points or performances, fan theories, (and yes, recaps) directly following each hour. And blogging as a diary seems, well, hell…fitting, considering Laura Palmer and her own diary. And it was the Log Lady (the late great Catherine Coulson) who reminded Hawk (and us) just before Hour Ten’s end and a sterling performance by Rebekah Del Rio (that dress! that voice!) singing “No Stars” that indeed, yes…Laura is the one.

She’s still the one. But damn, sometimes you just need a recap. And it seems following the everything-defying-atomic! hour eight…these plot-propelling hours since “Gotta Light?” call for just that. Continue reading

Twin Peaks – The Return: Hour Nine

Twin Peaks – The Return: Complete Hour by Hour Guide

NOTE TO READERS – These weekly posts are meant to recap what happened (SPOILERS AHEAD) and provide conversation starters for fans to comment and share theories. Do not read if you have not watched this week’s hour(s) yet.

HOUR NINE

“When did he lose his marbles?”

At one point in hour nine, Diane (annoyed to be dragged to Buckhorn by Gordon Cole to see the alleged body of Major Briggs) receives a text that says, in riddle-like fashion from someone unknown, “Around the dinner table the conversation is lively.”

That about describes this hour…full of lively talk (and some great Albert one-liners) that deepens the mystery with plenty of clues but doesn’t give us anything juicy that astute Twin Peaks cultists haven’t already deduced.  There’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo about coordinates that may or may not open up portals into other dimensions:  Major Briggs left behind a secret scroll only his son Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) could extract from a mysterious tube with coordinates (and the “Cooper, Cooper” chant Briggs revealed to Cooper while they were camping in the woods in Season Two shortly before Briggs disappeared in a UFO-abduction-type scenario); while in Buckhorn, Ruth Davenport murder suspect and apparent alternate-dimension blogger William Hastings (a delightfully whiny Matthew Lillard) rambles to Tammy about meeting “The Major” and being given secret coordinates before The Major said “Cooper, Cooper” and floated up into the sky. Continue reading

Finding Strength to Pass on in The Beguiled and Moka

“I admire your strength,” Corporal John McBurney (a devilishly manipulative Colin Farrell) remarks to the headmistress while under the watchful care of the women and girls of the Farnsworth Seminary for ladies, a bastion of secluded tranquility hiding roiling pent-up emotions during the Civil War. He is an injured Union soldier (or perhaps an AWOL mercenary?) discovered in the woods by the nature-loving Amy (Oona Laurence…a stand-in perhaps for director Sofia Coppola?). They are self-sufficient well-bread Southern Belles shielded from the horrors of war, but full of fanciful imaginings and longing.

“I’m just trying to give them what they need to survive in these times,” Martha Farnsworth (a masterful modicum of repressed anxiety underneath a gauze of stern maternal stoicism as played by Nicole Kidman) replies.

Sofia Coppola’s re-imagining of the Southern gothic potboiler novel by Thomas Cullinan (previously brought to screen in 1971 by Don Siegal and Clint Eastwood) is a lean, mean, beautiful thing streamlined through white lace and steamy moss-strewn environs with seductive Louisiana plantation swamps draped in lush symbolism standing-in for war-torn Virginia. Every single meticulously composed shot…from Amy, both resting and sentinel, on the hulking branch of a giant moss-covered live oak…to ennui-suffering teenager Alicia (Elle Fanning) leaning back in her chair in the streaky sunlight while the younger girls play in the tall grass…to a candlelit dinner darkly roasted with insidious intentions…is like a moving painting. There’s not a single shot directed by Coppola and executed by Philippe Le Sourd wasted here, all ripe with symbolism or moving the plot along. Likewise, sparse to-the-point dialogue (the entire language of the film mirroring the bluntness of Martha’s speaking and pitting it against the flowery antagonism of Corporal McBurney’s invitations) moves everything forward. Music, be it wonderful renditions of the olde-timey standard “Lorna” or the suspenseful ambience of Phoenix’s barely-there musical score, is exactly where it should be and precisely where it’s not. Continue reading