Reevaluating Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

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At the time of its release, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was dismissed for a number of reasons.  Namely, it was a prequel at a time when the series on which the movie was based ended on a cliffhanger.  People wanted to see the story continue, not regress backward and tell us what we already know.  It lacked the humor of the show, taking the world of Twin Peaks onto a much darker trajectory.  And the final blow was that there was hardly any Special Agent Dale Cooper of the FBI.

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Fargo: The Law of Non-Contradiction

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Howard Zimmerman, a conman and supposed movie producer, at one point in the episode of Fargo titled “The Law of Non-Contradiction” explains life through the lens of quantum physics.  He says we’re nothing but particles floating through space and that the only times we ever feel really alive are when we have special connections with people that we meet.  Synapses fire.  Something happens.  It’s the only thing that shakes us out of the illusion of life and we fully experience it.

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Remembering Jonathan Demme

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Something Wild is one of those movies where after you see it, you wonder why the hell it isn’t more well-known.  It’s two perfect movies smooshed into one.  When it goes from a happy-go-lucky sort of fantastical farce into something much more sinister, there’s a literal and visual shift that you can witness.  When Ray Liotta, as Ray Sinclair, the psychopathic villain of the film, is introduced, the color palette literally transforms.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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My secret, guilty pleasure is that I love monster movies.  Love ’em.  Especially the ones that make it a point to portray the main, giant beast as a misunderstood creature.  I’ve had a soft spot for monster movies ever since I saw Godzilla 1985 for the first time.  Godzilla was the goddamned star of that movie and when they killed him, I was heartbroken.

Kong: Skull Island is similar.  Kong, the giant ape of Skull Island, isn’t attacking the helicopters swarming his home because he’s an asshole, he’s attacking them because they’re dropping bombs everywhere, which are sure to awake the subterranean dinosaur creatures that have a taste for blood.  He and the indigenous human inhabitants of the island have an agreement:  They leave him alone and he leaves them alone.  Kong takes care of killing and eating the giant, man-eating monsters of the island and they, in return, let him do his thing… which mostly consists of walking around, enjoying the scenery, eating and jumping from giant rock to giant rock.

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Logan (2017)

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The first word muttered by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in his new solo outing Logan is, “Fuck,” while some thugs try to strip the car that he’s drunkenly sleeping inside of.  Straight from the first line uttered, the filmmakers wanted it to be very, very clear that this isn’t like the previous movies we’ve seen Wolverine in.  When he proceeds to hack off his attacker’s limbs with his retractable claws, pierce skulls and then push the bullets out of his wounds into a dirty bathroom sink, we know we’re watching something unlike what we’ve seen before.

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Get Out (2017)

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Get Out begins in familiar horror territory.  A young, black man is walking to a friend’s house at night, and an unseen person in a car pursues them.  The young man, seriously scared, turns around and walks the other way.  He is snatched by the pursuer, rendered unconscious, thrown into a car and taken away.  We’ve seen this kind of cold open before, a million times over, but there’s a racial subtext to Get Out that elevates the horror into a sickening reality… much of the horror of Get Out is based on average, everyday fears and a fact of life of what it’s like to be a black man in America.  In any other movie, seeing the red and blue flash of a police siren would bring hope, but in this movie, it has a gut-wrenching implication to it.

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Bill Paxton: 1955-2017

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Bill Paxton has long been one of my favorite actors.  In a lot of ways, his acting style reminds me of Nicolas Cage, when Nicolas Cage is at his best.  They always take risks that sometimes, but not always, pay off to an incredible result… they just need the right project for them.  Paxton’s work was usually more consistent, and he was capable of great subtlety, like his performance on the HBO series Big Love.  He was also capable of amazing, over-the-top performances like that of Private Hudson in Aliens, or when he’s pleading for his life and saying he has a little dick in True Lies.

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I can’t believe I watched the whole thing: The Godfather Epic

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The Godfather Epic, also known as The Godfather Saga, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather: The Complete Epic 1901-1959 and Do You Have 7 Hours You Need to Kill?, is the smashing together of the first two Godfather films, re-edited to appear in chronological order, and with just around forty minutes’ worth of deleted scenes restored to it.  It also carries the subtitle, “A Novel for Television” which is actually pretty apt, in that the restoration of the deleted scenes provide a deeper, more novelistic investment into the goings-on.  It works in this format as an interesting experiment, and I feel like every big fan of The Godfather should do this once, to dedicate 7 hours to watching the damned saga, because it really is a truly different way to view the story, in a way you’ve never seen before, but it’s not the best format to watch the films in.  Obviously, their original formats, as two separate films, with excess fat and deleted scenes, trimmed, in order to have the tightest versions of the story possible, but watching The Godfather Epic and dedicating a length of time that amounts to what’s pretty much an entire work shift is a fun way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Instead of watching Super Bowl LI, my girlfriend and I watched The Godfather Epic and it was an endurance test after a bit.  I think my state of mind went something like this:

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Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)

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Russ Meyer is one of those directors whose movies work as a window into their mind and psyche.  Watching something like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! works as a means of discovering what it is, exactly, that turns him on.  And the answer is glaringly obvious after the first thirty seconds:  Big tits and powerful, intimidating women.

Tura Satana stars as Varla, a bloodthirsty go-go dancer with a penchant for fast cars, with quick money on her mind.  Rosie (Haji) and Billie (Lori Williams) are her partners in both dance and in crime.  The three of them together form a trifecta of too-cool-for-school wickedness.  They don’t care who they have to hurt or what they have to do to get what they want.

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Hidden Figures (2016)

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Movies reflect the current political climate in unexpected ways.  I feel like when things are confusing or scary, what we end up getting is a strange mishmash of movies that explore the darker governance and we also get some very, very uplifting and happy movies as part of a collective healing we need to experience.  Hidden Figures was made during the Obama Administration but, let’s face it, belongs to the Trump Administration.  I predict that during the next four years, we’re going to see lots and lots of movies in the same vain as Hidden Figures, and I don’t mind, because we’re going to need them.

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