Monday, August 21, 2017

FHTAGN! ROCK OPERA OF DOOOM!

Our old pal Fabian Rush has, at long last, fulfilled his lifelong dream of creating a rock opera based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft! And the generous bastard went and uploaded the whole thing--entitled Fhtagn! Rock Opera of Doom--on Youtube, where you can watch it for free!


I'm about 20 minutes in, myself, and I'm LOVING IT! The music is fantastic, particularly if you're an aficionado of dark ambient, or heavy metal with a Gothic and/or Industrial flavor. It's also got a sense of humor about itself, which helps the somewhat DIY special effects go down easy.

Help spread this around! It fully deserves to achieve cult status!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

ACD PICKS THE GREATEST COUPLES IN HOLLYWOOD HISTORY!

It is always a pleasure to bring readers of the DDD family of blogs the wit, wisdom, and verve of one of our oldest, dearest pals, the venerable A.C. Doyle! In this enlightening and entertaining survey, Ace provides lovers of classic Hollywood a solid month's worth of programming choices, at least. Enjoy! - Jerky
There are a few on-screen pairings this past generation who have generated some heat and some laughs. Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Their oeuvres are largely somewhere between bad and forgettable–does anybody remember Joe Versus The Volcano or By The Sea or True Detective or Blended? Gere and Roberts have starred twice together, in pretty good films, Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride. And Brangelina became a pop culture term, but Mr. & Mrs. Smith–where they met on the set and she spirited him away from Ms. Aniston–and By The Sea, Ms. Jolie’s directorial debut, were fairly awful.

And most of these pairs have only starred in two or three films together. Compared to Loren and Mastroianni in 13, Taylor and Burton in 11, Hepburn and Tracy in 9, Astaire and Rogers in 10, Powell and Loy in 14, Farrow and Allen in 7 (plus he directed her in 6 more). Bogey and Bacall were only in four together, but what a four!

So it seems the Golden Era of paired actors and actresses across multiple films is largely behind us. Which is a pity, because there were some wonderful collaborations (on-screen and off, as often as not). Moreover, fine actors and actresses can develop a rapport and sense of timing, both comic and dramatic, that, like a fine wine, matures over time.

There’s also a modern conceit that showing a couple firing machine guns at bad guys then rolling around naked and sweaty in flagrante delicto is the only way to convey sexiness, desire, allure, magnetic attraction. Whereas Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert stringing up a line and draping a blanket over it in the fleabag motel so that they can’t see each other change into pyjamas and snuggle into separate beds (It Happened One Night, one of only three films to win the “Big Five” Oscars) is deliciously titillating and arousing.

So let’s take a walk down Memory Lane, and examine the great romantic/dramatic pairings. With the exception of a couple of Burton/Taylors when I was too young to see them, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, the Woody Allen films, and some Loren, most of these movies were produced well before I was born, and I’m in my mid-50s, so this nostalgic promenade will appeal to film buffs, but if you don’t watch anything before CGI and David Lynch, you might want to continue to the next article.

Let’s start with the flimsiest plots, and the least remembered movies nowadays, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.



Sunday, August 13, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ EP. 6: REALIZATION TIME


Uh-oh! Looks like the sixth post-pilot episode of Twin Peaks begins with a pretty serious continuity error. The first thing we see in this episode is a clear and beautiful half moon hanging up in the sky. Unfortunately, the previous episode kicked off with a giant, up close image of a clearly FULL Moon, as seen through some pines! The events of the previous episode took place no more than two days previous to the beginning of this episode, and not the six or seven days it would have taken for such a drastic change in lunar phase. Oh well... I guess that's bound to happen when a series has directors hopping on and off willy-nilly, episode by episode. That's why I think having Lynch and Frost oversee the entirety of Season Three is such a brilliant move... and I can hardly wait to get started on it! The few sneak peaks I've had are driving me crazy with antici....pation.

"So do you want me to leave or what?"
Back at the Great Northwestern, Cooper is dealing with Audrey’s rather forward propositioning (he arrived to find her nude in his bed) by dealing out some pretty definitive rejection. In fact, his rejection of Audrey seems sort of forced, in a way... far more Boy Scout than necessary.


We don't suspect Cooper of being gay, but his odd, conflicting behavior with Audrey, particularly in this scene, is jarring.


I mean, he can barely stand to even look at her. I mean, I know Cooper is... "special", but how prudish can a worldly, Big City FBI man really be? And he's going to fetch them both some fries and a malted--traditional 50’s fare--over which, presumably, they will have a girly "dish" session? Come on.


Once again, this whole "everybody in this town has secrets" business is hammered home with all the subtlety of a truck driving through a plate glass window.


Andy and Lucy – what’s up with these two?


The show has been teasing their relationship problems, without ever really establishing that they're engaged in a relationship, for long enough now, it seems to me. And now Lucy's having a health crisis?


Hmmm...


Cooper pops into the Sheriff's office with his hand-carved pipe again, piping a jolly tune.


Dr Hayward and Sheriff Truman are working with Waldo the Myna bird, studying the species and trying to nurse it back to health by hydrating it and feeding it some fruits (Dr Hayward calls for fresh apples, as "these grapes are right on the edge").


Why apples over grapes? Both are Old Testament fruit (Genesis for apples, Exodus for grapes). Probably no significance, though.


Speech being a form of play for the Myna bird, Waldo should start talking again as soon as he's in better health. Cooper doesn’t want to feed him. Doesn’t like birds for some reason. Really? To the point of saying so? What’s up with that? Seems out of character. Also, the Myna species' origins are in southeast Asia. Could this be significant?


Hawk enters the office with a bunch of forensic findings. It turns out Rennault’s cabin was recently party to three guests – Laura, Ronette and Leo.


The one and only exposed negative in the camera found at the scene contains an image of Waldo perched on Laura’s shoulder.


Cooper considers Waldo to be a witness, because it can talk. In order that the Sheriff's office can go and do field work, Cooper sets up a voice activated recorder, which will kick in when and if Waldo decides to start talking.


Forensics has also finally traced the "J" fragment found in Laura's stomach to the 1000$ chip from One Eyed Jack's. Hawk points out that Jacques Rennault is dealing blackjack there, so Cooper suggest they pay a visit to One Eyed Jacks. And seeing as it's out of their jurisdiction, over the border in Canada, Cooper enthusiastically suggests that this is a task tailor made for the Bookhouse Boys.


Meanwhile, on the sleazier side of town, Leo, whose left arm is wrapped in bloody bandages, is spying on Shelly.


Through a pair of binoculars, he watches as Bobby Briggs shows up to romance HIS woman.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ COOPER'S DREAMS


We begin with a beautiful shot of a blazing full moon as seen through the pines. Perhaps an indication that this episode is going to be a “night side” episode, wherein dream logic, and symbolic messages, and intuition are all just as important, if not more so, than solid, tangible evidence, or verifiable facts.

There are actually two or three moments in this episode that underscore the unreliability of scientifically verifiable fact, or wherein synchronicity and coincidence are key to unraveling the show’s mysteries. I will point those out as they occur.


Cooper complains to Diane that he can’t sleep because Jerry has arrived with a large group of potential Ghostwood investors from Iceland, and they’re celebrating in raucous Viking fashion. He asks her to send him two pair of ear plugs that he uses when he’s in New York City. He figured he wouldn’t need them in pastoral Twin Peaks. Is this the show telling us that small-town America is capable of being just as evil as big city America?


As ever, Audrey waylays Cooper during his (coffee only today) breakfast at the Great Northwestern’s restaurant. She reveals her intention to help with his case.


Audrey sidles up close to Cooper and says: “I can’t believe you were ever my age.”


Cooper says he has the pictures to prove it, then asks: “How old are you?” 18, Audrey answers. To which Cooper replies, somewhat coyly: “See you later, Audrey.”


Jerry Horne, Ben’s Kubrickean amalgam brother, is back. He’s speaking fluent Icelandic with one of the investors. How does he know all these languages? Jerry is definitely an otherworldly type, what with his indefatigability and his access to countless useful skills.


There is something strange about Jerry's shirt. The pattern of the buttons—from top to bottom: backslash, dot, vertical line, double dot, dot—is altogether new to me. I’ve never seen their like before, although they did remind me of the old style of blazing for trails that I learned in my years of Scouting. Here is the patter on its side:


Ultimately, Jerry’s shirt almost makes him look like one of those white dominoes Hank plays with. I have a difficult time believing this wardrobe choice was purely coincidental. If you think you know what this could represent, please let us know in the comments section!


Jerry reveals that he’s in love with a Viking ice queen named Heppa, and that she’s given him a huge leg of lamb. “You crush some garlic, some fresh mint, that’s rotisserie heaven!”


Ben informs Jerry that he’s planned a big to-do, “a gala reception… all of Twin Peaks’ best and brightest” for the investors, to be followed, if necessary, by a little trip up to “you know where”, while giving the one-eyed sign.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ EP. 4: THE ONE-ARMED MAN


We begin with a shot of the Palmer house, a beautiful, shrubby slice of Americana if ever there was one. In the living room, we see that Deputy Andy is displaying a previously undisclosed skill: forensic artistry. He is helping Sarah to visualize her psychic vision of Bob. 


For a brief, disturbing moment, Bob and Laura share screen time, both in the form of reasonable facsimiles (school yearbook photo, police sketch).


Sheriff Truman obviously finds Maddy’s resemblance to Laura to be disturbing, as do so many other Twin Peaks residents.


For her part, Maddy seems, as with all things, somewhat oblivious.


Leland seems more together than usual, at least enough to be snide and condescending about Sarah’s visions about the necklace.  We already know her vision of a stranger retrieving Laura’s half-locket from a hole in the ground is accurate, which means that, as far as Twin Peaks reality goes, Sarah has some pretty substantial psychic powers.


Donna, having been present for the hiding of said locket, must realize that this is true.


A return to the soap opera Invitation to Love…


It begins with a necklace, carrying over from Sarah describing her vision...


...and continues with an obviously satirical take on the usual sort of soap opera business.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

NEW THOR RAGNAROK TRAILER PROVIDES VALID REASON TO STAY ALIVE JUST A BIT LONGER


The colors, the jokes, the Goblin-esque, Giallo-tinged score... and the haircuts!

And don't even get me started on all the Hulk business.

This one... this is the Marvel movie that is going to finally win a forever place in my heart, I can feel it already.

Don't anybody mess this up with mean comments. At least, not for a little while. Let me have this nice thing... for now.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY ~ EP. 3: REST IN PAIN


Considering the dark and mind-bending climax to the previous episode, Episode Three kicks off with in an oddly sunny manner. First off, as Cooper notes, it’s a beautiful day (see above).


Upon waking up from his post-dream sleep, Cooper goes to the Great Northern’s dining lounge where he is confronted by Audrey, who is lying in wait for him. I find it odd that Audrey’s comments are the first time Cooper has heard about Laura Palmer working at the Horne Department Store perfume counter, alongside Ronette (and other girls who ply their wares at One Eyed Jack’s, as we learned last episode). And this, mere moments after Cooper remarks upon Audrey’s perfume? Strange.


The oddness continues when Cooper is joined by Sheriff Truman and Lucy for breakfast. His unbridled enthusiasm about the weather, the quality of the food at the Great Northern (“Nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup collides with ham!), and his insouciance at having forgotten the name of the killer are all somewhat off-putting.


Another strange bit of business, what’s up with Cooper telling Truman and Lucy that they were both in his dream, when as far as we could see, they were not? Could this simply be just another tossed-off reference to The Wizard of Oz, as Lynch is occasionally wont to do? This seems too cheap, all things considered.


Laura Palmer has been dead for a few days now, but she's looking like one of those saints who refuse to rot.


Ben Horne getting up close and personal with his Department Store's one time perfume counter girl. What kind of a rinky-dink morgue is the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department running, anyway?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

FIRE WALK WITH JERKY, EP. 2: ZEN, OR THE SKILL TO CATCH A KILLER


The second episode proper begins with yet another of many scenes featuring domestic meal-taking. This time, it’s dinner at the Horne household, where Ben's disturbed, 28-year-old son Johnny, whom Laura used to tutor, is decked out in a full Native American headdress for some reason. As part of the rustic lodge decor, the screen continues to be filled with First Nations art of the Northwest Coast style, which is an extremely rich and varied network of differing artistic traditions. The works present throughout the series so far do not belong to a single tradition, although I've seen numerous instances of Salish and Haida works, such as is visible on the left side of the screen on the image below.


Uncle Jerry’s "back", even though it's the viewing audience's first time meeting him, and he’s brought brie and baguette sandwiches back from France with him.


Lots and lots of brie and baguette sandwiches. Literally dozens of bags full.


Ben and Jerry (their names allegedly chosen to match that of the ice cream company) both seem to love these sandwiches, as they try to speak with their mouths full of them.


Bringing so many bags filled with a European "delicacy" into a room/lodge filled with Native imagery (built on land stolen from Native Americans) strikes me as a possible satirical statement about the way these altogether ridiculous people live.

Possible Kubrick homage: Ben and Jerry talk about “a new girl, freshly scented from the perfume counter” (like Ronette!) working at One Eyed Jack’s, over the water (and the border) in Canada. According to Ben, Jerry’s got "a 50/50 chance of being first in line". To which Jerry responds: “All work and no play make Ben and Jerry dull boys.”

One Eyed Jacks, of course, is a Marlon Brando film that Stanley Kubrick worked on for months before Brando decided to direct the film himself. Also, Uncle Jerry cuts a peculiarly Kubrickean figure… sort of a cross between Dr. Strangelove, Alex from Clockwork Orange and Jack from The Shining (from which the “all work and no play” maxim is taken).

Furthermore, the aforementioned pervasive presence of Native American motifs throughout the Horne properties and elsewhere throughout Twin Peaks is also reminiscent of The Shining. Unlike Kubrick’s film, however, I don’t believe Lynch intended a sly political commentary. Instead, I think he likes the way the large sculptures of Pacific Northwest Native tribes resemble the iconography of Ancient Egypt and Babylon, such as the Sphinx, or the Winged Bull.

It occurs to me at this point, considering the series' sheer volume of visual references to Native American culture, art, and thus, inescapably, myths and legends, that I should definitely do more research in this direction. I can already think of a few good places to begin. The first book of Peter Levenda's Sinister Forces trilogy, for instance, devotes a great many pages to some of the darker practices of our haunted continent's Pre-Columbian, First Nations cultures.

Keep watching this space for more details. Now, let's get back to Episode 2... and to One Eyed Jack's.