Living Room Theater

Blake Living Room Theater: Twin Peaks Episode 7

Hey, how about that! I’ve been sticking with it! I don’t think I’ve skipped a Monday yet. In case you missed the historic news, I’m making my way through the cult favorite TV show Twin Peaks, one episode every Monday night.

I’ve been enjoying the show but I have to say things really hit a new level with episodes 6 and 7. [Note: I’m using the DVD box set’s episode numbering, which counts the hour-long pilot episode as its own thing, and then the next episode as episode 1, and so on.] A lot of elements come together, characters take action, some questions are answered, more questions arise, and the sordid web of intrigue gets more and more tangled. And amid all the suspense and creepiness, a touch of comedy remains through the use of the show’s bizarre and awkward characters.

I don’t really want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil things, but my wife Nahleen usually live tweets when we watch and her wrap-up on Facebook was pretty great:

Hank has a lot to say, Hank is everywhere, Hank is trouble, Laura Palmer has serious issues, Leland Leland Leland, Josie arranged for her first husband’s murder?, Bobby’s still a dork, Shelly is naive as ever, Nadine continues to be miserable, Norma is nauseating, Lucy is pregnant?!?!–who’s the father?, where’s Laura Palmer’s mother, creepy cousin is still creepy, red drapes everywhere!, you’re only desirable if you shoot someone when you’re a cop, Katherine is fooled, lumberjack husband gets to play hero, James hears he’s dumb–or at least Laura thought so, AWKWARD!!–Audrey and Daddy?, the business guy is still evil and dealing with everyone and the mill starts to burn…it’s a bad night to be in Twin Peaks!

Living Room Theater: Twin Peaks Episode 1

What a disaster!

SOMEone who will remain nameless thought that the Episode 1 on disc two of the Twin Peaks DVD set was the same as the pilot on disc one. So we ended up accidentally skipping Episode 1 for a couple of weeks until realizing the error last night. Fortunately we saved our lives from being RUINED forever by catching the mistake.

So last night, we watched episode 1 instead of episode 4. Or episode 2 instead of episode 5 if you count the pilot as episode 1.

Like I said, this is a disaster.

What’s interesting is that we didn’t really feel like we missed much from skipping episode 1. We didn’t feel lost when we started with episode 2, although there was that moment where the high school vixen Audrey Horne mentions at the diner that she met Detective Cooper and that she has a crush on him. I remember thinking, “They haven’t met yet.” Well that’s because I missed their meeting in episode 1. But otherwise, episode 2 and 3 went by without us really feeling like there was some big hole in the story.

Even so, there are still some pieces that will surely be important later on in the series, so I’m glad we went back and watched episode 1.

  • We see slime ball Ben Horne (owner of the Great Northern Hotel) and sourpuss Catherine having a secret affair while scheming to take over the town’s sawmill. It sounds almost like an admission to being involved in Laura’s death either directly or indirectly when Ben says that if there are more disasters in the town, the sawmill will keep closing for the day and lose money.
  • And we see Dr. Jacoby was the one to retrieve the other half of Laura and James’ heart necklace. Dun-dun!
  • And… a one-armed man sighting! Double dun-dun! I like how Hawk just gives up following him. “Eh, oh well.”
  • It’s also interesting that Laura’s father is relatively together here but the mother is hysterical. They basically swap mental states within an episode or two.

Lots of shenanigans going on but still plenty of weird silliness and odd characters to keep it fresh.

(Oh, I’ve also made a new category on my blog – Living Room Theater – if you ever want to look back and reminisce about what we’ve watched. Ah, good times…)

Living Room Theater: Twin Peaks Episode 3

The funeral of Laura Palmer

So far so good. We’re sticking to our schedule of one episode each week. Last night was Episode 3. Some random thoughts:

  • The police receptionist Lucy, as played by Kimmy Robertson (thanks, Wikipedia), is hilarious. Looks like she’s still working from time to time, which is always good to see.
  • What’s the deal with the eyepatch-wearing Nadine? She’s totally psycho over inventing frictionless curtain drapes, and when she does she goes totally ga-ga over her previously neglected, verbally abused husband Big Ed, who himself is kind of creepy for a big lug.
  • Worst. Funeral. Ever.
  • I love the opening credits of the soap opera within the show with an actress playing two roles, and then in walks Laura Palmer doppelgänger and cousin Maddy, both roles played by Sheryl Lee.
  • I thought the Bookhouse Boys were going to check out the bartender after interrogating the Canadian drug mule. Why did Sheriff Truman go make out with Josie?
  • Someone please dance with Laura’s father before he collapses on another coffin.

Now Playing Monday Nights at the Blake Living Room Theater: Twin Peaks

Organizing donuts. This is a job for the Twin Peaks police.

A few weeks ago, I heard from writer Brandon Seifert that the Hollywood Theatre would be screening every episode of the acclaimed TV series Twin Peaks once a week. Then I realized that the Hollywood Theatre is not located in nearby Hollywood, California, but instead the not-nearby Portland, Oregon. This made me consider starting a crusade against businesses named after geographic locations they are nowhere near.

If you’re in the Portland area, I hope you can check this out. The screenings started last Wednesday with the pilot, and future weeks will include two episodes each night.

This surreal TV series by filmmaker/artist/musician David Lynch aired in 1990 and ’91 and has defied understanding ever since. Writer/director Miguel Cima generously gave me the DVD box set a couple of years back, and I started to make my way through the series. I was several episodes in and then something interrupted my progress. I can’t remember what now. Maybe some deadline I had to meet, or some project, or maybe some fun health problems hit our family. Whatever it was, by the time I could get back to it, I couldn’t remember where I left off. So that was kind of that.

Then the above chance to see it in a theater came up, which sounded like an awesome way to experience the show. After realizing that I simply didn’t have enough frequent flyer miles built up to fly to Portland every week, I decided to recommit myself to watching the entire series.

So yesterday, I started back at the beginning with the 2-hour pilot episode and will proceed with one episode every Monday night around 8 PM.

Would you like tickets to the weekly screening? Sorry, it’s date night for my wife and me, and our apartment isn’t really a theater. But the show is on NetFlix. Why not play along at home? I can’t promise reviews, but maybe I’ll post some thoughts here and there as I make my way through it, and we can all compare notes. I’m sure I’ll also post about it on Facebook.

What do you think of Twin Peaks? Thoughts on the pilot in particular? Brilliant? Weird? Creepy?

Tonight’s Viewing: A Fish Called Wanda

I hadn’t watched this movie maybe in 10 years. It was great to see it again.

The whole sub-plot of Michael Palin’s stuttering character trying to bump off an old woman has a wonderfully reminiscent of classic Looney Tunes.

And of course, this scene between Palin and John Cleese:

Love it.

Tonight’s Viewing: 50 First Dates

Pop Quiz: What is to The Wedding Singer, as You’ve Got Mail is to Sleepless In Seattle?

Yes, that’s right, 50 First Dates starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore! They’re together again creating more romantic comedy as you like it!

When this was originally released I couldn’t be bothered. It just cried out as a desperate attempt to mechanically reconstruct a previous success.

Flash forward four years. A friend insists I watch it. It’s a fun date movie, she says. She lends me her copy.

Flash forward several months later, during which time I still couldn’t be bothered.

I started to feel guilty I still have her copy, so I finally watched it.

After a serviceable opening establishing Adam Sandler’s character as a deceptive womanizer, things get pretty rough. Some really forced attempts at humor that pretty much fall hard and flat. Walrus vomit. Sexual androgyny. Rob Schneider. Hoo doggy, what fun.

Then Drew Barrymore’s character shows up and meets Adam Sandler’s character. And in tip-toes a song from The Wedding Singer soundtrack. What a coincidence!

Just as I’m starting to regret the invention of the DVD player, it finally gets to its premise, and things start to sort of settle in. And then a charming little movie comes out for a while. And hey, it’s Dan Aykroyd! Sadly underutilized, but still. Unfortunately there are lapses back to walrus and penguin tricks and Rob Schneider’s butt crack, but there’s just enough heart to carry through to the end. (Probably not with a second viewing, though.)

Disclaimer: Tolerance for the two leads is required, which I realize is tough for some. Your miles will vary wildly with this one. Like I said, it’s not a classic but it had its moments.

So, that’s my hearty recommendation! Happy Viewing!

Tonight’s Viewing: The Princess Bride

Another movie I haven’t watched since I was a wee lad. Perhaps the best scene:

Some really fun writing in there.

Wallace Shawn is so great as the “genius” Vizzini. I love his bemused “hm” after being told about iocane powder, and his giddy excitement just before taking the final drink when he thought he’d won. Great deliveries throughout.

Poor Robin Wright had to sit there blindfolded through this entire scene. I wonder if she ever fell asleep.

And I’m pretty sure Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen had a secret gay love affair going on. Obviously the true motivation behind his plot. This is the scene that tipped me off:

Oh the sub-text!

Tonight’s Viewing: The Muppet Movie

Seeing this movie again for the first time in years tonight.

Post-viewing UPDATE: Even better than I remembered! I never realized when I was a kid how many cameos there are in The Muppet Movie.

One part made me re-think everything I know about all things Muppet.

The above image is from the scene of Kermit and Piggy’s first date with a cameo by Steve Martin as a pantless and annoyed waiter. Check out the moon. Is it sky blue with white clouds? On the DVD, you can even make out earth-toned colors. I swear, it’s Earth.

Do you realize what this means?

The Muppet Universe takes place in an alternate reality very similar to our own but with one significant difference – life exists on the moon and the Earth is a deserted planet!

Who knew Jim Henson was into sci-fi and speculative fiction? It sure explains Pigs In Space.