Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Four - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episode 22, "It's OVER... It's FINALLY over! *sob*"


We've made it at last to the final episode of Twin Peaks (not counting Fire Walk With Me, which isn't available on Instant Stream) and I couldn't be happier!

There's not a lot happening in the mundane world as the grand majority of the episode centers on Coop's travels to The Waiting Room and The Black Lodge, but there are a few things.

Audrey handcuffs herself to the bank vault at the Savings & Loan where Andrew and Pete set off an explosive device left for them by Eckhardt as one last piece of revenge (Pete! No!). No chance of Pete coming back for the sequel if Lynch keeps his hinted promise of returning to Silent Hill-I mean, Twin Peaks-in 25 years when Laura says she will see Agent Cooper again.

Donna packs up and makes ready to leave, but is stopped by her father returning. Due to the charged emotions, thanks to Ben paying a visit, Doc Hayward snaps and pushes Ben down, where he lands face-first into the fireplace stone and possibly fractures his skull.

Andy and Lucy cement their relationship thanks to Andy's pledge to help her bear her child no matter the location or witnesses and they finally confess their love to one another. Just a side note there, I really love the little lilting gasp that Lucy lets out when she hears Andy say it for the first time (at least, in our sight).

That's the mundane world... but the real meat is Coop in The Black Lodge. THIS is David Lynch at his finest and there are a lot of parallels here to the supernatural murder mystery he did for the big screen a few years later, Lost Highway.

At the beginning of the episode, Windham takes Annie behind the Red Curtains at Glastonbury Grove and Coop follows as quickly as he, Truman, Pete, and the Log Lady assemble all the clues. Coop in The Waiting Room and Black Lodge are some of the most mysterious and symbolic sequences from the entire series. Not only does he meet several versions of The Man From Another Place, but also The Giant, Caroline/Annie, Windham Earle, Laura Palmer and her many Doppelgangers, BOB, Leland's Doppel, and Agent Cooper's own Shadow Self.

While there's plenty of mystery, the fun lies in the horror to be found. I just love Laura's Doppelgangers as they scream and flail in reverse and the other Man and his jittering dance is pretty creepy. I especially liked BOB intervening and taking Windham Earle's soul before setting Coop's Doppel on the chase.

I know it shouldn't be funny, but Kyle MacLachlan's gallop when he plays the Doppelganger is so goofy even as it creeps you out. I sort of shudder to think what BOB will do in Agent Cooper's body, since it seems that the Doppel catching Coop means he's no longer in the driver's seat of his own being, but that's half the fun. My own personal theory, thanks to Laura saying she'll see him again in 25 years, is that he's been trapped in The Waiting Room with TMFAP and The Giant for the past two and a half decades, waiting for his vision from that first dream sequence to come true (Laura kissing his older self and whispering the name of her killer).

If there's any justice to the world, Lynch et al. are planning a reunion TV movie (or maybe miniseries) for 2015 that will bring everyone back so that we know what happens, but I'm not holding my breath. The closest we get might be the sendup episode of Psych that aired a few seasons ago (that's available on the Instant Stream~). Either way, there will be no Pete unless they sub in someone in copious bandages. Heh, Pete as the Invisible Man.

You know, despite how rough it could be, there were some truly great moments in the series that really did influence pop and counter culture to a noticeable extend. I mean, you have the aforementioned episode of Psych, but also The Simpsons, The Killing, and many, many more examples all throughout the gamut of media and mediums. Without Twin Peaks, I wonder if we would've gotten X-files or Fringe? Lost or Silent Hill? I doubt it, but that's just my opinion.

In any case, it's been a long, sometimes painful road to this point. October's Couchbound Spooktacular has had many ups and downs... the second season of Twin Peaks being mostly downs... but it's been fun, especially tonight! The Red Curtains always make my day (and frighten me at night). Thanks for joining me and look forward to tomorrow as we get back to our regularly scheduled Couchbound programming with, you guessed it, PONIES!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Three - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episode 21, "The Die is Cast!"

Penultimate episode time...

...and Annie and Coop fall for a classic horror trope and decide to make love right before they know something big is about to go down!

This episode is entirely about setting up the final confrontation at The Black Lodge between Windham Earle and the White Hats arrayed with Coop.

Leo, doing probably the only good thing I've ever seen him do, releases Major Briggs so he can save Shelly and the Major stumbles off into the woods in a stupor only to be found by Hawk along the side of the road. The Miss Twin Peaks pageant is the deciding factor in in Windham's plan as he aims to take its winner hostage as an offering to open the fear lock on The Black Lodge. Meanwhile, Coop puts the pieces together about the timing of things and Andy breaks the bonsai's pot which alerts Truman to the fact they were being bugged.

Speaking of Andy, not only does Lucy choose him to be the father of her child, but he manages to solve the major puzzle of the pictoglyphs on his own... after staring at it blankly for hours... and tells Coop in the final moments of the episode that it's a map, the fact of which Windham figured out well before them. Windham spirits off Annie (while disguised as The Log Lady), and Coop is left helpless, waving at smoke.

The box subplot with Andrew, Catherine, and Pete gains a new wrinkle, but nothing really to note other than it's finally given that Andrew and Catherine don't trust each other. How the two of them managed to gain a lifelong friend and husband in sweet old Pete is beyond me. I feel bad, cause I know what's coming, but taking this as a virginal run through, there's nothing really to worry about.

There are a few fun touches in the background of this episode that make me smile.

First of all, Audrey has taken to wearing a deep red dress in her first meeting with Ben since she broke her maidenhead with Wheeler last episode. Seeing as how she's usually monochrome in black and white, I find it a bit symbolic. Guess she's more of a temptress now that she's become a fully fledged woman?

Then there are the makeup effects for Windham Earle when he finds Leo has freed the Major. His face is white, eyes reddened, and teeth blacked. His visage is that of a demon or corpse and it goes away the next scene we find him in. Love it!

There's also a moment where Windham is backstage (dressed as The Log Lady, remember?) and Bobby spots him, then looks over to where the real Log Lady is and she has instantaneously disappeared. I have to wonder if that was supposed to be a clue from the spirits of The White Lodge that Bobby is just too thick to understand or if the Log called her away to protect her. I mean, we already know that Bobby is somewhat sensitive to these things since we saw both him and Donna crying after the psychic warning by the Giant earlier in the season.

I think, in the end, I'm just happy that we're almost done. Most of the progress, both in terms of relationships and in regards to the main supernatural plot, is just a checklist of things that needed wrapping up. Can't wait for tomorrow night when we're finally in The Black Lodge and Coop has his final confrontation with Windham.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Two - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episode 20, "Pete, you are nothing if not a balm for the soul."

We're at the final three, folks, with just tonight, tomorrow, and Thursday left in our month-long Twin Peaks Spooktacular!

Tonight's episode starts us off pretty much where we left off last night, with Ted Raimi's cold, dead face mugging for the camera as emergency workers attempt to lug him (and his oversized chess piece) off the gazebo. From there, Coop, et al., do their best to try and decipher both the pitcoglyphs that were on the wall in Owl Cave and Windham Earle's deadly chess game, not knowing that the bonsai that was supposedly a parting gift from Josie is instead a bug that transmits directly to Windham.

Can't make it too easy on the boys, now can we?

A lot of relationship solidification in this episode... from Shelly and Bobby making nice (aww, poor Gordon) to Wheeler and Audrey making whoopie in his private jet to Coop and Annie slow dancing at the ball. It's cute, but really serves only to underscore that a lot of shit is about to go down at the Miss Twin Peaks pageant.

There's some silly stuff hovering in the periphery, like Lucy announcing that she will decide who she wants to be the father of her child at the pageant and the mayor's irresistible wife continuing to show she's not quite the innocent maid her introductory episodes made her out to be, but there's a lot of serious bits, too. Not only does Windham kidnap and torture Major Briggs, but Catherine and Andrew grow closer to solving the puzzle box that Eckhardt left them and Coop has a vision of The Giant warning him about something.

This episode also marks the return of BOB to the Ghostwood in a more corporeal form instead of just in visions. It looks like he's about to come out and play, which makes sense from a meta sense, considering we're but 90 minutes away from the season (and, sadly, series) finale.

I think what really bugs me about this episode are Windham's motivations. In true Soap Opera fashion, it's a convoluted, wheels-within-wheels plot that requires Coop's nemesis to have coincidentally been a part of Major Brigg's Project Blue Book before he was an FBI Agent. It's one thing for the character to be a madman bent on revenge... but to give him such a far reaching motive and backstory is so boring and cliche. I would've much preferred to have him stumble on BOB and The Black Lodge in his quest to destroy Coop than have the latter be subterfuge.

As I've mentioned previously, the last minute romances for both Coop and Audrey are just way to quick and easy. They are tediously trite with barely any conflict. While it's nice to see Coop paired up with a well-versed woman who can match him quote for quote, I need some meat to their courtship. The same can be said for Audrey and Wheeler. While it's cute that they manage to catch each other on the tarmac, the only real redeeming moment for their scenes is when Wheeler jets off and Pete consoles the lonely Audrey with an invitation to fish, being more fatherly than any character has ever been in the series.

Still, the episode does have its moments... The Giant, BOB, Windham and Leo in a horse costume, " may not be enough...", Ted as a corpse... it just feels a little bittersweet. I definitely want it to be over, thanks to the horrendously bad middle episodes this season, but things are just started to get somewhat decent again.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day Three Hundred and One - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episodes 18 & 19, "Joxer! Joxer the Mighty, you old so and so!"

Well, I'll be damned... I don't think, when watching back in the day, that I ever noticed the bit role for Ted Raimi as an overly enthusiastic biker whom Windham Earle uses to create another human chess piece for him to kill. It's almost worth it, too, despite the melodramatic camera trickery used in the scene to amp up the death. To be honest, I couldn't stop laughing at Leo's shocked, stuttering gasp... it was so bad.

Elsewhere, Truman is almost killed by Eckhardt's girlfriend, Coop courts Annie (and Gordon courts Shelly), Audrey and Wheeler (Billy Zane) grow closer but the timing is wrong, the police go spelunking for pictoglyphs based on Major Briggs and The Log Lady's brands, and Pete tries to solve a puzzle box that Eckhardt left the Martell/Packard family.

I think that the soapy-est scenes of the episodes revolved around Donna snooping after her mother and finding breadcrumbs that seem to imply that her biological father is Ben Horne (making her Audrey's half-sister).

As with the rest of this portion of Season 2 (basically, everything from Leland's death on), it's boring tripe. To be fair, though, it has been getting better. These two episodes were not nearly as bad as last week's, and it feels like some of the groove is coming back, partially due to focusing more on the supernatural mysteries instead of all the annoying melodrama... and the writing has become a little crisper and entertaining once more. The jokes are funny again, too, like when Coop and Gordon excite Truman's epic hangover to expulsion levels twice!

At the very least, the time of rambling expository monologues seems to have passed. Sure, Windham gets a bit of a wind in his sails when he regales Ted Raimi's biker with a modicum of charm before the pointy end, but other than that we're free of the "tell" in "show, don't tell."

While I still can't believe or empathize with Cooper's whirlwind romance of Heather Graham's Annie, it's better than James' black widow storyline. Annie is an interesting character, but a bit too convenient. I'm sure it would've been much more natural to have the romance develop over the entire season, but I get the feeling that she and Zane were more a last minute stopgap to attempt saving the dying show and were just a case of too little, too late (as mentioned before).

I just wish that someone would explain to me why Andy was rappelling through the ceiling tiles. I mean, I get that he was training for the trip to Owl Cave, but why was he doing it directly in front of Lucy's window? Was there no better place to show off his flailing masculinity?

Ah well, just three short episodes to go... one a day through Halloween and we're done!

Quick shoutout to Mike and Nadine consummating their relationship at The Great Northern, and Bobby getting bent out of shape watching Gordon and Shelly share a few chaste kisses. He never treated her right, anyway. Just because he was better than Leo doesn't mean he was all that good for her. Oh god, I'm starting to talk like a soap watcher! Somebody help me!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day Three Hundred - Ghostbusters, "I believe it's Magic... Magic...."

If memory serves me there was one VHS tape that my family borrowed from the base library quite a bit. That tape was The Neverending Story, which my parents probably thought was a more wholesome pick than a movie that had a simulated ghost fellatio scene. Still, Ghostbusters was probably a close second due to the fact that, besides a few fleeting expletives and the aforementioned "spirit suck" (which was really just a dream sequence), it was a pretty safe horror movie to watch... more comedy than anything else.

When it was re-released in theaters two years ago, for one night only, my friends and I were almost first in the queue to see it once again on the big screen (sadly, no vintage trailers went with it). It was a gloriously nostalgic experience. It's been close to forty years since VCRs and DVD players made re-releasing films in theaters a novelty at best as who would want to go out and pay theater prices when they can watch it in the comfort of their own homes. Personally, I'm on the fence. I love Netflix and my DVD/BluRay collection, but sometimes it's nice to see an old favorite on a 50'x20' screen.

In any case, no theater release for Ghostbusters this Halloween season, but we're lucky enough to have it on the Instant Stream just in time for our last Weekend Spooktacular Flick. Maybe it's the nostalgia or maybe I'm on a weird Ernie Hudson binge (as he was also in yesterday's The Crow), but I was definitely in the mood for a supernatural film that was more fun than frightening.

Ghostbusters definitely delivers.

Made in the mid-80's in the height of Bill, Dan, and Harold's careers, Ghostbusters tells the story of three paranormal psychologists and engineers who are thrown out of their university positions just when they find proof of real, honest to deadness ghosts! Being the enterprising Americans that they are, they decided to go into hock and start their own ghost extermination business and, after a slow start, business booms.

Along the way, they begin investigating the haunting of a young musician (Sigourney Weaver) who is being occasionally tormented by a demon dog named Zuul and constantly hit on by the smarmy leader of the Ghostbusters, Peter (Bill Murray).

Anyways, long story short, great mystical convergence, possible apocalypse, and harassment and interference by the EPA. I mean, really... the EPA? Well, it was the 80's.

As far as the film goes, it definitely shows its age via its dated effects, but they still hold up pretty well and were actually groundbreaking for the time. Yes, it's mostly matte and miniatures work, but there are still plenty of fun practical effects like the shooting card catalogs and floating books (which still give me mild chills to this very day).

While I'm never scared like I was as a child with this film, getting more from the laughs than the jump moments (that chase through Central Park with Rick Moranis definitely freaked me out more then than now), I think that I enjoy Ghostbusters more this way, as an adult. It's just so much better when you catch things like Venkman's not so subtle come-ons towards Dana or the previously noted supernatural sex act. It's also better when you see Ernie Hudson's Winston as more than just a second act add-on and instead see him as a contrast to the bookish scientists of the team. Winston adds an everyman dynamic to the team that grounds them instead of allowing them to remain aloof as experts among plebeians.

For my last Spooktacular horror flick, I probably could have chosen something more creepy and scare worthy, but I'm actually pretty happy with Ghostbusters. It's a nice nod to both nostalgia and the softball fun of the holiday. Sure, I could freak myself out with other films... but this is better... for me, anyway.

Now... let's see if I can power through the final five episodes of Twin Peaks and survive.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Two Hundred and Ninety-nine - The Crow, "On Devil's Night, Wronged Dead Souls Can Rise."

Being a fan of the Gothic persuasion in the late 80's/early 90's was glorious. There was Hellraiser, Sandman, Hellblazer, and... of course... The Crow (both the comic and the movie).

I mean, thinking back, I remember three types of people in that era of my generation: the Goths, the Grunge, and the Gaps. I'm sure there were dozens, if not hundreds more, subtypes or categorizations for youth culture at the time, but those were it for me. I certainly didn't fall in the latter, but I was definitely a closet case of the former two, the lack of personal control over outward appearance forcing my Gothy Grungyness to remain in hiding. What can I say, my parents were strict and I was a coward.

Anyways, The Crow was a defining film for folks like me. It sated our desire for so many things: eternal love, bloody vengeance, dark makeup and leather jackets. It was like Alex Proyas made a film just for us based on a comic made just for us. It was magic, it was amazing, it was tragic.

Yeah, tragic... because, if you didn't know this already, Brandon Lee died filming this movie. It caused a big hullabaloo at the time and I have no doubt that the press surrounding the mysterious death of Bruce Lee's son contributed to the film's box office, even though it was a good enough film to stand well on its own.

The setting for The Crow is a bleak, surreal landscape of urban America. The ghettos are hollow and crime-ridden, where everyone is out for themselves and just trying to survive save for a few do-gooders like Eric Draven and his fiance, Shelly Webster. It's in the opening moments of the movie where we're witness to the aftermath of their double murder, brutalized and killed for speaking up against the slumlord trying to evict them.

A year later, Eric is miraculously resurrected to wreak havoc against those who wronged him and his lady love, given powers of regeneration, clairvoyance, and empathic transference. He is turned into a one man ESPer killing spree and sent off in the direction of his killers by his spirit animal, the eponymous Crow, which guides him both to his enemies and his allies.

I really love how solid this cast is. Brandon Lee is great, but the supporting cast is where it's at, including Michael Wincott, Ernie Hudson, and a face that we've grown more familiar with during our Spooktacular viewings of Twin Peaks... David Patrick Kelly (who plays Jerry Horne in Lynch's prime time soap opera).

The film is also great for its soundtrack... being one of the best compilations of dark, emotive rock and hardcore industrial from the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Rollins Band and more. This CD, along with Lost Highway and Natural Born Killers respective discs, was amazing (and all featured Trent Reznor and NIN, the latter two heavily).

As ghost stories go, The Crow is immensely satisfying, only showing rough edges when it comes to Lee's lost lover, Shelly. Played by Sophia Shinas, I never really feel any natural chemistry between them in the flashbacks. Still, I heartily recommend the film as a classic of spooky cinema. There's nothing ever scary about it as it's more action than horror, but it's a great Halloween flick!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-eight - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episodes 16 & 17, "First Tony Jay, Now David Warner. A Pity."

I don't know whether to attribute it to the general lack of caring everyone seemed to have at this point in the second season or an attempt at capriciousness on behalf of the writers, but David Warner appeared (with fire in his eyes)... and then he died.

What a waste.

The same thing happened to Tony Jay a few episodes ago when he appeared at Leland's funeral, then died almost as quick and in flagrante delicto with the woman every man loves (literally). Sure, prime time television is full of examples of special celebrity guest stars showing up as one-off villains and victims. It's almost tradition. Still, I would've preferred more from the infamous Thomas Eckhardt.

Where first season Josie and Catherine sparred with mysterious trysts and subtle acts and double crosses you didn't see coming, the final repose of the Sheriff's femme fatale girlfriend is a quick deluge of madness, murder, and fright... as she scared... herself... to death!


While not as horrendously bad as last night's episode, today's double feature is only a notch or two above it. Not even the introduction of two new characters can save the season (or series) in my eyes... not Heather Graham's Annie or Billy Zane's convenient cowboy. It's funny just how easily Audrey falls under Zane's spell due to the behind the scenes shenanigans by Laura Flynn Boyle, or so rumor says. And it's just those sorts of rumors that make it easy to see how little both the actress and character cared that James was leaving the series.

They are just rumors, though, so I shouldn't pay them any mind. Can't help but think about the whole thing in that context, however. Once a seed of doubt is planted, it takes root.

There's a little bit of the supernatural to brighten things up, but it's still being done in a haphazard way that feels more like a token effort than actual, intentional plotting. Whether it's BOB or The Man from Another Place howling/dancing on Josie's corpse or her soul apparently imprinting itself on a knob, I feel like it's too little, too late.

More bad acting and pointless scenes... Truman goes bonkers, there's an inexplicable fashion show/ferret mauling, and Coop meets his soul mate. How quickly he forgets Audrey. Oh well. Windham Earle is supposed to be a looming threat as he plays around with the three current contenders for Miss Twin Peaks. His disguises are laughable at best, suspicious at worst. If I were Donna or Shelly, I would've called Coop and Truman immediately.

But that's shitty writing for you.

The fire is officially gone, I think. There is very little that could save this series from itself (not even Fire Walk With Me, if it were available on Instant Stream). I knew this was going to happen, of course, but it's hard to have it play out day by day, continuously. I almost wish that I had skipped the weekend horror flicks for our Spooktacular, just so this would've been over quicker. Twin Peaks is a mad dog, at this point... waiting to be put down. Just a few short days left, though. I can make it. I hope.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-seven - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episode 15, "Windham Earle: Human Trainer, Murderer, Amateur Hardy Impersonator"

God... it's almost work at this point. I'm only watching because I made a promise, both to myself and to you, dear readers, to watch the entirety of Twin Peaks during the month of October. I take that back, though. It's not work. Work implies something productive.

This is torture.

A semi-crazed Leo walked into Windham's den at the end of last night's episode and tonight? Well, tonight, Leo is being tutored and conditioned like a misbehaving puppy... via shock collar. Elsewhere, James is framed for murder by a mysteriously repentant black widow and her brother/lover conspirator, but that wraps up pretty quick (for lack of anything else to do, methinks). Norma and Ed whisper sweet nothings while Nadine continues to obsess over Donna's ex-boyfriend thanks to her regression to high school. Thomas Eckhardt (David Warner) pays a call to Josie and Catherine for dinner and, lastly, Ben recreates the end of the Civil War (this time the North loses) with the help of Audrey, Bobby, Jerry, and Dr.Jacoby.

And it's all so much dreck.

It's like we're living in a duller, more pathetic parallel universe to the original Twin Peaks where all the magic has been sucked out of everything and been replaced by... by... I don't even know how to articulate the levels they've sunk to here. We are so far beyond saving the show that I can only explain it with the concept that everyone involved must have been actively trying to kill the show. Really. That's the only explanation that I can come up with... because, surely, we have fallen to madness when the first thing Albert and Truman do upon seeing each other is hug enthusiastically.

While I am able to maintain a cool and collected outward appearance in these waning moments of the Spooktacular, there's a part of my inner self... a rather large part... that can be visualized as a cackling loon, shaken and disheveled, rocking back and forth in a padded room while whispering secrets and lies to no one in particular. Maybe that's the ultimate truth of the series: revealing Laura's killer has driven us all insane. Oh, God! None of this is real!

These are dark days for me, my friends... dark days, indeed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-six - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episode 14, "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!"

Hoo-boy, and I thought yesterday was a bad night for Twin Peaks and its second season doldrums. In comparison, it almost feels like a pleasant dream. We are quite figuratively reaching critical soap opera mass here in terms of terrible writing and loss of atmosphere.

Where the Agent Cooper of old would rely on obscure practices and folksy wisdom, he now pontificates on times past, reeling off exposition at the drop of a hat but never going anywhere with it. And it's not just him doing so. I've heard more cheesy soap monologues in the last forty minutes than I've heard in the entirety of the rest of the episodes previous combined... and they're bad ones at that.

What... is... happening?

It's like everything that made the series wonderful, mysterious, and stylish has been sucked out of the production like so much marrow from a bone (please forgive the horrendous simile). While the show only occasionally bordered on genius, at least you could always count on it to make you think or scratch your head in confusion at the wacky symbolism and visions. Or you used to be able to, anyway.


Coop, newly deputized while he remains on suspension (despite being cleared of all charges), begins investigating the corpse that Windham Earle has left as his move in their chess game. Instead of throwing rocks at a bottle or something else equally ridiculous (but effective) all Cooper does is say he's at a loss... then confesses (in a monologue) to plot and backstory.

Then there's Doc Hayward who does pretty much the same thing about Andy and Dick's orphan problem child, Little Nicky, giving a long, rambling sob story that brings both men to tears. Add to that James and his stupid side story coming to fruition (with a monologue from his black widow lover) and I can't help but wonder if Lynch had literally run out of ideas and was just winging it with cliches and hack writing. Oh, and Leo is up and ambulatory... but more a Frankenstein's Monster than a Jack Torrence, lumbering about as he is with that axe.

Seriously... this is the worst prime time television writing that I have ever witnessed. I could almost forgive it for a meta sort of self-awareness, but they're betraying so much character development that had been building these past twenty or so episodes that I can't even blame the network for canceling. I think that I blacked out all memory of just how bad it got since the last time I watched the series (marathoning my sister's VHS tapes well over a decade ago).

I mean... wow... just, wow.

Thinking back, there's not a single moment of this episode that I enjoyed. The only thing that looked vaguely interesting was when Lucy swatted the fly and left a huge, bloody smear... but not even The Owls were able to pull me up tonight.

We're in troubled times, my friends. Troubled times, indeed, and I'm starting to feel desperate. The only thing keeping me sane is the light at the end of the tunnel that is November, but that will only bring upon me a new, even worse madness (NaNoWriMo). We'll see if I survive.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-five - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episode 13, "Welp, I'm bored."

I find myself conflicted with this episode.

I want to write a long, poignant, inspired diatribe against the middle of the second season being weak and flaccid both in terms of story and writing, but I can't seem to find the energy. No, really, I can't. Even though it features David Duchovny both as Dennis and Denise, donning a suit to go undercover and catch Jean Renault and reverting back to transvestism to trick him for a second time.

I'm also kind of pissed that Major Briggs is visibly shaken by his ordeal wherever/whenever he went after the campout with Agent Cooper. Even when he first returned, last episode, he wasn't trembling with fear and doubt. Definitely not in character and that's supposed to be impactful, but instead it's annoying.

It's just... ugh.

James does the typically soapy thing and believes everything his new lover and her "brother" tell him, Bobby abandons Shelly to her caregiver duties while he tries to take advantage of a "golden opportunity" with apparently bonkers Ben Horne, and Norma and Ed are finally giving in to their urges, despite Nadine and Hank.

That's not to say there aren't a few moments here and there.

I really liked when Coop picked up the doughnut with a bite taken out of it, and it was pretty cute when Nadine hulked out and beat the crap out of Hank, but this was a pretty disappointing episode overall. It's a little intriguing, the corpse that Coop's ex-partner leaves at the police department, but I'm just not feeling it. Hopefully things will get better when Heather Graham shows up as Annie.

Either way, short post today... just nothing to talk about. Sad, really. Kudos to Leo for finally dropping the facade, though (or is it really him? Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun!).

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-four - Twin Peaks: Season 2, Episodes 11 & 12, "Mulder, you are a FOX!"

And here he is... it took almost twenty episodes, but tonight we finally get David Duchovny in his famous role of Denise/Dennis, the transvestite DEA agent who comes to investigate the frame job that Jean Renault and company are fitting Agent Cooper for.

I don't know if it has any merit, but I like to think that the work David did there in Twin Peaks directly resulted in his landing the role of Fox Mulder in the X-files just a year or two later. That's the head canon that I'm sticking to, anyway.

In any case, Denise comes to town and almost immediately knows the score, having worked with Cooper before in Oakland, but evidence is needed. Luckily for Agent Cooper, several clues fall directly into his lap thanks to an opportune (supernatural?) coin flip and a little insider info from Audrey, who has photographic evidence of Hank and Jean's new partnership. It seems Ben hired Bobby to follow Hank and Coop is the prime beneficiary.

Elsewhere in Twin Peaks (and outside of it), James takes an Easy Rider road trip, Josie attempts to make peace with Catherine and winds up an indentured servant instead, Nadine impresses the high school gym teacher with her preternatural strength and tries out for the wrestling team, Major Briggs teleports back into existence, and the Mayor's brother (Tony Jay) gets married and dies so quick it's hard to call Tony's role anything but a special guest appearance. I swear, the man gets barely five minutes of screen time before he's fitted with a toe tag thanks to overexertion on his wedding night. Hard to blame him, though, as it seems any male in his blushing bride's direct vicinity falls under a spell... and this includes both Dick and Andy (much to Lucy's consternation).

If you didn't know already from previous entries in our Twin Peaks Spooktacular, Denise is one of my favorite characters, along with Albert. Now that I think about it, if it weren't for new villain Windham Earle and Internal Affairs Agent Hardy (whom is played quite well by Clarence Williams III, but isn't a very sympathetic or fun character), it would be safe to say that all the FBI White Hats comprise my favorite characters... being Coop, Albert, Gordon, and Denise. They're all smart, odd, and gung ho about justice. My kind of people.

I also love how jealous Audrey gets when Denise interrupts their tête-à-tête. That rushed kiss to mark her territory is hilariously cute and Denise's questioning after her is a quaint little nod that deepens the context of his transvestism.

Can't say I'm happy with James' new storyline, but when am I ever? The whole femme fatale/damsel in distress routine is so blatantly obvious that I can't even role my eyes anymore. If I weren't watching the show for the blog, I would totally be fast forwarding every single moment of it... taking a cue from my sister, actually, and how she dealt with boring storylines in her soaps.

I'm also kind of ambivalent when it comes to the new Audrey/Bobby angle that is developing. Not only is he trying to put the moves on someone else, completely disrespecting Shelly, but going after Audrey? One can only hope it's just as it seems and she's using him to keep an eye on her father. Time shall tell, I suppose (or not... as I can't remember if that resolves before the series ended).

Boy was I ever glad that Major Briggs made it back safe... but it looks like, whatever story he has to tell, it's probably going to knock someone for a negative loop. With that uniform, you can only hope that it's time travel!

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Ninety-three - Slither, "Watch out, Mal!"

James Gunn is hit or miss with me.

While I can really get behind his Troma work, as rough as it is, some of his mainstream stuff (like Super or his short for Movie 43) doesn't really appeal. That said, I really enjoyed Slither for the terrible movie that it was. It's a cheesy 80's monster flick with millennial trappings and actors.

With famous faces like Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion, and Jenna Fischer, you'd kind of expect more moolah attached to this project, but this was made fairly early in their careers before they became bankable movie and television stars (Firefly notwithstanding).

Set in a small town whose biggest celebration seems to be the annual kickoff to deer season, Slither tells the story of an extraterrestrial encounter with a parasite that takes over or consumes every living thing it encounters. The organism happens upon a controlling husband (Michael Rooker) and implants itself within his brain, gaining his memories in addition to its already overriding urge to procreate and decimate the local ecosystem.

That's not to say it is totally remorseless in its march to domination, as he/it cannot seem to find the will to infect his/its wife (Elizabeth Banks), Starla, and instead turns to a local floozy to spawn its tiny, mind-controlling slugs. This all comes to the attention of the smitten local sheriff (Nathan Fillion), who hasn't gotten over his childhood crush on Starla... but who is certainly out of his depth when it comes to alien parasites.

It's definitely a cheesy monster flick that I could easily see being made as a drive-in double feature in the 50's or 60's. The powercreep steadily advances until all but a lucky few avoid the squiggly hordes of brainslugs, only for said survivors to conveniently deduce and thwart the mother-(or, in this case, father)-brain. It's even got the cliche deus ex device in the form of a young teen who has a brush with the hivemind, but gets away with precious knowledge on how to defeat the menace.

Still, cheese aside, it's actually a pretty fun little movie.

It doesn't go overboard on special effects, but what they do have doesn't seem to look too out of place. The prosthetics are used sparingly, but are decent and they blend fairly well with the CGI. Sure, it's not as good as, say, WETA did at the same time with LOTR, but with the budget they had (15 million), I think Gunn and company did a good job. What could've devolved into a SyFy movie of the week (a la Sharknado) actually turned out all right.

I especially liked Gregg Henry as the foul-mouthed mayor and, well, Nathan Fillion can charm his way through anything. I kind of felt bad for Jenna Fischer, as her role didn't have anything to it, really, but everyone's gotta start somewhere... and while Elizabeth Banks was okay, she didn't really thrill, either. C'est la vie.

Overall, Slither is a great popcorn flick that is best watched with friends. You don't need to riff it, as it stands well enough on its own, but it wouldn't hurt it that much to add a few one-liners of your own. In the end, it's definitely fun Halloween Spooktacular fare.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~