October 20, 2009

Justify My Netflix: Twin Peaks

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Twin Peaks

Today's movie: Twin Peaks, 1989-91 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because Twin Peaks is the second greatest television show in history, which by nice coincidence originally aired in the middle of my undergraduate years, one of the projects of the late '80s and early '90s to have a heavy influence over my decision to pursue a career in the arts (and don't even get me started on the massive pie-and-coffee-fueled watching parties my friends and I used to throw back then). Because I've literally never watched the show since, and realized recently that it was high time I did.

The reality: Thank God, just as good as I remember. And I say "Thank God," of course, because as I've learned the hard way since getting my Netflix account, nearly every single TV show I fondly remember from my youth has turned out upon adult rewatching to be horribly disappointing; so how delightful, then, to see that on its twentieth anniversary, David Lynch's "surrealist soap opera" remains just as goosebump-inducingly creepy and funny and just plain twisted as it did when first exploding on the airwaves, a literal "Television Event" back then that nearly no one knew exactly what to make of, or why a bunch of suits at ABC would green-light such an unexplainable trainwreck to begin with. And even better, since Lynch went to the trouble of shooting the show on actual high-quality film stock, using a series of expensive sets and lush lighting schemes, it still even looks astoundingly great as well, compared to the shoddy, cheap quality anymore of any TV series shot before the invention of high-def digital cameras. And even better than all this, now that the entire series has been over for decades and now analyzed to death, one can simply turn to Wikipedia to a surprisingly clear look at what exactly Lynch was trying to say with this challenging, dream-infused storyline, making the watching of it now a much more understandable effort than the head-scratching experience it was when it originally aired. (And in fact, for those who don't know, it was precisely the mysteriousness of this murder mystery's plotline that led to both its meteorically fast cult success and its nearly-as-fast crash and burn.) Now, all that said, since I'm only renting the series one disc at a time, I'm definitely planning on stopping after episode 17 (out of 30), the episode where Laura Palmer's killer is finally revealed; pressured by studio execs to do so when Lynch in fact wanted to never reveal the killer driving the storyline's main mystery, the show sharply nosedives after this moment and never fully recovers.

Strangest piece of trivia: The creepy dialogue heard in the show's various dream sequences was accomplished by the actors literally memorizing their lines phonetically as they sounded when played on a tape recorder backwards; this "backwards dialogue" was then replayed backwards once again, so that the words were now in correct order again but with an impossible-to-replicate otherworldly sound to them.

Worth your time? The owls are not what they seem

Filed by Jason Pettus at 4:19 PM, October 20, 2009. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |