Saturday, February 25, 2017

Twin Peaks Rewatch: When you see me again, it won't be me

If you've never seen the original series of Twin Peaks, my recommendation is to watch Season 1 and then Season 2 up through Episode 10 or 11 and then quit.

Over the years I've heard a lot of conflicting stories about what happened in Season 2 as the series went along, but for those of us who remember television in the 1980's and 1990's, who couldn't believe Twin Peaks was ever on a major network to begin with, it seems plain that the networks did what they always did back then - refused to leave well enough alone.

Around Episode 10 of Season 2 (of 22), David Lynch and Mark Frost seem to have moved on from Twin Peaks, abandoning one of TV's most singular visions behind, one must assume, to the suits.  You still see Caleb Deschanel's name appear as a director, but Frost and Lynch's names are basically listed as "creators" by that point, and the series is handed off to folks whose names will mean nothing to you.  A quick Google search will tell you that the network insisted that Frost and Lynch wrap up the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, and after completing their mission in Episode 9, they made haste to distance themselves from the show.

Of course, that doesn't mean the first half of Season 2 of Twin Peaks continued to deliver the same visionary television that the first eight-episode season provided that made the show a small cultural phenomenon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Doc Watch: Beware the Slenderman (2016)

I spend some amount of time (read: all of my time) online, and thus was aware, somehow, of the fictional boogeyman, The Slenderman.  It was one of those things that I said "what is that?", Googled it, saw it was a meme sort of thing the kids were into, and went about my business.

The Slenderman was created in the world of online fictional storytelling, and as these things sometimes do, it took off and became an idea that flooded outside of the scary-stories site where The Slenderman first appeared.  A quick Google search will turn up thousands of hits.  He's an otherworldly figure who haunts children once they become aware of him, and will either murder them or befriend the most pitiable (I think).

In 2014 a new story broke out of Waukesha, Wisconsin that two 12 year-old girls had lured their friend into the woods and then attempted to stab her to death in order to impress/ appease "The Slenderman", which... to an adult sounds a bit like committing attempted murder to appease a movie or television character like The Cryptkeeper or something.  I don't want to belittle any of this, because two little girls really did have some sort of break and a third was gravely injured and will no doubt suffer longterm effects, but as someone well beyond the age of the girls who made this decision and with a "I existed before the internet" point of view, it's very hard to imagine the world that created this tragedy.

The HBO Documentary Beware the Slenderman (2016) dissects the scenario that led to the incident, looking into the world of the girls, what's online and how they related to it.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a doc that had this sort of access to the parents of perpetrators of an act like this who were clearly involved and participating in the film within a couple of months of the girls' incarceration and into the trial.

Monday, February 20, 2017

President's Day: What's the Deal with Grover Cleveland?

This is Grover Cleveland.  It is not a picture of me taken from the year 2045.

So, every President's Day (here in the U.S.) I try to write up a President of the United States, and some years I base my post on having had read a book or two.  But years like this year - I do some Googling and try to quickly educate myself about a President I don't know much about.

Grover Cleveland is one of those Presidents you could probably pick out of a line-up thanks to the mustache and glaring eyes, but other than that - you may not have the slightest inkling of what he was about.  I know I didn't.

Interesting factoid:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Puppet Watch: Lili (1953)

Lili (1953) is a mid-20th Century movie I'd never heard of before I started watching it on TCM this week.  Probably best described as an all-ages musical with fantasy elements (and puppets!), I have no doubt that the sweet-spot for finding an audience for this movie is young girls, but, hey, I'm a 41 year-old dude, and I liked it just fine.

As with all-ages movies pre-1990 or so, there are plenty of elements no one thought twice about including in a story for kids (which explains why - now in command of online content, Millennials have made a cottage industry of getting the vapors writing about pre 1990 family entertainment and why its "secretly dark").  And it's hard to say that Lili is exactly a light-hearted movie.  It's not.  The main character is definitely going through a crisis during the entire run-time of the movie, there's the spectre of marital infidelity, suicide, acknowledgement of the costs of WWII...

But it's got puppets!