Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I figured it out, and it's EVEN MORE DISTURBING!!!!

someone REMOVE him from 24. Seriously. he is nauseating me damned close to abandoning the series.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Two very different uses for the human body......

So I watched SLIVER yesterday. The last time I had seen it was during the height of its popularity, around 1993 or so. It aired on HBO and was probably one of the most sexual movies I had ever seen, after Fatal Attraction and Risky Business. I also had the major hots for Billy Baldwin in this, like everyone else. I think this film was a little strange and exciting for me because it was during the times when people my age were starting to "date." I was a ripe 16 years old at that time and personally knew people who had had sex, though not in quite the manner of Wills and Sharon here. I seriously wondered about all that....business.

I can't really say anything negative about the film; I still appreciated it for the voyeuristic in-your-face doing it that gave me chills back in the day. They got quite a few big names, too. Martin, Landeau, Sharon Stone, Baldwin, Berenger, etc. Not bad. I read Ira Levin's novel at one point but I can't remember a thing about it. Come to think of it, there has been some good myspace discussion on trashy novels lately. I may just have to add this to the Half Price list.......

And secondly: Friday the Thirteenth part 7, The New Blood.
Wow. I have just realized that my favorite part of every single Friday the 13th has got to be the strategic positioning of dead bodies around the camp or cabin so that the last one standing will always stumble upon them. Why don't they ever show a real time breakdown of Jason so dilligently nailing them to walls, getting the ropes to hang them from the tree and then rigging a falling mechanism, etc. ? That would be hilarious! Jason, with his tool belt, measuring and hammering like a regular handy manny? Genius.

Yeah, and the exposed vertebrae, fully visible through his shreds of clothing? come on. I think that little touch was a bit unnecessary. All in all, very nostalgic, very cheesy, very groan-inducing. BUT FUN, nontheless.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Something Does Not Feel Right.......

Where o where are Tony Almeida and Chase Edmunds when you need them?!?!? Seriously. SILVER SPOONS was just not working for me. He looks weird, maybe he had some drug problems or something after NYPD Blue? He just looks haggard and gives me the willies (not unlike the current Cory Haim).

Other than this, last night's episode of 24 was good; my reaction to seeing Aaron Pierce again was a happy, furious kicking of my feet in the air. Even better that he's been shacking up with the former (drunk) First Lady Martha L!!!!! Congrats. Didn't seem to end too well for either of them though. Tom Lennox is really going to have to step it up if he wants to save the country from POWERS BOOTHE. If I were him, I would have high-tailed it outta there while the veep was on the phone with Bill Buchanan. I was happy to see in the previews that Karen Hayes would be returning to her post. WHO WILL BE THE RAT?!?!?!? I can hardly wait to find out.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Billy, we're good, but this is getting ridiculous......

I realize now the reason I never saw this when it came out or years later on tape: not one of my friends would have had any interest in this movie. None of them watched "Dirty Harry" with their fathers, either, I suppose. I thought it was very entertaining. Yes, I realize it is cheesy. Yes, I realized approximately 3 minutes in (with the help of the score and those ridiculous drums) that this was indeed, St. Elmo's Fire with cowboys. I popped onto IMDB and started looking up reviews, of which there were few. I read a few of the sequal's and then went back to forming my own opinion. My opinion is basically this: SOMETIMES CHEESEY MAINSTREAM POP CULTURE IS GOOD FOR US. I mean, it was released in 1988. What really was going on then? Regan to Bush? uh, Iran Contra? The war on drugs? One might argue that a film like this is bubble-gum garbage, but I kind of think in a way, that was the point. The script was blunt and bad. The lines were shouted and mostly yee ha-ed throughout (all I could think of when they yelled, "REGULATORS!!!" was the unfortunate, "A-booga booga booga, ah-ah-ah...") But what else was the youth culture going to watch? Had there even been a "western" marketed to us before this? It would be a few more years before I actually sat myself down and hung in through the bad dubbings of Sergio Leone and even longer before I could stomach John Wayne, but those films weren't meant for me then anyway. At least this would have created an interest in a wider scope of cinema, perhaps paving the way for me to appreciate other, more well-done westerns as I gained a bit more maturity?

When we watched John Wayne in Silberman's class, many of the people just absolutely FREAKED when we had to discuss it the next day. WHY DID YOU MAKE US WATCH THAT? IT WAS SO BAD!!! IT WAS SO CHEESEY! IT WAS SO BORING!!! THAT GUY IS A TOOL!!!! on and on and on. I kind of liked it all. I got my introduction to westerns from The Twilight Zone (which I also watched with my dad), and John Wayne, Vera Miles, Jimmy Stewart, and Lee Van Cleef really took me back to all of that.

My main point in ranting about this film is that it was relatively harmless, cheesy, minimally violent, and GOOD! It did not need to be deeply philosophical or woo us with a bunch of distinctive edits (save for a few slow motion death-falls at the end, Pekinpah would be appropriately dismayed) because it was doing what all action movies aspire to do: give us a hero. Sometimes this is what the public needs, something simple, something cheesy. A fairy tale! Isn't that why 24 has such a wonderfully broad and obsessive following? We don't want reality. We want someone who is going to save us, no matter how ridiculous the scenario. EVERYONE NEEDS A BAUER.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Not Much to Report

As we have been wimps here, going to bed early at any opportunity, I have not seen anything in its entirety on which to blog. We have Young Guns, Beyond Borders, and the rest of Borat to finish, and we caught a few minutes of As Good as it Gets last night before crashing early in anticipation of daylight savings. Mostly we did laundry, cleaned the basement, and made trips to get coffee, drop off goodwill clothes at the Valu Village, and got groceries.
Here is my favorite artist ever:

Jasper Johns

Saturday, March 10, 2007

dreams and a young kiefer

we were at some sort of lycium at bold high school. it was a mock trial or something, this is weird because BOLD never did mock trials while i was there, so i didn't really have any experience with this (unless you count the 4 second mock trial i did in mr ross's earth science class in 8th grade about saving the trees. i was the expert witness, dr. pat smart. jennifer and julie and erica kept calling me "dr. papschmear.")

the mock trial in my dream was more like a mock inquisition. they were trying to find the communists in our school. it was very official, people were in uniforms. SHIT more just came back to me. IT WAS AL FRANKEN. they were questioning him and intimidating him and trying to get him to crack, and he was trying his best to convince them that he was not a communists. he even left the procedings and got on an official uniform himself, and tried to do all the official things the questioners were doing, to prove he was one of them. it didn't work out and they took him away. it was over, and everyone was laughing at how clever it was, how well we all did, etc. THEN. the guards came back in and said there were more. so playing along with it all, the people in charge were like, "all right then, round em' all up!!" they started coming over by me and my class. i wasn't really scared, because i figured that if anything, erica would get picked before i would, since she was more of a communist than me. no. they came right up to me and pointed me out and no one else. i had to go over to a holding area in the gym, over the bleachers and up by the basketball hoop. i had to sit there while the whole gym made fun of everything in my life i had done up to that point. i tried to be a good sport and laugh with them, because i had to make them think i still knew it was all fake. then, something in me started planning how to run out of there, either up the balcony and down the stairs that way or out the front entrance into the street.

pretty soon a commercial came onto a large projection screen that was on the wall. it was about some kind of cleaning solution, how to use it on everything. i looked down at my shoes, which weret those white grandma shoes that used to be popular that you could buy at ben franklin. some people took the laces out, some left them in. mine were in, and they were stained by iron or something. they were rusty and dirty. i notified the guard lady that i needed some of that solution that was just on the screen and she took me out of the gym.

after this, the threat of being wrongfully imprisoned for being a communist was gone. the main problem became trying to get these shoes cleaned. the next thing i dreamed was that this guy i work with, ian, was really a wizard and could fix the appearance of anything. i needed him to fix my shoes.

last part: a friend from high school, leah dillon, sent my mother a christmas card. on it were two little girls, babies. one was about 1 1/2 and the other was just a tiny one, just starting to roll over. for some reason it was on OUR fridge. i kept wondering when she had another baby. i think i knew she already had a little girl but that girl is probably like 5 by now.

In other news, I was fortunate enough to flip onto THE LOST BOYS as it played on Cinemax yesterday afternoon. It was a very big deal when this first came out; I think I was in like, 6th grade? Kiefer Sutherland was quite scary. I was struck by the youngess of him when I watched. Jason Patrick does nothing for me. Of course, I wanted to be Jami Gertz, even as a vampire.
If I had to name one of my favorite 80s movies of all time, The Lost Boys would be in the top five. On that note, I am getting YOUNG GUNS through Netflix today, and I'm quite excited. We did not finish Borat but still have it here. If I feel brave enough to try and watch it through to completion, I'll post my reaction.

Friday, March 9, 2007

One Perfect Thing

Snow (Hey Oh) Lyrics

Come to decide that the things that I tried were in my life just to get high on.
When I sit alone, come get a little known
But I need more than myself this time.
Step from the road to the sea to the sky, and I do believe that we rely on
When I lay it on, come get to play it on
All my life to sacrifice.

Hey oh... listen what I say oh
I got your hey oh, now listen what I say oh

When will I know that I really can't go
To the well once more - time to decide on.
Well it's killing me, when will I really see, all that I need to look inside.
Come to belive that I better not leave before I get my chance to ride,
Well it's killing me, what do I really need - all that I need to look inside.

Hey oh... listen what I say oh
Come back and hey oh, look at what I say oh

The more I see the less I know
The more I like to let it go - hey oh, woah...
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder where it's so white as snow,
Finally divided by a word so undecided and there's nowhere to go;
Inbetween the cover of another perfect wonder and it's so white as snow,
Running through the field where all my tracks will be concealed and there's nowhere to go.

Went to descend to ammend for a friend of the channels that had broken down.
Now you bring it up, I'm gonna ring it up - just to hear you sing it out.
Step from the road to the sea to the sky, and I do belive what we rely on,
When I lay it on, come get to play it on
All my life to sacrifice

Hey oh... listen what I say oh
I got your hey oh... listen what I say oh

The more I see, the less I know
The more I like to let it go - hey oh, woah...
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder where it's so white as snow.
Finally divided by a word so undecided and there's nowhere to go
Inbetween the cover of another perfect wonder where it's so white as snow
Running through the field where all my tracks will be concealed and there's nowhere to go.

I said hey hey yeah oh yeah, tell my love now.
Hey hey yeah oh yeah, tell my love now.

Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder where it's so white as snow,
Finaly divided by a word so undecided and there's nowhere to go.
Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder where it's so white as snow...
Running through the field where all my tracks will be concealed and there's nowhere to go.

I said hey oh yeah oh yeah... tell my love now
Hey yeah yeah... oh yeah.

Is it crazy that one single song can make me so insanely happy and blindly optimistic that I just want to cry? I can almost see my son and his cousins and friends jamming this out in someone's basement someday. The genius of Keidis.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Back in the USSR.....

Oh Jack, did you really think walking right out the front door was gonna fly? I mean, I saw the previews for next week so I know you get out of it okay, but seriously. I wouldn't want to be held captive by a Russian whose finger you just lopped off.
Hour 12 was nice, here we are, halfway through already. I have to say, I am really digging it with the comeback of Chuck Logan (as Grizzley Bear Jenkins) and Boris The Blade as Gredenko. What a lineup. I am enjoying the parallels between Logan and Jack, the isolation, the beards, the way the goverment had to turn on them both. It's wonderful. Also, who knew how much a nice suit would snazz up ol' Charles L? I mean, Jack in the suit clearly has its merits, but even the buttness of Charles Logan was lessened by getting all gussied up in a suit and tie. Nice work. All I have on the Vice President is this: never trust Powers Boothe. He's snaky and sleezy. I haven't seen much in his repetoire other than Blue Sky and Deadwood, but believe me, the characters he's played in those two pretty well sum it up. He's some real badness.
Someone on the 24blog wondered if this was going to continue straight on its course without any major plot twists or rather turn on its ear in the second half like seasons 3 and 5 both did. To this I have no clue, 24 has a way of sucking me in so deeply that I sort of forget that the old Murphy's Law can come rearing its ugly head at any time. I miss Tony, I miss him so much. I am starting to wonder if Carlos Bernard might be one of those difficult actors; rumors about outlandish behavior are starting to surface. I don't like this. If they bring him back as a terrorist I will jump to the moon, in a good way.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Like being in jail, with the possibility of drowning...

I chose this for my afternoon viewing since HBO on demand displayed a 1hour 38minute viewing time. I guess I shouldn't have expected much from an action film limited to such little screen time, but I was still willing to give it a chance. It was bad. Well, put it this way. It was well done, the bit that we actually see on screen. The problems for me were with the story and how ridiculous it was. I mean, why exactly was this rogue wave just out of no where? Set that up better next time, that way we aren't just sitting around looking really confused and annoyed when a big wave is about three seconds away from destroying the whole ship. They tried to explain it later, after the fact, and yes, we heard how these waves are unpredictable and rare, but still. Then, why exactly did they have to leave the bubbled area where they were able to close the bulkhead doors? Kirk Russel had to find his daughter, but the rest of them? And that woman with her son (who left him alone countless times on the ship both before and after the wave hit, way to go, mother of the year)? It just didn't jive. I was willing to allow the gay architect by Dick Dreyfuss until it then hit me that after that, I kind of liked this movie the first two times I saw it when it was called, "The Towering Inferno," and "Titanic." I mean, I can just hear the pitch to the studios in those terms. Boo. The Towering Inferno had Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. The score to Inferno was lame and it was way too drawn out, but it was more believable, I'll give it that. Blaahh. The postive things I'll say about the film are these: Josh Lucas was lookin' fine, Rico from Six Feet Under had a nasty death scene, and the massive spectacle of the boat was scary once the tut started hitting the fan. Wolfgang Peterson......yee. I mean the effects were nominated for an Oscar, but still. Das Boot war Schlecht.

In other viewings, I happened to catch the last 20 minutes of 24, the bad hour for Chappelle, if you get me.
I found myself getting choked up for the guy, I have to admit. It got me thinking about what my reaction would be if one of my worst enemies was in a similar jam. I don't really have any actual enemies, but I do have someone from my junior high and high school years that I really, really loathe. I don't want her to be killed or tortured, but if it came down to her or the welfare of the country, I'd like to think I'd choose the country. Season 3 has got to be the darkest, most hard core season of 24 so far. It's just really, really negative and hopeless, the entire time. Everyone's got problems. This sort of episodic wonder just gets me so happy and excited. I can't stress enough the love I have for Bauer.

On the subject of love, I watched V for Vendetta yesterday afternoon. A very important film, I think. For every right wing nut job out there, especially the ones who are parents, I would wish just one viewing of this film, noting the reaction. The image of the daughter's framed picture being thrust into the garbage can after her father shuns her for being gay will stay with me forever. How can anyone do that to their own child? In addition to the wonderfully relevent themes, the music and mise en scenes were beautifully done. The dialogue too, all just splendid. Seriously, one of my favorite movies ever.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

my game o' the moment

I started playing this during my senior year in high school. I was working at the Sheep Shedde Restaurant and would come home after a gross lunch shift all hot and tired and play this game for hours. I never really got past it until one of my brother's friends came over and we watched him do it first. There were still worlds that I never was able to conquer though, hence why I am kind of obsessed with it now. The funny thing is, everyone in the household is on board with me. My husband likes to sit and watch me do it so he can learn how to do it himself. My son loves Yoshi and each time I play requests that I get a different one, red and blue, mostly. My daughter, who is still a baby, just love the music and bright colors. I made a rule that I would only play this on weekends, limiting everyone's exposure to it that way, but since we had like, 4 days of snow, it was like one big long weekend and we played it up more than usual.
That said, if anyone out there knows any good cheats for getting by the TUBULAR special world, please let me know.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

the circle of media.....

I saw The Little Mermaid after it had been released to video in 1990. A few of my friends rented it for one of our Friday night escapades and I was skeptical. Mostly we just sat around eating Cheetos paws or TMNT Crunch-a-bungas with lipton coconut iced teas in bottles (all of this is now extinct) watching The Naked Gun, every single time, so I was annoyed that the routine had to be messed with, especially for an animated Disney film. I didn't really allow Disney in my life until FINDING NEMO, so I was the sulky, complaining one when we got together to watch this. Of course, I ended up loving it, watching it over and over, and buying the soundtrack (ON TAPE), learning the words to every song and playing them on the piano nonstop. I would listen to the soundtrack when I got ready for school in the morning. WHAT A DORK.
This all came back to me last night as we received it as a netflix selection. My little guy (who is almost 3) sat next to me eating popcorn and was super into the eels (flotsom and jetsom?) and the butchering French chef. I had to stop and consider the fact that Christ, almost 20 years ago, I was watching this with my friends, and now I have kids who are seeing the things that I saw for the first time. My life is going very fast. It's funny how films and songs take on a new meaning when you start explaining what you were doing the first time you experienced them and remembering the little random things in your youth..!
On another related note, I had a different, more unpleasant Little Mermaid experience in the spring of 1998 when Disney released some commemorative VHS version of the film. I was working at the Kenwood Blockbuster Video where they allowed people to preorder the movie. Usually the new release shipments came in on Monday's delivery, but this shipment was huge, and came in the previous weekend. We normally had to prep the boxes, call the people who ordered them, etc., etc., so everything would be ready when they were officially released on Tuesday. One woman called to ask if the films were there. Some dude who was a little dim told her, "Oh yeah, we have them here, they're back in boxes, we just haven't taken them out and prepped them yet." and said for her to come on down. It happened to be POURING rain that day, and this blond haired, sopped woman comes bouncing in with her huge umbrella, ready to pick up her copy earlier than anyone else. The manager, unaware that the other guy had told anyone this had to sit there and try to explain why she couldn't have it and how the dude misinformed her blah, blah, blah. The woman sat there and just yelled her head off, bitching about how she walked up there in the rain, told her daughter she would have it tonight, would have to go home and explain this all to a six-year-old, how she was letting her down, it went on and on. The manager was finally just standing there at a complete loss as to what to say or do next so she just said, "ma'am, I'm really sorry," And the woman just snarled and said, "YOU SHOULD BE." and spun around on her heel and stalked out into the rain again.
The next day she came back in and I gave her $10 in goodwill rental credits and she was my best friend for life.

Friday, March 2, 2007

not uncomfortable at all......

the pilot episode.
1. the mailman coming to the snowy walsh house in minneapolis to show us the forwarded mail
2. the 90s fashion, kelly in partics.
3. "the kids are totally fine. or totally 'bad,' I don't quite have the lingo around here yet." the mother on the phone to jim walsh
4. the credits. mostly the pilot's before the actual theme song was created.
5. "that guy is a total TOOL." a random surfer guy about brandon.
6. "Brenda, your brother is totally DOPE." said by donna.

matt just said, "I could have the biggest most enormous raging boner in the world and one look at brenda and donna and it will go limp in a matter of seconds." "brandon's hair looks like a goddamned hockey helmet."

twin peaks part deux

“Special Agent Dale Cooper, Federal Bureau of Investigation”

Like many aspects of the show, Cooper’s character is both conventional and oppositional as a federal agent. He is an omnipotent figure who exudes confidence, intelligence, and yes, masculinity. But Cooper, arguably the show’s hero and savior is a very special agent indeed. His obsessive attention to detail, involving anything from the food he eats to the way he questions suspects to his dictation tapes to Diane, together with his robotic hand gestures and childlike enthusiasm portray him as more of a handsomely giddy nerd whose destiny in life has become solving Laura Palmer’s murder. This professional and competent geekiness defines Cooper as not only an outlander among Twin Peaks’ residents but also as a different sort of man.
His interactions with Sheriff Truman are bizarre for this reason; where Truman is all business and eager to begin the investigation, Cooper rambles on about cherry pie and Douglas Fir trees, casually adding an afterthought about the coroner’s report. Later on a stakeout, Truman suggests that perhaps they’ve been spotted; Cooper hesitates and then replies, “Hand me a doughnut.” These interactions do not serve to lessen Cooper’s merit or status as a federal agent but seem to simply redefine our expectations of what a detective will say or do. While not exactly feminized, Cooper becomes an enigmatic force who is able to successfully perform his job in a non-agressive, mystical fashion.
More striking than the interactions among locals however, are the ways in which Cooper’s gender and identity are portrayed. During the first season, Cooper is not often shown in any scenes involving physical violence nor is he sexualized in any way. Through his professional competence and attractive physical appearance it is suggested that he would easily succeed in both areas if given the chance, but nothing is ever really developed until the attempt on his life at the end of the season. As an American male character, Cooper is thus handicapped in the way that he is lacking in both physical and sexual abilities that would allow him to achieve that ultimate goal of macho male-dom. Using deductive techniques and dream analysis to provide insight into the murder case also seem to show Cooper as an atypical detective, an oppositional character. Together with Truman and the rest of the town, we see in Cooper the new and the unexpected. The point is not that Cooper is less of a male or an American because of what he lacks, but rather he is an alternative kind of hero whose individuality and difference seek to redefine tired norms of gender and identity.

“But it is Laura Palmer”

The initial focus of the show and someone we never see alive, Laura Palmer becomes an untouchable goddess whose life and death drive every aspect of Twin Peaks’ first season. In many ways, she too is a stereotype: homecoming queen, successful student, adored by the community. Her sudden death is a shock and an event, both inside the show and out in the way that it brings people together. What makes Laura an oppositional victim is the fact that she remains powerful after her death and creates a strong connection with the man who investigates her murder. The connection between Cooper and Laura is complex, but one that is dependent on the characters’ genders and identities as much as anything else. As Laura is a beautiful woman who is sexualized in ways that Cooper is not, their connection to one another suggests a subtle hint of sexual tension. This partnership is also more interesting with the notion that despite being dead, Laura knows things that Cooper does not, therefore giving her a slight upper hand and more power throughout the investigation into her murder. This in some ways violates traditional shows’ positions of detectives and their victims as Laura actually helps Cooper solve the case. The scenes that best exemplify the effect Laura has are shown during the initial autopsy scene, Cooper’s dream of the Black Lodge, and the follow up where Cooper returns to the morgue.
Before Cooper is familiar with Twin Peaks or Laura’s murder, his actions are purely professional and analytical. Until he actually sees Laura’s body during his investigation at the morgue he refers to her only as “the dead girl.” She’s not just a dead girl though, and the flashing of the florescent light above her body seems to announce it: Laura heralds this connection before anyone else is aware of it.
A few episodes later, the flashing light motif returns as Cooper dreams of Laura together in a red room with a little dancing man. The situation is filled with an uncomfortable tension and is bizarre; Cooper is a wrinkled old man and the other two speak in a strangely scrambled language. The fact that Cooper dreams about Laura may not be especially significant but the fact that they both recognize each other in this odd place is. After the dancing man leaves Cooper and Laura alone, Laura seductively approaches. As Laura kisses him, the giddy excitement on his face afterwards is unmistakable. Laura whispers at length in his ear after which Cooper wakes up and promptly calls Truman, telling him he knows who killed Laura. Snapping his fingers to the lingering jazz, he decidedly insists that the information can wait until morning, hinting at a strong desire to go back to bed.....(!)
Cooper’s sexual desire for Laura is one that is definitely up for interpretation but his consequent emotional connection to her after the dream is not. Like most everyone in the community, Cooper has come to realize just how important Laura was to Twin Peaks, and sees her now in a much more personal way. To contrast the original autopsy scene, the return to the morgue powerfully solidifies Cooper’s emotional change toward Laura. When his bureau colleague Albert Rosenfeld coldly refuses to release Laura’s body to her family for burial, Cooper first allows Truman to punch his lights out and then insists Albert cooperate with the family’s wishes. In the ruckus Albert lands on Laura’s body, flinging her arm down limply by her side. After Cooper is alone with Laura, he stares at the dead arm, picks it up, and gently replaces it on her chest. He remains there for a moment before the scene cuts to a television screen broadcasting a soap opera. A deep male voice announces “Invitation to Love.”
Where Laura’s gender becomes significant is not only through her enticing sexual abilities but as her power as a mystic figure as well. There are not many characters in the series who are shown as equals to Cooper. What is ironic with the Cooper/Laura interaction is that such a connection is made between the living and the dead but also between a man and a woman. She may be dead, but she’s not subordinate and she’s not marginalized. Her identity as an American figure is somewhat troubling and in some ways exactly what the first season aims to examine. When it is eventually discovered that Laura was killed by Bob because she refused to let him control her, it is suggested that Laura died because of her strength, choosing death over subordination. This concept seems wonderfully applicable to both genders but that a teenage character was chosen to fulfill this sentiment is impressive. While the show uncovers a host of disturbing activities surrounding Laura’s murder, none are quite so distasteful as Bob’s obsession to posses Laura or the role abuse plays within her life and death.

Oppositional Quality: The Importance of American Identity and Gender in Twin Peaks
part one

At face value, much of David Lynch’s television series Twin Peaks may easily be classified as cheesy melodrama. The series after all revolves around somewhat caricatured figures and countless love triangles, accentuating any rise or fall in emotion with several repetitive orchestral motifs. Beyond this cheesiness however, positioning itself in direct opposition to any of its generic cohorts, the show offers viewers something ideologically above and beyond typical mainstream programming. One of the items that makes the series remarkable is its ability to incorporate standard features of popular mainstream media while at the same time opposing the same melodramatic structure it recreates. Most important in Twin Peaks’ critique of and opposition to standard television are the concepts of gender and American identity: these areas will provide the focus for this paper. By examining the specific roles of Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer, and several other characters, analyzing key scenes between them, and relating these significances to the overall impact of the show, this study will discuss the series’ take on gender and identity and how this differs from other common examples of standard television.

Standard Programming, Identity, and Gender
Clearly there are no shortages of stereotypical characters in Twin Peaks; many of these such characters are what add real comedy and lightheartedness to an otherwise hauntingly serious show. The most obvious examples of common, American prototypes are seen in three of the male townsfolk of Twin Peaks, Sheriff Truman, Benjamin Horne, and Dr. Hayward.
In almost every sense, Sheriff Harry Truman embodies everything possible about male identity and masculinity: he is a man of the law, wears a cowboy hat, shows physical strength, and drives a hefty sport utility vehicle. Though more of a strong, silent type, Truman’s position as an American male revealed by his authority and masculinity stand in direct contrast to his deputies (most notably the weepy Andy Brennan). Though weakness and vulnerability is exploited through personal relationships both in and outside his role as sheriff, Truman’s character is able to remain true to the icon of the American male authority figure by displaying potent sexuality through his courtship with the exotic Josie Packard.
Benjamin Horne is also an example of masculine power within the community, but in a much different way. A shady entrepreneur, Ben Horne has controlling interest (in more ways than one) in half the town. Rather than being portrayed as a glamorous fat cat, Ben is shown to be an insensitive, sleazy buffoon who is not above such things as hocking into his own fireplace in front of his attorney. His control over material defines him, thus characterizing him as a successful citizen having flourished through capitalist wealth and greed (American, much?)His masculinity is later revealed to be equally powerful through a insatiable sexuality, much more openly manifested than that of Truman. With extramarital escapades stretching from Catherine Martell to the hospitality girls at One Eyed Jack’s, Ben Horne, like many infamous icons before him, is a man driven by his desires and is therefore a very typical character.
Also a stereotypical character is the town doctor, Will Hayward. Throughout the series Doc Hayward is shown as a calm and thoughtful man who, like Sheriff Truman, is well-regarded by his townspeople. His identity is shaped mainly by his function as doctor and family man. He holds a legitimate, professional job, makes a comfortable living, and has intelligent, well-behaved children. That said, Doc Hayward’s existence on the show is not at all trivial or unimportant, but his position as doctor and good-natured patriarch is a comfortable one within American television: Hayward is the good doctor.
The effect these prototypical males have on Twin Peaks overall is to seemingly establish a few familiar anchors with which viewers will readily identify. All three examples are together masculine and powerful, yet eventually many of the show’s most crucial moments involve these characters only indirectly and instead focus on a less-traditionally powerful character like Cooper, Leland Palmer, or Laura.
Very interesting choices are made with several women's characters, even before we address Laura Palmer herself. We definitely see women in marginalized roles who make little difference to the show’s narrative (i.e., Mrs. Hayward, Mrs. Horne, etc.) together with women we know will matter a great deal as the show progresses (i.e., Laura, Sarah Palmer, the Log Lady, Josie). Though there are only a few women who hold real power within the community, the ones shown early on are significant. Josie Packard, a wealthy, widowed immigrant controls the Packard Sawmill while the unnamed doctor in the hospital who treats Ronnette Pulaski is a minority woman as well. These characters can be seen as subtle, opposing forces for their white male counterparts, providing a radically redefined version of what an American woman’s role is about (although in Josie’s case, still a sexualized one). Catherine Martell and Nadine Hurley are also shown to be women of power within their own households, but serve mainly as emasculating nags, although not without a few added quirks (as in drape runners).
Overall, there seems to be a balance between the common and the uncommon among the secondary male and female characters of Twin Peaks, initially providing figures who do not extend too far outside the norms to which mainstream viewers have become accustomed. Examples of standard programming which generally prefer to work within the established guidelines of patriarchal culture, emphasizing masculine power like those embodied by characters symbolizing institutions of law, capitalist gain, and medicine, tend to place the highest value upon the male-dominated system and keep women in mostly subordinate positions. Where Twin Peaks is able to deviate from this set of conventions and oppose them however, is best seen through the exchanges between detective and victim (Coop + Laura).

Thursday, March 1, 2007

some of my favorite film credits.....

in some cases, more than the films themselves.....


Not that this gave me any sort of happy feeling or anything close to it, but I quite enjoyed this. She was very real, like, real enough for me to wonder what specific person from Olivia had to have been the inspiration for this character. Now that I think about it, all the characters had that realness to them; kudos to the writer. Looking back at how much I enjoyed Citizen Ruth and the character of Ruth Stoops, this film kind of made me stop and consider the idea that someone like Ruth really shouldn't be just thrown into a comedy, no matter how cleverly written, as there are so many actual Ruth Stoops' out there, smelling drugs, children living confused in someone else's home, etc., etc. That stuff isn't funny, it shouldn't be made light of.
Can't think of anything else specific, just disturbingly well done.