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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:43 am 
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Alan Smithee wrote:
I think the difference between him and most though is he's trying to use these knowing effects to achieve something genuine, not ironic.
Yes. Particularly, Lynch presents a certain kind of innocence, a kind of goodness, against the darker side of many of his works. A lot of people take the "dark underbelly" stuff seriously and treat the rest like a joke. Like the ending of Blue Velvet, it's not a joke; a peculiar piece of symbolism to be sure but the emotion is true. When Jeffrey and Sandy go to that party in the basement and slow dance to Mysteries of Love, there's nothing funny or stupid about this. Lynch isn't making fun of this stuff.

It frustrates me to see a lot of the music in Twin Peaks dismissed as campy, like James' Just You song and Julee Cruise's Rockin' Back Inside My Heart. If someone can't open themselves up to the purity and innocence being communicated via things like that, they're not going to get as much out of Twin Peaks.

Cold Bishop wrote:
Floating Into the Night is one of the great albums of the 1980s. It has plenty of value well beyond David Lynch/Twin Peak paraphernalia (and it did precede it by something like a year).
Oh, yes, absolutely. It's one of a small handful of albums I consider indispensable, Twin Peaks or not, but I think in particular it provides useful context for getting into the heart of the show (Lynch and Mark Frost had been planning the show since 1988, so I think Lynch was very much thinking about the show when writing this album with Badalamenti.) The drift from the elation and growing sadness of the earlier songs to the increasing despair of Into the Dark, the pained resignation in The Nightingale, and then the final death song, The World Spins. It's just incredible and I think very much an emotional arc that matches Laura Palmer's descent and, like the series, makes us look at and consider the character after she's gone.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:04 am 
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JonasEB wrote:
It frustrates me to see a lot of the music in Twin Peaks dismissed as campy, like James' Just You song and Julee Cruise's Rockin' Back Inside My Heart.
The latter is a great scene from the series. Donna and James are so beautiful together there. One of the best moments from the show.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:39 am 
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Cold Bishop wrote:
Floating Into the Night is one of the great albums of the 1980s. It has plenty of value well beyond David Lynch/Twin Peak paraphernalia (and it did precede it by something like a year).

Even in this age of prestige Cable dramas, the last episode of Twin Peaks is still one of the most audacious, bizarre and gutsy things ever to air on American television. It's also possibly Lynch at his most unfettered and unconventional between Eraserhead and Inland Empire. Shame about the 10 or so episodes that came before it.

We should not forget that the first season is still absolutely fantastic - the scene with the sandwiches! Audrey catching the eye of the Norwegians!; the test for working in the brothel of tying the cherry stalk in a knot with your tongue! the archetypal cabin in the woods!; the novel way of testing theories by throwing stones at glass bottles!; the touching semi-relationship between Agent Cooper and Audrey (is it love or a master-disciple relationship, given that Audrey makes for a great detetcive!); the very first backward talking red room episode!, etc.

Even all the plotlines that spectacularly implode in the second half of the second season (the Joan Chen/Piper Laurie 'inherit the company' one, Benjamin Horne going crazy, the Donna and James relationship dealing with the absence of Laura which becomes a kind of opportunity for themselves a la L'Avventura!) work very nicely in the first season, with everything coming together in lots of thrilling cliffhangers that immediately make one long to get into season 2 again. One and a half seasons of thrilling television (plus an excellent final episode) is nothing to be sniffed at, even if the second half of season two was mostly awful.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:20 pm 
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colinr0380 wrote:
the touching semi-relationship between Agent Cooper and Audrey (is it love or a master-disciple relationship, given that Audrey makes for a great detetcive!)
One of the things that helped ruin the backhalf of season two: MacLachlan's real-life relationship with Boyle had him put the kibosh on the more romantic storyline between Cooper and Audrey. This had the adverse effect of forcing the writers' hand in introducing all the pointless new characters. Even with the lousy writing, I still think that backhalf could have been better had the writers just stuck with the ingredients that they had, instead of adding useless scraps to the pot.

Little Nicky, Billy Zane and (uggggh) Evelyn Marsh. Three emblems of everything that went wrong that season.


Last edited by Cold Bishop on Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:08 pm 

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I'm shifting back a bit to some comments from earlier in this thread. I love Twin Peaks the TV series, but in a weird way, what hurts Fire Walk with Me are viewers' expectations from the TV series. Looked at on its own, the film stands alongside movies like Lost Highway and Inland Empire as dark, surrealistic fantasies. Lynch creates terrifying sequences that can haunt you much more than a typical horror film sequence. It doesn't betray the series, but it expands on the darkness of that show and creates a world where little hope exists that the evil won't overwhelm us.

I do think there are some flaws and scenes that go off the rails, but its reputation as a total mess is unwarranted.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:14 am 
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I think its reputation is turning around. I haven't heard a bad word about it for years, and almost everyone I know who has seen it anew in the past decade or so has been really impressed. I recently went to a midnight screening of Fire Walk with Me. The audience seemed to be prepared for a yuk-fest, but by the middle of the second reel they were pretty much silent, which is to say spellbound.

I've liked the film since I first saw it in 1992 (when I was lucky they let me in to an R-rated film), and it's certainly not half as bad as many of the second-season episodes of the television show. In fact I think it's Lynch's best feature between Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr., or possibly Inland Empire.

I do think the film was something of a do-over (or in nerd parlance, "ret-con") for Lynch. The film is much more on-edge and caustic than the show was ever allowed to become, and the theme of
[Reveal] Spoiler:
incest and the consequences of sexual abuse
is much, much more explicit. Clearly this is something Lynch had in mind from the beginning (just see The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer written by his daughter and released during the second season) even though the theme is sometimes barely traceable in the series. It also has one of the most daring narrative structures of the 1990s, even though it's not often cited for that.

I think Lynch was wise to eliminate many of the cameos by the show's regulars--which is probably one of things the show's fans complain about the most. By contrast, having watched Mulholland Dr. after having viewed a bootleg of the failed series pilot it once was, it struck me that much of the episodic and "random" quality of the first half of the film was simply the vestige of a few subplots that would have been allowed to develop further had the series been picked up. As a result it's been hard for me to see Mulholland as a standalone masterpiece; it strikes me instead as a mostly-successful salvage job.


Last edited by whaleallright on Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:27 am, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:16 am 
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ptsnob wrote:
I love Twin Peaks the TV series, but in a weird way, what hurts Fire Walk with Me are viewers' expectations from the TV series.
jonah.77 wrote:
The film is much more on-edge and caustic than the show was ever allowed to become
Well, it's no mistake that the film opens with a television being smashed open


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:24 am 
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Quote:
Well, it's no mistake that the film opens with a television being smashed open

Right, exactly. And the way Lynch moves from total abstraction to the representational within the same opening shot, via the broadcast "snow," is a great example of his painterly brilliance.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:45 am 
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jonah.77 wrote:
Quote:
Well, it's no mistake that the film opens with a television being smashed open
Right, exactly. And the way Lynch moves from total abstraction to the representational within the same opening shot, via the broadcast "snow," is a great example of his painterly brilliance.
On top of which is Badalamenti's music to set a soothing/ambiguous tone to that "snow" before that huge smash and blood-curdling scream to jolt you into the picture.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Other than Blue Velvet and Mulholland; I personally think this is his best film - or at least my favourite apart from the aforementioned.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:58 pm 
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JonasEB wrote:
Alan Smithee wrote:
I think the difference between him and most though is he's trying to use these knowing effects to achieve something genuine, not ironic.
Yes. Particularly, Lynch presents a certain kind of innocence, a kind of goodness, against the darker side of many of his works. A lot of people take the "dark underbelly" stuff seriously and treat the rest like a joke. Like the ending of Blue Velvet, it's not a joke; a peculiar piece of symbolism to be sure but the emotion is true.


Laura Dern's take on the character of the Lynchian innocent. (From a documentary done around the time Wild at Heart was released):

Quote:
There’s a journey that David takes that, to me, is something that is good for all of us to look at, and that is sort of a theme that runs through every one of his movies. [And that] is that there is [a kind of] innocence where we say: I’m an innocent and I believe that the world is going to be a better place and I close my eyes to the darkness. [But] David puts faith in heroes that are innocence [sic] because they have taken the journey through darkness and have made it out the other side.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:10 pm 
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A couple of nicely considered appreciations on the 20th anniversary (I can barely believe it) of the film's original release.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:53 am 

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I had a first reaction to this film similar to many others: watched it right after the series, wanted some kind of continuation even though I knew it was a prequel, and was disappointed and turned-off by this excessive tale of events we "already knew about." I never hated it, but I couldn't fathom the high praise some gave.

Five years later, after a re-watch of the series, I have re-watched the film again twice now, and my opinion could not be more different. This is a masterpiece... a difficult film, to be sure, and on the shortlist for the most disturbing film I've ever seen, but I truly believe this is Lynch's greatest achievement. With all due respect to Blue Velvet and Lost Highway (and even The Straight Story, which I love), FWWM has an utterly visceral emotional punch to it that's unmatched in Lynch's work and virtually unmatched in all of cinema, as well. The film is not as visually rich as Lost Highway, but nor should it be; regardless, its cinematography is stunning in its fragmented, traumatic psychedelic delirium, the sense of self dissolving underneath enormous pressures external and internal.

The film is simply an embarrassment of riches: there is also the deranged night-jazz of the soundtrack, probably Badalamenti's single best work; and the astonishing performances of Lee and Wise who seem to bare their souls like few actors before or after them; and not to mention the beautiful, if initially off-putting to some, way the film inverts Twin Peaks, shows us it from a different view (not just because it's Laura's POV; there's a darker feel to the town, as if we're seeing it through some satanic prism, and the whole movie from Deer Meadow onward proceeds with this uniquely dark mood). The red room scenes are even more frightening than those of the show's incredible final episode, and Lynch seems to make a stab at fleshing out some kind of coherent mythology to all the spiritual/mystical dimensions at work; it remains abstract, as ever with him, but the key trope of electricity retains an uncanny power throughout the film.

I also love the way the opening prologue in Deer Meadow is almost a separate film -- though essentially the whole film feels of a piece, this first part, besides its telling of a different narrative, has a unique tone to it that's more or less dropped (for good reason) when we get to Laura. It's a bewildering tone: sarcastic, laconic, surreal, blackly comic and almost angry in its humor which may or may not be directed at "fans" of the show who just want "fan service," hot girls and quirky dialogue, and not a cinematically compelling, psychologically disturbing ride like they're about to get. Lynch is at his best here (and is even better in the second part): the way he subverts every possible audience expectation while still delivering a nightmarish descent into pure mystery is seamless. This first section shouldn't work, but it's absolutely hypnotic. Hap's diner and the Fat Trout trailer park are surely two of Lynch's eeriest locations.

And there are so many all-time great sequences in the second half: Laura's dream journey into the painting, the feverish Canada club scene, Bowie's unsettling cameo and the assorted spirits we see as he talks, Leland's rage and remembrances when confronted with the One-Armed Man's frantic attack at him in traffic. And so many more. But most of all, it is the ending which makes this so beautiful and moving and unforgettable for me. It's simply one of the most purely cathartic and genuinely tear-jerking moments in cinema that I know of, and every bit of its sentiment is wholly, wonderfully earned. This movie has stayed in my head ever since my opinion-changing re-watch a few weeks back, and after that second re-watch today it has earned its place in my personal pantheon of works of art that impart something deep and resonant and haunting. So, consider me a convert. Lynch has never been more purely, viscerally effective in his approach; only the first 40 minutes of Lost Highway compare -- as well as the whole of Blue Velvet, perhaps Lynch's most structurally and formally perfect work yet not quite on the intense emotional level of FWWM.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:13 am 

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John Cope wrote:
This is perhaps my favorite film by Lynch--only Blue Velvet can challenge it and its accomplishment is very different. For me, the experience of seeing FWWM is inextricable from my experience with the series, which was a huge early influence on me. Watching the show was like a religious ritual and I have never since engaged with anything else in quite the same way. I was and am a huge fan of Mcgoohan's Prisoner but that was technically before my time. Peaks premiered when I was at just the right age to be receptive to it and shaped by it and I welcomed the opportunity. Another thing is, watching a series like this in its first run is a terribly exciting thing. The creative possibilities seem limitless (even when limits are being self-imposed) and this is partly because the conclusion is not yet set in place. On a truly great program like Peaks anything could happen and did. Certainly I remember vividly being horrified by the Lynch directed revelation episode of Laura's murderer--that episode alone stands as one of the few high water marks of the medium. The despair was prolonged and palpable (as it was in the pilot) and the gestures toward empathy were the only things left to cling to. And the final episode (revised on the fly by Lynch, or so legend has it) is simply astonishing, surreal and appropriately spurning conventional closure (though this intellectual compensation was hardly adequate for me at the time).

As to the film, I remember seeing it in a suburban theater in Chicago upon its release but I don't remember my reaction. I doubt it was too favorable initially as I have to admit I, too, wanted some kind of more specific narrative closure to the series. But my reaction has developed much over the years and I now see this picture as vital and courageous. It is the spiritual and emotional closure the series needed. Lynch was more focused and clear headed about what his creation needed than many of the fans.

Anyway, one thing I love about the movie (and this happened on the show as well, when Lynch directed the episodes), is the fact that narrative continuity is basically tossed. It traffics in signifiers that were barely touched on in the series and often creates wholly different and new signifiers that seem critical to an understanding of past mysteries. He does not lay down consistent or easily determinable laws to which these things must adhere within the larger context of his mythic world. They are fluid and associative and our response to them must be capable of acting the same way or it will prove inadequate to engage with the film at all. The ring is one of the most obvious examples. Though there is no mention made of it in the series it seems to be the psychic catalyst for Laura's capitulation to her own murder, the suicide Dr. Jacoby speaks of in season two ("She might have allowed herself to be killed"). When she dons it in the train car, Leland/BOB screams, "Don't make me do this!" Of course, the ring itself features a prominent symbol from the last few episodes of the series but one which no one would be blamed for not remembering immediately. There is also the intriguing fact that when we see Leland (as clearly distinguished from BOB) speaking to Laura in the train car, he holds up torn pages of her diary and says, "I thought you always knew it was me." This suggests a more troubling collaborative quality between Leland and his inhabiting spirit than is previously implied. There are many such examples. On the series, Lynch would often change or discard pertinent empirical evidence points that had been established and this always read to me as though he was attempting to scuttle efforts at rational analysis and quietly point his audience toward a more expansive, poetically productive interpretive method. Tension always existed between Lynch the intuitionist and many of his surrogate crew who may have tried to ape his psychic position but were anything but kindred spirits. And the audience was probably along for the wrong sort of ride from the beginning. It explains why shows like Northern Exposure and Picket Fences, which copied the "quirkiness" but abandoned the serious spiritual explorations flourished in Peaks' absence. And that, in turn, has lead to the abandonment of humanity and the embrace of "facts" in the current proliferation of CSIs and Law and Orders.

One other thing about the movie. Its most serious accomplishment, I think, is how far it goes toward recognizing the boundaries of narrative form itself and expanding out beyond them via that recognition. Really the film is full of significant or portentous moments, movements, language, etc. that do not necessarily point to any consistent interpretive method. In other words, more than most quasi-myths in the making Lynch acknowledges that none of what he is showing us means anything at all outside the parameters of a subjectively selected (often almost arbitrary) method of interpretation. He is both non-ironic in investing so completely in Laura's psychic and emotional torment and also absolutely ironic in his acknowledgment of how we process narrative and determine and assign meaning. Laura's story has the iconic heft of myth because her experience deserves and demands it. This kind of thing is what provides his work with its vast sense of mystery.

The more recent films (Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive) are refinements of a sort on this technique, but I find them more problematic. They both seem to want to establish a jejune psychological reading as a foundational entry point (Fred's psychic fugue state and Diane's personality driven dream logic) and then Lynch expects us to recognize these readings as inadequate and transcend them through that recognition. But what Lynch is doing is radical enough to require a little hand holding along the way. These last two films can be understood well enough within the boundaries of those initial readings and do not demand to be taken further. In fact, they seem to resist it, in a way. Let's not forget how much of a breakthrough it was considered to unravel the dream in Mulholland Drive. It certainly is not adequate to fully appreciate or understand that picture but as with our modern empirically driven "culture" it is hard to convince people of how valuable transcending pat and reductive interpretations is when the method of understanding which is directly available seems so all inclusive and definitive (the fact that it is all inclusive and definitive should be the tip off that it is driven by desires for mastery and comprehensible grand narrative). Anyway, only now are some people doing the hard work of taking Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive into new territories. These new interpretations are visionary and rich with possibility.

But maybe Blue Velvet is and always will remain his masterpiece. The surface narrative is clearly insufficient for understanding the vast implications of the material and yet it does not announce a persuasive method to unlock its mysteries. They all remain just out of reach, eluding close inspection. Eraserhead only seems less accessible.


Just wanted to chime in nearly 10 years after the fact to say "great post"!

Also, you mention Martha Nochimson a few posts later, so I'm wondering what you thought of David Lynch Swerves, her 2010 book which actually does go beyond Jung to incorporate new analytical frameworks.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:47 am 
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Did anyone else watch the deleted scenes from FWWM, released as The Missing Pieces (2013)?

To my mind, it's a good thing they were deleted -- I can think of only two worthwhile scenes. Most of The Missing Pieces is made up of rough, unnecessary edges from scenes in FWWM, where, by contrast, the heart and core of each scene is kept.

---

Regarding the original film, to me it's one of those creations where the highlights shine so brightly that any imperfections are forgotten/forgiven and the end product appears a perfect artwork in my memory.

As several posters have mentioned in this thread, the final scenes are amazing. A climactic horror scene (with even the Man From Another Place going all hysterical from the chaos unleashed; chills down my spine) followed by the perfect companion: redemption.

In a way, FWWM reminds me of Trier's Breaking the Waves:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A misunderstood woman suffers throughout most of the film, but in the very final scene -- out of the blue: the grace of God.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:28 pm 
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I feel the same about the "Missing Pieces" footage as I do about the deleted scenes from Blue Velvet: the cut material presents a fascinating and unexpected look into an alternate version of the world Lynch created, but has no place in the film as eventually released. Given that the excised Fire Walk With Me footage runs 90 minutes when edited together, it's like having another Lynch feature to enjoy, one made up of digressions and experimental blind alleys. I imagine only Malick could present as much auxiliary material if he chose to, but he tends to be stingier than Lynch in allowing unused footage to appear on his releases.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:05 pm 
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If you're in Philadelphia or can get there, tickets are running alarmingly low for the second of two screenings (the first sold out) of a fan-made cut of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me with the deleted scenes from The Missing Pieces re-inserted back into the film using Lynch's screenplay as a guide for their chronological placement. I have no idea how good or bad this is going to be in terms of the quality of the work doing this splicing, and am keeping my expectations low, but it sounds like a great idea in general despite my usual aversion to seeing anything that isn't director-approved when possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:08 pm 
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Sounds interesting to see once. While I enjoyed finally seeing the deleted scenes when the box set came out, I feel Lynch was absolutely right to cut the material from the feature (although Bowie's "Phillip Jeffries" material would have probably fitted in without too much trouble).


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:26 pm 
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In addition to the Jeffries extension, I would take the Doc Hayward scene, and Laura's extended night flight before she gets on James' motorcycle; otherwise The Missing Pieces are best as an Appendix. Keep them in mind when viewing the film, but I wouldn't risk interrupting its pace any more than maybe a few minor adjustments.

Some people swear by the fan-edit by Q, but I. Echoing the previous post on this: "interesting to see once."


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:06 pm 
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Yeah, suffice it to say I wouldn't be attending had I not seen the original film a bunch of times. I actually haven't seen the deleted material yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:36 pm 
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There's something a bit cheeky about The Missing Pieces having come out (after years of speculation about their existence or future airing) shortly before the new season was announced. Of course, it leads many to believe that these scenes will have a bearing in the plot and are considered "canon." They're essentially presented as a 90-minute film, and that's probably the way they work best. For any fan of the film, they're definitely an essential watch. One in particular is breathtaking in its stillness and dread, but I'm not sure how well it would slot into the film. A number of the scenes focus on characters from the series otherwise not featured in the film, which definitely whets the appetite for season 3.

I would say that, after seeing the film on the big screen for the first time, I would love an opportunity to see the deleted scenes in the same environment (they were theatrically presented at special events when first released), so perhaps a screening like the fan-edit is the best way outside of building one's at-home studio.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:13 pm 
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I'm surprised your parents let you watch this stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:30 pm 
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Oddly, my mother was a big Twin Peaks fan when it was first aired (though hasn't seen it since, that level of investment has been whittled out of her), and she frequently recalls being home alone and pregnant with me while watching the show's scariest moment. I guess I'm a Twin Peaks lifer.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:41 pm 
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Quote:
a fan-made cut of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me with the deleted scenes from The Missing Pieces


What is the legality of this—not the "fan-made cut," but the public screening of same? I imagine the (false) advertising of this as the "complete" version would rankle Lynch, who never intended to integrate these scenes into the completed film. (Which is why they were finally released separately, after all.)

This is the sort of thing that is typically promoted without advertising, and I wonder if the venue is going to find out why.


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 Post subject: Re: Twin Peaks
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:50 pm 
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I'm not affiliated with it so I'm not sure. It definitely seems sketchy from a legality standpoint.


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