Monday, September 5, 2011

What Emily's Been Watching, August Edition

No intro this month, can't think of one.

THE TREE OF LIFE (2011) [PG-13] Drama.  What started for me as a "I kind of want to see this movie and if I do, it better be in the theater because it is supposed to be visually stunning and my crappy tv that wouldn't know what to do if ever confronted with a Blue Ray would never do it justice, so who do I know that would be interested in seeing this with me?  I bet Sue would..." turned into a reunion of the Utah peeps movie club, or, family in Utah that wants to get together once a month to see a movie in the theater (which has been unofficially disbanded for probably about a year now).  Posting my invite to Sue on facebook raised interest and so 4 of us (+ cousin Dan and sister Cat) went to the Broadway Theater (only theater in Utah that frequently plays arthouse films.). This is a movie that Terrence Malick has been working on for many many years.  My only other Terrence Malick experience was The Thin Red Line, and I am perhaps the only person I know that liked that movie more then Saving Private Ryan (the two movies were compared a lot since they were both released in 98 and were about WWII), I just was more impressed/blown away with The Thin Red Line, and most other people I hung around with at the time couldn't stop talking about Private Ryan and thought I was a little nuts.  Perhaps, but Terrence Malick had my respect, and he certainly didn't lose it here.  
So, The Tree of Life.There is very little narrative, but narrative is not important here.  This  is a movie that was conceived to allow the viewer to get out of it what they want to, without holding your hand and making sure you get what you are supposed to out of it, and if all you get out of it is a few unbelievable camera shots, it was worth sitting through.  Because, visually, it was incredible, many moments of the film gave me that feeling I get wandering around an especially great art exhibit or stunning cathedral, you know that feeling where you just feel like you are going to drown in beauty and you almost can't comprehend it?  (I got that feeling a few times watching Planet Earth to be honest.)  Besides the visuals, it was just a good film that inspired you to think.  I thought and let my mind wander the whole time I was watching it, I thought during the drive home, I thought trying to get to sleep that night, and I dreamed thoughts about it through the night.  
It revolves around a 1950's Texas family, but it is more a spiritual journey that goes back to the beginning of time and our place in the universe and accepting loss and I could go on, but I won't.  You should experience it for yourself.  Or not.  This movie is not for everyone.  Many people may be bored.  Many might be frustrated that there isn't a really concise story to tell.  I think that is ok.  You probably know pretty much right now if this movie is for you or not.  It is a little surreal, yes- perhaps a little pretentious, and quite a bit avant-gard.  If you go into it with the right frame of mind and let your mind go with it and think in different directions and let your eyes feast on some beautiful imagery, I think you will walk away from this picture a little changed.  Emily's brain hurts.  Let's move on to:
 Wait, first a trailer of Tree of Life, then we'll move on.

TWIN PEAKS, THE COMPLETE SERIES (1990-91) [NR]  Crime Drama.  Oh Twin Peaks, where do I begin?  Lets begin with the fact that I spent the rest of my entire month lost in Twin Peaks land.  This is a show I have always meant and wanted to catch up with.  I have heard about it since it aired with I was in middle school.  It was one of those television events in history that found it's way into everyone's consciousness when it was airing no matter what your age or situation.  It was big.  Now I know why.  What a crazy, messed up, wonderful, head shaking ride.  Let's just say that David Lynch had me in the first half hour and had a life long fan by the 4th or 5th episode.  I even forgave the crazy directions it went in the second season, crazy directionless drivel though it was.  When it was bad it was BAD I am talking brow furrowing, soap opera, crap.  I could also mean some really really bad special effects.  But when it was good, it was some of the best tv I have ever seen in my life.  The good stuff made the bad stuff kind of endearing in a way I don't know if I can explain.  David Lynch man, that guy is a GENIUS.  By genius I mean he has a way of making weird and awkward so cool.  He (when directing) would hold some scenes uncomfortably long, he would throw things in that were just straight up too weird to comprehend.  He also had a role in the show for maybe 4 episodes and I enjoyed his character so much.  He played FBI agent Cole, who is deaf and so he yelled everything and everyone talking to him had to yell and it was just executed so great.  Every time he showed up it was a total treat.  There is a moment where Agent Dale Cooper walks into the station looking straight ahead,  has no idea Cole is around, but he stops and without looking snaps in Cole's direction and at the same time Cole says (yells) "A-gent Dale Cooper!" without looking too.  It is just so them, you don't even really know Cole, but this little moment is all you need to know about them.  Did I say Dale Cooper?  Oh yeah, perhaps I should bring him up since he is the shining gem of this series but I think he is going to be too hard to explain to my satisfaction.  He is perhaps my favorite character ever written for tv.  I think I have become a total Twin Peaks fan girl and Agent Cooper is why.  He is quirky, he likes pie, trees, coffee, donuts and Tibet.  He tweaks the Sheriff's nose and gives the best thumbs up and snaps ever. Kyle MacLachlan's delivery and timing should be studied by every actor that ever came after him.  BRILLIANT.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I should explain what this show is about.  Basically, it begins with the homecoming queen found dead on the beach.  We then are thrown into the lives of the people of the town and trying to find out who killed her.  Everyone turns out to be seedy and have private lives that is more then meets the eye including Laura Palmer (dead girl), who isn't the squeaky clean girl you might think she is.  It isn't all as straight forward as that, in fact it goes bat crazy from there.  I'm talking little-person-dancing-in-a-black-and-white-and-red-room-talking-backwards crazy.  And then it begins to get weird.  There are many characters and storylines and scenes I couldn't give a CRAP about.  But then there are characters and story lines and scenes I will remember forever.  
This entire show is a coo-coo experience and I am so glad I took the plunge.  It is a shame it got cancelled and therefore the series has ended with a million cliffhangers, including one that knocked my socks totally off, but also in a way, it was a perfect way to end it and I can think and stew and let my imagination go a little nuts.  It had some jump worthy scarey moments I didn't expect to be a part of the show, and also has a scene that made my jaw hit the floor while watching and then it hit the floor again when I realized that it showed on prime time, network tv in 1991.  Seriously disturbing,  On another note, while I have a lot to say about her character and none of it is good, I have found the only role to date where I could stand Heather Graham.  Didn't know that could exist. I would also like to thank Twin Peaks for introducing me to the best gun racks EVER that apparently exist outside this show that makes me wonder if hunters have a sense of irony I knew not- or it could be total ignorant hillbilly offensiveness (either way it's great).   Also, if you were wondering, the portrayal of Laura's father done by Phil Hartman when SNL did a Twin Peaks parody was not hyperbolic AT ALL.  Emily recommends Twin Peaks if you think you can handle it.  Again, probably not for everybody, but for who it's for, you may know who you are and you people are in for a massive treat.  And if you find yourself in the middle of the second season wishing things would get better, hold on to your pants, it is worth it to stick it out.

Twin Peaks parody by Saturday Night Live (1990) by Malmignatte

I also watched Sherlock again.  This time on DVD so I could watch the commentaries and extras.  Yummy.

I guess Twin Peaks will have to be my Wall of Shame movie for the month, since it is about all I got around to watching (it's on Netflix streaming by the way).   It is a series that most well versed tv people know and love, and I've always meant to watch, but it isn't quite what I meant when I was going to knock off wall of shame stuff.  Oh well, my blog, my rules, my world.  Twin Peaks, Wall of Shame.  Boom.


Sue said...

I still think about Tree of Life quite a bit. You did a great job describing the movie, and that is a tough movie to describe. I've tried to describe it to people. The one thing you left out that I think really needs mention is the acting. Brad Pitt was superb in this movie. So was the actor that played is wife, Jessica something? And I thought the kid was great too.

As for Twin Peaks, this will probably surprise you, but I never saw the series. It happened to air during about a 2 year span that I did not own or have much access to a tv. Certainly not enough access to watch a weekly show. I heard a lot about it and had some friends that were die hard fans, but I missed it. I was happy to see it was streaming on Netflix a few months ago, so I am totally going to check it out. I am a fan of a lot of David Lynch movies. Have you seen any of his movies Em? You've seen the Elephant Man right? What about any of his others? If not, may I recommend Blue Velvet. That is my favorite of his movies. Dennis Hopper is the best. Wild At Heart is also good and I am a fan of Mullholland Drive (not a lot of people were fans of that one). Don't bother with Lost Highway.

I really want to watch that Sherlock Holmes series as well.

Emily said...

SUE! You've got to watch Twin Peaks. Cat wants to see it as well. That would be fun if you both watch it, then we could all talk about it and laugh. Were you ever spoiled on who the killer is? I was back when it was airing, but it was still fun to watch and find out how it all worked out. Didn't ruin the series for me or anything.
Yes, I have seen The Elephant Man, but nothing else. I have heard that Blue Velvet out of all of his stuff is the most like Twin Peaks (which is good for you, since it's your favorite). I just checked it out and it is streaming, so I will most likely watch it this week sometime.

Sherlock is definitely worth checking out as well. I've always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes and this is just done so well. The clever ways that they figured out how to modernize the stories is really fantastic. Down to the fact that they call each other by their first names. The creators are total Sherlock Holmes fanboys, so they serve it well, and the two leads have absolute perfect chemistry.

Sue said...

I am not spoiled on who the killer is because until I read your review, I didn't know there was a murder. Or if I did know that, I don't remember, and it does not ring a bell.

I might just watch Blue Velvet this week too. I think the last time I saw it was probably 15 years ago when the Tower Theater played it as a midnight movie. I was living across from Liberty Park at the time and walked over and watched it. I think you'll like it. It begins with Kyle MacLachlan finding a severed ear in a field. David Lynch got an oscar nomination for best director for that movie.

I am excited to watch Sherlock Holmes. Cam happened to catch most of an episode a few nights ago on PBS. He really liked it, so we are going to stream the whole series on Netflix. I love Sherlock Holmes too. Remember the movie Young Sherlock Holmes from the mid to late 80's? That is a great movie. I haven't seen it in years but I remember really liking it. I also keep a complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at my desk at work. Sometimes I find it difficult to get into a novel while I'm at work and it's easier to read a Sherlock Holmes story when I'm on a break or have a few minutes in between projects.

Emily said...

For some reason I was going to suggest that Cam might like Sherlock too. I'm not sure why I thought that, but I did.
Next season they are going to do The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Scandal in Bohemia and The Final Problem. Sooo excited!


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