Friday, December 25, 2009

January 30, 2010 - Mulholland Drive & Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

I made a schedule adjustment recently so that our closing night of the 40/40 series would be a David Lynch double feature - in fact my two favorite Lynch films. Determining which we'd watch first came down to deciding how I wanted to wrap our series... with the final image of Fire Walk With Me or Mulholland Drive. Without giving anything away, I felt the closing frames of FWWM were more in line with the tone I wanted to end the series on, so our penultimate film is David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.

When I first heard about Mulholland Drive, I was very excited. It signaled David' Lynch's return to the small screen. The pilot for a series set in and around LA, I longed for something second only to his masterwork series Twin Peaks. Then stories of problems started to emerge. And the project was shelved. An article in The New Yorker described how Lynch was basically given carte blanche, and then when he delivered something that was longer than the time slot, the execs told him it had to be cut to fit the time slot. He basically said nothing could go and when they said you cut it or we will, he took it and brought back a version that ran identically except for ending abruptly at the time limit. Needless to say, the network brass were less than pleased and the project was shelved.

Fast forward years later. Word gets out that Lynch will be releasing a theatrical film of Mulholland Drive. Having read and enjoyed the original teleplay, I was looking forward to it but could not have expected he would find such an interesting way to use the material he shot for the TV show and incorporate that into a similar, yet very different feature film. It was amazing to see on the big screen and I don't think the majority of the audience knew what hit them by the time it was through.

Thanks to the region free nature of HD-DVD, we'll be able to screen the film in high-definition. It's dark and mesmerizing. If you've never seen it, don't miss the chance to see it on the big screen.

When Twin Peaks was originally broadcast, nearly 20 years ago, it blew us away. It quickly ascended to the top of the list of favorite television shows. And it was heartbreaking, though by no means expected, when this avant garde show was finally dropped by the network. The odds of seeing more Twin Peaks seemed quite thin, so when a feature film prequel - detailing the last seven days in the life of troubled prom queen Laura Palmer - was announced, we couldn't wait to see it.

You'd think we would have been there on opening night to see the film - but a strange series of events had us meeting 80s horror authors John Skipp and Craig Spector for drinks, as they were in town for one of Fangoria's numerous failed attempts to establish the bay area as a hub for their conventions. I can't recall why we didn't make it out to see it the next night, but we finally made it that Sunday. I was so utterly blown away I knew right then I needed to see it again. So we went back the next night with our friend Becky. And I dragged another friend Cliff out to see it the following night - knowing he had not even watched the series (he liked it, BTW - hopefully he still has fond memories of it?). Needless to say, I knew it's shelf-life at the Century Town and Country was limited, and I wanted to soak in as much as I could.

Sheryl Lee, who didn't have nearly as much time to shine in the series, gives an absolutely phenomenal performance in the film. The feature matched the high points of the TV show, with the only possible complaint being that there was not the time nor opportunity to focus on other characters from the show. It's dark, blackly comic at times, and beautifully produced. It remains one of my all-time favorite films.

We hope you'll join us for the closing night of our 40/40 series on the 30th.

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