Posts Tagged ‘Ernie Hudson’

Right off the top of my head : what’s Andy doing wearing a Rolex?

Oh, sure, there are many larger and more important things to ponder after watching part seven of Daid Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks 2017/Twin Peaks : The Return/Twin Peaks season three than Harry Goaz’ timepiece, but when you see a small-town deputy who probably earns 40 grand a year if he’s lucky riding around with $10,000 on his wrist, it sticks out.

Although, in fairness, so does the following : Laura Dern’s Diane telling everyone she comes into contact with “fuck you” at least once (and is it just me or does she have a special level of enmity for Chrysta Bell’s Tammy Preston?); Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) getting so stoned he can’t find his car; Janey-E (Naomi Watts) dealing with the cops every bit as effectively as she dealt with the crooks last week; Tom Sizemore going from a threating manner of lurking to a sulking one; Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) getting one up on his boss, Gordon Cole (Lynch) by making him say “please”; that mysterious figure from the Buckhorn, South Dakota jail cell waaaaaayyy back in week one graduating to the role of the “Man Behind Winkie’s” figure from Mulholland Drive; Ernie Hudson making a return appearance as the mystery surrounding the dead body of probably-Major-Garland-Briggs deepens; the “lost” pages of Laura Palmer’s diary that Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) found in part six directly quoting Heather Graham’s lines from Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me; the diminutive assassin we met seven short days ago coming after Dougie/Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) with a gun and being dealt with pretty easily (and, it’s gotta be said, roughly) thanks to some timely intervention from the “evolved” Arm; Walter Olkewicz playing yet another member of the apparently-endless Renault clan — I could go on like this for some time, because this episode was packed to the goddamn rafters.

Instead, I’d like to take a minute to talk about some of the truly sublime moments on offer tonight : the Skype call between Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) and Doc Hayward (the late Warren Frost); Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) obviously plotting when he’s going to make his move on his new assistant, Beverly (Ashely Judd, who you knew we would be seeing more of — and we might even be seeing more than that, given that she’s hiding a few secrets of her own); some poor schmuck sweeping the floor at the Roadhouse for nearly two minutes while “Green Onions” plays overhead; Lynch himself getting the first “damn good cup of coffee” line of the series; Norma (Peggy Lipton) holding court at the Double R as the end credits roll. If Twin Peaks fandom could send a video love letter to itself, would it look much different than any of that? Are scenes like this not exactly what we’d all been hoping for — only maybe with Michael Ontkean in there somewhere?

The best thing about it all, though, is that we’re getting so much more than just a rose-tinted serving of nostalgia with this new series — instances like those just quickly catalogued are lovely, to be sure, but they’re the heart of the show, not the backbone. The backbone is the dirt “Evil Coop” is holding over the warden that’s juicy enough to get him sprung; the fourth, still-missing, page from Laura’s diary; the investigative legwork going on in Twin Peaks, Buckhorn, and Washington, D.C.; the “spiritual finger”; the house in Argentina now owned by, literally, a girl from Ipanema; “It wasn’t Bob — I know who it was.”

The questions, the mysteries, the unknown and perhaps unknowable — that’s what Twin Peaks has always been about, and still is. More than ever, I’d venture to say. And for this viewer, at any rate, one of those big mysteries is still what the hell Andy is doing with such a fancy watch.

 

This, I think, is the point at which I’ve decided I’m well and truly hooked — although, in fairness, all signs were pointing in that direction already.

Part (not episode, remember?) five of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s 2017 iteration of Twin Peaks — you may add or omit “The Return” as you see fit —features none of the arresting surreal visual poetry we were treated to last week, the “high weirdness” of parts 1-4 is dialed back considerably (although still present and accounted for), and some rather prosaic explanations are offered to a handful of the mysteries that we’ve been served up (the mutilated body in Buckhorn, South Dakota is that of the “real” Dougie, Russ Tamblyn’s Dr. Jacoby was painting those shovels gold to hustle off to the gullible viewers  — among them Wendy Robie’s Nadine Hurley and David Patrick Kelly’s Jerry Horne — of his right-wing, conspiracy-themed YouTube show), but I was still glued to the TV despite the fact that this was far and away the most straight-forward installment of the bunch to date.

Plot progression, plain and simple, is the primary order of business this time out, and let’s be honest — there’s really nothing wrong with that, is there? Kyle MacLachlan’s Dougie/Dale is still wandering about in a daze, but somehow gets through the work day (we can all relate, I’m sure) and exhibits a new super-power, to boot; Deputies Hawk (Michael Horse) and Andy (Harry Goaz) are still on the case (although no one’s sure quite what that case is yet); “Evil Coop” finally gets to make his phone call;  ever-laconic sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) comes in for some good, old-fashioned brow-beating from his wife; the bizarrely-named Janey-E (Naomi Watts) is still figuring out what the fuck to do with her empty vessel of a husband — in short, life is going on.

Old-school fans will be straight-up overjoyed, I should think, at our first extended look at (and in) the Double-R diner, where Norma (Peggy Lipton) still holds court, Shelly (Madchen Amick) still works the counter, and long-time customer “Toad” now works in the kitchen, but they’re not the only familiar faces popping back into the proceedings — doucheface Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger) may have “gone legit,” but he’s still a doucheface, Harry Truman is still ailing and literally “phones it in,” and the deceased Major Garland Briggs once again figures into things in very nearly a prominenet manner despite having shuffled off his mortal coil. Yup, the trusty old stand-bys are more than adequately represented here.

And yet for all that, a fair number of new faces are mixed into the stew (okay, shitty metaphor unless you’re a cannibal), as well — Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper are revealed as the mystery men who operate the Silver Mustang Casino; there’s a seriously ominous new psycho who’s muscling in on the ever-prosperous Twin Peaks drug trade; some seriously funky shit is going down in Bueno Aires(!); and at no less than the Pentagon itself we make the acquaintance of the named-no-doubt-in-tribute Colonel Davis, who’s played by none other than the beyond-fucking-great Ernie Hudson. How’s all this going to shake out? What do some of these folks even have to do with anything? Well, shit, that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

And a lot of the internet fan speculation is already paying off — if you were one of the people who surmised that Amanda Seyfried must be Shelly’s daughter, pat yourself on the back, and if you likewise had it sussed that the loser Mike is berating in a job interview early on here is probably her previously-alluded-to deadbeat boyfriend, pat that back of yours a second time. Lynch and Frost are still two steps (at least) ahead of us most of the time, but it’s nice when they hit “pause” on occasion and allow us mere mortals to catch up.

There’s a rhythm, a tempo, an overall tone that Twin Peaks : The Return appears to be settling into that feels comfortable now even at its most disconcerting. We went through a lot to get here — much of which we can’t even begin to process yet — but now that we’re on more solid ground, it feels earned. It’s destined not to last, of course — the forces of entropy are still moving in on this temporary stability at a clip that’s more or less entirely unchecked — but it’s good to get a glimpse into the various lives doomed to be disrupted (or worse). I could maybe even deal with a few more “old home weeks” like this one, if I’m being perfectly honest.

So, yeah — that’s how I know I’m well and truly invested in this show in a way I haven’t been in a TV series since the halcyon days of I don’t even know when.  When every line, every scene, every facial expression and physical movement of every character matters to me regardless of how much — or how little — is happening, I’m a goddamn fish at on the end of a line just waiting to be reeled in. I liked — even really liked — most of the so-called “important” shows of the past decade or so : Breaking BadThe WireHouse Of CardsThe Sopranos, all of that. My love for Doctor Who extends all the way back to my childhood and remains undiminished, qualms about many aspects of its current version notwithstanding. But this new Twin Peaks is affecting me on a whole different level altogether from any and all of that — one that hits home with even more precision and accuracy than did its celebrated previous incarnation. I’m not entirely sure why that’s the case after just a few short weeks — but, again, discovering the answer to that question as things go along is all part of the fun, right?

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Ya know, most come-n’-go cinematic trends make a kind of sense to me in retrospect — the 3-D craze of the 1950s, the second 3-D craze of the early ’80s, the third 3-D craze that we’re still enduring, the teen sex comedy explosion of the early ’80s, the second teen sex comedy explosion with raunchier humor but less nudity in the late ’90s — you can all sorta see where they came from.

One that I still can’t get my head around, though, is the short-but-damn-prevalent-for-a-minute-there plethora of underwater Alien rip-offs that came along at the tail end of the 1980s. It’s almost as if the movie industry in general — from the big Hollywood studios to B-grade fly-by-nighters — decided that, having exhausted the public’s appetite for blatant and obvious riffs on Ridley Scott’s classic with flicks like Forbidden WorldGalaxy Of TerrorContamination and Creature figured that, rather than letting the basic premise take a much-needed rest, they’d just move it under the ocean and see how it would play out there. What followed was a brief flurry of films that included such semi-memorable entrants as Deep Star Six and James Cameron’s syrupy The Abyss. Hell, the Italians even got in on the act with Antonio Margheriti’s Alien From The Deep. My personal favorite of the bunch, though — and the one under our reviewer’s microscope today — is 1989’s Leviathan, which one-ups the proceedings by liberally borrowing not only from Alien but John Carpenter’s classic The Thing, as well.

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Set on an underwater precious-metals mining station on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean referred to by its crew as a “shack,” director George P. Cosmatos’ effective, by-the-numbers thriller takes from Alien the crew-obsessed-with-making-quota, monster-loose-in-an-enclosed-ship aspects of its premise, mashes it up with The Thing‘s genetic-mutation-that-stitches-its-victims-together and found-in-a-foreign-country’s-abandoned-encampment (in this case a sunken Russian “ghost ship” rather than a devastated Norwegian research base) ingredients and comes away with a story that’s by no means original, but certainly a thoroughly entertaining little sci-fi/horror amalgamation that’s every bit as  much a collection of jumbled parts as the monster our erstwhile heroes are battling.

Also, at the end of the day (and yeah —this is, again,  ripping a page right out of the Alien playbook) the true villain isn’t so much the monster itself but an evil, greedy mega-corporation. That’s always a plus in my book because that’s reality, folks.

What sets Leviathan apart from the other contenders for the throne to the undersea Alien kingdom, though — apart from the fact that’s it’s busy swiping its core concepts from two movies rather than just one — is that Cosmatos , who directed a little something you might have heard of called Rambo:First Blood Part II and later went on to work with Sly again on Cobra, is more than willing to fully embrace the inherent B-movie ethos of his film rather than bury it under a bunch of cleverness and faux-ingenuity. There are no pretensions of any sort on display here, this is strictly workman-like stuff, and is all the better for it.

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A stellar cast of Hollywood also-rans, led by “Mr. Deadpan” himself, Peter Weller, as the “shack”‘s commanding officer (or whatever title they give guys in his line of work) and complemented by Amanda Pays, Daniel Stern, Hector Elizondo, Lisa Eilbacher, and Michael Carmine as his crew, Richard Crenna as their haunted-by-his-past medical doctor, and Meg “Haunting Eyes” Foster as an evil corporate CEO-type bitch, elevates the proceedings to a degree, sure, but in the end this is a genuinely Corman-esque affair that just happened to have major studio backing, and therefore a slightly bigger budget (though not big enough to take all the fun out of everything).

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Like any good exploitation auteur, Cosmatos takes heed of the old “less is more” axiom and doesn’t give us a “full reveal” of his monster in all its — errmmm — “glory” until the very end, and while it’s pretty unimpressive by today’s standards, for 1989 this thing wasn’t too shabby. Certainly not memorable by any stretch of the imagination, I’ll grant you, but solid, professional, and in no way a letdown. Which makes it rather a decent a slimy, scaly, dripping, shambling analogy for the film itself.

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Leviathan is available on DVD — and probably at this point Blu-Ray, as well, though I couldn’t say for sure — from MGM. It’s a bare-bones release with no extras to speak of apart from the theatrical trailer, but the widescreen transfer and 5.1 sound are both plenty good. It’s also currently playing on most local cable systems (for free, no less) on Impact Action On Demand. It’s hardly standout, earth-shattering stuff, but it will most certainly keep you entertained from start to finish, and heck — since it’s a pretty fair  bet that’s really all Cosmatos had in mind, ya gotta tip your hat and say mission accomplished.