I recently re-watched the series, which I had not seen since it originally aired (but not every episode because back then when you missed an episode, you were SOL). I then watched Fire Walk With Me, which I also had not seen since its release. Quick reactions, in no particular order:
It would have been obvious to make Cooper a hard-nosed G-man, maybe someone recovering from an alcohol problem, or some such trope. But Lynch did something you’re not supposed to do with your characters—he made Cooper a nice, swell guy, barely flawed, if at all. He’s sincere, kind, a true humanist who sees the essential goodness in all people. He displays feminine qualities of nurturing and holism. It’s this contrast of a sleek and stylish, but kindhearted FBI man wandering through the haunting wilderness that makes Twin Peaks so compelling. He’s navigating a hostile landscape, he’s plagued with visions, and in that sense he’s not unlike David Carradine’s character from Kung Fu. (Now that show needs a reboot.) There are a few episodes when Cooper loses his suit, and the show loses its power. Cooper in flannel is not interesting.
In typical Columbus, Ohio fashion, my wife and I comprised half the audience of last night’s 10:30pm showing of Birdman (a Saturday, no less). Sitting in this nearly empty theater, and seeing Times Square on the screen, with its thick herds of tourists, superheroes, marching bands, everything gleaming from a million watts of advertisements—and hearing it too, that unique cavernous acoustic signature of the crowds wedged into the giant asterisk-like convergence of Broadway, 7th Ave, and 42nd St, I began to really miss New York, not in a heart-aching kind of way, but just as something I once had that now feels very much out of reach. There has been plenty of raving about Birdman, its energy, acting, imagination, and so on… But the sound design is great too. When outside, we hear the layers of voices, traffic, and music; when inside, we hear the belly of this theater echoing just as it should, and the overall effect is one of complete transportation into this weird, mad world that Iñárritu has created. Even the drum score—and the drum score is incredible, performed by Antonio Sanchez—it changes acoustically to match whatever space we’re currently occupying. The film is one long continuous pulsing rhythm.
I have to hand it to Claire Vaye Watkins, who loudly proclaimed, “Absolutely fucking brilliant,” on the back of John Darnielle’s first novel, Wolf in White Van. She’s really raising the bar for novel blurbs. How do you top that?
The blurb is great. The novel, merely good. Not absolutely fucking brilliant, but worth reading, and maybe you should check it out.