WEIRDLAND: Twin Peaks, James Dean archetype, Ansel Elgort

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Twin Peaks, James Dean archetype, Ansel Elgort

Is Laura Palmer’s former beau cool? James Hurley is one of the first people we meet on Twin Peaks. He’s got a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and he wants you to think he has a bad attitude. But in reality, as we quickly learn, James is a big ol’ softie, the good boy to Bobby Brigg’s criminality, just a mess of tears, big feelings, and falsetto love ballads. He was central to the plot as the story of Twin Peaks began, but as the show drifted further away from the murder of Laura Palmer, James became increasingly irrelevant. By the middle of season two, he gets himself involved in some kind of confusing noir plot. 

The show plays James entirely seriously. David Lynch clearly has a powerful love for his James Dean archetype. On the second episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, returning character Shelly (Mädchen Amick) says: “James is cool. James was always cool.” Talking to Vulture, James Marshall finally had a chance to answer the question of his coolness factor himself. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think of myself that way or the character that way, thinking of yourself as tough. The tough guy. That’s other people’s opinions.” At least he’ll always have Shelly on his side. Source:

The Love Stories in Twin Peaks The Return — After Nadine tells Big Ed that it’s O.K. for him to get back together with Norma, Ed heads over to the Double R, where he nervously waits out Norma’s meeting with her business partner and occasional lover Walter Lawford, afraid that he may be too late to win her back. While Otis Redding’s Monterey Pop Festival performance of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” rises and falls on the soundtrack, Ed closes his eyes and eavesdrops, finally allowing himself a slight smile when Norma tells Walter that she wants to exercise her option in her contract to sell her interest in their chain of diners. It’s all like a roller coaster love story, with moments of humor and emotion. More love stories pop up as the episode goes on, and they become more and more twisted: Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) and Gersten (Alicia Witt) exhibit an intense physical and emotional infatuation with each other as they writhe around at the base of a tree, but they’re clearly not well (nor are they good people). 

Even the mysterious Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Charlie (Clark Middleton) relationship continued to fall apart, ending with her at his throat screaming, “I hate you!” into his face. In addition to taking his character’s name from “Sunset Boulevard,” Lynch paid homage to Billy Wilder’s movie in his “Mulholland Drive,” another study of Hollywood castoffs. (Also, both those pictures are often listed officially in film guides with the names of their respective streets shortened: “Mulholland Dr.” and “Sunset Blvd.”) In Part 4, Wally (played by Michael Cera), the son of Deputy Andy Brennan and his wife Lucy, becomes a goofily comic riff on Marlon Brando’s persona in the 1953 motorcycle-gang drama “The Wild One.” Despite Lynch’s reputation as a maverick, he actually has a lot of reverence for classic Hollywood movies. Source:

For some filmmakers today, all forms of dating, online or in person, are ripe for social critique. In Yorgos Lanthimos’s black comedy The Lobster, for example, the world of romance is portrayed as a dismal social obligation, where those who don’t find their perfect match in 45 days are literally transformed into an animal of their choosing. In the world of The Lobster, the quest for love is robbed of any poetry or eroticism, as people are matched to one another like contestants in an incredibly sad real-world game show, and those who disapprove protest by disavowing love completely, opting instead to dance alone at night, listening to music through their own individual headphones.

While The Lobster paints a portrait of modern love that is ultimately bleak, films such as Marjorie Prime or Her, which focus on our changing relationship to AI, unabashedly insist on love’s power to prevail over loneliness and disconnection, and even point to the ways the our modern love stories may not be so different from the ones that existed in the past. These gentle explorations of future kinds of love don’t offer alternatives to old ideas about love. Rather, they reiterate what about love can never be replicated, and show how in a world where romance is often portrayed as just another product you can buy, real expressions of love matter precisely because of how easy it is for them to slip away. Source:

Edgar Wright finds in the protagonist’s primal connection to cars and music a poignant symbol for his emotional isolation, his need to hold the world at bay. First, there’s the time spent on making Baby a character worth rooting for: vulnerable yet athletic, handsome yet at the same time geeky: when he isn’t driving a car sideways, he also has a strange penchant for recording bits of conversation and then turning them into experimental pieces of electronic music. Then there are the action scenes, which aren’t so much John Woo or Jerry Bruckheimer as Busby Berkeley; beneath all the designer violence and pounding music, Baby Driver’s good natured to the point of being almost quaint. Source:

Baby Driver has pulled in $175,108,441 worldwide to date. The film is a sugar missile of endorphins aimed directly at the movie dork’s pleasure center, so eager to get you on its candy-crush wavelength that resistance doesn’t just seem futile, but downright uncharitable. We’ve all imagined ourselves, while walking down the street listening to the music in our ears at maximum volume, in a private movie of our own creation, and it is quite the achievement of Wright to have essentially made that movie real. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World—still Wright’s best film—wore a lightness on its sleeve, its self-referential and pop-culture-riffing nature a healthy defense against any accusations of being overly precious. Baby Driver can feel a little 'Things to Do in a John Hughes Movie When You’re Dead', an odd mashup of quirky/gritty crime thriller and a lively, bubble-gum-colored music video. Source:

People who are sexually attracted to each other and have a lasting and successful relationship may be said to be 'well matched'. However, it has proved very difficult for psychologists to decide in exactly which ways such couples are matched. A sample of women born in the early 1920s were studied in the United States and those who became upwardly mobile through marriage were compared with the others who remained 'in their own class.' Upwardly mobile women were characterized by high physical attractiveness, a desire to impress and control others, and an avoidance of casual dating. The effect of physical attractiveness was most marked among members of the working class where it was more predictive of marriage to a man of higher class than educational attainment was. Sexual experience among college women between 1958 and 1968 arose, particularly in more casual liaisons. By 1972 three-quarters of students, male and female, had had intercourse, and the overall difference between sexes had at last vanished.

More attractive girls had been in love more often than less attractive ones, perhaps because they met more attractive men, and so found romance more rewarding. It has also been shown that girls with a stronger sex drive tend to form more frequent and intense attachments. The surveys found that women were twice as likely as men to break off a relationship in order to start a new one (with someone already on the scene), which probably follows from the custom of male initiative, if it is assumed that other men are less respectful of existing relationships than other women. 'Romantic Love' is a reaction against the earthiness of physical sex. Several studies found no relation between characters similarity and couple happiness, although one found unstably married couples differed on four traits whereas stably married couples' personalities tended to match. These traits were 'affectothymia' (which means outgoing and warm-hearted), 'surgency' (happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic), 'protension' (suspicious and self-opinionated), and individualism. —"Sexual Attraction" by Mark Cook & Robert McHenry (kindle, 2013)

Shailene Woodley on Her Feminist Evolution: "My biggest thing is really sisterhood. I would today consider myself a feminist. If females start working through the false narrative of jealousy and insecurity fed through a patriarchal society, then not only will we have more women feeling confident in themselves, but we will start introducing a type of matriarchy, which is what this world needs. We need more softness and more silence and more pause through the chaos."

There's no class subtext in The Fault in Our Stars like there was in Erich Segal's Love Story. There's no real emotional roller coaster ride here, since this is pretty much a one way ticket down into depressive depths, but the remarkable thing about the film is how it actually ends up celebrating resilience in the face of unimaginable trauma. Gus manages to make contact with Hazel's favorite author (think J.D. Salinger, only less accessible), who is living in Amsterdam. That gives The Fault in Our Stars a certain "quest" aspect, though what really moves the film are the intimate conversations between Hazel and Gus. Performances here are superb from top to bottom. 

While Shailene Woodley has come in for the lion's share of critical accolades, it's Ansel Elgort who repeatedly walks away with individual scenes. His performance matches Shailene Woodley's perfectly. Together they've created a cinematic love story for the ages. His eternal optimism is the right tonic for her self pity. Hazel blossoms under his unconditional love. When she finally lets her guard down and allows herself to love him just as much, there is no going back. The Fault in Our Stars was a huge box office success, earning $307 million worldwide on a modest $12 million budget. Source:

Over the last decade, Hollywood has failed to grow a new crop of young leading men like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ryan Gosling, all of whom were Oscar-nominated for roles that helped establish them as the standard-bearers of their generation. As Kyle Buchanan pointed in Vulture, it’s starting to feel like we’re in the middle of a severe male young actor drought in America. Tobey Maguire, who amassed a résumé at age 25—including acclaimed movies like The Ice Storm and Wonder Boys—that would make most of today’s young actors green with envy, confessed: “If Leo and I were young now, I'd still aspire to work with great people, but those jobs don't exist anymore,” adding that a YA franchise would seem like his only opportunity. While it’s still possible to mint new male movie stars in America (Chris Pratt, Dylan O'Brien, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Alden Ehrenreich), most of them will have to compete with their British counterparts (Tom Hiddleston, Jamie Bell, Tom Hardy, Eddie Redmayne, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, etc.) There is sometimes a certain coldness when an American actress and an English actor—as Chloë Moretz alluded, possibly talking about her co-star Aaron Taylor Johnson—play off each other.

Ansel Elgort was recently paired up with English rose Lily James in Baby Driver, but their chemistry didn't suffer at all. Miles Teller, who abandoned Adrift (and for extension Shailene Woodley) has been replaced by another British import, Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games, often coming off as a lightweight playing opposite Jennnifer Lawrence). Shailene Woodley has showed natural chemistry with Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort, in part due to the spontaneous rapport (clicking in the same cultural wavelength) she shares with both even off-screen.  Source:

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