I saw the original Blade Runner in the theaters with my dad back in 1982. I was very excited because it starred Indiana Jones and Han Solo himself! Harrison Ford! The poster was great! I was excited to see it, thinking it would be a sci-fi action film. I was disappointed. It was slow and didn’t have a lot of action. Harrison Ford was not a hero! Well, I was a punk kid, what did I know?
When the director’s cut came out in 1992 I went and saw it and had a completely different reaction. I loved it. The removal of the narration left the beautiful visuals and that amazing Vangelis score to transport you to that world. I loved the noir overtones and the homage to Bogart and the noir films of the 40s. It was amazing and became one of my favorite films.
Now, 35 years later, they dared to make a sequel. Something I never thought would happen. Harrison Ford hated making the first film, there was no way he would agree to be in a sequel. Perhaps once Ridley Scott backed out from the directing chores, Ford was more amenable to return. I have to think that when director Denis Villenueve signed on as well as the original screenwriter, Hampton Fancher, Ford was more enthused. I was enthused as well. Villenueve has a strong visual sense and I very much enjoyed his previous films, Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015) and Arrival (2016).
Blade Runner 2049 explores some of the same themes as the original; what does it mean to be human? Is it right or moral to play around with nature? What kind of world are we creating for ourselves? The search for identity. Ryan Gosling is K, a new and improved replicant who is also a Blade Runner. He hunts his own. The new breed of replicants being made by The Wallace Corporation and its leader, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) are more docile and made to obey. They have been incorporated into society as slaves and servants but there is a fear of a rebellion brewing.
K is sent on a mission by his boss, Lt. Joshi (Robin Wright) that leads him to discover the remains of a female replicant that appears to have given birth. The thought that a replicant could conceive and give birth is a dangerous one so Joshi tasks K with finding the offspring and killing it. This sends K on a journey of self-discovery as he plays detective to find the child. This of course will lead him to an encounter with the legendary Blade Runner, Rick Deckard.
The film is a visual feast. It’s simply beautiful. The great Roger Deakins did the photography and he will probably win that elusive Oscar next year. The sets and lighting are amazing especially the Las Vegas ruins. Ryan Gosling, even though playing a replicant, is very expressive and moving. Ford has little screen time but he is very good and has good chemistry with Gosling. I wish there was more of Deckard and of the two of them onscreen. The plot is intriguing with real film noir flare just as in the original. I don’t want to go into too much but there are three or four scenes which really transcended my imagination and expectations and wowed me. I will go into more detail under the ‘Spoiler Alert’ section of this review.
The performances are strong. Gosling and Ford lead the way. Jared Leto is fine as Niander Wallace, a blind evil genius. Robin Wright gets to play the tough boss who has a soft spot for our hero. Silvia Hoeks plays a badass replicant called Luv who serves as Wallace’s muscle. Anna de Armas is moving as K’s holographic lover Joi. Shout out to Lennie James! Morgan from The Walking Dead!
I really liked the film and as I said there are some scenes that were just mind blowing. But it’s too long. The first hour and half lags and it’s something that could have been fixed. I get it though. The film is so beautiful what do you cut? Still, there needed to be some trimming to get to that last third of the film sooner. All that said, it is definitely worth your time and effort to see this film on the big screen. I saw it on IMAX and I would recommend it. It’s an experience unlike any you will have in the movie theaters this year or for some time to come.
DON’T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM!!!!!
OK. There were a few scenes that really wowed me!
1. The Three Way Love Scene. K’s holographic girlfriend, Joi, hires a human escort, Mariette (Mackenzie Davis) so that she could merge with her, enabling her to make love to K. It’s an intense scene. You see Joi’s and Mariette’s hands and arms caressing K as he seems overwhelmed by the experience. Their relationship is the only real relationship in the film. They make a sympathetic pair.
2. Las Vegas. The ruins of Las Vegas reminded me of the old classic The Time Machine (1960) Dir. George Pal. Rod Taylor walking around the ruins of civilization when he ventures into the future. Once K enters the hotel/casino there are many visual treats from the Frank Sinatra hologram to the nightclub with showgirl holograms and Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe hologram singing and dancing while K and Deckard circle each other and fight. Really cool!
3. Giant Joi on the Bridge. Joi is a product, for the lonely to have their own holographic girlfriend. The advertisement for the product is a giant Joi hologram which K encounters towards the end after he has lost his ‘Joi’ and ponders what to do next. It’s heartbreaking and tragic.
4. The Remains and Reincarnated Rachel. Wallace has captured Deckard and tries to get him to reveal where the child that he conceived with Rachel is. He reveals that he has Rachel’s skull, her remains. Then, he tries to entice Deckard’s cooperation by presenting him with a newly recreated Rachel. We get to see Sean Young! It’s eerie as hell. She addresses him and you can see all the emotion of sad years on Deckard’s face. He turns away from her. “She had green eyes”, he tells Wallace who then shoots the new Rachel through the head. Sean Young is listed in the credits so they obviously had her permission to use her image and I assume record the new dialogue.
5. Edward James Olmos. Great to see Olmos reprise his role even for just one scene. It was a nice touch.
I remember when this tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs aired in 1973. I was a little kid but I remember it was a big event. Watching this film reminds me just how big and how important it was. It was estimated that it was watched by 90 million people around the world. There was a lot of pressure on King and she put a lot on herself. If she lost to Riggs it could have set Women’s Right’s back and the struggle for equal pay and respect would have been a lot harder.
The film covers Billie Jean King’s fight for equal pay at tennis tournaments and headlining a women’s tennis tour in 72-73 which was sponsored by Virginia Slims cigarettes. She was married at the time to Larry King but was about to start a relationship with a young woman which would lead her to come out of the closet. Bobby Riggs was a champion tennis player in the 40s who felt he retired too early and was still looking to grab attention. He was a showman and a gambler. He was also a devout male chauvinist and had no problems sharing his degrading views to get attention. He claimed that women’s tennis was a joke and that at 55, he could beat the best that women had to offer.
Emma Stone and Steve Carell are both terrific. Carell’s Bobby Riggs is a sad man who has another chance for the spotlight and he goes for it with PT Barnum ferocity. Stone shows us a Billie Jean King fed up with being paid less than her male counterparts and finding love with another woman, in the midst of all the media attention. Stone really creates a vivid character and one different than what we’ve come to expect from her. Stone and Carell previously starred in Crazy Stupid Love (2011) and just as in that film, they share very few scenes together but they make them sparkle.
Elisabeth Shue has a small part as Rigg’s rich wife who he was divorcing at the time. Austin Stowell play’s King’s husband and he’s played as a very sympathetic and caring husband who understands that his wife loves someone else and wants her to be happy. Andrea Riseborough plays King’s newfound love with an easy vulnerability. Sara Silverman, Alan Cumming and Bill Pullman also lend solid support in key roles.
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) and written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, Everest) Battle Of The Sexes is a small film with a big message. Women’s rights, equality and fair pay are still being fought for and these days the fight is just to hold on to the ground already won. In the same week as this film was released we saw the Cam Newton incident with the female sports writer and the expose on Harvey Weinstein in the New York Times which has led to his firing and a whole new round of discussion of how women are treated in the film industry. The Trump administration also announced that they are rolling back the health insurance mandate on birth control that will allow employers to deny this to their female employees on religious grounds.
The film may seem like a dated story but it shouldn’t. We need as many Billie Jean Kings as we can get. The ‘Battle’ is not over.
“Derry is not like any town I’ve been in before. People die or disappear, six times the national average. And that’s just grown-ups. Kids are worse. Way, way worse.” Ben
I remember seeing the 1990 miniseries on ABC back in the day and being really scared. Tim Curry as Pennywise was great. The kid actors were all really good and the adult versions were played by very popular TV stars (at the time) who were also really good. So, I have found memories of that version and still enjoy watching it when it’s on. The new film version looked to be scary as well, though, I wasn’t thrilled with how the new Pennywise looked. Still, I felt a strong desire to see it (though not alone!).
The new IT is directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama 2013) with a screenplay that credits Gary Dauberman (Annabelle, The Conjuring) and Cary Fukunaga (True Detective 1) based on Stephen King’s epic novel. The story most of you already know from the book and the TV film; An evil force in the town of Derry, Maine terrorizes and kidnaps children. The evil takes the shape of a disturbing clown calling himself Pennywise but it also appears in the form of what you fear most. A group of friends calling themselves “The Losers Club” because of their outsider status band together and decide to do battle with this evil. The leader of the group is Bill whose little brother Georgie is attacked and taken by Pennywise in the film’s eerie opening sequence. Bill is determined to find Georgie and eventually he convinces his friends to join him in his quest. There’s Richie played by Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Thing’s Mike!), the joke cracking smartass; Stan (Wyatt Oleff) the mild-mannered rabbi’s son preparing for his bar mitzvah; Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), the sickly mama’s boy who is on multiple medications. Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the new kid in town who gets picked on because he’s overweight (Been there, pal!). Mike (Chosen Jacobs) an African-American kid who joins the gang when they come across him being assaulted by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) the standard Stephen King bully! Last, but not least, we get the one female in the group, Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Bev, is the pretty red haired girl that they all have a crush on but is secretly being terrorized at home by her abusive father.
The young actors are all very good. The movie zips along and is very entertaining. The dialogue is natural and there’s plenty of humor spread out throughout the jolts and scares. The book deals with the Summer of 1958 when the kids battle the evil and then 27 years later when they return to Derry to battle the evil once more. This film only deals with the first part of the story and takes place in 1988. It was fun to see all the retro references to new Kids On The Block! There were a lot of things I remembered from the TV film that are not in this version but those who have read the book probably said the same about the TV film. Pennywise is played by Bill Skarsgaard (Alexander’s brother and Stellan’s son!) he’s very good but I must confess I really liked Tim Curry’s Pennywise better. Maybe because I was younger when I saw the TV version but it scared me more. I’m sure the kids today will be plenty scared however.
Taken on its own merits the new IT is a very good film. It’s scary but doesn’t get too gory (in my opinion) and the story is intact and sets up the sequel nicely. I’m interested to see who they cast to play the Loser’s Club as adults! Emma Stone as Bev? Joseph Gordon Levitt as Bill? Sterling K Brown as Mike? Ryan Gosling as Ben? Jim Parsons as Eddie? Chris Pine as Richie? Just thinking out loud.
Oh, if clowns frighten you I would advise against seeing IT. Just saying.
Darren Aronofsky has made wild and disturbing films before. I don’t think I will ever sit down and watch Requiem For A Dream (2000) ever again no matter that I thought it was a powerful film. But his latest, Mother! (more exclamation points needed) is the craziest and most disturbing of all. Sometimes this can be a good thing. In this case, it was not.
A Poet with writer’s block (Javier Bardem) puts a crystal object on the shelf and a house takes shape. A woman forms under the covers in the bed. It’s his young Wife (Jennifer Lawrence). They live in a fixer upper in the middle of the woods. A Stranger shows up (Ed Harris). The Poet allows him to stay. A woman shows up (Michelle Pfieffer), apparently, the Stranger’s wife. All of this is baffling to the Poet’s Wife.
One thing leads to another, their two sons show up and fight leading to the death of one of them (Cain and Abel?). People start showing up for a wake because the Poet said it was the only human thing to do. These people start tearing up the house and acting odd driving the Wife crazy. One thing leads to another and the Poet and his Wife have sex. Voila! She’s pregnant! Eureka! The Poet’s writers block is gone! He starts writing which makes the Wife happy. Voila! His book is published! The Wife prepares a great meal to celebrate when, suddenly, more people start showing up! The Poet says they just want to show their appreciation of him, they’re his fans, its ok then they start taking over the house and then……phew! It really gets weird.
Obviously, this isn’t meant to be ‘real’. It’s allegorical. There are a lot of bible references in here, Adam and Eve, Caine and Abel and such. My initial reaction was, at first, bored. Then, intrigued. Who are these strangers showing up out of nowhere? What are they going to do? Then “oh, none of this is going to make any sense, is it?”
It seemed to me to be an allegory about the ‘artist’ which I assumed was Aronofsky writing about himself. What he must go through to create and the toll it takes on his relationships and his surroundings, his life. The Poet is a complete egotistical beast who puts his wife through the ringer. Jennifer Lawrence’s character gets completely terrorized, abused and worse by the end of the film. I found it disturbing and the whole exercise unnecessary. I appreciated the performances, all the actors went for it. The photography was beautiful, the filmmaking audacious. Fine. But I didn’t enjoy the film or would consider it a very good film. Aronofsky has made better. All the actors have been in better films.
But I’ll be honest, I’m not big on the abstract. I read an interview with Aronofsky where he describes the film as a biblical allegory about the environment. OK. But that isn’t how it came off to me. It was more as if Rosemary’s Baby (1968) had happened in the middle of Blake Edward’s The Party (1968) then took a left turn onto the set of Full Metal Jacket (1987) then tag on the ending of The Devil’s Advocate (1997). Now you’re starting to get the picture?
It’s thought provoking. It induces conversation along with nausea.
It’s EMMY Awards time again! The second biggest night only to OSCAR night! There have been so many great programs on television in recent years it’s just not fair to choose one show or one performance and say it was the ‘Best’. One of my favorite shows from this past year, The Leftovers wasn’t even nominated! But many great shows were and I will predict what I think will win and what will probably win. I don’t watch the comedy shows so I’m not including them in my predictions. Here we go!
Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul
The Handmaid’s Tale
House Of Cards
This Is Us
My pick is Westworld. It was the most inventive, complicated and satisfying. I have a feeling though that Stranger Things will get the award. Times being what they are, Stranger Things is a show that takes us back to nostalgic times and feels comforting.
Best Actress – Drama
Viola Davis How To Get Away With Murder
Claire Foy The Crown
Elisabeth Moss The Handmaid’s Tale
Keri Russell The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood Westworld
Robin Wright House of Cards
Elisabeth seems to be a shoe in for her first Emmy. She should have won one for Mad Men which makes it even more inevitable. However, if Evan Rachel Wood wins I would be over the moon! She was just amazing in Westworld.
Best Actor – Drama
Sterling K. Brown This Is Us
Anthony Hopkins Westworld
Bob Odenkirk Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys The Americans
Live Schreiber Ray Donavan
Milo Ventimiglia This Is Us
I would love to see Bob Odenkirk get it this year. He has really raised his game each year and gives avery nuanced performance. But Emmy loves movie stars and they usually win when they get nominated so my money is on Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Best Supporting Actress – Drama
Uzo Aduba Orange Is The New Black
Millie Bobby Brown Stranger Things
Ann Dowd The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz This Is Us
Thandie Newton Westworld
Samira Wiley The Handmaid’s Tale
Thandie Newton was amazing as maeve in Westworld. She should win because she deserves to but Stranger Things may have the momentum and everyone loves Millie Bobby Brown aka ’11’.
Best Supporting Actor – Drama
Jonathan Banks Better Call Saul
Ron Cephas Jones This Is Us
David Harbour Stranger Things
Michael Kelly House of Cards
John Lithgow The Crown
Mandy Patinkin Homeland
Jeffrey Wright Westworld
The actor that deserves this award was not even nominated. Michael McKeon gave one of the best performances of the year as Chuck McGill on Better Call Saul. As good as Jonathan Banks is, McKeon should have taken his slot. John Lithgow is going to win. Not only was he great but he’s also a big movie star! Emmy loves that!
Best Director – Drama
Vince Gilligan Better Call Saul
Stephen Daldry The Crown
Reed Morano The Handmaid’s Tale
Kate Dennis The Handmaid’s tale
Lesli Linka Glatter Homeland
The Duffer Brothers Stranger Things
Jonathan Nolan Westworld
This is a tough one – who knows which way the wind will be blowing as the night goes on but Stranger Things needs to be rewarded so this seems the likely spot to do it. However, personally I would like to see Westworld’s Jonathan Nolan take the statue.
Best Writing – Drama
Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields The Americans
Gordon Smith Better Call Saul
Peter Morgan The Crown
Bruce Miller The Handmaid’s Tale
The Duffer Brothers Stranger Things
Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan Westworld
I want to go with Westworld again, of course! But this will most likely go to The Crown and Peter Morgan. Emmy likes to spread it around.
Best Director – Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
Jean-Marc Vallee Big Little Lies
Noah Hawley Fargo
Ryan Murphy Feud: Bette and Joan
Ron Howard Genius
James Marsh The Night Of
Steve Zairian The Night Of
I’m going with Jean-Marc Vallee here. Big Little Lies was beautiful to watch. He got some great performances out of all the actors and he created a great tapestry visually out of a very well written story.
Best Writing – Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
David E. Kelley Big Little Lies
Charles Booker Black Mirror: San Junipero
Noah Hawley Fargo
Ryan Murphy Feud: Bette and Joan
Jaffe Cohen, Michael Zam, Ryan Murphy Feud: Bette and Joan
Richard Price, Steven Zairian The Night Of
David E. Kelly is a long time favorite of EMMY and he deserves to get this award on Sunday. Well written, complicated characters.
Best Supporting Actress – Limited Series or TV Movie
Judy Davis Feud: Bette and Joan
Laura Dern Big Little Lies
Jackie Hoffman Feud: Bette and Joan
Regina King American Crime
Michelle Pfeiffer The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley Big Little Lies
I would pick Laura Dern for Big Little Lies. She plays the ‘villain’ but she delivers a complex performance that makes her character not as one dimensiional as you would expect. But Michelle Pfeiffer – Movie Star – will probably win.
Best Supporting Actor – Limited Series or TV Movie
Bill Camp The Night Of
Alfred Molina Feud: Bette and Joan
Alexander Skarsgard Big Little Lies
David Thewlis Fargo
Stanley Tucci Feud: Bette and Joan
Michael K. Williams The Night Of
I’m going with Alexander Skarsgard here. His performance as an abusive husband was very layered and complicated. But don’t be surprised to see wily old veteran Bill Camp sneak out with the trophy. He was excellent and understated as the retiring detective who can’t rest until he knows he got the right guy in The Night Of. he was also great in The Leftovers this season.
Best Actress – Limited Series or TV Movie
Carrie Coon Fargo
Felicity Huffman American Crime
Nicole Kidman Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon Big Little Lies
This may be the toughest category of the evening. Each one of these performances was perfect. They all were just fantastic and worthy of an Emmy. Also, my theory about how EMMY loves ‘movie stars’ and they usually win if nominated, goes out the window here! They’re all big Oscar winning movie stars except for Carrie Coon. I think Nicole Kidman will win. But Carrie Coon could pull it off precisely because she is the only one who ISN’T a big movie star!
Best Actor – Limited Series or TV Movie
Riz Ahmed The Night Of
Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Robert DeNiro The Wizard of Lies
Ewan McGregor Fargo
Geoffrey Rush Genius
John Turturro The Night Of
I would take John Turturro here. He was really the motor moving The Night Of. Turtorro has been so good for so long and he is way overdue for some acknowledgment. But Bobby DeNiro as Bernie Madoff could take it!
Best Limited Series
Big Little Lies
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Night Of
Another tough one but I have to go with Big Little Lies. It was completely satisfying in all categories.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Real Time With Bill Maher
John Oliver is going to get another Emmy. All these shows are great and look at all the Daily Show alumni! Jon Stewart must be proud!
FTWD is back and it’s time to deal with the aftermath of Jeremiah Otto’s death not to mention the poisoning of the people at the ranch by Ofelia and Walker. How do you move past this and form a unified community?
BROKE JAW RANCH AND THE NATION
Walker and The Nation move in with Otto’s survivalists. They don’t like each other. This situation is doomed. Of course, it would make sense to band together, strength in numbers but too much has gone down between these two groups for them to ever trust each other. Madison and Nick tell a story of how Otto killed himself to end the war with The Nation in the hope that his people would survive but it’s a lie. Jake tries to honor the peace but he’s too weak from anthrax residue sickness to really be a factor. Alicia stands by her man and stands up to her mom, accusing her of standing with Walker against the others. Madison is trying to do what she thinks is best but it’s a lost cause.
Troy will never accept this situation. When Walker decides that he needs to control the arsenal and comes to the house to search for weapons Troy fights back and Nick gets caught up in it. He stays with Troy to talk him down but Troy is intent on fighting even if it means his own death. The only thing that stops Troy is Nick telling him that he killed his father, it wasn’t suicide. Walker exiles Troy and after some pleading from Madison only puts Nick in the hot box.
Madison agrees to drive Troy out of the ranch at Troy’s request. Once they get far enough away Troy kills the one guard that went along and attacks Madison. She manages to get loose and pulls a gun on Troy and gets home to walk away into the wilderness. He’ll be back of course.
On top of these problems Madison discovers that the water source is running dry and they need to start rationing. This leads to Madison and Walker to head out to find more water leaving Alicia and Nick to hold down the fort while they’re gone. The survivalist look to Nick as a leader and Nick goes with it to keep the peace but soon he’s making plans to take over the camp.
Walker’s right hand man is Crazy Dog and while Walker is away he has run ins with Nick and Alicia over the water. The Otto-ites claiming the Indians are talking more of their share of the water and Ofelia and Crazy Dog seeing that the militia is reforming. They do not trust each other. Alicia tries to keep the peace but Nick starts siding more and more with the reformed militia.
DANIEL AND THE DAM
Lola is now free to take water to anyone who needs it. Daniel accompanies her with the water truck in hopes that he might find Ofelia out there one day. Lola understands but cautions him to let it go and move on. On one of their trips to dispense water the crowd turns on Lola, accusing her of hoarding the water. Someone throws a rock that hits her in the head. Daniel gets her out of there.
“A “safe market in unsafe times.”
Madison and Walker find a ‘Barter Town’ type place and plan to exchange gold coins that Walker has in exchange of water. Just when they’re about to make a deal Madison spots Strand being accosted and steps in to help him. He’s in dent to the ‘proctors’ and he cannot leave until his debt is paid. Strand and Madison share a tender moment when he asks if she found Nick and if Alicia is alright. She tells him that both her kids are alive and safe and Strand can see in her face that Travis is not. He takes her in his arms to comfort her. They really share a special bond, respect and affection. When Walker turns him in to salvage their water deal, Strand is tethered to the wall surrounding the ‘Barter Town’ to fend off walkers and work off his debt. He survives until morning when Madison shows up to say that she’s paid his debt with Walker’s money. He tells Walker that Strand will help them get all the water they need at the dam. So off they go! Soon to be reunited with Daniel.
Meanwhile back at the ranch the Otto-ites and the Nation inch closer and closer to confrontation pitting Alicia against her brother Nick. Alicia finally tells them that they’re rationing because they will be out of water in 6 weeks. That’s when the panic begins and pits Nick against Ofelia and Crazy Dog. Nick and the remaining militia decide to act. Nick proposes they try to take the weapons and thereby avoid bloodshed but all they have are knives and bats. Alicia spots some of the indians using a divining rod to search for water and goes along with them. They pick a spot a start digging for water. Nick and his gang approach the house with the weapons that Ofelia and Crazy Dog are guarding. Nick sees Alicia and decides he’d rather help her and the indians dig for water than lead a suicide mission. Ofelia and Crazy Dog see this and decide the same thing. The final image is one of unity – all of them digging, working together to find a solution to their problem.
Why does Madison continue to protect Troy? Why won’t she just kill him? Instead she lets him go knowing full well he’ll come back and wreak havoc on them later on.
Who is Nick anymore? What is his story going to be going forward? I’m not sure yet from these two episodes.
Alicia keeps getting stronger. She still feels like Madison favors Nick over her and she doesn’t trust her mother’s intentions any longer. I see a power struggle coming.
I’m glad Strand has reunited with Madison. They make a good team. We’re getting the band back together!
Now where is Luciana? Why must everyone always be separated on these shows!!
“You’re looking for clues, but you’re missing all the signs.”
Taylor Sheridan wrote the very dark film Sicario (2015) and the Best Picture Oscar nominated modern western noir film from last year Hell or High Water (2016). Wind River finds him directing his own script and it’s another tough, dark but beautiful one. It’s a crime thriller, a whodunit, a search for justice. But like in his other scripts, not even bringing wrong doers to justice brings peace or satisfaction. It’s a hard film. It’s also a very good film.
It’s a murder mystery but it’s where it’s set that sets it apart from other murder mysteries. The action takes place on an Indian reservation in Wyoming called Wind River. Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is the US Fish and Wild Life agent called in to look into the death of a young woman found frozen in the snow. A single FBI agent is brought in to aid in the investigation, a rookie no less. Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent to determine if a murder has taken place and that is not as easy as you would think. Lambert and Banner become an interesting team and together they piece together the crime but it comes at great cost.
“Luck lives in the city. Luck don’t live out here. You understand?”
In a lesser film, these two would get romantically involved but not here. The film keeps its focus on the crime, who did it and why. That is not to say that these two characters don’t get to know and like each other. I also like that they don’t play up the ‘fish out of water’ theme with Banner like you might expect. There is some of that there of course, but again, this is not what the film is about.
“Out here you survive or you surrender.”
You do get to see Lambert’s ex-wife and son and the pain in that relationship. Lambert is also friends with the dead woman’s father, Martin, played nicely by Gil Birmingham. Birmingham was also in Hell Or High Water as Jeff Bridges’ Texas Ranger partner. Lambert understands what Martin is going through. He lost a daughter as well. Their daughters were childhood friends. The investigation takes many twists and turns and the reveal about what happened to the girl is shown in a flashback that is cleverly handled and feeds the film’s momentum without taking you out of what’s happening in the present.
Jeremy Renner is fantastic. He really is a fine actor. He’s not just ‘Hawkeye’ folks! Interestingly enough, Elizabeth Olsen is also an ‘Avenger’! She works alongside Renner in the Avenger films as ‘The Scarlet Witch’. Wind River gives both of these fine actors room to create deep, rich, characters and they play off of each other really well.
The performances are low key and strong. Some nice performances by Graham Green as a local reservation cop who delivers some nice comic relief and Jon Bernthal who also had a small part in Sicario. This is very good story telling, no hyped up action sequences. It is very much like Hell Or High Water, understated but powerful.
I have to say I was very frustrated as the credits rolled on Episode 18 and it was all over. The ending of a show is always a tough one to pull off. The final episodes of the Sopranos and LOST were particularly divisive. If there is going to be a Season 4 then I will feel less angry and see the finale as a cliffhanger in an ongoing story. There are certainly many unresolved questions and story lines. Of course, David Lynch is not concerned with resolution in the usual sense of the word.
David Lynch is very much ‘our Goddard’. Over the years he has become less interested in narrative and more abstract visual artist. These 18 episodes was certainly one masterpiece painting. A painting that referenced all his past work. It could all just be a dream. His dream. His dreams contain both the ethereal and the diabolic. Dreams don’t end with resolution. They end suddenly when we awake.
There were some resolutions to the story, Cooper makes it back to Twin Peaks, sends Evil Cooper back to the Black Lodge, Freddie destroys Bob and Cooper and Diane are reunited. But then it devolves. Another dream begins, one that overlaps with the one we just experienced. A new journey to who knows where. And it ends just as terribly as it did 26 years ago. Anguish, horror, sadness. It’s happening again, AGAIN.
I will get over my anger and frustration. I will watch it again and I will appreciate it more. And I will hope for a fourth season. I will hope I get to see more dreams from David Lynch. Even if they are nightmares.
As I have all season, my recaps are stream of consciousness reaction to what I am seeing. I have added some additional commentary that I have bolded. Thanks for touring the dream with me!
“For 25 years I’ve kept something from you, Albert. Before he disappeared, Major Briggs, told Cooper and I about an evil entity called Jao Day. Over time it’s become ‘Judy’. Cooper said, if I disappear like the others, do everything you can to find me. I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone.”
OK. I’m thinking Judy is now residing in Sarah Palmer.
Cole gets the call from the FBI in Vegas that they found Douglas Jones but he’s gone.
Bushnell Mullins gets on the phone and reads the not Cooper left for Cole.
“Dougie is Cooper? How the hell is this? Pack it up!” I know where he’s going!” Cole
Everyone is converging on Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Office
The jail cells
Who is this weird guy?
All he does is repeat what everyone says
He has to be significant, right? (Turns out he wasn’t. Just a strange creature)
Dark night, dark road
Evil Cooper is on the move
The Lady with No Eyes
What the hell is going on with her?
Jerry thinks he killed someone with his binoculars!
He’s in a Jackson Hole, Wyoming jail (This is the end of Jerry and Ben’s story)
EC is in Twin Peaks
The spot where they found the Lady with No Eyes
What the hell?
Major Briggs is a big floating head!
EC is in a cage
They’re watching what’s going on in Twin Peaks
On giant screen TVs
Evil Cooper reappears
The Lady with No Eyes senses him
He’s in front of the Sheriff’s Department
“What is this?” EC asks
“Agent Cooper! Is that you?” Andy says
The Lady with No Eyes is freaking out!
Deputy Chad has something in his shoe heel
He frees himself from his cell
EC enters the station, meets the new Truman
Lucy is so happy to see him!
Andy offers him a cup of coffee
EC says ‘no thanks’
That should be a tip he isn’t Cooper
Chad gets a gun
Weird guy rips bandage off his face
Andy goes down to the cells
Chad points the gun on him
The British guy uses his ‘Hulk” hand
Pounds the cell door open and knocks out Chad (Chad’s story is done)
The real Cooper calls
Truman takes the call
“Is the coffee on?”
EC and Truman draw guns
But EC gets shot
Lucy nails him!
Cooper tells Truman not to touch the body
Cooper arrives with the Mitchum Brothers and the triplets
Cole, Albert and Tammy arrive
The homeless looking guys show up and start digging into EC’s guts
A big black ball with Bob’s face inside
“Are you Freddie?” Cooper asks
This is why Freddie needed to be in Twin Peaks
He battles the ‘Bob Ball’ with his Hulk Hand.
He finally breaks it into little pieces that disappear into the air
Cooper puts the green ring on EC’s finger
For good this time (I think? I hope)
“Frank, give my regards to Harry”
The Lady with No Eyes touches hands with Cooper
There is a transfiguration
She becomes Diane
With red hair now
“Cooper. The one and only.”
“Do you remember everything?”
“We live inside a dream. I hope I see all of you again. Every one of you.”
Cooper’s face is superimposed over the end of the scene. This will be the last we see of all these characters except for Cooper, Cole and Diane.
We never find out what happened to Audrey.
Cooper, Diane and Cole disappear
They are at The Great Northern
“I’m going through this door. Don’t try to follow me.”
He looks back at Diane
“See you at the curtain call”
He walks through the door
The one armed man
“Through the darkness of futures past.
Fire walk with me”
They are at the Convenience Store
He meets Phillip Jeffries (what he is now)
“The date February 23 1989”
“It’s good to see you again, Cooper. Say hello to Gordon if you see him”
“This is where you’ll find Judy”
The number 8
“Cooper you can go in now. Remember.”
So it seems Cooper is transported back in time to the day that Laura Palmer was killed.
Laura Palmer runs out of her house
Jumps on the back of James’ motorcycle
They stop in the woods
Cooper is there
Laura sees Cooper
“Bobby killed a guy”
Laura is acting weird
Is she a ‘tulpa’?
Is this from ‘Fire Walk With Me?
James driving her home
She jumps off the motorcycle
“I love you, James!”
Laura meets Cooper in the woods
“Do I know you?”
“Wait. I’ve seen you in a dream”
Cooper reaches out his hand
Laura walks to him
She takes his hand
She never meets Renault, Leo and Ronnette
She doesn’t get killed
We see Laura Palmer
Wrapped in plastic
The body disappears
Maybe it never happened?
“Where are we going?” Laura asks
“We’re going home” Coop tells her
It’s the opening scene of the first episode!
Pete tells Catherine he’s going fishing
This time he doesn’t find a body
The Palmer house
Sarah Palmer is moaning and screaming
She smashes the picture of Laura
Cooper leading Laura through the woods
He loses her
The Bang Bang Bar
Back in The Black Lodge
I think this means he no longer exists
The One Armed Man places seeds and Cooper’s hair on a chair
A duplicate Cooper is born
“Where am I?”
It’s the new Dougie!
He rings the doorbell
Janey E answers
They are so happy!
This brings to a close this story. A happy ending! Though we never saw a payoff to Janey E and Diane being sisters.
Cooper and Laura in the woods
He loses her
“Is it future or is it past”
The One Armed Man asks
Is Cooper in The Black Lodge again?
They begin their venture through rooms and curtains
The ‘brain tree’
“I am the arm and I sound like this”
“Is it the story of the little girl whiled down the lane?”
Back to the beginning
Laura whispers something in Cooper’s ear
Then she screams and disappears
Cooper sees Leland
Cooper sees Diane
“Is it you?”
This is the real Cooper and real Diane. Is this the curtain call Cooper spoke of?
Cooper and Diane driving down a road
Is this real?
“Sure you wanna do this?”
“Exactly 430 miles”
They drive through
Day changes to night
What else changed?
They arrive at a motel
Cooper walks in to the office to get a room
Diane sees a second Diane
Is this the room 8 Jeffries told them about?
They enter room 7
They make out
They do more than that
The song from Episode 8 plays
The Platters – My Prayer
She keeps her hands on his face
Cooper seems different now. They have sex in silence. She covers his face because it reminds her of the rape? This may not be Cooper any longer.
The next morning
Cooper in bed alone
Diane is gone
She’s left a note
When you read this I’ll be gone
Please don’t try to find me”
Who is Richard? Audrey’s son was named Richard. By saving Laura could he now be Audrey’s son, Richard in the future?
When Cooper leaves the room
It’s a different hotel
Cooper gets in his car
It’s a windy morning
“Eat at Judy’s”
Cooper takes a booth
“Is there another waitress that works here?”
“Write the address of the other waitress on piece of paper”
Some guys in another booth grab the waitress
“Leave her alone”
They approach Cooper
Pulls a gun
Cooper/Richard takes the gun away
Shoots another in the foot
He puts their guns in the deep fryer
He goes to the address
Knocks on the door
It’s Laura Palmer!
“Did you find him?”
She pretends not to be Laura
She’s not. Her name is Carrie Page
“You’re father’s name was Leland. You’re mother’s name was Sarah”
“What’s going on?”
“I want to take you to your mother’s home.”
She agrees to go with him
He walks into the house
There’s a dead man on the couch
Shot through the head
He doesn’t react
Carrie doesn’t say what happened
They drive to Twin Peaks apparently
How is she still alive?
Was the other Laura a double?
“Is someone following us?”
Cooper doesn’t talk the whole trip
Dark night, dark road
I hope this isn’t Evil Cooper
Laura gets pretty quiet too
They’re in Twin Peaks
Passing the Double R Cafe
They arrive at The Palmer House
She doesn’t recognize it
So she says
Coop knocks on the door
Who is this lady?
Where is Sarah Palmer?
The woman who answers the door does not know a Sarah Palmer
Coop asks who they bought the house from
What is going on?
And where is Audrey?
Coop and Laura walk back to the car in silence
“What year is this?” Coop asks
You hear a voice from the house
The lights go out in the house
Cooper is startled
All goes black
Are you kidding me?
Are you fucking kidding me?
Hello Westerosis! I know Season 8 is 580 days away or something like that but I want to lay down some predictions. They’re saying there will only be six episodes and they will all be 90 minutes or so long so here is what I think the season will look like:
Episodes 1 and 2 will be prep for the War of The Dead
Episode 3 will be The War of The Dead
Episode 4 will be the aftermath of the war and prep for going to war in the South
Episode 5 will be the War for The Iron Throne in King’s Landing
Episode 6 will be wrapping things up and farewells
We didn’t see the end of Tyrion and Cersei’s conversation in Episode 7. The conversation ended with Tyrion’s realization that Cersei is pregnant. I believe Tyrion told her to tell Jon and Daenerys what they wanted to hear, which is, she will honor the truce, knowing she will not. His main objective was to have them deal with the most deadly enemy first then they can deal with Cersei.
Dany will be pregnant with Jon’s baby. Bran and Sam will tell them about who Jon really is. This will be a problem for both of them but I don’t think it will keep them from wanting to be together.
Sansa is now, for all intensive purposes, the leader of The North even when Jon returns. She won’t bend the knee to Daenerys. However, they will agree to deal with that matter after they deal with the Dead.
Bronn will make his way to Winterfell with Jamie. No way is he staying in King’s Landing alone with Cersei.
Tormund, Berrick and Gendry (who I assume was still at Eastwatch) will have survived and make it back to Winterfell. Brienne will be happy to see Tormund. Gendry and Sansa will fancy each other.
The Hound and Arya will be happy to see each other and become fighting buddies!
Bran will warg into Viserion at the right time to avert disaster and help win The War of The Dead.
Jon will kill The Night’s King
The Golden Company will come to King’s landing to fight for Cersei. An old friend will be with them by the name of Daario Naharis. We will finally see Daario and Ser Jorah go head to head! Goodbye Daario!
We will get ‘Clegane Bowl’ next year, probably in Episode 5. The Hound will win.
Cersei will die in childbirth. Since the baby she is carrying is also her ‘brother’ the baby could be considered the younger brother that Maggie the Frog predicted would kill her. I think Cersei will survive the War for The iron Throne and die in the final episode, alone.
Who will die?
Jamie, Tormund, The Mountain, Berrick, Podrick, Ser Davos, Varys, Melisandre, Grey Worm, Daario Naharis, Theon (Theron!), Qyburn, Euron, and Cersei
Who will sit on The Iron Throne?
No one. That is what ‘breaking the wheel’ means.
There are a lot of things I still can’t figure out. I’m not sure Jon survives but if he does I don’t see him wanting to be King or living in King’s Landing. If he dies and Daenerys survives I’m not sure she will still want to be Queen after everything that will have happened. It may turn out that the survivors form a council and together govern over the Seven Kingdoms.
I’m sure I will adjust some thinking but I wanted to throw this out there and get the conversation started! As if any of you haven’t already read a dozen articles with various theories.
And I don’t believe Bran is The Night’s King!
OK. We’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We start to understand what is going on with Diane and Evil Cooper. We get the triumphant return of Dale Cooper! Audrey does her famous trance dance and we sort of find out all of her story line is some sort of hallucination. She’s in a hospital of some kind. The last two hours may resemble the final two hours of the original show; a mad dash to shoehorn everything in before time runs out. On the with rundown of events as I experienced them
Evil Cooper and Richard
Is EC his father?
Did EC do something terrible to Audrey?
This kid is pure evil just like EC
EC is driving to certain coordinates
He stops the truck and looks up
towards the sky
They get out of the car
“I’m looking for a place”
“Three people have given me coordinates to this place. Two have matched”
He pulls out some binoculars
Of course, looks through the wrong end
EC hands Richard the cell and tells him to go up the hill
“Let me know what you find”
Richard climbs on top of the big rock on the hill
“I’m there!” He shouts
As he gets zapped by electricity!
he blows up
“Goodbye, my son” EC says and walks back down the hill to his truck
So EC knows that this was his son but killed him anyway
Jerry freaks out
The Jones Residence
Hutch and Chantal pull up in their van
Look disguised as house painters
Two cars pull up
Hey! That’s Stan from Mad Men!
Dougie is in the hospital
Tubes in his mouth
He’s in a coma
Janey and Sonny Jim by his side
Bushnell (Don Murray) shows up
The Mitchum brothers show up
And also the three blonde gals
They bring a tray of finger sandwiches!
“All things considered he looks good!”
They ask for the key to their house1
They want to stock their house with food!
These guys are now so lovable!
Surrounded by electronic gadgets
Listening, as if he could sense
Cooper is alive somewhere
Jane takes Sonny Jim to the little boys’ room
Bushnell gets a call
The FBI was at the office looking for Dougie
They’re on their way to the hospital
Chantal and Hutch are still outside Dougie’s house
An SUV also pulls up
The Mitchum Brothers pull up their limo
And a big van!
They’ve brought a ton of food!
Another car pulls up
Parks right in front of the van with Hutch and Chantal
They’re in his driveway
“Go fuck yourself!” Chantal screams
The guy rams the van!
The FBI guys do nothing
Chantal; starts shooting
The guy gets a gun out of his trunk!
Chantal and Hutch try to drive away
But this guy has a machine gun
He stands in the middle of the street and shoots up the van
Killing Chantal and Hutch
The Mitchum Brothers come out with their guns
“What kind of neighborhood is this?”
Now the FBI guys come out!
Dougie still in a coma
Bushnell hears a ringing
Like the ringing in Ben Horne’s office
He follows it out of the room
The one armed man materializes
Dougie suddenly gets up
“You are awake”
“One hundred percent”
He tells Cooper that the other Cooper did not come back
He hands Cooper the green ring
“Do you have the seed?”
The golden pellet
Cooper pulls some hair out of his head and hands it to him
“I need you to make another one”
Janey and Sonny Jim come back
“Bushnell pass me some of those sandwiches. I’m starving!”
“Dad, sure is talking a lot”
He has Bushnell call the Mitchum Brothers
Cooper tells them to meet him in the lobby of the casino in 20 minutes
and to gas up the jet
They need to go to Spokane, Washington
“What is Dougie up to now?
“Bushnell Mullins you’re a good man”
“What do you me to tell the FBI?
“I AM The FBI”
Cooper gets in the driver’s seat
The Twin Peaks Theme plays
He takes off with Janey and Sonny Jim
As the FBI arrive at the hospital
Diane is having a drink at he hotel bar
She gets the text from EC
She gets a sudden jolt
“Oh Coop. I remember”
She texts him back a set of coordinates
“I hope this works”
She has a gun in her purse
She gets in the elevator
She goes up to the room
Stands outside the door
“Come in Diane!” Gordon shouts
Diane finally tells them about the night Cooper visited her
“One night, no knock, no doorbell. He just walked in.”
“He saw the fear in me and he smiled”
This was Evil Cooper
He raped her
He took her to the gas station
She looks at her phone
At the text
“I’m not me! I’m not me!”
She pulls out the gun from her purse
She points it at Cole
Tammy and Albert pull out their guns
They shoot Diane
That was a doppelganger
Diane is in the Black Lodge
“Someone manufactured you”
“I know. Fuck you”
Then her face cracks open
A gold pellets comes out of it
The Silver Mustang Casino
Cooper has to say goodbye to Janey and Sonny Jim
It’s very heartfelt
They are heartbroken
Sonny Jim doesn’t understand
But Janey does
This isn’t Dougie
“You’ve made my heart so full”
“Dougie….I will come back.”
Cooper turns and walks away
Janey runs after him
“Whoever you are…thank you”
Cooper in the limo
“You don’t sell insurance. You’re an FBI agent who’s been missing for 25 years and we need to get you to a town called Twin Peaks to a sheriff’s station”
“Dougie, we love you but we are not traditionally welcomed in such places”
“Friends, that’s about to change. I am witness to the fact that you both have hearts of gold”
The Bang Bang Bar
The Roadhouse is proud to welcome
Edward Lewis Sevrinsen
AKA Eddie Vedder
Audrey and Charlie!
They made it to the Roadhouse!
Who is Billy?
“Ladies and gentleman! Audrey’s dance!”
The dance floor clears.
The Twin Peaks music plays
Audrey starts to go into her trance
She ambles out onto the dance floor
She does her interpretive dance
as everyone watches and sways
Then some guy yells
Throws a bottle at another guy
She runs to Charlie
“Get me out of here!”
Then suddenly somewhere else
She’s in a white gown
Looking into a mirror
Perhaps she’s been in a hospital all along
Charlie is her doctor?