Sunday Salon: Spring Break Viewing

The Dream Horse from Twin Peaks. Putting a spotlight on it like this was a simple idea that produced a powerful affect. Using it later, during the second murder really disturbed me.

Spring break started yesterday with a full day of rain.  If you’re celebrating that, then you know you’re living in California during a drought year.  Many people are very, very worried about the drought.  I’m worried about the drought, but I’m not panicked yet.  Climate change is a serious thing, and I’m sure we’re going to end up dryer overall here in the American Southwest as a result of it, but it’s too soon to panic.  I’ve been through two droughts in my life–we have a serious one every ten to fifteen years in California–and I survived them both as did my garden.

My garden was planned with drought years in mind.

I spent much of yesterday reading Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend.  But, since I’ll be posting a review tomorrow or Tuesday, I thought I’d talk about television today.

I’m in the midst of re-watching two classics from the 1990’s, Twin Peaks and The X-Files.

Both are lots of fun the second time around.  Twin Peaks, which was daring in its day, still has the power to shock.  It’s given me a couple of very strange dreams and has truly frightened me a couple of times.

The X-Files isn’t really scary, creepy is more like it, but it’s got plenty of suspense and there is no denying the whole Mulder/Scully chemistry.  That certainly still works.

I just watched a terrific movie that I think slipped by un-noticed based on a popular YA novel,  How I Live Now.  It’s a British production about an American teenager who is caught in England when a war breaks out. She’s living on her cousins family farm in the remote countryside essentially having the time of her life until the day a group of soldiers show up and start shooting.


I loved it.  The whole idyllic sense of a group of isolated kids having an adventure with no adults around felt completely natural.  None of them pay attention to the news, which felt true to me, so the war happens around them.  They remain unaware, as does the audience, of the wars causes, unconcerned with politics.  At no point in the film do we really know what’s going on as far as the bigger picture is concerned.  We’re just with the kids, hoping they can survive long enough to get back to together and get back to the farm.  The camera work and the over-saturated color palette made for a surprisingly beautiful movie.

If you’ve got Netflix you really should try it out. It’s on streaming.

Lastly, I started watching a really pompous documentary called The Story of Film.  Using the word ‘film’ instead of movies hints at pomposity, but when the narrator consistently says ‘cinema,’ look out.  But even though it’s pompous, I’ve enjoyed the first episode enough to watch more.  Episode one looked at the very early days 1895 to 1922.  One bit I’ll share is the director Lois Weber, who made movies in the nineteen teens including this little gem below called “Suspense.” It’s only eleven minutes long but it’s packed with wonderful camera work.  Note the use of mirror shots, the split screen scenes and the incredible close-up of the killer seen from the window above.

And enjoy your Sunday, rain or shine.

5 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Spring Break Viewing

  1. Wasn’t the book a Newbery winner? Not sure, but I must find out. Have to add this movie to my queue. Thank you!

  2. I don’t know that we are officially in a drought here but we always get very excited when there is rain. Most weeks though we just watch as any forecasted rain disappears.

    I loved watching The X-Files when it was originally on. Scott has never watched the show and I’ve suggested we watch…but right now we are tied up in Lost for the first time.

    Enjoy your spring break James! (I’m not sure I’ll ever stop thinking of you as CB…)

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