David Lynch: Master of Expressionist Surrealism (Part III)

This article is the third and final entry in my short series dedicated to understanding the hybridization of the German Expressionist and Surrealist artistic/cinematic styles in the work of David Lynch in general and in Twin Peaks: The Return in particular. In Part I, I provided some definitions and historical contexts for an understanding of …

David Lynch: Master of “Expressionist Surrealism” (Part II)

Last week, I wrote the first entry of a short, three-part series dedicated to examining the dual influences of German Expressionism and Surrealism in the work of David Lynch. I noted in the previous post that we can think about Lynch's unique combination of these two artistic styles as "Expressionist Surrealism" (my own term). While …

David Lynch: Master of “Expressionist Surrealism” (Part I)

I'm certainly not the first to point out that the work of David Lynch draws on the artistic traditions of both German Expressionism and Surrealism. Anyone familiar with these, two of the most powerful art movements of the past 100 years, can recognize immediately how Lynch uses them across his body of work. In his …

Lessons of Lynch: Embrace Ambiguity and Relish Your Writerly Role

I'm not special because I loved Twin Peaks: The Return in its entirety (including its finale). In fact, I'll be the first person to admit that I'm not special at all for any reason. I'm just a quiet, middle-aged guy up the street who likes baseball (not football), craves Mexican food, enjoys good movies and …

“You’ve Filled My Heart with Such Joy”: Cooper’s Unconscious Cataloging of Love

Watching Part 16 of Twin Peaks: The Return, I couldn't help but feel moved by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper's "100-percent" awakening and, perhaps even more so, by his expressions of love and appreciation for the people who cared for him in his "DougieCoop" incarnation during the preceding few days. As he knelt with Janey-E …

The Surprising (Other) Reason for the Sunset Boulevard Allusion in Twin Peaks

Why is Billy Wilder's self-reflexive noir triumph, Sunset Boulevard (1950), the film chosen to serve as what may very well be the catalyst for Cooper's re-awakening in Twin Peaks: The Return? Aside from the obvious facts (e.g., that in Sunset Boulevard, film director Cecil B. DeMille utters a name shared by a major Twin Peaks …

Evil Times Complicate Cooper’s Lovably Ridiculous Perfection

Times have always been troubled in America--but they seem particularly so as of late. Hate and violence seem to stalk us, largely because of our (perhaps willful) refusal to confront the demons of our own national past. Now would seem to be a good time for a fully empowered FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle …

How Are We Meant to Handle Dramatic Social Commentary in Twin Peaks?

By Douglas Cunningham Twin Peaks is known for its strange amalgamation of absurdity, melodrama, and surrealism. David Lynch and Mark Frost walk the delicate tightrope of this combination with a joyful and brazen recklessness, never shying from the sheer audacity of their vision. Lynch and Frost don’t bend sticks until they almost break; rather, they …

Janey-E Is the Best New Character in Twin Peaks

  We’ve got gold-spewing giants. We’ve got evil-birthing atomic explosions. We’ve got lighter-seeking, skull-crushing woodsmen. We’ve got interdimensional portals in large glass boxes. And the hyper-intuitive hero who can understand it all is trapped in a childlike stupor. Still. Feels a bit overwhelming, no? Good thing we’ve also got Janey-E, the laser-focused Mama Grizzly at …