FWWM was my introduction to Twin Peaks and to David Lynch. I must have been ten at the time—maybe not the most appropriate thing for a ten-year-old to see, but I think I turned out okay. *smiles maniacally*
My older cousin basically twisted my arm into renting it at Blockbuster Video back when it was a new release. “It was a good show,” she told me. I had the vaguest notion of Twin Peaks as a soap opera and was prepared for an utter snooze-fest. Well, it was anything but!
I guess having my cousin around helped to some extent. Every once in a while she would chime in with commentary: “Oh, that’s a different actress for some reason,” or “He was the main character from the show.” Of course, most of it still didn’t make a lick of sense. Time-shifting David Bowie on the security cam might have been the biggest WTF-moment for me. Hell, I still have trouble wrapping my head around that.
While I couldn’t comprehend much of it on an intellectual level, I definitely had a strong visceral reaction to the film. BOB and the other Lodge inhabitants scared the hell out of me—as they would most anyone—but even the more benign scenes were imbued with an uneasiness and dread. For example, I never thought I could be so scared of a telephone pole! Nobody can make an inanimate object quite as menacing during daytime as David Lynch, am I right?
When the movie ended, my cousin and I just sat in silence, neither of us sure of how to process it all. I honestly didn’t know if I liked it or not. Sure, I found it scary... even titillating (my cousin might have fast-forwarded through all the naked bits, but in the words of Patrick Stewart, I had SEEN EVERYTHING
) I think the sheer strangeness was simultaneously repulsive and intriguing. Maybe it helped that I was a fan of the paranormal segments on Unsolved Mysteries, which evoked a similar can’t-look-away terror.
Anyway, my curiosity was piqued enough that I decided to dive into the series. Knowledge of the killer didn’t preclude enjoyment of the show, which provided a levity and rich cadre of charming characters missing from the film. I was still shaken by the closing moments of episode 14—the brutality of Maddie’s death coupled with the profound beauty/sadness of Julee Cruise in the Roadhouse remains to this day, the most powerful piece of television and my favorite Twin Peaks moment.
FWWM certainly has its share of powerful moments. Some of the Lodge stuff and the sequence with Mrs. Tremond’s picture frame are quite effective examples of surrealistic horror. The Pink Room is still dementedly hypnotic. Laura’s end scenes are harrowing and stands amongst Lynch’s most affecting work (though, as LostInTheMovies noted, Cooper seems shoehorned in there for those unfamiliar with the show). There is a lot to like about FWWM when breaking down the pieces, but something doesn’t quite add up when you put it all together. It feels overwrought and filled with a few too many loose threads. Laura’s story stands alone and feels complete, but how many characters are introduced and dismissed before you can begin to care?
I’m not sure if I’m in the minority, but I actually love the Deer Meadow prologue. It’s unique in tone and perfectly embodies the aforementioned Lynchian dread and mystery. I understand its use as a narrative bridge, providing backstory to the killings, the owl ring, etc. The amount of screen time devoted to Desmond and Stanley is pretty significant, but I sometimes I think the movie would have been better served with either less time focused on them or even more. In my ideal world, we would have a trilogy of Twin Peaks movies: one focusing on Teresa Banks, one on Laura Palmer, and another picking up after the series with Cooper/BOB. Lynch had too many stories to tell and not enough time—just look at all of the series characters cut from the film.tl;drWatching the movie as a preadolescent confounded but didn’t turn me away from the show. Upon viewing of the series, my appreciation for the movie grew, but to this day it remains an imperfect movie containing several great setpieces.