Seeing FWWM before the series

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David Locke
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Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby David Locke » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:07 am

Forgive me if there was a thread on this not long ago. I'm very intrigued by the idea of watching FWWM for the first time without having seen the series beforehand. I know at least one person who's done this, and have read about many others online who have as well. And, almost uniformly, they tend to like FWWM much more than those who saw the show first. It seems to do two main things -- become more readily appreciable without the weight of series expectations; and seem even weirder than it already is, without the context of having seen these characters/mythology/weirdness before in the show.

So, for those here who had this viewing experience the first time they watched Peaks... what was it like? Please do tell. I kind of wish I could have done the same, because the difference in tone and graphic content between the series/FWWM was a big part of why the movie turned me off the first couple times. I imagine it must seem even more imaginative, unusual, creepy, sad and overwhelming without having seen S1 & 2. And then, conversely, I imagine that the series must have a dark shadow over it when seen the first time with the harsh truths of FWWM already in mind. Of course seeing FWWM first spoils the WKLP mystery, and that's unfortunate, but maybe I don't even think about this aspect much precisely because I very stupidly spoiled myself right when I started the series (and still, of course, loved it).
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Snailhead
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Re: Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby Snailhead » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:34 pm

Very interesting idea, though I'm glad I didn't watch it til after. I would never trade that original experience of seeing Leland look in the mirror in Ep 14 - one of the most chilling things I've ever seen, with all that build-up.
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Cipher
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Re: Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby Cipher » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:10 pm

I'll never get to have this experience, but I can say that Fire Walk With Me didn't click nearly as well for me until I recently watched it removed from the series (during a sort of Lynch marathon rather than just coming off of episode 29, and consciously trying to view it as a stand-alone feature).

I think the film is somewhat diminished for trying to mine it for clue into the series' mythology, and especially if one is taking in the baggage of Leland-as-victim from episodes 15-17. As a look into the ramifications of abuse, however, presented through the lens of emotionally resonant cosmic weirdness present in all post-FWWM Lynch movies, I think it works amazingly well, and I found myself moved by it for the first time.

Knowing then, that the things hinted at in the movie were given greater context in the series, along with what Laura's plight means within them, made it even better.

When I first watched it, it was an okay episode 30/unintended conclusion to Twin Peaks. When I finally watched it "on its own," it became my third-favorite Lynch film.

At this point I'd just as happily recommend starting with Fire Walk With Me, if someone is open to how Lynch's films work, as I would the pilot. If, sure, one or the other between the movie and episode 14 is going to be robbed of some of its impact based on which you start with, I'd rather it be the one-time shock of 14 (which is still plenty shocking without its plot-level reveal) than this incredibly powerful film.
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Framed_Angel
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Re: Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby Framed_Angel » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:04 pm

This comment has two parts.
A.) Re: the OP inquiry: while I myself had seen TP in its original run and FWWM in the theater at the time -- this past weekend I took my BF to a screening of FWWM where fans were celebrating its 25th anniversary.
My Bf has never cared for TP. He never saw the whole series, he says it seemed "stupid" and purposefully obtuse or something. However, he did enjoy Blue Velvet back in the day and even Dune; while Eraserhead left him a little "weirded out" at least it had some impact on him so I last year invited him to watch TP S1 with me for a few episodes. Again, he felt disappointed with it -- but he met me at the FWWM screening this weekend and we watched it w/ about 40-50 others.

Chatting via email the next day: "I'm fine if I never go to see a David Lynch film again."

Then his reply as we were emailing the SECOND day: "Maybe the film wasn't as bad as all that."

He went on to critique it, saying it seemed sloppily hashed-together and left too many situations unresolved: the obvious ones, what became of Chester Desmond and "the Bowie character." Yet I was grinning at the changing attitude apparent in his remarks.

I myself found the music upon viewing this time around, soooo enthralling. I hadn't recalled the jazz pieces informing so many of the scenes. Beautiful work, and Julee Cruise's "Questions in a World of Blue" utterly transporting, as it played in my head all the following day after the screening.

B.) I couldn't help but notice during the scene in the morgue at Deer Meadow, not only the emphasis on the time of day ("It's 4:30") but also in the ramshackle cabin converted to a morgue you see at one point over Sam Stanley's head a percolator-style coffeepot stored on a shelf. It probably means nothing really, since at that point in time Jeffries hadn't found his way into a teapot structure yet. Still, I took a screencap when I got home.
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Snailhead
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Re: Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby Snailhead » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:38 am

Cipher wrote:At this point I'd just as happily recommend starting with Fire Walk With Me, if someone is open to how Lynch's films work, as I would the pilot. If, sure, one or the other between the movie and episode 14 is going to be robbed of some of its impact based on which you start with, I'd rather it be the one-time shock of 14 (which is still plenty shocking without its plot-level reveal) than this incredibly powerful film.


I adore Fire Walk With Me - one of my fave films ever - but it's more than the "one-time shock" of 14 that is lost - it's the entire mystery of who killed Laura from the pilot through to 14 ! That's one hell of a sacrifice.
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Cipher
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Re: Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby Cipher » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:16 am

Snailhead wrote:
Cipher wrote:At this point I'd just as happily recommend starting with Fire Walk With Me, if someone is open to how Lynch's films work, as I would the pilot. If, sure, one or the other between the movie and episode 14 is going to be robbed of some of its impact based on which you start with, I'd rather it be the one-time shock of 14 (which is still plenty shocking without its plot-level reveal) than this incredibly powerful film.


I adore Fire Walk With Me - one of my fave films ever - but it's more than the "one-time shock" of 14 that is lost - it's the entire mystery of who killed Laura from the pilot through to 14 ! That's one hell of a sacrifice.

Fair; though even on my first viewing, with an old girlfriend, when neither of us knew who the killer us, I don't recall the mystery being a driving factor for either of us in continuing the series.

For me the trade-off was that on first viewing, the power of Fire Walk With Me was diminished, as I was breadcrumbing for connections to the established mythology rather than letting it play out somewhat inscrutably (though perfectly effectively) on its own.

Maybe the mystery stands out more strongly for people who viewed it during the original airing one week at a time. But at least with the ability to binge a few episodes at a time encountering the series through modern streaming or home releases, it's just one hook among many, and I have to imagine that "the series the further contextualizes the events of Fire Walk With Me" would be a particularly strong one in its place.
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Seeing FWWM before the series

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:45 pm

Yeh when I recently watched the show with my girlfriend (her first time), I think she just assumed the payoff would be a letdown. I mean, most mystery resolutions are letdowns (there are only so many suspects), and TP tended to be pretty cheeky with clues (stone-throwing, &c.), indicating that the show itself wasn't really taking the mystery all that seriously. I let her keep her expectations low (she figured it would be Ben from early season 1, so she played RIGHT into L/F's hands). When the show went there, it hit her like a ton of bricks.

I always watch FWWM before the series on rewatches, but I'd hate to rob any first-time viewer of that skin-crawling moment.

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