The Shelf: MST3K, TWIN PEAKS, Werner Herzog
By Kyle Anderson on July 29, 2014
Holy cats (and also any other animal you may enjoy), this week has got three astoundingly awesome box sets ready for the binge-watching. Two of them are from cult television show, one of which being perhaps the funniest time you have watching garbage movies, the other a cultural phenomenon that spawned weirdness and speculation the world over. And the third box set is 16 films from one of filmmaking’s true originals. Other movies are coming out also, but we know where we sit, don’t we?
It’s baffling that not only is MST3K 25+ years old, that it’s been off the air for 15 years, and that people still love it to pieces, but that there could be 30 volumes of DVD releases and still not everything’s come out! It’s astounding. This, the triple x edition (though not at all rated that) of Shout Factory’s patented four-episode box sets has some really fantastic episodes that, naturally, will make your belly and mouth hurt from laughing so much.
In the set there’s “The Black Scorpion,” Episode 113 and the last to feature J. Elvis Weinstein; “Outlaw,” Episode 519, Mike Nelson’s seventh episode as host; “The Projected Man,” Episode 901 from the Sci-Fi Channel days and the first to feature Castle Forrester; and “IT Lives By Night,” Episode 1010, a show that has nothing notable about it besides being frigging hysterical. Each disc has extras, though some have more than others. The best stuff is on the “Outlaw” disc with interviews with that film’s director and producer, and an interview with the publisher/friend of John Norman, the writer of the Gor novels, on which Outlaw was based.
Obviously, it’s a great set and four episodes totally worthy of your 95-minutes a pop.
When it premiered in 1990, David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks was a cultural phenomenon, becoming one of TV’s most watched miniseries and garnering 14 Emmy nominations. People were fascinated by the dark, horrific, and unbelievably weird series about an FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) who comes to a quirky mountain town to help solve the murder of high schooler Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). It was appointment television, and was perhaps the most perfect version of Lynch’s trademark subversion of Americana and stark, disturbing imagery coupled with humor.
The ratings began to dwindle in the second season once the mystery wrapped up and a new plot was unfolding. Eventually, the series ended after only those two seasons, however interest (and in some corners of the world, pandemonium) about the show persisted until, in 1992, Lynch made Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, a movie which served as both a prologue and epilogue to the series, and also being full of all the weird and dark things Lynch probably wanted to do on network TV but couldn’t.
Now we have “The Entire Mystery,” a new Blu-ray set which contains every episode of the television series as well as Fire Walk with Me on ten discs, including brand new retrospective material. The biggest new feature is “The Missing Pieces,” the first time ever the 90 minutes of scenes cut out of Fire Walk with Me have been presented anywhere, cleaned up and editing properly with supervision from Lynch himself. It basically doubles the amount of things you see in the movie.
This is the absolute definitive version of the Twin Peaks saga and one not to miss for fans of the show or just those interested in delving deeper into Lynch’s warped mind.
Herzog: The Collection
One of the most fascinating and eccentric filmmakers ever, German auteur Werner Herzog has made movies since the late-1960s and has treated every subject, every genre, every style, both narrative and documentary, with the same level of import and with his own unique eye and temperament. Because he’s now regarded with a lot of humor, with his laconic southern-German accent and penchant for saying flowery sentences about how awful nature his, it’s easy to forget just what a powerful and important figure his is to world cinema. This is why the new release of a 16 film retrospective boxset comes as such a godsend for film fans who love the director’s work but haven’t had many of his most famous works available to them.
Herzog – The Collection spans nearly 30 years of the director’s storied career and includes his best-known works as well as some that have been out of the public eye for far too long. The set, which is in a classy book case, contains 45 full-color pages of history and information about Herzog and the making of these 16 films by writers Stephen J. Smith, Brad Prager, and Chris Wahl. This is like a Taschen book built into a Blu-ray box set and is full of wonderful and humorous information, quite befitting the subject himself.
Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is a revisionist retelling of the biblical flood story, being told more as a myth than as a parable or of anything that might truly have happened (differing belief structures are available). The film stars Russell Crowe as the titular man who becomes solely responsible for saving all the animals on Earth when he is told by the Big Guy Upstairs of the impending flood. Scenes of all the mythical creatures he didn’t save are present as well. The film becomes more of a fantasy allegory and character study than we’ve seen with the source material, but its spectacle and energy keeps people interested.
Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton play three women who are all being cheated on by the same guy (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and who decide to get revenge on him. Is it good that women bond over mutual hatred? Who knows, but the movie attempts to tell us it is. The, even though it’s about three women, barely passes the Bechdel Test, being that they are almost always talking about men and being mistreated by them. Still, it might be for some of you.
A film with one of the best and most beloved soundtracks of all time, full of great Motown hits, Lawrence Kasdan’s 1983 movie explores friendships and times gone by when seven former college chums reunite for a weekend at a house in South Carolina following the death of another friend. Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly, and Jo Beth Williams all star.