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On the Air, the second show from Twin Peaks creators Mark Frost and David Lynch, barely registered in the public consciousness when it premiered on ABC in 1992. The show’s seven episodes are now available on YouTube, and did the rounds at the very end of last year.

There’s a reason the show had little post-broadcast life and is all but forgotten: it isn’t very good. An attempt to create a zany behind-the-scenes look at live TV comedy in the late ’50s, On the Air is a bit like David Lynch doing 30 Rock. While the show did have the input of Twin Peaks creators Frost and Lynch, it stalled quickly, sliding into repetition and stale gags. Seven episodes were shot, but only three aired.

But wait! I didn’t write this piece just to say “here’s a thing, it’ kinda sucks.” In fact the pilot, written by Frost and Lynch and directed by Lynch, is actually pretty terrific. (In 1997 it was ranked squarely in the middle of a list of the 100 best TV episodes ever made.)

Now, Twin Peaks is in the ether again. David Lynch is evidently shooting something Peaks-related next week, which is probably a web-bound promo for the complete box set we know to be coming later this year. So it’s a good time to revisit On the Air. Because whatever intentions Frost and Lynch may have had, that first episode is like one long dream sequence that reconfigures and laughs at the whole experience of creating Twin Peaks. Read More »

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Over the years Trent Reznor has been the benificiary of some of the most memorable music videos created for a rock band. Nine Inch Nails came to the forefront of the ’90s rock scene thanks to great songwriting and a violently energetic stage presence, but having a video like the one Mark Romanek made for ‘Closer’ sure didn’t hurt. Reznor was willing to play with the video form, producing long efforts destined to get zero airplay. The ‘Happiness in Slavery’ video in which performance artist Bob Flanagan (see also the documentary Sick) is torn to pieces is one of the better horror shorts of the decade.

All of which is a long way of saying that Reznor and Nine Inch Nails are no strangers to working with exemplary directors. Reznor reformed the band over the past year, and recently released a new single. ‘Came Back Haunted’ is a more dance-ready track than much of his work, but it has a great lean sound and much of the signature attitude and atmosphere of classic Nine Inch Nails.

And now it has a video from David Lynch, which you can see below. Read More »

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the state of David Lynch‘s film career at this point. Outside the occasional fashion ad, music video or (admittedly pretty awesome) short film, the guy doesn’t now fall back to the movie camera as his primary creative device.

But there are signs that he’s not done with film yet. One is the revelation that he’s working on a new feature script. And the other is that his occasional acting resume will be bolstered with an appearance in the new film from his daughter, Jennifer Lynch. Read More »

David Lynch got his filmmaking start with short films, and of late the short form seems to be what he’s most interested in whenever he goes back to the moving image. One of his latest works is a short called Idem Paris. Like his early film shorts, it represents an intersection between the worlds of film and art, albeit in a different form.

Anyone looking for a narrative experience here is going to be disappointed, as the film is essentially a documentary, free of any narration, that watches lithographic printmakers at work in a facility in Paris.

But those who appreciate Lynch’s affinity for tone may welcome this short. The high-contrast black and white images, the focus on specific machinery, and the clanking and hissing array of sounds within all call back to Lynch’s early shorts, and his feature debut Eraserhead. Read More »

Every once in a while a strong rumor surfaces about the possible return of Twin Peaks, which was a TV smash in 1990 and then fizzled out in a truncated, unresolved second season the following year. Despite the fact that David Lynch seems more interested in music than anything else of late, recent comments from his Peaks co-producer Mark Frost vaguely suggested a possible return for the show.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, an anonymous comment on 4chan (yeah, seriously) led to a widespread rumor that Lynch and Frost had met with NBC about reviving the show. (Despite the fact that ABC originally aired the series.)

Now Frost has spoken up to push the rumor way back from reality — the reality being that Peaks is still dead and likely to stay that way. Read More »

I’ve ingested a lot of Twin Peaks trivia over the years, but this is a tasty new morsel: evidently Steven Spielberg was such a fan of the show’s first season that he got into some talks to direct the second season opener. What happened? Series co-creator David Lynch wanted to do the episode himself, and did.

As it turned out that was a good call. That episode features some of the show’s best ‘Lynchian’ moments, such as the first appearance of “senior droolcup” (venerable Western character actor Hank Worden) and his giant analog (Carel Struycken). It also pushed the show deeper into pure soap opera territory, but that was balanced by the vision of the horrifying death of Laura Palmer in the train car, which is still one of the freakiest damn things ever broadcast on television.

After the break, get the quote from Peaks producer Harley Peyton about Spielberg’s brush with the show. Read More »

It’s easy to overlook the fact that David Lynch‘s career is inexorably linked to Mel Brooks. The two men don’t seem to have much in common. But  when Lynch’s first feature Eraserhead was on screens, one of Brooks’ producers, Stuart Cornfeld, saw the film and recommended Lynch as someone to work with. That ended up leading to The Elephant Man, which landed Lynch a Best Director Oscar nomination and established him as a filmmaker who could do more than outrageously weird stories.

Lynch had also been part of AFI’s class of 1970 — Eraserhead was made during Lynch’s tenure at the school — and yesterday AFI honored both Lynch and Brooks with honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees. That’s one shot of the two men at the ceremony, above, but there is a much better image of the two grads below. Read More »

The technology used to make films has been changing at a rapid pace for the past twenty years. Digital video has gone from being an upstart media to a primary means for creating movies. Major companies are no longer producing new film cameras. Native 3D requires shooting on digital, but the popularity of IMAX keeps some film purists going. Companies like Kodak are experiencing tougher times than ever.

Side by Side is a documentary directed by Chris Kenneally in which Keanu Reeves (who also produced) talks about film and video with a wide variety of filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese, Andy & Lana Wachowski, Christopher Nolan, Walter Pfister, David Fincher and many, many more.

See a trailer below. Read More »

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