A Movie A Day #95: The Return of Josey Wales (1986, directed by Michael Parks)

Four years before he played Jean Reanult on Twin Peaks, actor Michael Parks starred in and made his directorial debut with the obscure western, The Return of Josey Wales.

As is obvious from the title, The Return of Josey Wales is a sequel to the iconic Clint Eastwood western, The Outlaw Josey Wales.  In fact, The Return of Josey Wales was based on a novel that author Forrest Carter wrote after the initial success of Eastwood’s film.  Originally, Clint himself was going to direct and star in the sequel.  However, Eastwood withdrew from the project and it would be years before The Return of Josey Wales would eventually be made with a miniscule budget and given a very limited theatrical release.  By the time the film was released, it had long since been discovered that Forrest Carter, who had always portrayed himself as being a Cherokee shaman-turned-writer, was actually Asa Earl Carter, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan who had previously worked as a speech writer for arch segregationist, George Wallace.

Along with taking over from Eastwood as the film’s director, Michael Parks also took over the role of Josey Wales.  Having faked his death, Josey is now living on a small farm in Texas and going out of his way not to draw attention to himself.  One day, a man named Paco (Paco Vela) shows up and tells Josey that a corrupt Mexican policeman has killed one of Josey’s friends and locked another one up in prison.  It’s time for Josey to say goodbye to his new wife, jump on a horse, and head down to Mexico.

The Return of Josey Wales never escapes the shadow of The Outlaw Josey Wales, even though the two films have little in common.  As a director, Michael Parks is no Clint Eastwood and his reliance on stock footage reveals how little of a budget he had to work with.  As an actor, Parks gives a totally different performance from Clint Eastwood’s.  Clint’s Josey Wales was hardened and embittered by his experiences.  Michael Parks plays Josey more as an underestimated hick who is not afraid to use a gun if he has to.  There is a lot of Earl McGraw in this version of Josey Wales.  That does not mean that Michael Parks gives a bad performance.  In fact, his performance is the best thing in the film.

The Return of Josey Wales is for Western completists only.

(This review originally stated that Eastwood left the project after it was revealed that Forrest Carter was Asa Carter.  According to Dan T. Carter’s comment below, Eastwood actually left the sequel long before Forrest Carter’s actual identity was revealed.)

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter)


The third episode of season two opens at the hospital, where Ronette Pulaski (Pheobe Augustine) is having another freak out while Harry (Michael Ontkean), Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), and Albert (Miguel Ferrer) look on.  Someone tried to poison her IV.  Cooper discovers that someone has also put a “B” under Ronette’s fingernail.  Harry says that Ronette was under guard all night and there is no way that anyone could have gotten to her.  Albert says, “Maybe she heard a Sousa march and got up to twirl a baton.”

Cooper reveals to Albert and Harry that he was visited twice by a giant and tells them the three clues that he was given.

“You were visited by a giant?” Harry says.

“Any relation to the dwarf?” Albert asks.

Elsewhere, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) goes to reclusive Harold Smith’s house and we finally meet Harold (played by Lenny Von Dohlen, who was the direct-to-video version of Anthony Perkins in the 1990s).  Harold’s house is full of flowers.  He explains that he used to be horticulturist but now he is a shut in.  He says that he and Laura were close and that she told him everything about Donna.  Donna asks why Laura never said anything about him.  Harold says that Laura liked to think of him as being, “the mystery in her life.”  After promising to come back and visit later, Donna leaves.

Back at the police station, Cooper is at the chalkboard again and explaining to Harry and Albert how four living people — Sarah Palmer, Ronette, Maddy, and himself — have seen the “long-haired man.”  Harry is still hung up on the giant.  “Did he have a booming voice?”

Albert suggests that Harry should learn how to walk without dragging his knuckles on the floor which leads to Harry grabbing Albert’s shirt and Albert declaring that he rejects violence.

“I love you, Sheriff Truman,” Albert says before leaving.

“Albert’s path is a strange and difficult one,” Cooper says.  No doubt, Coop.

James (James Marshall) comes to the station.  Cooper tells him that he is not being charged because the cocaine was planted and that he needs to stop hanging out around the police station.

Harry is still trying to understand what Cooper meant when he said he saw a giant when Leland (Ray Wise) finally shows up at the police station and tells them that “the long-haired man” used to live next door to his family’s summer home.  His name was “Robertson” but everyone called him Bob.  “One more thing,” Leland says, “he used to flick matches at me.”

At the Double R Diner, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) is having lunch with Richard Tremayne (Ian Buchanan), who may be the father of her baby.  Richard is a salesman at Horne’s Department Store and he’s so slick that smooth jazz plays whenever he enters a room.  Richard and Lucy had one date, in which he promised to take her to the Seattle Space Needle but instead, took her to Pancake Plantation instead.  Lucy tells Richard that she’s pregnant.

At a nearby booth, James and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) sit and talk.  James is confused because he says that Donna is trying to “act tough all the time.”  James says that sometimes, he thinks he should just get on his bike and go.  (Maybe he has been watching old episodes of Then Came Bronson, starring tonight’s special guest star, Michael Parks.)  Donna comes in the diner and sees that James and Maddy are together.  Donna announces that she met Harold Smith and that he is bright and charming, “unlike anyone I know.”  Then, she leaves.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, Emory and Blackie (Victoria Catlin) have tied up Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn).  Blackie is going to hold Audrey hostage and demand a ransom from Ben Horne.

Back at the police station, the One-Armed Man, Mr. Gerard (Al Strobel), is showing Harry his latest selection in shoes.  Gerard blanks out for a minute and says that he sometimes gets disoreintated.  Harry goes to get Gerard a glass of water and runs into Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick).  Cooper wants to talk to her about Leo and the fire at the mill but Shelly says she can’t testify against her husband.  Laying on the charm, Cooper tells her that is okay and then sends her out of the office.  He says the Shelly wants to get Leo’s life insurance and that she didn’t “think up this scheme by herself.”

But what about Laura Palmer!?  Isn’t that what Cooper is supposed to be investigating?

Cooper goes to the Great Northern and asks Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) if he knows where Audrey is.  Ben says that Audrey is missing but he does not seem to be to worried about it.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, tonight’s special guest star, Michael Parks, shows up.  He is playing Jean Reanault, the brother of Jacques Renault.  Blackie explains, to Emory, that Jean will act as their go-between with Ben.  In return for 30% of the ransom, Jean will pretend to be the one who has kidnapped Audrey.  Jean also demands that Agent Cooper, who he blames for the death of Jacques, be brought to him.  Jean gives Audrey a shot of something.  I had forgotten that Jean and Blackie kept Audrey drugged at One-Eyed Jack’s.  I hope it’s not heroin because I don’t know if I can handle Twin Peaks turning into The French Connection Part II.

Michael Parks, like Russ Tamblyn and Richard Beymer, was one of many 1960s teen idols to be cast in Twin Peaks.  Long before Tarantino has even made his first film, Lynch was resurrecting the careers of forgotten actors.  If it’s thanks to Tarantino and, not Lynch, that Michael Parks is currently having a career renaissance, that’s because Michael Parks, quite frankly, lousy on Twin Peaks.  Parks is much more convincing as Earl McGraw than he ever was as the French Canadian Jean Renault.

At the police station, Cooper wants to take a break and drink a cup of coffee but Harry is having a crisis because Josie is coming back to Twin Peaks tomorrow and he is worried about having to interrogate her about the fire at the mill.  Harry also mentions that the One-Armed Man came by the station to sell shoes.

“The One-Armed man was here!?” Cooper says.

“Yeah,” Harry shrugs.

“Remember, in my dream,” Cooper explains, “the One-Armed Man knew BOB.”

Good point Cooper.  Why wouldn’t Harry have told Cooper that the One-Armed Man was at the station?  Are they even trying to catch Laura’s killer anymore?  Even  Deputy Hawk gives Harry a “You fucked up” look.

Going to the men’s room and searching for the One-Armed Man, Cooper comes across a hypodermic needle.  “Without chemicals, he points,” Cooper says, “The Giant’s third clue.  Harry, we’ve got to find the One-Armed Man.”

(Too bad that they had the One-Armed Man and then Harry let him wander off.  Albert may have a point.)

At the hospital, the comatose Nadine (Wendy Robie) has been tied down.  Dr. Hayward (Warren Frost) tells Ed (Everett McGill) that Nadine now has Hulk-like super strength.  “She’s pumping out more adrenaline than a wildcat well,” Hayward explains.

Following the doctor’s advice, Ed sings “On top of Old Smokey” to her.  (I was waiting for James to come in with his guitar and provide accompaniment but I guess he was busy with Maddy.)  Ed singing causes Nadine to wake up and rip off her restraints.  “Good God!” Ed says.  Nadine does a cheer, because she now thinks that she and Ed are in high school and she is looking forward to cheerleader tryouts.

In his hospital room, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) is getting a foot massage from his Hawaiian wife, Eoloni, when Cooper and Harry drop by so that they can hypnotize him.  Jacoby is so good at hypnosis that he hypnotizes himself.  He flashes back to the murder of Jacques Renault and says that he knows the killer.

While this is happening, Donna puts some flowers (provided by Harold) on Laura’s grave.  Donna talks to the dead Laura.  Lara Flynn Boyle knocks her emotional monologue out of the park.

Of course, while Donna is pouring out her heart, James is kissing Maddy.  Donna walks in on them and then runs out on them.  James runs after her, screaming, “WHY!?”

Maddy goes to Leland for comfort but then Harry and Cooper show up and announce that Leland is under arrest.  For killing Laura?  No, for killing Jacques Renault.

Donna goes to Harold Smith and tells him about James and Maddy.  Harold gives her a gift, the secret diary of Laura Palmer.

There is a classic episode of The Simpsons, in which the producers of Itchy and Scratchy become concerned that their show has become stale and uninteresting.  To bring in new fans, they create the character of Poochie the Dog and, of course, they hire Homer to play him.  Poochie has no real personality or reason for being on the show.  He is just a mix of things that television executives think will appeal to their audience.

In Poochie’s first episode, Itchy and Scratchy are driving to the fireworks factory when they see Poochie standing on the side of the road.  They pull over.  “It’s our new friend, Poochie!”  Poochie introduces himself and suddenly, the entire cartoon becomes about Poochie.  Itchy and Scratchy are pushed to the side while Poochie sings, dances, raps, and plays basketball.

Watching the cartoon, Milhouse cries out, “When are they going to get to the fireworks factory!?”

That is probably how many viewers of Twin Peaks felt as they watched the second season.  They had gotten wrapped up in the show.  They had come up with their own theories about who killed Laura.  All they wanted to know was who killed Laura Palmer and yet the show refused to tell them.  Instead, it kept getting distracted by other things.

That is certainly the case with “The Man Behind The Glass.”  While this episodes does do a lot to push the story and the mystery forward, it also gets sidetracked by a lot of subplots — like Jean Renault, Nadine thinking she was a teenager, and Lucy’s pregnancy — that are far less compelling than the mystery that has always been at the heart of Twin Peaks.

Who killed Laura Palmer?

For tomorrow, Lisa is back and reviewing episode 2.4, “The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.”

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland

Music Video of the Day: I’m Waiting Here by David Lynch & Lykke Li (2013, dir. Daniel Desure)

Ever go driving out in the middle of nowhere–especially at night? I have. Ever felt the need to drive down the middle of the road? I hope not. I guess this video is putting its focus on highway hypnosis seeing as there isn’t anything interesting to look at, and the car keeps drifting in and out of its lane. I think it fits the song well.

I love this quote from Tom Breihan on Stereogum about this video:

“It’s a very pretty piece of work, and the night-time parts recall Lynch’s Lost Highway. Still, call me crazy, but maybe David Lynch should be the guy responsible for all of David Lynch’s videos.”

If any of them are going to be like Came Back Haunted by Nine Inch Nails with its seizure inducing flashing, then maybe it’s for the best. I don’t care if seizures were often mistaken for demonic possession, which would fit the title of the song.

I put down that Daniel Desure directed this video even though it doesn’t list a director on the video. On the video it lists the crew as the following:

Concept by Lykke Li and Daniel Desure
Edited by Jesse Fleming and Sadie Strangio
DP – Nicholas Trikonis
Designer – Michelle Park

Based on that, I guess Fleming and Strangio are more the directors than Desure, since it appears as if someone just drove down the highway with a dashboard cam from one place to another, and they edited that footage down to the desired runtime. Personally, I would take it farther and list Lykke Li, Daniel Desure, Jesse Fleming, Sadie Strangio, Nicholas Trikonis, and Michelle Park all as directors of the video. I put down Desure because that’s how it is listed on IMVDb.

You can find some information on the people who worked on this video, but they all seem to be relatively new, so there isn’t a large body of work to bring up.