The place is New York City. The time is the prohibition era. The rackets are controlled by powerful but out of touch gangsters like Arnold Rothstein (F. Murray Abraham), Joe Masseria (Anthony Quinn), and Salvatore Faranzano (Michael Gambon). However, four young gangsters — Lucky Luciano (Christian Slater), Meyer Lansky (Patrick Dempsey), Frank Costello (Costas Mandylor), and Bugsy Siegel (Richard Greico) — have an ambitious plan. They want to form a commission that will bring together all of the Mafia families as a national force. To do it, they will have to push aside and eliminate the old-fashioned mob bosses and take over the rackets themselves. When Masseria and Faranzano go to war over who will be the new Boss of all Bosses, Luciano and Lansky seen their opportunity to strike.
I love a good gangster movie, which is one reason that I have never cared much for Mobsters. Mobsters was made in the wake of the success of Young Guns and, like that film, it attempted to breathe new life into an old genre by casting teen heartthrobs in the lead roles. There was nothing inherently wrong with that because Luciano, Lansky, and Seigel were all still young men, in their 20s and early 30s, when they took over the Mafia. (Costello was 39 but Mobsters presents him as being the same age as they other three.) The problem was that none of the four main actors were in the least bit convincing as 1920s mobsters. Christian Slater was the least convincing Sicilian since Alex Cord in The Brotherhood. As for the supporting cast, actors like Chris Penn and F. Murray Abraham did the best that they could with the material but Anthony Quinn’s performance in Mobsters was the worst of his long and distinguished career.
Fans of Twin Peaks will note that Lara Flynn Boyle had a small role in Mobsters. She played Luciano’s girlfriend. Unfortunately, other than looking pretty and dying tragically, she was not given much to do in this disappointing gangster film.
My DirecTV receiver decided to fry itself the other day. A new one won’t be shipped for another five days – no TCM, no DVR’d movies, no Red Sox, no nothin’! What’s a film blogger to do? Since my DVD player isn’t working either, I thought I’d reach into my collection of VHS tapes and see what I could come up with for viewing. Hmm, let’s see… wait a sec, what’s this? An unopened copy of HAVE ROCKET, WILL TRAVEL, the Three Stooges comeback starring feature! Good Lord, I haven’t seen this movie in years! The Stooges it is!
A little background first: after making shorts for Columbia since 1934, the studio dumped the trio when their contract ended in 1957. Television had killed the short subject market, and the boys were thrown out on their collective keisters. Ironically, it was television that revived their career when the Stooges shorts were released to…
This is where Twin Peaks starts to go into uncharted territory.
“Masked Ball”, directed by Duwayne Dunham, marks the first full episode after the closure of the Palmer case. We begin in the best way possible – a long motorcycle ride out of Twin Peaks with James Hurley (James Marshall). He’s moving on, and the audience is brought along for the ride.
At the precinct, Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) speak with Betty Briggs (Charlotte Stewart) over the disappearance of Major Briggs (Don Davis). Apparently, Betty seems to be aware of the Major’s disappearances, and goes on to state that it happens from time to time. It’s a strange angle to this new story arc. When Betty leaves, Cooper whispers to Truman that the light he saw was a powerful force in the woods. Strange things are always at work at Twin Peaks, it seems.
Hawk (Michael Horse) and Andy (Harry Goaz) come in with a package with a gift from Dougie Milford (Tony Jay, Shere Khan from Disney’s Animated version of The Jungle Book). Dougie is getting married, something that happens as often as the return of the salmon, according to Hawk. A wedding seems an interesting change of pace, considering we’ve had two funerals over the course of the show so far.
A call comes in from Gordon Cole (David Lynch) to offer his support to Cooper. Due to his actions across the border at One Eyed Jacks, he’s now under investigation by the FBI. Gordon asks if everything Cooper is accused of is true, to which Cooper denies it. To help investigate the drug angle with the Renaults in Twin Peaks, Cole states they’re sending in Dennis Bryson (David Duchovny, just a few years before The X-Files).
Cooper meets with Roger Hardy (Clarence Williams III, The General’s Daughter). and two other personnel. Talk about time travel. On the table is one of the first Apple laptops ever made in 1989, weighing in at about 16 pounds. When asked about what he wants to bring to the defense, Cooper admits he has no defense. Yes, he did travel outside of his jurisdiction to One Eyed Jacks, but overall, he’s “innocent of any wrongdoings”. This statement causes Hardy to go “off the record” and have the computer shut down.
“Dale, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.” Hardy starts, asserting that an individual of the Bureau should be able to stand up for themselves. Cooper speaks of the magic of Twin Peaks. The life in the trees and animals, and the elements that have amazed him so far. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really help his case. Hardy keeps the suspension in effect and it’ll be up to the D.E.A. And the Canadians to decide his fate. Cooper rises and takes one last look at his badge and pistol before leaving as Citizen Cooper. I liked that they ended with the badge and pistol. The audience has to wonder what he’s looking at for a moment before revealing it.
The next scene has us in High School, with Nadine (Wendy Robie) bounding down the stairs and running into Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle). On greeting Donna, Donna asks if she’s seen James. Nadine states she hasn’t. I suppose James didn’t tell anyone he was leaving. She asks Donna if she happens to still be going out with Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger). Nadine feels that she and Mike have some great chemistry going on, though Mike doesn’t seem quite in on this knowledge, given the cold shoulder he gives her in the hallway.
“What about Ed?”Donna asks. If she’s with Ed (Everett McGill), how should she be with Mike? Nadine has a plan. Ed’s at home, Mike’s at school, she’ll find a way to manage it, and Ed’s old enough to be her father, she adds. I enjoyed that scene. Any comedic scene with Wendy Robie in this show, I’m for it.
Meanwhile, James makes a pit stop at a local bar, where he finds a young blonde dressed in red. Over beers, she mentions she has a Jaguar that needs fixing. James has just the skill set for that sort of thing. She introduces herself as Evelyn Marsh, and he plays the jukebox, perhaps wondering what he’s getting himself into. First Laura, then Donna, then Maddy, then Donna, now this? Goodness.
Back at the precinct, Dick Tremayne (Ian Buchanan, Panic Room, One Life to Live) brings little Nicky by. Dick explains to Andy that they’re going out for a malted and wanted to bring Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) along. Since both men are vying for Lucy’s affections, treating Nicky well seemed like it would work out in either man’s favor. Andy states that Lucy is at the Great Northern, helping with the Milford wedding, which reminds Dick that Dougie’s getting married again. It’s like an annual event, this wedding. When Dick moves to change their plans, Nicky becomes upset. Andy chimes in, saying that he’d love to come along for the malted. Reluctantly, Dick has him come along.
Here comes one of my favorite scenes, back to back. In Truman’s office, Truman asks Cooper what they should do if they can’t clear him. Cooper’s answer to this is that the Giant told him that the path is formed by laying one stone at a time, meaning they’d have to cross that bridge when they get to it. Cooper asks both men of the White Lodge that Briggs spoke of. Hawk, who’s also in the room, states that the White Lodge is another world. The White Lodge is where the spirits reside, and that there’s also a Black Lodge. The Black Lodge carries the shadow selves of each person, and everyone has to pass through that at some point in their lives. They refer this as The Dweller on the Threshold, and if you fail to pass through, your soul will be annihilated. Sounds pleasant, no?
The intercom rings, letting everyone in the room know that Agent Dennis Bryson has arrived. As one of the finest minds in the D.E.A., he should be able to get right to the bottom of the drug issues in Twin Peaks.
So, in walks Dennis, who is a woman now. Duchovny, along with Wendy Robie later on, pretty much steal this episode from everyone else.
“It’s a long story…” she starts, “but I prefer Denise if you don’t mind.” The magic of this scene is that it takes just a finger snap for both Cooper and Truman to adjust to this. Hawk might need a little time, but after that heartbeat, everyone’s accepting and is down to business. Denise says she’ll look into things and will get back to everyone, since both she and Cooper are staying at the Great Northern.
We’re at the High School weight room. It’s leg day, and Mike is on the leg press. Nadine sits at an adjacent leg press machine, but not before putting the pin in the maximum weight allowed. She holds his gaze as she pushes the set with ease. Mike asks her what she wants, but she suggests that he’s a little forward. The wrestling coach (Ron Taylor) catches sight of the weight and offers Nadine a position on the wrestling team, much to Mike’s surprise.
Truman is home, and Josie is in bed. It’s morning. Holding each other, Truman asks her to tell the truth about what she’s been keeping secret. She reveals that she worked for a man in Hong Kong named Thomas Eckhardt, who took her off the streets and taught her about business. After that, she met her husband Andrew. When Truman inquires about Mr. Lee, she explains that Lee worked for Eckhardt, who still feels he has a claim to Josie. Josie believes that Eckhardt is who killed her husband, but I’m wondering if she’s not being truthful. Wasn’t it brought to light that Hank Jennings (Chris Mulkey) was involved in Andrew’s murder. Truman accepts this and all is well, for now. I don’t normally enjoy the Josie / Truman scenes, but I’ll admit that this was nice.
At the RR diner, Roger Hardy is having some of the pie there, of which he’s heard great things. Hank and Ernie Niles (James Booth) steps into the room. With great pleasure, Norma (Peggy Lipton) informs Ernie that her mom has left him, which he doesn’t take too well. Hank reassures him that it will allow him to concentrate more on the work at hand.
Meanwhile, Nicky is given his malted, with Andy and Dick at his side. Nicky blows the whipped cream into Dick’s face, and spins Andy’s chair, causing him to fall to the floor. Neither man is faring well with Little Nicky, and by the end of the scene, I’m shocked they haven’t held him down and checked his scalp for triple 6’s.
At Evelyn Marsh’s garage, James is doing the repair work on the Jaguar. She states that her husband, Jeffrey, loves the car and that he’s currently away on business. Jeffrey has to have the most beautiful toys, according to Evelyn. This causes James to have a mini speech about his motorcycle and how it’s more important about where it can take him. As a rider, I can easily relate to nighttime rides to nowhere. It’s a great feeling. Evelyn offers a room for him while he’s fixing the car, leaving him to wonder where all of this is going.
I should also note that the actress who plays Evelyn, Annette McCarthy, bears a wild resemblance to Priscilla Barnes from Three’s Company (an old show from the late 70’s). It’s rather odd.
Back at the Great Northern, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) is watching old videos of the establishment when Hank walks in. Ben is haggard, scruffy looking and is upset that Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) has gotten over on him. Ben talks about rearranging the furniture in such a way where it’s aesthetically pleasing to the owner – basically Feng Shui. Hank informs Ben that he’s no longer working for him and that ownership of One Eyed Jack’s has changed. Ben deduces that it’s now Jean Renault (Michael Parks) who owns the establishment. Ben goes back to watching his videos, making finger puppets for his amusement.
In his room, Cooper receives a tape from Windom Earle. On the tape, Windom goes on to say that he and Cooper will cross paths, and eventually, “the King must die.”
We’re at Dougie’s wedding. When the priest asks if there’s anyone who objects, Mayor Dwayne Milford (Dougie’s Brother) chimes in. “She after his money.” He barks, but Truman pulls him to the side. Dougie comforts his bride to be (Robyn Lively) and they continue on.
In his room, Cooper receives a call from Denise, who asks to meet him at the wedding. Cooper takes a brief moment to make a tape for Diane to tell her about what happened Denise.
Cooper finds Denise comfortably sitting at the bar, waving the bridal bouquet. “Unfair advantage”, she says, smiling. “How many of those girls were Varsity wide receivers.” Denise explains that cocaine was found in Cooper’s car, but it does appear to be a frame up. Dwayne watches on as the bride and groom share a piece of cake, and states that his brother’s pretty much a “trout on a hook” when it comes to women. Pete takes the comment in stride, which has me wondering if he was thinking of Catherine at that moment.
Cooper asks Denise what happened to her. Denise explains she was working on a bust where the drug dealer in question “would only sell to transvestites”, so she played the part, found it relaxing, and just kept with it. “It’s not something you exactly plan on.”, She adds.
Dale meets the bride and groom, and Truman chuckles over it. According to him, Dwayne and Dougie have had this wedding fight every year. More partying continues and Cooper shares a dance with Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn), while Andy & Denise are also enjoying themselves on the dance floor. Overall, it was a fun scene, peppering some comedy throughout.
Josie and Catherine come to an agreement that has Josie working for Catherine hand and foot. When Josie leaves the room, Andrew (Dan O’Herlihy, Halloween III: Season of the Witch) steps in and says that everything’s going according to plan. What’s he doing among the living?!
Overall, for a post Palmer Case episode, I thought it did well.Both Duchovny, Robie and the wedding scenes were standouts here. Where it’s all going, I’m not sure I can say. I’m on deck for tomorrow’s episode. We’ll find out then.
Coming off the Chrysta Bell & David Lynch stint, I thought I would knock off a couple female artists I haven’t gotten around to yet.
Before Lady Gaga was even born, we had…well…we had numerous artists. One of the most obvious is Missing Persons’ lead-singer Dale Bozzio. Much like David Lynch is nursing Chrysta Bell’s music career, Frank Zappa did that for Dale Bozzio. I can recall her coming to tears when discussing the passing of Zappa in an interview she gave for MTV and/or VH1.
I have to mention it since it is out there, so I’m just going to say that I am aware of the behind-the-scenes story concerning Bozzio and MTV. It’s in the book I Want My MTV. You can feel free to look it up. It just amounts to an example of how crazy it was at MTV headquarters in their first years.
According to Wikipedia, this particular music video was noteworthy for the visual effects it used. I’m assuming they’re referring to the use of the blurred white for framing the shots of the band. It creates an interesting look that would make the video stand out from the crowd.