Summer Joy: Moonrise Kingdom, Yellow Submarine and My Life as a Zucchini

Ready for some summer joy?

So far, this summer has been perfect: warm days, cool nights, thunderstorms and comparative freedom. (A heat wave is coming, at which point I will hide.) Also perfect is the balance I’ve struck between obsessing over Twin Peaks Season 3 and some lighter, positively joyous, fare. Over the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom, My Life as a Zucchini and Yellow Submarine. All of them are visual knockouts with charming stories.

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine is probably lightest on story. Psychedelic animated music videos alternate together with silly puns and tomfoolery as the Fab Four journey to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies. While John, Paul and George joke, gibe and insult the people around them, superior in their grooviness, Ringo befriends the uncool Nowhere Man. Their friendship is the core of the film. This movie remains beautiful to me every time I see it, and this time I was struck by an early sequence of industrial Liverpool at daybreak. Simply done, but breathtaking.

My Life as a Zucchini (French title Ma Vie de Courgette) tells the story of a little boy called Courgette who suddenly finds himself an orphan. The story and music are lovely, and the visuals are astonishing, quirky, funny and sweet.  All of us have the fears these kids do even if our stories aren’t as extreme as theirs, and they show a lot of heart as they make the most of what they have. I saw this alone, but I imagine kids would love it–and their adults will too.

And last but first is Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.  I love Anderson’s visual worlds and the weird but sincere people who live in them. This story centers on two teen misfits who fall in love and run away. But the course of true love never did run smooth… The stylized compositions, a color palette like a faded Polaroid, maze-like locations and manic chases reminded me of the visuals of The Grand Budapest Hotel. The writing and acting here are similarly terrific. These were first performances for both the kids. Amazing. I especially enjoyed Bruce Willis, cast against type as a forlorn and gentle local lawman. Some people complain that Anderson’s movies try way too hard, but what’s wrong with that when it succeeds like this? I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

Be sure to leave a comment with any joyful, charming films you’ve seen recently. I want more!



A Journey Through Twin Peaks


Let’s be clear–I love Twin Peaks.

For me, it’s some of the best cinema–TV or film–ever made. Phenomenal storytelling, driven by character, in a world at once comical, innocent, mysterious and evil. David Lynch’s 1990s TV masterpiece has been in the news lately because a sequel of sorts is scheduled for 2016 on Showtime, and I am so excited. I don’t have Showtime, but I will have to find a way to see it….somehow.

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered, via Twitter, the awesomest channel on YouTube, MovieMan0283. This movie man is Joel Bocko, whose blog, Lost in the Movies, won me over from the start by the mix in his banner of art historical with filmic imagery. Old films and new, it’s all here; I can’t wait to dig in deeper. But I got to all of this goodness through his episode-by-episode guide to Twin Peaks. Of course, there are the clips of quirky characters, the general weirdness of the town, the haunting soundtrack by Badalamenti, but there’s also insight about the way the writers/directors are weaving together the characters with the mystery of Laura Palmer to push the story forward, along with fan and critical reaction at the time of its initial run. It’s always a pleasure to take a quick tour through familiar country, see all the familiar faces, but far richer is the journey when a knowledgeable guide shows you through this particularly quixotic terrain.

One chants out between two worlds,

Fire walk with me.

Ah, Dale, I’ve missed you.

Week in Review

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Let’s see… was away in Wisconsin for a much needed vacation–drew everyday, but only made two things I was really proud of–came home and promptly got sick… so there isn’t much to show recently, but there are a few really nice things. Pencil took a supporting role to pen, markers and watercolor. Fashion is back on my mind: with the SS 2014 Fashion Weeks now wrapping up, I took a look back at last season before diving into the new one. I especially like the sprightly Duro Olowu-inspired watercolor. I also looked to television for study opportunities–TV as Art, as my sister puts it–this time using Project Runway to study emotions. (Check out my sister’s version, here.) Last is a postage stamp size drawing for Adam Wiebner’s #DRAWtoberfest challenge on Twitter. The theme was “The Kiss” and I got mine in rather late on the very last day. Better late than never.

Fashion will probably stick around this week and maybe I can find some time for life drawings, too. I have story ideas I’m itching to write; well, less story ideas, than a character situation I’d like to work through. I’m definitely feeling better and in a groove of good work, so here’s hoping for the week ahead!


Drawing from Twin Peaks

Bob Mike & Bobby Donna

I’ve been re-watching the Twin Peaks series these past two weeks and only over the last few days has it occurred to me to draw from it. D’oh! So I started again, but just watching for sketch moments. That’s where Mike and Bobby came from. I love this show; for me, it is some of the best filmed story-telling ever and it’s going to be fun to draw it as I go along.


Week in Review

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It’s been a little while since I rounded up my drawings, probably because I’ve been covering some uneven ground and creating work I’m not sure how to evaluate. Subject matter has shifted, broadened maybe, but I also feel as if I have been more hurried lately. I haven’t written much either, though I have given thought–and a few scribbled sketches–to visually mapping a recent story idea. It’s a stretch for me to think that way, to decide where words and image might unite to build a better story, but it’s where I’d like to be going just now.

Inspiration is flowing in from Twin Peaks, Jayne Anne Phillips short story collection Black Tickets, Boulet’s X-Files drawings on Instagram and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. There’s something about that magical passage between worlds that really appeals to me; I have dreams like that. In fact, I had a somewhat threatening version of that just a few nights ago. You can sure count on David Lynch to help you dredge up all your inner darkness….