My New Favorite Things: Charley Varrick, Twin Peaks Season 1 & Archer & Armstrong

I’ve been flying solo with the little dude for about a full week at this point while my folks are out of town. I haven’t had as much time to dive into awesome stuff as usual, but over the past few weeks, I have been diving into some goodness I want to talk about!

A few months back I talked about a podcast called Pure Cinema hosted by Elric Cane and Brian Saur. These guys are super cinephiles who have not only seen, but remember more movies than I ever will. I’ve listened to every episode so far and look forward to others, but during the current hiatus, I figured I’d check out some of the movies they’ve talked about.

They’ve discussed Don Siegel’s 1973 film Charley Varrick a few times, so I figured that would make for a good first viewing. Walter Matthau stars as the title character, a thief who robs a small town bank with his wife and a few hoods including Harman Sullivan (Dirty Harry‘s Andrew Robinson!). Not everyone walks away with their life, but Charley and Harman soon realize that they’ve got way more money than they should. Varrick correctly posits that they stole scratch from a mob-run bank and starts trying to figure out how to get out of the problem. It doesn’t help that the bank hired Joe Don Baker’s Molly to track him down.

As they said on the podcast, this film does a great job of presenting an incredibly intelligent and shrewd man trying to take care of an increasingly complicated and dangerous situation. The only other Matthau film I’ve seen of this ilk was The Taking Of Pelham One, Two, Three, but it’s cool to see him in this kind of proto-Liam Neeson mold. Now I want to go back and watch a lot of his other films from this era and earlier.

I’m also really enjoying watching/re-watching a show that I’ve had some interesting experience with in the past: Twin Peaks. In high school, my friends’ German teacher told them they should watch David Lynch’s Lost Highway to expand their minds. I got in on the viewing and my mind was blown. I started looking around and found out more about him. So, my next viewing wound up being Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me! A guy I worked with at Barry Bagels told me that was a major boner move and that I needed to watch the show itself.

I can’t remember if my local Family Video had the episodes on tape, but I did get a few of them in college. Later, I scored the first and second season DVDs and should probably ditch them for the Gold Box because the first season doesn’t have the pilot! So, when I started re-watching in anticipation of the new episodes, I felt a little behind. I’ll go back and watch it on Amazon or Netflix or something soon, but it’s just amazing that David Lynch and Mark Frost were able to get this thing made on network television. It’s so strange and beautiful and scary and honest that it doesn’t feel like the kind of thing that should have been on the air with Empty Nest, Coach and Family Matters.

I’m taking this re-watching slowly because I don’t want to miss anything and also like having the time to savor the episodes. I’m not going to take notes or write much about them. I’m just letting them wash over me while I stare at my screen with rapt attention, something it seems like I do less and less with just about everything. Maybe by the time I finally finish up, I’ll be able to watch the new episodes.

Finally, I finished Fred Van Lente’s run on the Valiant comic Archer & Armstrong and really enjoyed the ride. I talked about the first two volumes not long ago, but just wanted to pop in and say that it’s a great comic book series.

Even when I wasn’t as invested in the adventures — the crossover with Bloodshot and Hard Corps in volume four or the overall idea of taking over The Sect, for instance — I still loved the ideas being talked about by both leads. As someone who shares a lot of the same thoughts as Armstrong, it’s great to see them out in the world in a way that felt real and honest. I also really appreciate seeing Archer examine his beliefs and make changes as he adds more experience points to his life. That’s what we should all do, but it seems less and less popular these days.

I gotta be honest, though, I didn’t read much of the last volume. Not sure about you guys, but when I see a collection of stories by not-the-regular-writer, I can check out because, especially in the case of a book like this that hasn’t been around for decades, I’m more in it for the experience that that particular pilot wants to take me on. I’m really thinking about adding the volumes I don’t already have to my collection so I can return to this one at me leisure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.