Author Archives: Joe Froemming

I’m a reporter/copy editor for the Bemidji Pioneer. Previously, I worked for the Worthington Daily Globe as a copy editor and before that, I had a brief stint as the Fine Arts Columnist for the St. Cloud Times. I was born and raised in St. Cloud, a graduate of St. Cloud State University and worked in record stores for 10 years before wandering into the world of journalism. I live in Bemidji with my wife Gina and our cat, Mac. All the papers and towns mentioned above are located in Minnesota.

Album Revisit: U2′s ‘The Joshua Tree’

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This is an installment of a series of blogs where I revisit some classic albums that I  love, used to love or has made an impact on pop culture whether I am familiar with it or not. You can also make suggestions on a classic album, and I may give a whirl and review it.

OK, this time for an album revisit I decided to trek into unfamiliar waters for me. Also, after ripping into U2 a while back, and in light of Bono’s pretty bad accident, I figured I’d give one of their classic albums, “The Joshua Tree,” a listen.

A note, I have heard almost every  U2 album, though not always by choice. I worked with people over the years that loved this band, and would play them a lot, which probably contributed to my intense dislike of the band. And, ironically, the only album of theirs I liked from the start was “Pop,” which almost everyone I knew that was a U2 fan pretty much hated.  

First thing I noticed going in that this album starts off with three off the bands largest singles. “Where The Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With Or Without You” are pretty solid songs to kick off an album. While I’m burnt out on those songs from incessant radio play, I can’t deny that making the start of an album that strong was a good idea. Plus, they are pretty good songs.

Now, the song that follows was somewhat hit. “Bullet The Blue Sky” sounds familiar, because the rhythm sounds eerily like the rhythm from Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold.” I also recall the nu-metal, rap rock band P.O.D. did a horrible cover of this. But I really enjoy this song. It’s the coolest song by U2 I’ve ever heard.

This is followed by “Running To Stand Still.” I hate this song. It’s title reminds me of a title of a very bad poem written by someone who just read “On The Road” for the first time. It’s boring to me. I’m sure some U2 fan will read that and say “How can he think that?” to which my reply is simply this is not a good nor interesting song to me.

One thing I’ve noticed throughout the album is the Edge’s guitar work (minus “Bullet The Blue Sky,” I’ll concede his work on that was pretty great) sounds like noodling. Like he wants to do some horrible Grateful Dead jam, except he just noodles the same riff over and over with a lot of distortion.

I must say, I just couldn’t muster a lot of interest after the first four songs. Not because these songs are not hits, but they are very boring. It seems, to me, by making the start of the album loaded with fantastic and poppy rock songs and then have it lull into meandering songs that lack any punch ruins it for me. I’m sure the album’s record sales would tell me otherwise, but that’s what I think. But I think if I took the tracks and rearranged them in a playlist on Spotify, I might have enjoyed it more. But not by a whole lot.

To which gets into the element of U2 I do not like. This is a band that, from the start, thinks too highly of themselves. And most of that falls on Bono. His lyrics are not the greatest, but he really seems to think otherwise on the back end of this album. And that really ruins it for me.

My final thoughts would be this was a perfectly fine album that I will probably never listen to it again. That’s because U2 is one of those bands that, try as I might, I just can’t get into. I did not hate it, but I did not really enjoy it.

The Time I Saw Phish On New Year’s Eve, 1999

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Of all the weird concerts I have seen in my life, be it the time my buddy convinced me to see the Insane Clown Posse (it was interesting to say the least, but I still do not like them) to the time when I was working at the Electric Fetus and saw the Meat Puppets play an in-store show literally a couple of feet from me, the oddest adventure in my concert history harks back to December, 1999 when my buddy and myself flew down to Florida and saw jam band Phish play a New Years Eve concert. On a whim.

Now, by this time I had been to two other Phish shows. I loved these concerts, which is kind of weird because I’m totally not a hippie. I enjoy things that hippies despise, like showering and hating the Grateful Dead. But there was something about the shows, and the atmosphere before, during and after that was fun. I think I was one of the only people to go to a Phish show wearing a Tool T-shirt.

At the time, my buddy and I were 18 year old high school seniors. We managed to get round-trip tickets really cheap because everyone was afraid to fly because they thought Y2K would somehow make an airplane stop flying for some reason. He got the tickets for the two-day event from someone he knew and we booked a trip to Florida. This was based on a 10-minute conversation we had the night before about it, so it was almost a completely random thing we decided to do. The concert was five days away.

My buddy and I are somewhere among the 85,000 people in this photo.

Once we got to Orlando, we had no idea how we were going to get to the show — which was in Big Cypress. That’s a solid couple hour drive, but we didn’t have a car. We were 18, had no credit card thus and could not rent a car. That’s how well we planned this trip.

Well, we decided to get on a bus and head in the general direction of Big Cypress (we couldn’t find a bus that would take us there directly). Again, poorly planned. But at the station we met some other people who were also heading to the show, two hippies from San Francisco who were nice. We pooled our resources in some town near Big Cypress on a cab for the rest of the way.

Now, this was the largest concert I’ve ever been to. It was huge, there were 85,000 people there. There were more people at this event than there are people from my home town of St. Cloud, which is about 66,000. And it was fun.

We were running low on funds, so I think we ate only once in those two days. We had a little area camped out, our tent basically being a large blanket with our luggage underneath it. We slept on top of our luggage on top of the blanket. It was such a pathetic sight, and somewhere I still have the photos of our horrible living situation for those two days.

On New Years Eve and into New Years Day, Phish performed for more than seven hours. Did I stay awake that whole seven-plus hours? No I did not. Because as much as I enjoyed the band at the time (my enthusiasm for them did not last long after I turned 21, though occasionally I will throw them on), I do not have the stamina to listen to one band for seven solid hours. I listened to probably five hours (I did fly all the way down there for this), went back to camp and slept (I could still hear the band clearly from my blanket fort thing).

The strangest part now comes into play. The show was over, and we had no idea how we were getting back to Orlando. We did not attempt, in the two days there, to find a ride. I dawned on us when the sun rose that we needed to figure something out. We decided to act like the adults we were, and beg anyone and everyone for a lift.

And we found a ride. From a very nice man from New York who weighed about 350 pounds and was driving a rented compact car. Trust me, I know this sounds almost like a Monty Python skit, but it is true. The guy was heading toward the general direction of Orlando, and with us helping with gas, he agreed to take us. Which made me happy because I hadn’t showered in days, and wanted to get back as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, what followed was an 18-hour traffic jam, at the concert site. In the baking Florida heat. In a tiny car. It was horrible.

What was interesting about this horrific traffic jam was how quickly some of these peaceful hippie-types became rabid monsters, jacking up prices on bottles of water from $1 to (and I’m not kidding) $10. Their homemade food items also saw a dramatic rise in cost, totally taking advantage of our current supply-and-demand scenario.

Also, I saw a hippie fight. I saw two hippie dudes with dreadlocks start arguing, which developed into yelling, which went further into slapping and crying. And it brought tears to me eyes because of how hard I was laughing. Because this was the crowd that was jacking up their food and water prices. That’s karma, I guess.

After the jam, we bummed around Orlando for another day before flying back to Minnesota. It was perhaps one of the most impulsive things I have done.

The Hit And Miss That Is TV’s ‘Gotham’

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My original intent with the TV series “Gotham” was to to a weekly write-up on each episode. That went down the tubes after the second episode. Then the third was so bad, I nearly gave up on the show. “This is not the Batman show we want,” I told myself in a horrible Gary Oldman-as-Commissioner Gordon impression.”Nor is it the Batman show we need.”

Yet, I found myself, for reasons I couldn’t really explain, tuning in each week. This show started rough, unable to find the balance between the surrealism of the comics, the campiness of the 60s TV series  and the gritty realism of the Nolan trilogy. And it still struggles with that, though not nearly as bad as that Balloon Man episode toward the start of the season. That was just awful.

Then things started getting better. There were two episodes in a row that were good. The first dealt with an early version of the Venom that gave the comic book Bane his strength, and I’m guessing what gave Nolan’s Bane his “Sean Connery sucking helium” voice.

The following episode did something that, at that point, the series had been neglecting: Character development. It was a nice flashback to Det. Harvey Bullock’s early years, where his idealism (much in the same vein as Det. Gordon now) put him at odds with the rest of the police department. It was a good move for a show that, at that point, had been mostly cardboard cutouts of characters. 

This past week’s episode was good, introducing Black Mask’s dad (?) and a future Hush (the latter gets a psychotic beat down from young Bruce Wayne, who will one day grow up and dress like a bat). Also, the fact Alfred not only allowed that to happen, but gave Bruce the weapon to do so, was pretty psychotic. And bad parenting. And it was awesome.

For every step forward, the show seems to take another few steps back. One of my problems is the obnoxiousness of future Riddler, Edward Nygma. I like now they relegate him him to fewer lines and toned down his excruciating love for, you guessed it, riddles. It got to a point every time he was on screen, I sort of blanked out. And when he’s awkwardly hitting on a woman in one of the episodes, I just wished for the character to be cut from the show.

His coffee mug even has a question mark on it. Just painful to watch.

The highlight has been Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin, which has been the most interesting story lines with the most bearable acting. His plotting and plotting with the two rival crime bosses and being a thorn in the side of Fish Mooney has been the most pleasant experience of this series so far.

My question is how long can they sustain an origins story? Sure, seeing young Bruce Wayne developing his vigilante ways is interesting (also why “Batman Begins” is my favorite Batman movie), but the rate they are dropping characters — we already have Penguin, Riddler, Black Mask (kind of), Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Victor Zsasz, Falcone, Maroni with Harvey Dent coming next week to name a few — eventually people are going to just want a Batman show. Because Batman fighting these characters is much more interesting than Jim Gordon and the Gotham Police Department.

Then there is the talk about introducing Joker. To me, Joker was always a byproduct of Batman. Be it Batman throwing him into a vat of chemicals that disfigures his face  and mind, to the cerebral Nolan take that Joker is the reaction to a man taking the law into his own hands. And to introduce him before there is a Batman would take much better writers than the ones currently penning this series.

Even when it’s at its worst, I watch. Because, even when the writing is bad, the acting is crummy and the plot makes absolutely no sense, it is still fun to watch. I’m invested in this show now, and it seems to be getting better as it learns from its mistakes.

REVIEW: Pink Floyd’s ‘Endless River’

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Let me start of by saying Pink Floyd has been one of my favorite bands for many years. I own every one of their official albums and a lot of the members’ solo works. But I am not a blind fanboy, and have cringed and criticized when they have put out work below their standards, like “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and “Ummagumma.” I refuse to accept that trash as listenable. I’m often embarrassed by their presence in my collection.

I will start this review off by saying this is my favorite post-Roger Waters Floyd album. This really sticks to what made Floyd’s music so great in the ’70s, the interplay between Richard Wright and David Gilmour (and to an extent, drummer Nick Mason). They were excellent at creating narrative atmosphere musically, which was key to an album like “Dark Side of the Moon.” The music helped move the concept along on that album. 

It also reminds me of their material prior to “Dark Side.” Albums like “Meddle” and “Obscured By Clouds” really came to mind when I listened to this. To better phrase this, it sounded like the instrumentation on those albums (more lighter and upbeat), with the phasing of “Dark Side” that allows each track to bleed into one another.

And this kind of cool interplay is what was lacking on the album these tracks were left over from. “Division Bell” was a good enough album, better than the one that came before it, and had some excellent songs on it. But it just never felt like they were comfortable enough to just let loose musically on it . Which, oddly, “Endless River” does supply. The last time they, as a band, sounded this good was “Animals.” And it’s nice to hear Wright (who died in 2008) playing so well again at the time. Heck, even Mason sounds more confident on the drums.

Now to my critique. This is a fantastic sounding concept album. But there is no concept. There is no narrative. Honestly, if they would have thrown some vocals and an overarching theme (like “Division Bell’s” lack of communication theme, which I thought was fantastic) this would seriously have been the Pink Floyd album I think a lot of fans had been waiting for after the grand implosion of the group during “The Wall” era. It takes you musically to these different areas, but with no map as to what exactly these areas are. It’s like listening to “Dark Side” with no vocals and lyrics. Almost like classical music, but it’s lacking a key component.

The one theme I kind of picked up on was the little winks and nods toward their older work. There are elements from each album (minus the “Final Cut” but nobody expects Rick Wright’s swansong to be looking back at the time he was fired from the band) which is nice. But since this was recorded in 1993, and they had no idea this material would be their last, I highly doubt they were super inclined to give those nods originally and were probably the newer stuff recorded by Gilmour and Mason.

Not every track is great. There are some boring moments (if you’re not a fan of instrumental music, this is not for you. It’s 99 percent instrumental) and some not so good calls at times with which instruments are used and how they are used. The first time I listened to “Endless River” it bored me. The second time I liked it better, and the third even more. I’ve already listened to it more than the previous two Gilmour-led Floyd albums. Which isn’t too hard, seeing that it’s not a very long album.

Now to the elephant in the room. How it ends. I’ve written before that what made “Division Bell” great was it went out with such a perfect track as their final song, “High Hopes.” This ends with “Louder Than Words,” which also is the one song on here with vocals.

And it is no “High Hopes.” Not by a long shot.

The lyrics are OK enough, but it kind of sounds like some world beat song from a .99 cent compilation album you’d find in a gas station. I like the sentiment that it’s about moving on from this band’s historically petty beefs and pays tribute to Wright. But man, it’s just not a well executed song. I’d rather they just ended it on the track before “Side 4: Part 3 Surfacing.” That would have been better.

It’s a nice tribute to Wright, who was a founding member. It’s enjoyable (minus “Louder Than Words”). It’s not the best Pink Floyd album, it’s far from their worst album. It’s a nice farewell and I’m glad they decided to release it.

Why Spotify Matters

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Recently, there has been two different points of view regarding the music streaming service Spotify. The first crack was when Taylor Swift pulled all of her albums off the site after she released her new album, “1989.” The counter has come, from of all people I’d never think I would agree with after releasing his new album in an obnoxious way, Bono of U2.

Swift’s argument makes sense. Music should not be free. She works to write that material, record it and promote it with touring. She deserves her fair share of compensation that apparently Spotify does not payout. I get it. But it seems very shortsighted, and I would not doubt that eventually her music will appear back on the service down the road. And as history (Metallica V Napster users) has taught us, fans usually hate it when well-to-do musicians complain about money.

Others, like Bono, see services like Spotify as the direction music listeners are heading. According to a report from Reuters, Bono said at a Web Summit conference recently “I see streaming services as quite exciting ways to get to people. In the end, that’s what we want for U2 songs.” He goes on to say “The real enemy is not between digital downloads or streaming. The real enemy, the real fight is between opacity and transparency. The music business has historically involved itself in quite considerable deceit,” alluding to what I believe is what the labels who collect money from Spotify then pay artists.

For me, here is why Spotify matters:

First, record stores have been dying for more than a decade. They were the places people would go to sample a record before investing $10-25 on one. Spotify has, for people like me who do not have a record store nearby, filled that gap by allowing me to preview albums before buying.

Secondly, I listen to music I own via Spotify. It’s just easier to use the program when I listen to music while I’m not at home than lugging around a bunch of CDs and vinyl. Sure, I have to hear ads every now and then, but it’s just simpler this way.

And thirdly, it’s better than radio for a lot of new artists to get their music out there and heard. Fourteen years ago, artists like rapper Sage Francis got more exposure by releasing their albums via P2P file sharing services. That’s many people initially came across their works because you didn’t hear them on the radio. Now instead of giving material away to get noticed, artists can now at least a little bit of money from it.

While someone as popular as Swift obviously does not need Spotify to promote her albums to get sales, that doesn’t mean a lot of other talented artists are in the same ship.  It’s a pretty effective way to promote your album that probably would be only heard by a handful of people.

Spotify is not perfect, but it is pretty much where music is heading by ways of people listening. We live in a digital world where people stream movies, TV shows and music. And it’s not changing anytime soon. Hopefully the more revenue that Spotify gets in from paid subscribers (they currently pay out 70 percent of profits to labels, according to Bono) and from paid ads for people like me who do not pay for a subscription, down the road, the more artists will see coming in.

The Flaming Lips Cover The Beatles’ Most Iconic Album

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“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is known as The Beatles’ masterpiece. It’s their most celebrated pieces of work and will forever be the album that a lot people claim signaled the “Summer of Love” in the 1960s. And now, more than 40 years later, psychedelic-freak-rockers the Flaming Lips have taken a crack at it.

And it’s pretty good.

First off, what the Lips did — quite smartly — was take the album into their musical realm. Many artists have covered the Beatles, and the least successful ones either emulate too closely to the source material (making it sound like a bad karaoke cover) or they happen to be the Bee Gees and suck the life out of the material by making it disco

No, like what they did with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” cover album a few years back was take the basic premise, the essence and melodies of the source and make it their own. It’s not better, by any means, but it is good. Both these cover albums sound like a Flaming Lips album, but also have the feel of the originals. A slight feel, but it’s there.

With “With A Little Help From My Fwends” the Lips again brought in friends into the mix. A lot of friends. More than 20 other artists contributed to this, from Maynard James Keenan of Tool to My Morning Jacket to Miley Cyrus. Names I would never have thought I would see on an album together.

Not everything works, though. It’s a busy album, with a lot of effects and production going on, and sometimes that takes away from it. When it’s grounded a little, like Cyrus singing “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds,” they allow for some amazing atmosphere and depth that the original album helped pioneer decades prior. Sometimes a little sparsity helps.

Also, I kind of now hate the Flaming Lips for having me like anything Cyrus has done (NOTE: I can sometimes be petty like that).

Plus, having Keenan taking the lead vocals on “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite” was pretty nice. It’s also, oddly unlike the original, probably the least over-produced track on the album, which makes for an interesting switch.

The album also gives all proceeds to The Bella Foundation, an organization that helps provide veterinary  service to those in need, so it’s for a good cause.

This is an interesting album. Like “Dark Side” before it, I will listen to it a few more times and then that will be that. This is a band I can’t often just recreationally listen too (except for “The Soft Bulletin,” I love that album). And it’s a covers album, and I much prefer the original material over this.

Album Revisit: Pink Floyd’s ‘The Final Cut’

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This is an installment of a series of blogs where I revisit some classic albums that I  love, used to love or has made an impact on pop culture whether I am familiar with it or not. You can also make suggestions on a classic album, and I may give a whirl and review it.

Next month, Pink Floyd’s final album “The Endless River” will be released. Made up of leftovers from the “Division Bell” sessions, it will be the last proper album they put out. It will also be the third album they have made after founding member Roger Waters left the band in the early ’80s after years of bitter in-fighting. This was followed by a decade of  more bitter fighting, lawsuits and the pettiest behavior one could ever imagine full-grown adults could act out on.

I thought about which Floyd album I should revisit. The obvious choices would have been the big four: “Dark Side Of The Moon,” “Wish You Where Here,” “Animals” and “The Wall.” I could have gone with my favorite Floyd album, “The Piper At the Gates Of Dawn,” too. But “The Final Cut” shares something in common with “Endless River.” Both are Floyd albums that started from leftover material. This was going to be a companion album to “The Wall.”

Originally titled “Spare Bricks,” it was going to be an album of leftover material and songs that were re-recorded for the film version from “The Wall.” Waters rewrote some of that material, added some new songs and “The Final Cut” became a beast of its own. It became a dark, politically driven anti-war album — though this is not the first time lyricist Waters penned a politically charged Floyd album. “Animals” was the first politically driven album from Floyd. After Waters (a very vocal political activist) left, the Gilmour-led albums shied away from politics all together for the most part. (“Dogs Of War” from “Momentary Lapse of Reason” is so horrible, I just don’t recognize it as a thing)

Waters’ final album with Floyd was also the band’s angriest. “The Final Cut” was Pink Floyd’s darkest album as well.

Pink Floyd made their living out of the concept album. They were also known for their long instrumental and atmospheric music. With “The Wall,” they clearly went in a  different direction than their previous work, but it succeeded because it was a coherent story and it included some beautiful pieces of music. Mostly the Gilmour co-writes of “Young Lust,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Run Like Hell.”

“The Final Cut” is the barest bones Floyd album ever made. It is mostly Waters’ singing over pretty sparse music. The only thing that remotely tried to sound like a rock song was “Not Now, John” and it is the worst song on the album. It’s also the only track with David Gilmour on vocals. Which is truly a shame, because he is by far a more superior singer than Waters is. Gilmour’s guitar and vocals will be as synonymous with Floyd as Waters’ lyrics. He handled the bulk of the vocals on “Dark Side,” and the vocals after were pretty much on him and Waters. Keyboardist Richard Wright (who does not appear on this album because he was fired during “The Wall” before it) wouldn’t take lead vocals on a Floyd album after “Dark Side” until the “Division Bell” almost two decades later. Which was also a shame, because he was a good singer too.

What “The Final Cut” lacks in musicality is almost made up by some on Waters’ strongest lyrics. The song “The Final Cut” is one of my favorite Floyd songs, with Waters’ most passionate vocals. It’s brutally honest and confessional and if anything, is probably the last Floyd song (or even Waters song in general) to have such a lyrical impact.

What is also odd is that the melodies for these songs are actually decent. The potential was there, but ego trumped that. It seems like Waters desire to control all aspects of this was also its undoing. I mean, the album states “‘The Final Cut’ written by Roger Waters. Performed by Pink Floyd.” Which lead to many critics to call it a Waters solo album. There is some legitimacy to that, but it is a canon Floyd album. It’s been included in their box set as a proper Floyd album and some tracks appear on their hits collections.

What is problematic is it’s the only album by Floyd were the lyrics are time stamped to the era in which they were written (“The Wall” also has a little of this). The reference to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher not only date the album, but go a bit too far in politicking. There is some of that on “Animals,” but they don’t take away from the songs too much.

Does it still stand up after all these years. Some of it does, some doesn’t. It is an interesting album, for the most part, but it is far from Floyd’s strongest material. This is an album from a band whose leader’s ego whittled the overall product down to suit his own vision. Gilmour was so unhappy with it, he took his name off the production credits on the album.

It’s also good that this wasn’t the final Floyd album. As important Waters was to the golden years, his attitude and conflicts got the best of him and crippled the band. Simply put, “The Final Cut” is decent enough for what it is, but it was not good enough for the band’s farewell. Same thing if they would have stopped with “Momentary Lapse of Reason,” because that is the only album by Floyd I hate front-to-back. “Division Bell” was prime for their farewell. Ending on “High Hopes,” that was something. Me and a lot of other Floyd fans thought the same.

Let’s hope they don’t undo that with “Endless River.”

‘Twin Peaks’ Will Air On Showtime; Companion Book In The Works

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Two weeks ago, David Lynch and Mark Frost, the Lennon-McCartney of creepy cult television, announced they are returning “Twin Peaks” after a 25-year hiatus.

“Twin Peaks” was a show that centered around the murder of a small town high school girl, Laura Palmer. While that worked as the hook, it was the idiosyncratic characters of this fictional small town in Washington state that really kept the viewers in.
It combined satirizing the TV soap operas of the late ’80s and early ’90s, a criminal investigation show and horror-inspired surrealism. Because it wouldn’t be a David Lynch project without that.  

That surrealism included a place called The Black Lodge that operated as both heaven and hell where a backward talking dwarf would dance erratically and the personification of pure evil in the form of a long haired man who brutally murdered people while possessing other people’s bodies and stealing their souls resided.

You knew when it was him possessing bodies, because when his host body looked into a mirror, it was the demon-hippie man looking back.

And at the ripe old age of nine-years-old, my dad would have me watch this show with him. I’d be lying if I said this show didn’t mess me up a little bit in the long run.

The show didn’t live past two seasons. Lynch made an even creepier prequel/sequel a year after it was canceled with “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.” That film was mostly a miss for a lot of fans.

Over the years, “Twin Peaks” has inspired many shows. “X-Files,” “Lost,” “Fringe” and others were able to exist because “Twin Peaks” made it OK for a drama to tap into the strange and supernatural.

And now it’s coming back. Twenty-five years after Laura Palmer’s soul told FBI Agent Dale Cooper in that Black Lodge she would see him again after the afore mentioned quarter of a century time lapse.
It will be a nine-episode run, written by Frost and Lynch, with each episode directed by Lynch.

When I heard that, I realized that in 2016, when this is due to air, I might have to end my near decade long absence from cable TV. Because I really want to see this.

Also, a book detailing what happened to the characters between the series finale and the return is in the works. Written by Frost, this book should explain what happened to these characters since we last saw them.
I will be buying that too, when it comes out next year. It will allow them to not have to tread backward too much explaining why some characters are not there (a few of the actors have died over the years).

Having loved the series most of my life, I’m pretty stoked that this is happening. David Lynch’s films are very interesting, but “Twin Peaks” is my favorite of his work. I think having Mark Frost ground him a little from going overboard on the weird stuff is what made this show great for the most part (a lot of season two was garbage).

So, yes, more “Twin Peaks” is great news to me.

A ‘Ghostbusters’ Reboot?

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This week it was announced the “Ghostbusters” franchise will be getting a new chapter, though not the “Ghostbusters 3″ chapter some of us had wanted, then didn’t after the passing of Harold (Egon) Ramis. After Ramis passed, director Ivan Reitman even left the project.

You can’t have “Ghostbusters” without Egon.

Enter Paul Feig and Katie Dippold, who independent of each other gave us great episodes of “Arrested Development,” “Parks And Recreation” and Feig himself created the brilliant “Freaks And Geeks.”

Together they gave us “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat.” Neither of which I could sit through and finish because it’s not my type of humor, but other people seem to enjoy for some reason.

And now they are making a “Ghostbusters” movie without Egon. A “Ghostbusters” movie where Egon never existed.

They are rebooting the franchise. With a female cast. That will have nothing to do with the first two films.

And the Internet exploded with an avalanche of not-so-hidden sexism. Even Ernie (Winston) Hudson stuck his foot in his mouth with a baffling interview about him not into to the idea of women busting ghosts.

I don’t really care if it is a new cast of men busting ghosts or women busting ghosts. That’s moot to me. Because I’m of the opinion that the franchise should be left alone. Ramis, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Hudson were the “Ghostbusters” I grew up with. If this project had happened before Ramis passed, and it was a passing of the torch thing, then maybe I would be more into it.

With reboots, it is a tricky thing. When it comes to things like Batman and Spider Man, that’s different. Comics have multiple story arcs and alternate realities that make that easy. “Ghostbusters” has been associated to the actors and their characters for 30 years now. Even the cartoon series somewhat stayed true to those characters. A reboot, while probably the only acceptable reality in making a new film in the series because of Ramis’ passing, still sounds like a horrible idea.

Who knows? It might be good, it probably won’t. I won’t state that I will not see it, because I’m not clairvoyant, but chances are I will more than likely pass on seeing it.

 

UPDATE: We Are Getting More ‘Twin Peaks’

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UPDATE: This morning, it was announced that Mark Frost and David Lynch are, indeed, bringing back the series for a nine-episode mini-series for Showtime. A YouTube video was released, teasing the return. It will take place 25 years after the events of the series finale in 1991 and all nine episodes will be written by Frost and Lynch. Lynch himself will be directing all nine episodes. Actor Kyle MacLachlan also tweeted out a hint he might be returning as Agent Cooper. That is great news for people like me who have wondered what happened with the characters after the cliffhanger ending of the series finale.

On Friday, David Lynch and Mark Frost, the guys who gave the world “Twin Peaks,” a brilliant show that really messed me up as a kid (if a backward talking dwarf dancing creepily to jazz music; a psychopathic demon-man who possesses people’s bodies and looks like a lost member of the Manson family; and a red curtained, zig zag floored alternate world that represents both heaven and hell is not disturbing to a 10-year-old, that kid has more problems than I care to think about).

Both Frost and Lynch, at exactly 11:30 a.m. (the same time Agent Cooper in the series arrives in Twin Peaks) tweeted: “Dear Twitter Friends: That gum you like is going to come back in style! .” A reference to what the Man From Another Place tells Agent Cooper in the Black Lodge.

This can also be seen as a reference to what Agent Cooper says in the show: “When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention.”  So that seems to fit in with the way the tweets were delivered.

In an age where cult TV shows are getting new lives via streaming services online (“Arrested Development” and “Community” come to mind) it is not unrealistic. Premium services like HBO or Showtime could also be interested in reviving the series.

The streaming route and premium would probably interest Lynch, who probably had felt restrained by the regular TV format back when the show came out. Having to cut shots and scenes short to accommodate commercials seemed to have rubbed him the wrong way, as did the network pressuring him and Frost to reveal who killed Laura Palmer during the second season.

Lynch never intended  for that to be revealed. And in fact, after the show ended that mystery, its rating began to sink and the storylines became cringe worthy (especially that James-and-the-mistress thing). By the time the show began to find its footing again (the really, really good Windom Earle story arc), the show was sent to pasture.

Making things worse, Lynch attempted to save the show by ending it on cliffhanger. At the time, that seemed like a horrible idea. Then he followed up with the film, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” that confused and angered a lot of the fans by making it a semi-prequel (linear timeline in a Lynch project is not an issue to him), so that any real answers about that cliffhanger were kind of answered , but not really. Also, almost none of the show’s cast were in the final product, even though Lynch had filmed scenes with them. These can now be seen on the Blu-ray “Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery “ that contains the two seasons of the show and the movie.

So, could that cliffhanger finally be dealt with (seeing as Lynch never seems interested in resolution, so I won’t say “resolved”) by bringing the show back? Laura Palmer did tell Cooper in the Black Lodge she will see him again in 25 years, which would be very soon.