Imagine a TV/movie franchise that stayed in your consciousness for over twenty years. Imagine one of the most opaque movies ever made, set in a demented alternate world. Now imagine a second version of that movie, one alternate universe removed. Imagine 90 minutes of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me that you never saw before.
If it's possible to have spoilers for the deleted scenes of a twenty-two year-old movie, there are.
Little did we know that we really would see Laura Palmer again in twenty-five years. Almost. Fire Walk with Me: The Missing Pieces is to Fire Walk with Me what Fire Walk with Me was to Twin Peaks: sometimes brilliant, not entirely satisfying and most of the coolest shit happens in the first third.
The majority of these scenes were wisely cut. Angst-ridden conversations between Laura and Donna, weird meals in the Palmer house, a go-nowhere subplot about Bobby's cocaine and Laura giving foreboding farewells to various characters before she leaves to get killed are all easily dispensable. There's a detailed discussion between Pete Martell and Twin Peaks' mayor about the appropriate size of 2x4 lumber. Even the Black Lodge stuff is largely extraneous.
But there is brilliance in this alternate dimension FWWM: a protracted fistfight between Chris Isaak and Sheriff Cable captures the show's dark comedic genius that was absent from the movie, largely due to an outstanding physical performance by Gary Bullock.
Leiland has a moment of supreme creepiness when he stares at Laura hiding in the darkness on the night she dies. There's a scene of Laura being hypnotized by the legendary ceiling fan in her house, a textbook Lynchian special effect without special effects that is every bit as unsettling as anything in the Peaks universe, even when viewed out of context.
Yes, there's a good deal more of David Bowie as Phillip Jefferies, probably twice as much as is in the original film, although I'd be hard pressed to say any of the new stuff sheds any meaningful light on his deal or the mysterious Judy he keeps talking about.
There's a sequence that takes place after Cooper's How's Annie rant at the end of the series finale that could fairly be called an alternate ending, one I thought was more compelling than what was used.
It's sort of like an hour and a half of a brand new Twin Peaks movie (that you never quite forgave for being a prequel instead of a sequel) but sort of not. Disjointed, incomprehensible, almost as long, just as weird but a fair bit more boring, is it a movie unto itself or the most epic deleted scene compilation ever to exist?