David Duchovny

Binary System Podcast #74 – The Randomness Continues

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Binary System Podcast #74 – The Randomness Continues

Without a Night Vale episode to recap this week, the twins set up a careful, organized plan for the recording. Riiiight. That’s about as likely as Megatron writing limericks about how awesome Starscream is. (…actually, fanfic writers, could you please get on that one? Thanks.)

No, they jumped from one random topic to another, covering the hideous early reviews for Iron Fist, Tom Hiddleston’s T-shirt in Kong: Skull Island, David Duchovny’s high heels in Twin Peaks, and the emotional manipulation that was the series finale of The Vampire Diaries, and how we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Lost In Sci-Fi: The X-Files

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Lost In Sci-Fi: The X-Files

This week the crew looks back and forward to The X-Files. That little sci-fi show from the 90s that became a pop culture phenomenon. Elizabeth and Jada are huge fans, where Leland’s only ever watched a few episodes. He gets to ask all his questions and gets schooled. Also we take Lucifer to the mat and beat the crap out of it. Good times. Please download and enjoy! Read On

Binary System Podcast #23 – Return of The X-Files

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Binary System Podcast #23 – Return of The X-Files

It’s another week and still no Night Vale, but that’s okay because we’ve got X-Files! The twins break down the first episode of the new X-Files series, with all the conspiracies, explosions, and the complete lack of anybody making out with anybody else. But they get away from that for a bit to talk about Twin Peaks (because David Duchovny’s in that) and Top Gear (because Gillian Anderson’s in that) so really, they didn’t get very far away at all.

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Review – David Duchovny’s “Holy Cow”

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Review – David Duchovny’s “Holy Cow”

With all the hubbub about the upcoming X-Files episodes, I thought it was time to finally read David Duchovny’s novel Holy Cow. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard it talked about animal cruelty, and tolerance for others, which sounded like a pretty serious message.

This is not a serious book. This is David Duchovny being a complete goofball.

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X-Files: I Want To Believe

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Full disclosure: I watched the X-Files television series until the first movie came out. I was so disgusted with the transparent clumsiness of the story (so much more forgivable on TV) that I stopped watching the show. Curiosity and a cautious sort of press buzz (“it’s a stand-alone episodes even non-fans can love!”) drew me back in. I am not so dishonorable as to spoil any plot points, since the few surprises are nearly all the pleasure this film affords. However, I will say that it does feel like an episode, padded out to 104 minutes (that’s a full extra hour) with unnecessary scenes of walking, driving, helicoptering, and reiterating circular and uninteresting arguments. So no, I didn’t so much like it.

We meet Scully and Mulder again in real time, ten years since we last saw them. To say they are jaded about their FBI experiences is no understatement. They are called in — well, Mulder is — ostensibly to provide the unique experience and talents developed from the X-Files heyday. However, despite basically being in the same room as the investigators and their targets, Mulder does nothing that hasn’t already been done by the regulars and contributes nothing but doleful monologues to the proceedings. It’s like having H & R Block in to review your completed 1040 EZ forms.

The story adheres to the show’s tradition of stand-alone episodes, without involving conspiracy, aliens, bees, black oil, Cigarette Smoking Man, or any plot devices that require the audience to have see the show before (unless they want to understand the relationship the leads have). The fun of Mulder and Scully’s dynamic on the show was Mulder’s credulousness and Scully’s scientific skepticism, coupled with his implied atheism and her Catholicism. It made for a fun give and take when they were confronted with demons, space invaders, faith healers, circus freaks, lunatics, and government conspiracies.

Here, despite a conservative hospital, a disgraced clergyman, and Mulder’s natural tendency to believe in the paranormal until proved normal, X-Files 2 does not wrestle with faith or tenacity of beliefs so much as fling pebbles at these concepts from across the schoolyard. Scully spends a lot of time insisting on keeping her life as it is now (which is also unclear) and not regressing to those dark days working with Mulder. To someone who didn’t see how they left it at the end of the show, she seems to be fully engaged in that life anyway.

Billy Connolly is wasted in an interesting role, reduced to resolution-free bickering and an irritating lack of arc for someone who merits his own movie, rather than facilitating this one. Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) appears, entertaining my companion and I as we attribute all his behavior to the fact that he is a Cylon. Actually, such a plot device would have been more X-Filesy and more entertaining and less silly than what actually occurs, which is more like a gag cut from Futurama. Perhaps I have said too much.

The X-Files were special when they were on the air, new and dark, thoughtful and complex, with lots of luxurious faith versus credulousness conversations and scary bits. The then-new possibilities of topics and long story arcs on television were exciting novelties back in the days when studios would never believe audiences would have such long memories or ardent fandom. Unfortunately for this movie, television evolved well past this degree of silliness and spoon feeding (see also: Space: Above and Beyond), leaving our beloved old friends in the vault. I wanted to believe it would be a fun movie, but my companion put it best: “This was definitely time spent.”

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 7/25/08
Time in minutes 105
Director Chris Carter
Studio 20th Century Fox

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Return to Me

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Gentlemen, start your date engines. Return to Me is not a weirdly cast lovey dovey movie, it’s a chick’s dream. Co-writer, co-producer, director, and supporting actress Bonnie Hunt has made a sweet, sad, gentle movie that (while requiring one surprising major coincidence) is totally natural, tender, and funny. Hunt is generally cast in films as the best friend who anchors our lead in reality – she has done the same for herself her. She has also by extension provided an emotional anchor for the entire movie (as a director) – she coaxes a modest, charming, character for David Duchovny (who is not at all bland or hollow as he has been in previous big screen outings) and a vulnerable, winsome character for Minnie Driver (who is not the terrific spaz overwhelming her menfolk as she has done in previous outings). They are perfect matches for each other – but what brings them together is a surprise I do not want to ruin.

I will say right now that I dropped a tear (or several) a *minimum* 5 times while watching this film, and it could have been more, had I let myself. The previews make this movie look daffy and silly – and there are genuine moments of warm daffiness, adorable old men (including an almost unrecognizable Carroll O’Connor – you know, Archie Bunker!), and silly shenanigans. But thankfully, Hunt does not rely on the yuk-a-minute tactic for her romantic comedy, instead making the tension between the two people unknown and quite poignant.

I hesitate to make this comparison, because the majority of the movie I am about to cite was *not* so good, but the one thing that did work in You’ve Got Mail was the brief moment in the cafe when Tom Hanks realizes who Meg Ryan is, and she, not knowing who he is, dresses him down. That moment of knowledge, the emotional conflict that Tom’s character had, *that* was the best thing about that movie and a capsule of what makes this movie work. The situations are not all happy and joking and oh aren’t we precious, and that’s what makes it work. The people are insecure, they have baggage, but neither of them are over the top with their burdens or parodying real life folks’ real life versions. David Alan Grier comes close to parodying a real person – but his intentions are pure and in the end, he’s only a catalyst by his behavior, so we can forgive him being drawn so broadly. And as always he is funny.

Hunt is sweet and supportive and kind in this movie as in all others, but she now has a funny foil of a husband in James (not Jim) Belushi. You got that right – Bonnie even got him to turn in a kinder, gentler performance and it’s her toning down of everyone that makes the movie work. The old men (Driver’s character’s grandfather and his cronies) are funny and talk over each other and have a wonderful chemistry – their love for her is pure and sweet and old fashioned, and there is the requisite hearkening back to the more romantic days, i.e. the days of the big band, a can’t-miss musical influence for a movie like this one. But between arguing who is better, Dino or Frankie, we all agree there’s no love like old-fashioned love. Even Duchovny can’t work a microwave while grandpa’s putting CD’s in to “enhance the mood.” (Oh but the big band in the scene near the beginning is awful!) (in a good way)

It’s sweet, it’s charming, it’s romantic, it’s tragic, there’s some serious Catholic business thrown in but it’s that warm fuzzy Catholic stuff, not the brimstone-smelling stuff. I really enjoyed it and I hope it does gonzo in the box office so they make more like it. Driver and Duchovny are a fantastic on-screen couple, if you can believe that. There’s even a nice great ape preservationist message in there. Go see it!

MPAA Rating PG
Release date 2/18/00
Time in minutes 115
Director Bonnie Hunt
Studio MGM

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X Files : Fight the Future

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Sundays at 9, 8 Central.

“That’s not a rating!” my readers cry out. “That’s when the show is on.” Exactly my point, my friends, exactly. With 60 million dollars, all I ask for my hard earned $6.75 is to get something more than I get on the show – either in plot revelation, character development, special effects, SOMETHING. I was disappointed. One of my party was not a viewer of the show, and he found the movie compelling. I have watched sporadically for about 2 years, and I fell asleep 3 times. Once during a chase scene.

It starts out well, with some amusing banter meant to introduce the characters to any X virgins, and I looked forward to a Star Trek: The Movie style inside joke fest laced with plot. Nope! I hoped for expensive stuff, and I got seven helicopters and some non-Vancouver locations, but basically nothing else. Chris Carter has been promising questions answered, characters developed – but after carefully absorbing the last 3 episodes of the series, nothing from those episodes was even addressed. No Mimi Rogers character, no followup, just some new stuff introduced and left untied, just like an average episode. No sewn-eyed freaky people, no Krychek – what the hell am I sitting here in this theatre, I could be seeing Clockwatchers!

So, I guess if you are a fan, you should go, because I’m sure in the grand scheme of things people who miss this special 2 1/2 hr episode will miss some important information if they miss the movie. The biggest laugh I got was the four of us simultaneously squeaking “I made this” when the Ten Thirteen logo came up, and when my seatmate asked if I would explain the plot as the movie went along. I would also like to (sarcastically) thank Hollywood for again making Texas look like a crappy, flat, vile place where you can see Dallas from Amarillo.

HERE IS THE PART THAT GIVES AWAY PLOT. I am forgoing my rule for this movie – so stop now if you actually expect to be surprised by the film. I am trying to be oblique here, just in case you can’t help it.
OK, an average episode, one hour, crammed with interesting stuff. This movie, not even crammed with an hour’s worth. Realism blown out of the window – why would agents be blamed for a terrorist’s actions? How could all this stuff occur and no one see it – reconnaissance planes, entomologists, seismologists, neighbors? Then the amazing derivativeness of the 3rd reel – after the impressive amount of innovation in the series, how can they rip off so many movies in such a short period of time. The show is not holy to me by any stretch, but I had hoped that the limitations imposed by the small screen would be eliminated by a bigger budget, bigger scope, bigger medium. No such luck.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 6/19/98
Time in minutes 117
Director Rob Bowman
Studio 20th Century Fox