Monday, August 11, 2008

I Want to Believe

I invested a lot of years into the characters of Mulder and Scully. I came in during season four and it took me some time to catch up. I was a bigger fan of the MotW (monster of the week) episodes than I was of the government conspiracy arc. I loved CGB Spender and Walter Skinner. I had a very soft spot for the Lone Gunmen and Krycek. I adored the snarky Morris Fletcher. I despised Bill Scully and Diana Fowley. I can tell you which episodes Darin Morgan wrote and/or starred in. I even participated in a gregarious group of religious on-line Scully-enthusiasts just so I could get spoilers every week.

I was a shipper - someone who thought that Mulder and Scully loved each other and should be together romantically. The chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson was electric. It was what kept me coming back each week. Don't get me wrong; the writing was excellent and the creepy feel was fun. But it was the characters and my investment in them that brought me back to the screen last month

Home Again - Mark Snow

Abductions, a psychic X-pedophilic X-priest ("Stupendous Yappi, tell me what I'm thinking now." "So's your old man!"), Russians (Poor Krycek, he SO could have helped Mulder what with his Russian-as-a- second-language thing and his fake arm and all) a non-believing FBI agent and one who wants to believe. Hospitals and doctors and incurable diseases, O MY! Pictures of aliens, flying saucers, fluke-men, and Samantha.

"I Want to Believe" was a monster-of-the-week episode. An FBI agent goes missing, our X-priest has visions and a flailing FBI calls on a hermetically sealed Mulder for help. To be precise, they call on Scully who calls on Mulder for help.

Our Dr. Scully works at a
Catholic Hospital; "Our Lady of Sorrows" (HA!) and she's trying desperately to save a little boy's life (Christian! HA!) through radical treatments that no Catholic Hospital worth the name would condone.

We learn that Mulder and Scully are shacking up in a messed up...uhm...shack...somewhere in West Virginia. Mulder is obviously depressed yet still obsessed, given the wallpaper in his office and the growth of beard on his face. Scully has her own obsession going on trying to save little William…whoops, I mean Christian from his brain disease. Let's face it; Dr. Scully should probably go back and take the course on clinical detachment while Mulder oughta shave, shower, clean up, something, I don't know. In an effort to get him off his ass and out of that filthy hole they live in, Scully tells him about the FBI's request and urges him to action. Off they go.

Scully, to the detriment of the poor abducted FBI agent, clearly doesn't have the stomach for the fibbie chase anymore leaping down the throat of X-Father Joe for his past horrific crimes. Mulder (with his "distinguished profile" season 6, episode 8) smells a real psychic and is on the job. He even shaves. Scully can't stomach being in the same room with X-Father.

Mulder's faith is rekindled; he wants to believe again. Scully struggles with her faith, seems that she no longer has any
. But when X-Father Joe tells her not to give up, she doesn't want to allow it in, or to give it meaning. Yet in the end, we find she wants to believe too.

Our heroes come to a crossroads in their relationship. Mulder feels alive again; he's driven to get to the bottom of the case. Scully fears where the obsessions take him; she can't follow him into the dark anymore and does not want to be a party to it. But in the end, Scully, ("…stomach contents include ... pizza ...(gasp!) Chloral hydrate's in the pizza! The pizza guy! (gasp again!) Mulder!") by googling the dots between dogs, Russians and stem cells, saves Mulder's ass as usual. One abductee ("Do you prefer the term ab-duct-ee or experiencer?) is saved from the creepy dog pound and we get to see the only person with balls in the FBI: Walter Skinner swoops in to save the day.

But look; our MotW turns out

to be a dark Russian slice of a

fabulous 1962 B movie. If only it had been "The

Screaming Skull" my life would have been complete. But even so - "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" - works for me (Scully: " do I die?" Clyde Bruckman smiles, "You don't.").

What didn't I like? I thought the political commentary, panning over to the picture of President Bush and playing the XFiles music was clumsy and pretty 8th grade. During the entire nine year run of the show they never did that to Janet "Elian Gonzales / Branch Davidian" Reno. I thought that the pedophile priest angle and Scully's subsequent angst would have worked better in 2002, which is probably when they wrote the screenplay. As a faithfully practicing Catholic I was annoyed that all of the priests in the movie looked like John Mark Carr. I mean, come on. Oh, yeah and it doesn't snow that much in Virginia; certainly not in Richmond where our pedophiles have checked in to the sex offender concentration camp.

What did I love? I loved the affection for the fans; the shout outs. The nuns, the red swim trunks that replaced the red speedo, the pencils in the ceiling, the poster, the fish tank, Mulder's cell phone with the names of X-Files writers in his contacts list, Scully's cross necklace, and beautiful beautiful Walter Skinner; Assistant Director; the Skin Man. The "I Want To Believe" poster, sunflower seeds, and references to two of my favorite characters; Luther Lee Boggs and Clyde Bruckman.

Mostly, I loved that these characters were back. I really hope that there is at least one more in the series - that one will have to be the government consipiracy to hide the truth that the end of the world is 12/12/12.

If I were them, I'd schedule a Thanksgiving release.

PS: Thank Brain Tail for the contribution: a beautiful score by Mark Snow enveloped this movie. "Home Again" is my favorite cut.


John said...

Nice work, gregarious fan. I've been waiting patiently for your review, and I must say your detailed synopsis is amazing. How many times have you seen the flick? You are clearly on the upper tier of obsessed fans!

Thanks again so much for the Shiner Bock. I have enjoyed 2 thus far, one with dad, and one with Brain Tail. We are trying to savor it as it will certainly be gone before we know it!

lace1070 said...

Dang ~ I should just pack up my laptop now ~ I can't even attempt to try to sum up the movie now ~ u just did an amazing job! Im penciling you in for a post Thanksgiving road trip 12/12/12.

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