"Mulholland Drive" and Puzzle Stories

I just watched the movie Mulholland Drive for my English class and I have some possibly interesting thoughts on it.

For starters, when I looked up stuff about the movie, it was talked up as “the best movie of the 21st century” in some very recent articles. After seeing it, I can give it credit for one particular thing: it’s the hardest to describe movie I’ve ever seen. Whenever I watch a movie, I read about it on Wikipedia or TV Tropes afterwards; the TV Tropes page on Mulholland Drive has a lot of stuff on it that sounds to me like crackpot theories, like the weird cowboy dude being a reality warper (what the hell?) or everything up to that one lady opening the box being a dream (how and why would that make sense?). Those theories are so bizarre that they make the movie even more confusing, which I am convinced is the point. It purports to be a mystery film of sorts with murder stories, but what’s confusing is, a lot of time is spent on one of the main characters trying her hand at being an actor, which seems to be a pointless interlude to me, but I’m almost definitely missing something. Not to mention that the murder scenes themselves also don’t clearly tie in to whatever semblance of a plot the movie has. Long story short: this is a confusing bizarre movie among confusing bizarre movies.

I believe Mulholland Drive is meant as a story that’s also a puzzle for viewers to decipher on their own. My solution to the puzzle is presently a flat and simple “I don’t fucking know”, which is only compounded by the fact that I’ve never been very good at understanding movies. Maybe that’ll change when I talk about it in class tomorrow? But for now that’s all I can say about this strange movie.

However, I’ll also say this: the “story that is also a puzzle” idea is a common interpretation of what Homestuck is. The present ending of the comic (which I’m not really a fan of) may especially have such a puzzle interpretation, with a lot of cryptic ambiguous events whose true meaning one can only deduce. There’s an “obvious” happy ending interpretation of those events, but that relies largely on a large number of leaps of logic, not to mention disregarding other story points (like the deal with the events of the claymation section); meanwhile, the less obvious interpretations, which I largely buy into, makes more logical sense but also makes the ending even less satisfying.

This may be an alright thing for the comic to do if not for the fact that as confusing as it can get at times, Homestuck still makes a clear effort to be comprehensible to readers most of the time; for instance, many animations or otherwise confusing events are followed by a character recapping what went down. So in this case, the ending as it stands could be thought of as an especially bizarre way to suddenly incorporate the Mulholland Drive puzzle story principle. The weird thing is, not only the events of Homestuck’s current finale themselves have a variety of interpretations, but why it’s the way it is also can be interpreted a number of ways. That’s something I’ll talk about another time but I’ve already discussed this sort of thing throughout my Homestuck posts.

Another Homestuck and Problem Sleuth post update

First I’ll talk about my next Homestuck post, then my plans for the Problem Sleuth post series.

My next Homestuck post will be released Saturday, September 3. I’m choosing this date because that’ll put me right back on track for releasing a post on the anniversary of this post series, assuming I’ll keep posting every five days. Sorry the date’s so late, but as I’ve mentioned before, that’s because it’s kind of long. It’s also sort of because I’ve been busy with some stuff, mostly keeping track of everything and getting used to stuff as I’m starting my last year of high school.

Now what’s up with my next post exactly? The bottom line is, dividing Act 6 Act 2 into posts ended up a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. Originally I wanted to do something like this:

  • One post for pages preceding the Dirk/Roxy selection screen
  • One post for Dirk’s half of the selection screen
  • One post for Roxy’s half
  • Two posts for the pages following the selection screen

As I soon discovered, the problem with that idea is, the first post here would cover about 80 pages, which is just way too much to write about in five days. So I ended up covering a little over half of those pages, and I’ve decided to revise the plan as follows:

  • Part of the pages preceding the selection screen
  • The rest of those pages + most of Dirk’s half
  • The last part of Dirk’s half + Roxy’s half
  • Two posts for the pages following the selection screen

I think that’s a fairly even way to divide up all these posts. I’ll let you know when I’m close to finished with the one I’m working on by updating this post.

As for my Problem Sleuth post series, I’m really not sure what to do with that. The commentary thing worked well with the first few chapters of the comic, but now, not so much. I do want to keep on re-reading the comic, but I think I might do the following: instead of writing up commentary the way I do with my Homestuck posts, I might start just writing down more general thoughts on the comic. Maybe there will be some parts I feel are really worth commenting on; I don’t know. I think I should see for myself how that’ll go.

Cookie Fonster’s Problem Sleuth Commentary Part 4: Liquor Explosions and Skull Puzzles


Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 >

Chapter 5 + part of chapter 6

Pages 328–422 (MSPA: 546–640)

NOTE: Next time I’ll try to release a Problem Sleuth post only slightly late rather than this. Sorry about all the delays.

10/1/2019 NOTE: This was my final Problem Sleuth post before I shelved the project, deeming it a failed experiment. Past the first few chapters, I couldn’t remember enough about the comic’s plot to write much meaningful about it; as such, this post isn’t really up to my quality standards. I do want to pick up my Problem Sleuth posts again someday, perhaps if I’m on a hiatus with my Homestuck posts.

When Pickle Inspector wakes to see his office flooded, the area with the elf is flooded as well. I’m kind of confused again—is that area part of the material world or not?

When Pickle Inspector is commanded to save the drowning elf, the narration says:

It is too late for him. There is nothing you can do.

First death that’s actually kind of sad.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 66: The Miracle of Another New Beginning


Part 65 | Part 66 | Part 67 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 1 of 6

Pages 4391-4436 (MSPA: 6291-6336)

NOTE: The first 30 or so pages covered in this post are technically between Act 6 Intermission 1 and Act 6 Act 2, but it makes the most sense to consider those pages part of the latter act.

NOTE 2 (8/25/2016): Happy birthday, Andrew Hussie!

You are Jane Crocker again. 

And once again, you have woken up on the moon of Prospit, without any recollection of how you fell asleep. You think you were going outside to get the mail? You can’t remember.

Here’s a bit of dream self weirdness in action. Waking up in the dream world and taking a while to remember stuff that happened is one of the defining motifs of dream bubbles, but not of dreams in Prospit or Derse. Jade’s dreams never worked that way at all, with her essentially sleeping on and off in sort of a dual state of existence, sometimes forgetting that she’s even asleep. But in fairness, Jade has always been a special case in that regard.

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Progress report on next Problem Sleuth post

My next Problem Sleuth post covers about 120 pages, and I have 30 left to cover. I’ve kind of been working on it on and off, but now I’ve figured out a good way to make Problem Sleuth posts and Homestuck posts at once without sticking to one or the other for too long.

Sometimes in both post series, I reach a part where I’m not sure what to say about it. This happened about a week ago with my Problem Sleuth post series, where I reached a point where I thought, “man I don’t have anything to say about these next ten pages” and pretty much hit a roadblock. But just earlier today, I went back to those pages and thought up commentary easily, something I probably could’ve done a day or two after hitting the roadblock. And now I’ve also hit a similar point where I’m not sure what to say about the next bunch of pages. So I’ve decided to start doing the following: when I hit a roadblock on my next Problem Sleuth post I’ll work on my next Homestuck post, and vice versa. My next Problem Sleuth post should ideally be released tomorrow, two days before my next Homestuck post. EDIT (8/23): Actually, it’s more feasible to release both of those posts on August 24, leading to a 2x BLOG POST COMBO.

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 65: Karkat Freakouts Ad Infinitum


Part 64 | Part 65 | Part 66 >

Act 6 Intermission 1, Part 2 of 2

Pages 4346-4390 (MSPA: 6246-6290)

alternate post title: Don’t Turn Your Back on the Juggalo

As promised, I’ll go right ahead and discuss the thing of kids and trolls meeting.

The very notion of all these characters here meeting in person marks a transition in the beta kids’ storyline, one that applies to John and Jade as well. After leveling up and earning Gift of Gab, all four beta kids no longer receive commands and are only occasionally playable or narrated. This is because in the whole first half of Act 6, the beta kids’ sections are not so much about getting through the game as they are about checking up on their new daily life in the three-year intermezzo between the old and new sessions, often with discussions of plot stuff to keep the story interesting.

I have mixed feelings regarding this narrative transition. After arrival in the new session, I think it would have been ideal for the kids and trolls’ story to return to being more like getting through a video game, but Act 6 Act 6, the subdivision where that stuff happens, ended up being kind of a mess instead. Not counting Caliborn’s narration interludes, it starts off with everyone really confused about what’s going on, and instead of having the characters work through it all, things get even more messed up to the point of the survivors having to fix the whole timeline. And after that happens, the versions of the kids who do get all the stuff done are from a different timeline (with only a few exceptions), different from the ones we followed for all of Act 6, while the original versions are shafted off to irrelevance. Even disregarding that disparity, a lot of stuff in the retconned session is glossed over (things like planet quests and denizen meetings), and at times it seems just too orderly. I think all this is a result of the story trying too hard to get through events in an even more convoluted way than previously, to the point of destroying certain major story points.

But just for the sake of things, I’ll comment on this whole kid/troll meeting sequence for what it is, without acknowledging that the retcon is a thing. As I’ve done in the past, this lack of retcon discussion will be a self-challenge of sorts, something I’ll see how easily I can stick to.

Alright, let’s begin.

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Next Homestuck post coming tomorrow

It’s almost done, I promise you; I’d say it’s at least 80% done. Next one after that will be released on the 24th if things go as planned; if that doesn’t work out then I’ll try to schedule my posts so that I publish one on the post series’ birthday regardless.

As for my next Problem Sleuth post, I haven’t been working on it very much, though I probably could finish it in the next few days while I work on my next Homestuck post after the one I’m working on, though not before I finish the one I’m currently working on.

Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 64: Triennium Battleship Mindfuckery


Part 63 | Part 64 | Part 65 >

Act 6 Intermission 1, Part 1 of 2

Pages 4285-4345 (MSPA: 6185-6245)

NOTE: My next Problem Sleuth post is still in production. Stay tuned for it I guess.

One down.

The curtains closing in on a tragic explosion transition us to robotic Hussie, who completely destroys all drama with a humorous line, “One down.” I think I’m getting the hang of this black comedy thing. Though he immediately says he’s referring to the curtains, not the kids, it’s still funny regardless.

So, uh… what about all those other kids?

Huh? Who? 

Oh, yeah. Those people. 

Aren’t they all dead?

Hussie is a master at pretending not to really care that much about his comic. Some people think that due to many parts of the late comic being unsatisfying, after a certain point he actually did stop caring as much as he used to; if so, his lines above may be taken as an exaggeration of his future self.

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Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 63: Dirk’s Ironic Robot Company


Part 62 | Part 63 | Part 64 >

Act 6 Act 1, Part 4 of 4

Pages 4227-4284 (MSPA: 6127-6184)

In a callback to a scene in the trolls’ arc, Jake discovers a grumbling giant version of Karkat’s lusus. Presumably the callback is there to make it extra obvious those are the trolls’ lusii—this isn’t the only time such a thing is done.

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Another blog update

I’m back from vacation, meaning I can once again make posts for this blog. And I’ve decided on what my schedule for my Homestuck and Problem Sleuth posts will look like as summer comes to a close.

For my Homestuck posts, I will return to an older posting schedule: new posts every five days. Until further notice, I’ll continue making those posts at this steady rate, even when school starts again. My next Homestuck post will be released August 9 August 10, next after that August 14, and then my every five days schedule will be put in action once more. I’m choosing this date because if I publish a Homestuck post every five days from that date onwards, that would mean I’ll release a post on the one-year anniversary of that post series (September 18, the day I released the series’ introductory post).

As for my Problem Sleuth posts, the pattern has generally been one Problem Sleuth post for every two Homestuck posts, so I might as well follow through with that and release a Problem Sleuth post every ten days or so. Those posts don’t actually take as long to make as my Homestuck posts; they’re just a lesser priority and thus I don’t work on those as often. Next Problem Sleuth post will be released August 12 or so.