JOHN: This is what movies could be but choose not to—like a nightmare you wake up from and wonder if it were real.
SPANKY: There are three things that stay with you years after leaving it: 1) the protagonist walking along after his father’s stroke and finding a cut-off ear in the grass, 2) the songs “Blue Velvet” and “In Dreams“ performed with their weird context instead of blaring off of a portable radio, 3) Isabella Rosellini telling her young savior to hit her making love.
JOHN: And he does hit her. At the end, though the plot is resolved, the troubling subtext is free to go on and on and on.
SPANKY: Who would go to such a film? I’m sure that is why others never followed David Lynch. More than a romantic entertainment for date night, more than an action flick for pre-teens. A film that changes who you are and how you see life.
JOHN: Creepy, beyond what we want, beyond what we need. But we can’t look away.
SPANKY: 4 Barks out of 4
JOHN: 4 GOs out of 4
Lost Highway, David Lynch-Director, 1997
"Sorry, I can't seem to concentrate. I've got a long drive tomorrow."
HOOK: How did guy-next-door Bill Pullman get into this Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole movie for closet perverts? How do we get out?
LINE: “We met before, haven’t we?”
SINKER: The thing about a David Lynch film is that, like foreign movies of the 50’s and early 60’s, it asks us to reinvent the medium.
SPANKY: This picture was shot on a cell phone underwater. It is dark, blurry,…the music surges for no reason. There is a voyeuristic quality that is weirdly engaging and the red (and platinum) haired Patricia Arquette in a black silk robe with voice like a purring cat is a sex goddess that holds our attention no matter what spooky shit is hitting the fan. Like other Lynch films, about half way through there in no place to go so it just repeats itself. At best it is Munch’s painting “The Scream” come to life. At worst, car-sick vomit.
“TWO PAWS DOWN” (1 BARK out of four)
JOHN: The subtext is of someone watching or being watched, suggesting we in the movie audience are central, and the symbolic plot is just a lose representation of our lives. Lost Highway is the antithesis of a slasher movie. Nothing much happens because it is our own fears that are being provoked. What if someone slipped a video of our lives onto the outside steps each day and it purposely only captured appearances? Though not his best, in this age of block busters for specific demographic audiences and test-screenings to determine endings, give Lynch credit for saying “No.” The fact that he isn’t Bergman, Felini or even Herzog may be disappointing, but his refusal to conform is almost enough. If we can’t step forward and fill in the pieces, we don’t deserve more.
GO GO GO (3 GOs out of four)
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Tagged Bergman, Bill Pullman, Felini, Herzog, Lost Highway, Patricia Arquette
Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
PITCH: A Masturbatory Fantasy for Nerdy Intellectuals
STORY: Naomi Watts goes Hollywood, twice. First, as Betty, a sort of Nancy Drew solving the mystery of a beautiful amnesiac she finds in her aunt’s apartment. Second, as Diane (in a parallel reality), the ravaged victim of the other woman. This time she has her murdered and then, in the moments before she commits suicide, reimagines her ruined career and failed relationship as Betty with this woman she loves.
HOOK: “What the hell! This has to make sense? But it doesn’t make sense. Or does it make sense?” Plus weird characters spouting lines as if they’d escaped from a David Mamet play (and the requisite inch-high David Lynch people scurrying around like mice).
SPANKY: The girl-on-girl sex is so hot I found myself dry humping John’s leg. Listen, after Blue Velvet no one goes to a Lynch film expecting Bridget Jones Diary. Just call me a nerdy intellectual, but I like a film that finds the dumpster behind a greasy diner interesting.
BARK, BARK, BARK (3 BARKS out of 4)
JOHN: Part of the year David Lynch lives in Madison (everyone’s favorite alternative to reality). The two things I particularly like about this film are the tension he builds in every scene and the way he keeps us guessing—which gives us something to talk about for the rest of our lives. Naomi Watts is spectacular acting as an actress practicing (badly) for an audition and then auditioning (brilliantly) for the role. A play within a play within a play. Spanky, get off of my leg.
GO, GO, GO, GO (4 GOs out of 4)
KEEPER: “This is all a tape recording. It is an illusion.” (Lynch’s own critique of Hollywood embedded in the story.)
Posted in cult films, David Lynch, film, film classics, film noir, horror, movie review, movies
Tagged Art, Art-house Cinema, Arts and Entertainment, Book to Film Adaptations, Books, Classics, Culture, DVDs, film noir, Films, Hollywood, Humor, John Lehman, movie reviews, Pop Culture, Psychology, Publishing, Suspense