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Best Lynch film?

 
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 02.10.2004 7:58 pm    Post subject: Best Lynch film? Reply with quote

I've seen the brilliant Mulholland Dr., The Elephant Man and The Straight Story [all of which I loved], but which of Lynch's films are the finest, do you think?
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.10.2004 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We done got ourselves a Lynching!

Sorry. I couldn't resist. It's an odd discrepancy: I tend to favor formalist, surreal, non-realistic films more than others (this is why Fellini, Tati, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Henri-Georges Clouzot are my favorite directors), but out of Lynch, it's his two most realistic (comparatively) that I like the best: The Straight Story and The Elephant Man. (Of course, both have their share of distinctly Lynch fantastical elements, but they are among his most realistic.) I don't like Blue Velvet as much as a lot of other people.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.10.2004 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My stock answer for my favorite Lynch movie is Eraserhead, mainly because it encapsulates all the elements I like best about Lynch. But which Lynch movie excites me the most at a given time depends on my mood. The ones I've watched and thought about the most over the years (besides Eraserhead) are Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I remember being absolutely fascinated by Blue Velvet when it was first released; it shocked me, confused me, embarrassed me, made me laugh, irritated me, and left me exhilarated. I was convinced it was either one of the most amazing movies I'd ever seen, or one of the freakin' dumbest. I'd tell my friends I hated it, yet I secretly rented it around five times. To this day there are still parts that grab me by the short and curlies (Ben's lip-sync of "In Dreams") and others that annoy the hell out of me (that damn bird in the last scene).

The only film that leaves me ambivalent is Wild at Heart. It has some great moments, but as a whole it strikes me as a tad over-indulgent.

That said, The Elephant Man and The Straight Story are the ones that leave me the most misty-eyed.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.10.2004 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only seen Mulholland Drive. *Tries to ignore the gasps*
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.11.2004 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mulholland Dr.

Eric
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.14.2004 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought I'd elaborate a bit. I've never been a tremendous Lynch fan, but I admire Mulholland Drive a great deal. This is what I wrote at the time: "Long ago I quit trying to 'interpret' David Lynch's abstract parodies of life, partially because my interest in him rests instead with his assiduous--and sometimes boneheaded--application of Surrealist principles. Generally, I consider his free-associative satires irrelevant, too detached to matter, too misanthropic to be pleasurable. Mulholland Drive, though, is deeply dreamy. For the first time, Lynch has successfully bypassed narrative, devising a conceptual noir that works directly on my artistic sensibilities. I'm clueless as to what the Club Silencio scene means, but I know I love it. "

For me, "getting" the film is less important than grooving on its wavelength; I respond to it for the same type of reasons that I respond to Abstract Expressionism. I've seen it three times, and each time I found myself interested in Lynch's satire of Hollywood--the happy-go-lucky, Sandra-Dee, a-star-is-born fantasies, and also the way the industry objectifies women. But I'm even more interested in the surrealism, especially the way Lynch uses free-association and bright-colored fantasia to deconstruct the tropes of modern Hollywood.

My favorite joke in the entire picture is Betty's audition scene, since Lynch and Naomi Watts conspired against the audience to make us believe that Watts is a chirpy, superficial actress. In the audition, though, Watts drops those mannerisms and suddenly (shockingly) molds her silly melodramatic lines into something passionate. She turns the older actor's lechery against him, and that long, single shot is hilarious--partially because Lynch has made us the unsuspecting butt of the joke. Now that we've seen Watts in other pictures, the joke doesn't work nearly as well. It was good fortune for all of us who saw the movie when it first arrived.

Although I'm convinced it's unwise to look for Mulholland Drive's meaning within its plot (too many viewers are incurable rationalists; cinema art contains multitudes beyond surface story), I do think the narrative can be made sensible, if one is so disposed. I have come across several very astute and persuasive "readings" of the film, including one by Martha P. Nochimson (a Lynch expert) that claims the film is about the demise of "creative integrity." She calls the movie a "visionary epic about the cosmic degeneration that originates in the the thwarting of the creative act by the mechanistic forces of commercialism, and an affirmation of Lynch's belief in the abundance of robust creative potential in mass culture."

Wish I had written that bit.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.14.2004 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
[Lynch's] sometimes boneheaded application of Surrealist principles.


Examples?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.15.2004 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Lost Highway, Wild at Heart, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me are ludicrous. Highway is one of his most seductive films--the weaving of several dreams into one another is a great concept--but ultimately I find it too pulpy, too thin, too vulgar, and too mean to take very seriously. The other two are much worse. The general tone of Fire Walk With Me is one of cartoonish, violent parody; I think mystery is also targeted, but not at all achieved. There's no tension or drive to the surrealism, and Lynch's thematic montage carries zero dramatic or psychological weight. It plays as delusional self-parody, a series of rambling asides that, for me, traffic almost exclusively in misanthropy. Same thing for Heart, which seems controlled by a nastiness strangely intensified by the jokey tone.

(I know I'm being vague, but it's been a long while since I've seen any of these three, and all that remains are these imprecise impressions.)

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.15.2004 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's strange, because Lost Highway and FWWM have a lot in common with Mulholland Falls, thematically, and in the case of FWWM in tone. And while many of his movies are shocking, I don't think they're necessarily misanthropic. His characters wrestle with the human desire to manipulate and control others, and the world around them. The pursuit of this desire is doomed to failure and self-destruction. However, there is no such thing as "good" and "evil" in Lynch's world-view. His characters' darker impulses are something they cannot escape, even if they try to "split" themselves, as Diane Selwyn does in Mulholland Drive and Fred Madison does in Lost Highway. Only reconciliation and acceptance can bring about harmony and peace. I suppose whether or not he achieve emotional or psychology weight in his approach is a matter of taste. I find both Lost Highway and FWWM harrowing and fascinating. I do agree that Lynch does go overboard with the grotesqueries in Wild at Heart, and that the movie as a whole seems a little callous, particularly Harry Dean Stanton's undeserved fate.
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Dr Giggles
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PostPosted: 02.27.2004 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mullholland Drive

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with me

Eraserhead
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 02.27.2004 3:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Night Watchman and Dr. Giggles -- happy to see some Fire Walk With Me fans here. It seems that even most hardcore Lynch fans despise that one, but it's my favorite, and the that one gets the biggest emotional reaction from me. I've seen it at least six times, but I never fail to break into tears during the triumphant final scene (the red room, Laura's tearful joy at the sight of the angel). It's intensely frightening, hysterically funny, and profoundly moving -- yeah, I could say that about other Lynch films, but FWWM is by far the most potent.

An excellent review by Ed Gonzalez that's worth a read:

http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/film_review.asp?ID=435

After FWWM, it'd be a close race between Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet, but I also like The Straight Story and Lost Highway (when are we gonna see a Region 1 DVD release?). I'm ashamed to admit that I still haven't seen The Elephant Man (though I just bought the DVD!) or Eraserhead.
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Dr Giggles
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PostPosted: 02.27.2004 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats a great review, cheers.

Yeah I cant wait to own a copy of this film.

The scene where Laura goes back home and enters her room

to find that indian guy crouched in the corner of her room,

near where she hides her diary, just staring at her.

That scene still haunts me, beautifully shot.

Eraserhead is just a total nightmarish trip, just bizarre.
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Fred C. Dobbs
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PostPosted: 03.12.2004 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mulholland Drive.

It's my favorite. Eraserhead and Blue Velvet may be better films, and maybe more unique, but I enjoy Mulholland Drive a great deal more.
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