Tag Archives: David Lynch

Victim of a Lynchin’

I’m currently reading the Faber and Faber book: Lynch on Lynch.

As the title might suggest, we’re taken into the mind of the man who is occasionally referred to as Jimmy Stewart from Mars. I love that nickname and it fits perfectly. Jimmy Stewart was, in his early career certainly, the all American boy that any girl could take home to their mom. One only has to think of his persona in YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON or THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. David Lynch also deals with the portrayal of middle America in many of his films but this is a world where there is a constant underlying darkness barely suppressing an unsettling vibration that threatens to manifest itself at any given moment. . . . It’s the unspoken fear we all have when interacting with this world gone mad.

I’ve had the 1990 film WILD AT HEART knocking about in my collection for a while and decided last night to give it a spin. This is Lynch at his darkest; I’d go so far to say that this film eclipses BLUE VELVET in the shock stakes, an opinion that was shared by many on the pictures release.

Wild at heart

Although the violence, sex and madness is pretty relentless there’s some great stuff going on in this movie. Diane Ladd’s portrayal of Marietta Fortune is something to witness, I wonder if Ellen Burstyn looked at this picture before shooting REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. Then you’ve got Willem Defoe popping up as the repulsive Benny Peru “As in the country”. There’s one particular scene with Laura Dern in the motel room that really has you squirming, Lynch literally has the audience in the palm of his hands here. This film also suits Nick Cage’s monotone drawl, he’s not bad in this movie at all.

Visually the picture is as you’d expect from Lynch. We have the recurring visual motif of the striking match, the extreme close ups of cigarettes being smoked, the regular references to the Wizard of Oz with flashback sequences being used to great effect. Despite the horror of the situation, Lynch draws us into the intimate world Sailor and Lulu have created for themselves. In a sea of freaks, Lula seems almost normal, a woman attracted to a man with the capacity to kill, she finds comfort in that misguided strength however.

Benny Peru

Have a look at one of the tamer scenes below. It may not have any sex or physical violence but it’s saturated with that Lynch atmosphere. It’s also a good demonstration of the relationship between Sailor and Lulu, there are many moments like this is the picture which reinforces this paradox of tenderness being heightened by horror.

No one, of course, can explain David Lynch films like David Lynch. Here the interviewer quizzes him about the negative press:

Did those bad reactions to the film surprise you?

“A little bit. Everybody has a line that they won’t cross over, but it’s different for each person. I didn’t think I’d pushed it to the point where people would turn on the picture. But, looking back, I think it was pretty close. But that was part of what Wild at Heart was about: really insane and sick and twisted stuff going on. Just like in real life you know?
I don’t want to give the impression that I sit around thinking up horrible things. I get all kinds of different ideas and feelings. If I’m lucky, they start organizing themselves into a story – then maybe some ideas come along that are too eerie, too violent, or too funny, and they don’t fit that story. So you write them down and save them for two or three projects down the road. There’s nowhere you can’t go in a film – if you think of it, you can go there.”

The film is not an easy watch, not by any means but therein lays the fun. You know you’re going somewhere that will lead to strange thoughts or confusion, or gentle dread when you put on a David Lynch film, STRAIGHT STORY aside of course.


Desert Island Discs

Picture the scene….. The FED EX plane you’re travelling in has been struck by lightning, causing it to plunge into the ocean. You get washed up on the beach of a nearby island which is apparently without habitants. Instead of a football for company you find a 50 inch plasma TV with attached DVD player which was miraculously wrapped in waterproof packaging. Somehow you discover a power supply and are delighted that 10 movies have escaped unscathed in the over the shoulder folder holder you had on your person at the time of the tragedy.

These are the 10 films that will prevent you going insane whilst you wait for McDonalds to discover this is the one place they don’t have a restaurant….

My picks are:

REAR WINDOW, Alfred Hitchcock (1954)

THE BIG LEBOWSKI, Joel & Ethan Coen (1998)

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Stanley Kubrick (1968)

HEAVEN CAN WAIT, Ernst Lubitsch (1943)

MEAN STREETS, Martin Scorsese (1973)

MANHATTAN, Woody Allen (1979)

RASHOMON, Akira Kurosawa (1950)

RIFIFI, Jules Dassin (1955)

IF…., Lindsay Anderson (1968)

PAN’S LABYRINTH, Guillermo Del Toro (2006)

This was a really hard thing to do, and the selections could well change as I think about it more. There’s no Welles, Antonioni, Bergman, Ozu, Lynch, Powell & Pressburger…. God, the list is huge. These are the 10 films that tick as many boxes as possible whilst being infinitely watchable. I also think that each of these 10 films gives you something very different, from the half an hour of silence during the robery scene in Rififi to the technicolor joy of HEAVEN CAN WAIT. Although there are many other top ten lists that could be made, these movies would keep me going for a LONG time.

Although this post could be considered cliche, arbitrary or even downright lazy, there are rules…..

Trilogies are allowed, maximum of 4 (no more than a trilogy though, so you can’t select the POLICE ACADEMY series, not that you would…. I hope)
TV shows aren’t.
Box sets aren’t (unless it’s specifically a trilogy)
I say DVD, this of course includes blu ray. (That’s for Matt, the high def philistine )

So over to you good people. The ten movies that would keep you happy in times of hardship, let’s have it.