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August 31, 2011 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Laura Dern Is Our Only Hope For Bringing David Lynch Back.
posted by shakespeherian (117 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
That streak of inactivity was only broken when INLAND EMPIRE smeared its digital abstractions and idiosyncratic willfulness across screens on the festival circuit.

I'm as big a Lynch fan as you'll find, but what INLAND EMPIRE smeared across screens? That wasn't idiosyncratic willfulness and digital abstractions.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:20 AM on August 31, 2011


Why force it? His body of work will forever stand as some of the best in American filmmaking. He shouldn't push it. Malick didn't make a movie for over 20 years before he made Thin Red Line, and that movie was brilliant (incidentally, while I'm a fan of all Malick's films, I think he started going downhill once he began making films more frequently.) If taking really long breaks in between films means the films are better, I'll gladly wait. Lynch isn't a "career moviemaker".
posted by ReeMonster at 10:27 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


This clarifies for me why Wild At Heart has always been my favorite Lynch movie, and really the only one I've deliberately watched more than once. (Although not in quite a few years.)
posted by epersonae at 10:28 AM on August 31, 2011


Goddammit I saw this in my Google Reader feed and shared it and bookmarked it for later and COME ON I HAVE WORK TO DO
posted by griphus at 10:31 AM on August 31, 2011


In Blue Velvet, it’s also up to Dern to carry the film's riskiest emotional moment, when she delivers her “dream of the robins” speech to MacLachlan’s Jeffery Beaumont. In that scene, the snarky opportunity for audience laughter comes with MacLachlan’s cheese-faced reaction to Dern’s idealism.

Uh, I would argue that the chief opportunity for audience laughter comes from the incredibly budget looking animatronic robin outside the window (which I love).
posted by nathancaswell at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2011


Who says we want him back. Abusive relationships have to end, right?
posted by clvrmnky at 10:39 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Then she must die.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:40 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeah i'm not really sure why the author feels that david lynch owes us anything, or bothers to include that in an otherwise pretty neat article about laura dern's work in david lynch's stuff transcending his usual lunar attitudes toward ladies.

(which being said, i don't think that those attitudes are especially lunar. but seeing general societal attitudes toward the Other played super straight is gross and creepy, so david lynch is gross and creepy.)
posted by beefetish at 10:41 AM on August 31, 2011


Hey, did you guys know that Lynch is a divisive filmmaker? It's true!
posted by Bookhouse at 10:42 AM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


posted by Bookhouse

*strokes temple with finger*
posted by nathancaswell at 10:44 AM on August 31, 2011 [11 favorites]


"cheese-faced reaction"???
posted by Bromius at 10:44 AM on August 31, 2011


I wonder if, rather than simply saying "we need more Lynch" or "good riddance to Lynch," people might actually explain what they like or dislike about the filmmaker.

I'm on the side of liking him, and have grown to like him more and more as he has returned to his roots, as an art film filmmaker. I don't know if Lynch has any real interest in the techniques of popular filmmaking -- he sometimes claims that he does, but people who have worked with him, such as Mark Frost, say he doesn't. And I'm fine with that. Narrative filmmaking is just one way of telling a story, and a good way, but there are others and I am glad there is at least one popular filmmaking exploring non-narrative approaches.

But I have to say, Lynch works for me in part because he seems to be aware of the requirements of narrative filmmaking, and seems to enjoy using them for other purposes. He's a great one for establishing narrative expectations and then defeating them. "Inland Empire" consists of a lot of scenes that seem to set up stories, but the actual stories never take place, and scenes that set up almost unendurable tension, but don't actually lead anywhere. I understand that this can be maddening if you want a film with a traditional narrative, but if you don't really care, it's often hilarious.

I find it helps to think of Lynch as a sort of cinematic Northanger Abbey -- a story told by someone so steeped in the conventions of gothic horror that its devices appear everywhere, but only as a delusion, without the actual payoff of gothic horror. Read as gothic horror, Northanger Abbey is extremely annoying. Read as comedy, it's hilarious.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:51 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think her best movie is Rambling Rose; it seems more authentic than anything Lynch has done. She also looks good in shorts in Jurassic Park.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:52 AM on August 31, 2011


Oh, one more thing: This essay is right about Dern. She's fantastic in Lynch's films, and one of the few actresses (I would add Naomi Watts) who doesn't seem to be playing a type, but an actual character.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:53 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Both the documentary Lynch and Blue Velvet are on Netflix Instant. Everyone who hsn't seen them should check them out.

I would consider myself a fan and I found Inland Empire ,um , hard to watch. I think between that and Synecdoche, New York parts of my brain are now broken.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:54 AM on August 31, 2011


I wish Lynch would make another Straight Story. Or maybe another Dune. I think he's gone too far into himself with stuff like Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway, it's interesting to see him work to someone else's narrative constraint.
posted by Nelson at 10:57 AM on August 31, 2011


I really love Straight Story. I didn't know much about it when I went to see it, when I saw the Disney logo I thought for sure I was in the wrong theatre.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:00 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I could go back in time and get the Jodorowsky/Mobius/Giger Dune project on track so that Lynch would make Return of the Jedi like he was supposed to.
posted by griphus at 11:08 AM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wonder if, rather than simply saying "we need more Lynch" or "good riddance to Lynch," people might actually explain what they like or dislike about the filmmaker.

He captures dream logic in a way that no other filmmaker has even come close to. When you watch his films you enter a world with a set of logic and rules that are confounding while being simultaneously defined and uncannily familiar. In this aspect he is interested in traditional narrative techniques, if only for the purpose of exploiting our sense of narrative tropes and genre with the intent of subverting our expectations, manipulating us into the uncanny valley, if you will. This is one of the reason there are so many flat and "stereotyped" characters in his films. He is interested in flaying Americana, peeling back the shards and peering at the bloody tissue underneath.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:08 AM on August 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


She's fantastic in Lynch's films, and one of the few actresses (I would add Naomi Watts) who doesn't seem to be playing a type, but an actual character.

I'd go further than that-- as you said above, Lynch likes playing with the building blocks of conventional narrative film and using them for his own purposes, which is why so many Lynch characters don't really emerge as characters but remain types-- sometimes not even types, but simply signposts for like a generic 'You know what kind of person this is!' person (especially in Mulholland Dr.). This is pretty intentional, I think, if you look at the weird halting unnatural way Lynch gets his actors to speak a lot of the time (the scene with the two detectives and Bill Pullman in Lost Highway is especially [deliciously] weird and awkward). I think there's a whole lot of interesting stuff going on if you look at how different actors behave in Lynch movies, whether it's Dennis Hopper hamming it up and somehow that making it much creepier or Harry Dean Stanton acting (usually) for all the world like he's in a normal movie, but I think what the linked article really pinpoints is that Laura Dern gets Lynch well enough that she's able to create like extra layer on top of whatever Lynch is doing already because she plays through the type. Lula isn't really all that different on the page from a lot of other Lynch characters. She's haunted and chased by her mother/authority figure (complete with hired goons), she's naive and soap-operatic about mystery and danger until the real thing confronts her, etc., and Dern manages to hit the type while also creating a character. Could anyone else have played all of the different types/bits/shards of identities in INLAND EMPIRE while also, somehow, convincing us that there was some sort of unified identity strung between them all? I can't imagine it.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know. I really felt Dern should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Inland Empire. It's a tour de force. But I think the film was just too bonkers for the Academy to take seriously.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:13 AM on August 31, 2011


Movies are so collaborative, it is interesting to think she imposes a kind of rock-reality center to his movies, a real person surrounded by these types and archetypes and tropes. If nothing else, she doesn't look as obviously Movie Star as everyone else in Lynch's movies tends to look (that is he tends to cast people with very Hollywood faces I believe very deliberately cause he's playing with the whole type/trope/hollywoodland collective-dream thing)
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on August 31, 2011


Plus then just think how many people would show up on Hollywood Blvd trying to sway the Academy with livestock. You can't encourage this sort of behavior.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:16 AM on August 31, 2011


I know. I really felt Dern should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Inland Empire. It's a tour de force. But I think the film was just too bonkers for the Academy to take seriously.

Plus then just think how many people would show up on Hollywood Blvd trying to sway the Academy with livestock. You can't encourage this sort of behavior.

Video of Lynch's Laura Dern Oscar Campaign.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:19 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Glad to see at least one other person who liked Lynch's Dune.

I find his movies a bit too bizarre and disconcerting. They are challenging, but not in the "makes you think" sense, but in the "wtf " sense, and that's not something I enjoy.
posted by k5.user at 11:21 AM on August 31, 2011


I've always thought of Lynch's movies not as narratives that you follow or puzzles or be solved but more like things that happen to you.
posted by The Whelk at 11:24 AM on August 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


ok bunny i'll bite.

when i was a very small beefetish I read david foster wallace's article on david lynch, and despite really hating david foster wallace at the time, i checked out blue velvet and it BLEW MY MIND.


i have developed kind of an emotional thing about twin peaks due to watching it every winter, have strong feelings about the unconventional characters and narratival choices. i like that the cops and authority figures are all "weak", it's really intense to see andy crying in the episode! and sheriff truman has a shitty relationship and hurts because of it! and dale cooper is likewise wounded, and solves his mysteries through emotions and dreams! the major is tied in to UFOs and communicates with a gentleness and faint detachment that is totally inappropriate for a man of his station!

and yet the major hits his son and his son is angry because his dad is off on his own weird shit and is probably a pretty crappy dad. audrey horne is a smokin' hot teenager who is as much of a sociopath as her dad is. and so on. david foster wallace goes into the whole thing of good and evil being presented as both/and rather than either/or in lynch's films so i don't want to go into that hugely but that is something that resonates. we are all good and evil and the fight is happening all the time, you can't kill the wizard and have the castle collapse or shoot the terrorists because the terrorist is emotions that are inside us.

anyway so that's the emotional thing. i also have a huge amount of love for lynch on the formal and aesthetic sides. i love the saturated color palette he uses. i love his obsessions with smoke and fire, and i love how he frames scenes. but most of all i love his obsession with textures, sight textures, sound textures. people get all corny about the ear in blue velvet but he goes INSIDE the ear and he's looking at the waxy ear texture and the ants on the ear, these shiny black things moving on this waxy pinkish thing. color. tone. and then the sound happens, those big grinding alan splet NOIZES that do to your ears what the camera pointing toward these textures does to your eyes. and sometimes these things are subtle (wind, gently moving velvet curtains or walls of evergreen, pine paneling, a low sound felt in the teeth and not heard) and sometimes they are not subtle (flashing fluoresecent lights, crazed saxophone solos, loud noises of gears grinding as a man in a planet pulls a lever).

so yeah i can't say i worry too much about the lack of narrative or the wooden acting because narratival play is AWESOME (see bunny's comment above) and i agree with david foster wallace's idea taht the acting style owes to expressionist cinema.

the scene in eraserhead where jack nance sleeps with the lady across the hall and they sink into the glowing bed accompanied by a series of high pitched noises is one of the most beautiful in cinema.

his Nudes and Smoke pictures are fucking beautiful. i don't like his paintings too much though, they are all like "what is up I am kind of trying to be francis bacon"
posted by beefetish at 11:25 AM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


oh my god i got a david lynch Problem
posted by beefetish at 11:28 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


there is no cure for that disease
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blue Velvet is very much about Ronald Reagan's "branding" of small-town American values/life... an America which never existed. Twin Peaks retold that story as a farce, which fit in with the "ironic" 90's.

It's hard when you start taking movies out of time to see them in their original cultural context.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:41 AM on August 31, 2011


there is no cure for that disease

he put his disease in me
posted by shakespeherian at 11:42 AM on August 31, 2011


>there is no cure for that disease

he put his disease in me


Now you're talking about Cronenberg
posted by KokuRyu at 11:45 AM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


ennui, i'd argue that blue velvet and twin peaks owe a lot to david lynch's own childhood out in the woods, timed well to coincide with reagan's WHOO HOO MORNING IN AMERICA deal.

also, twin peaks sends up a lot of soap opera tropes, but i wouldn't call it a farce.
posted by beefetish at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2011


Glad to see at least one other person who liked Lynch's Dune.

The changes to key points, like the idea Paul has basically magical powers, were really jarring and terrible, but how his Dune looked and felt was *perfect*.
posted by rodgerd at 11:57 AM on August 31, 2011


Now you're talking about Cronenberg

he put his Jayne Mansfield car crash in me
posted by shakespeherian at 11:58 AM on August 31, 2011


I love the Byzantine elaborate jeweled sets in Dune that we see for a total 13 seconds. That takes balls.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on August 31, 2011


That takes balls.

Or unfettered access to the checkbook combined with an inability to prioritize.

Since we see some example fo something like that in just about every auteur-creation out of Hollywood, I'm going for 'access to the checkbook..."
posted by lodurr at 12:08 PM on August 31, 2011


I'm going for "it was a four-hour film cut down to two hours."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:10 PM on August 31, 2011


Not a fan of Dune either. But that is mostly rage over how different than the book it is.

But The Elephant Man also proves Lynch can make a movie with a narrative.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:12 PM on August 31, 2011


I love the Byzantine elaborate jeweled sets in Dune that we see for a total 13 seconds. That takes balls.

The first time I encountered the film, I had only heard of the book and maybe read about it a bit on some science fiction website or another. When I clicked to whatever channel was showing it and saw the mise en scene, I knew almost immediately that I was watching Dune.

(And now I shall check off "use 'mise en scene' in a Serious Thread about Serious Film" on my MetaFilter to-do list.)
posted by griphus at 12:13 PM on August 31, 2011


If taking really long breaks in between films means the films are better, I'll gladly wait. Lynch isn't a "career moviemaker".

Reminds me of that scene in Entourage where Ari Gold is yelling at Billy Walsh (the irritable, eccentric art-film director) about how he could be sued for breaching his contract:

Ari: They can sue you and make sure you never make a movie in this town again!
Walsh: Well good thing I paint!

We'll have to wait and see if Lynch has any more movie fishes in him. He has been catching some weird painting fishes lately.
posted by fantodstic at 12:42 PM on August 31, 2011


My arc has gone from "David Lynch is one of the most important artists in my life" to "David Lynch has become overly self-indulgent and kind of boring". I want him to make something with a narrative again. I think the patchwork nature of Mulholland Drive (from pilot for a TV series to complete narrative arc) has made a marginally interesting but kind of weak product, and INLAND EMPIRE is the product of an artist indulging every impulse, more or less. You can argue that "artists indulging every impulse" is interesting, but after spending a bunch of time thinking about IE and my reaction to it (wanting to like it and reluctantly admitting that I do not), I've decided I don't think it is.

There are scenes that I love (the cowboy in MD, particularly), but overall? I'm feeling frustrated and ambivalent.

Also his rant about watching movies on phones kind of annoyed me, to be honest. I feel like he's right about describing his movies that way, and his movies are that way because they don't depend on characters or narrative or dialogue, and that (I'm sorry, teenage neuromodulator, I know you feel this is a betrayal) maybe that's just laziness. Maybe you're leaning on the big, weird moments to drive your movies in the same way Michael Bay is leaning on his car chases and explosions.

I love Twin Peaks and Dale Cooper so hard, though. *sigh* The Good Dale Cooper is trapped in the Black Lodge and can't get out. Write it in your diary.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:51 PM on August 31, 2011


Maybe you're leaning on the big, weird moments to drive your movies in the same way Michael Bay is leaning on his car chases and explosions.

I dunno, I think it really depends on what a filmmaker is trying to accomplish by making film. I'm skeptical, for example, of saying that Picasso should just go back to figure drawings since his paintings are so weird and unrealistic and self-indulgent. Just because 98% of films are linear character-based narratives, that doesn't mean the other 2% is lazy or self-indulgent.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would agree with you. That's a judgment I've made about Lynch in particular. I probably can't back it up.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:00 PM on August 31, 2011


i think it's hard to avoid that judgment with lynch because auteurism really isn't something that happens in modern american movie world very often at all. so it comes off as weird and self indulgent, because it is by those metrics, even though (i think) it's artistically legit.

we're not gonna talk about judy at all
posted by beefetish at 1:05 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's because of the big weird moments. It's because Lynch loves texture. Look at his love of smoke, of fire, of huge curtains. Lynch is 100% correct that you cannot capture these things on a tiny screen.

Also, and this may be bullshit, but I have read that watching a movie on a huge screen does things to your brain that is much closer to a dream state than when you watch something on a small screen. Obviously, Lynch is going for a dream state.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:09 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess if I think about something like in IE where Grace first comes to Laura Dern's house and they have that awkward, weird, protracted meeting...

I can think about it like teenage-me would have thought about it where I would have felt like it was so deliberately off-kilter and gently (to increasingly) weird that it was somehow delightful. I don't know if I would have thought of it consciously in these terms, but I would have been pleased, in some sense, that it was something that a lot of people wouldn't "get". (I don't mean to imply that this is how anyone else is relating to it, but to be truthful that would have been part of my reaction). I grew up in suburbia. There's something nice about being a weird kid in suburbia and finding your weird heroes, you know? They sort of endorse your displeasure with the banality around you. And Lynch resonated that way.

But now, watching that scene, I feel like they're boring tricks. This or that is unsettling, and that's what's being done here, and it doesn't really say anything to me any more. Like, I feel that I want to engage with something that speaks to me on some interesting level about what it's like to be human, to be in love, to be lonely, to be scared, and I feel like a swell of white noise or weird drawn out pauses isn't really saying anything to me any more. It's just a thing that I react to a certain way and it feels mundane now.

When those things are inserted into something more grounded, I love them. I think the fact that those things existed in Twin Peaks, which in a sense was supposed to be a normal town, they worked really well. But when they become the only mechanism of the work, like IE, then I just don't really connect with it any more.

To come at it from another angle, I like it when the weird stuff is associated with a puzzle that I feel I can unravel. I like wondering what the blue rose signified. But I was recently watching some of Buñuel's films, and reading how they were trying to deliberately make something that defied all analysis, and that's boring to me. And that's what I feel like IE became, although perhaps not as deliberately. I feel like shooting without a script, and following impulses, led to a series of weird vignettes that didn't, to me, have any interesting emotional depth, or suggest a puzzle that was worth investigation. It was just a bunch of noise.

I do think David's impulses are interesting. I'm sure we all know that Bob from TP was a happy accident that he made into something permanent. And I loved that. But I feel it needs to be tempered and directed and carefully pruned, and I'm not sure he's doing that any more, or interested in doing that. I guess it's not so fair to frame my response as critically as I have, but more to say, "He's going further down the impulse-directed road than I find interesting."
posted by neuromodulator at 1:18 PM on August 31, 2011


I will acknowledge that I didn't really care that much for Lost Highway until I saw it in the theater.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:19 PM on August 31, 2011


Also, and this may be bullshit, but I have read that watching a movie on a huge screen does things to your brain that is much closer to a dream state than when you watch something on a small screen. Obviously, Lynch is going for a dream state.

I don;t think it's bullshit, so much pleasure for me from Lynch's movies is their overpowering aestheticism and that does not translate to a small screen.
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's because of the big weird moments. It's because Lynch loves texture. Look at his love of smoke, of fire, of huge curtains. Lynch is 100% correct that you cannot capture these things on a tiny screen.

I did mean "big, weird moments" in the sense of (for instance) shots of heavy drapes, etc. but I can see how comparing to Michael Bay immediately suggested I meant something else.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:34 PM on August 31, 2011


Also, and this may be bullshit, but I have read that watching a movie on a huge screen does things to your brain that is much closer to a dream state than when you watch something on a small screen. Obviously, Lynch is going for a dream state.

An immediate thought is that with a large screen you do have to move your eyes around a lot more, which may be tied to some other REM-type neurological effects.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:36 PM on August 31, 2011


you're also in a big dark cave with a huge glowing thing substituting for your own eyes
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 PM on August 31, 2011


In other words: Tuesday night.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:41 PM on August 31, 2011


you're also in a big dark cave with a huge glowing thing substituting for your own eyes

Ia! Ia!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:48 PM on August 31, 2011


I did mean "big, weird moments" in the sense of (for instance) shots of heavy drapes, etc. but I can see how comparing to Michael Bay immediately suggested I meant something else.

Ah, I gotcha. I totally agree with you about Lynch working best with some narrative constraints. My final take on IE is that I will watch a plotless film, and I will watch a three hour film, but I will not watch a three hour plotless film.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:49 PM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Some awesome yob at Netflix sent Blue Velvet to me on August 16, Elvis' Deathday Party. It was an extraordinary gift. I was pleased the film still reads well after all these years. Ears off to you, Netflix yobster!
posted by effluvia at 1:50 PM on August 31, 2011


bookhouse now im thinkin about what david lynch x cremaster or david lynch x enter the void would be like and oh shit
posted by beefetish at 1:53 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


now im thinkin about what david lynch x cremaster...

Even more people would claim it is breathtaking and amazing without ever having seen it.
posted by griphus at 1:55 PM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dern seduces, and Dern repels

Well, she does do one of the two.
posted by goethean at 2:00 PM on August 31, 2011


Despite all the evidence, it had simply never occurred to me that Lynch might be done making movies.

... oh dear. My world just got a tiny bit smaller, safer, and less frustratingly magical.
posted by Elsa at 3:28 PM on August 31, 2011


"oh my god i got a david lynch Problem"

i got 99 problems but David Lynch ain't one
posted by klangklangston at 4:10 PM on August 31, 2011


My problem with David Lynch is that he strikes me as the kind of guy who would stick googly eyes to his penis and then use his fingers to make his wee-hole open and shut like a little talking mouth, but instead of words it's making bird chirps, which in most contexts would be hilarious, but with Lynch he is being completely serious about it and when you ask him "Why?" he is all coy and enigmatic. "That is for you to decide, young one. It was inspired by a dream I had." It's just...I get that it's a thing that you can do, I just don't understand why.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:59 PM on August 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


...the kind of guy who would stick googly eyes to his penis and then use his fingers to make his wee-hole open and shut like a little talking mouth, but instead of words it's making bird chirps...

well, i know what i'll be doing this weekend
posted by fallacy of the beard at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2011


... oh dear. My world just got a tiny bit smaller, safer, and less frustratingly magical.

I could take this as an exemplar for what I find so frustrating about Lynch, and that's basically that Lynchians seem to have this profound conviction that everyone else is just dicking around and that Lynch has some profound truth to communicate that we all need to see, or we're just, you know, pasty white middle-class sticks in the mud.

Because my world is not very safe, it is quite large; it admits of massive ambivalence and even internal contradictions; it is not "magical" in the sense that I believe I can alter reality with my mind or through incantations, but it is filled with things that it is beyond my small ability to understand the relations between, or even beyond my understanding. And it is all those things with or without David Lynch; post-Eraserhead, I can honestly say that I've gotten nothing from Lynch except boredom and a sense that he's got some rather banal insights into the darkness of the human soul.

For myself, I just see most Lynch as a waste of time, even forgetting the pretty overt misogyny of all the Lynch films I've seen to date. It's totally uninteresting to me. "Look: suburbia has a dark underbelly! Look: people have dark repressed sexual fantasies/urges about their father/mother/sister/brother/daughter/son! Look: Some people get aroused from punishment! Look: ..." OK, I looked. Before I ever knew about Lynch. And I've seen a lot of other writers, poets, musicians, film-makers and visual artists look and see and tell and do it a lot less smugly than the lynchians.
posted by lodurr at 6:34 AM on September 1, 2011


That kind of analysis is irrelevant in my view, because David Lynch films have always been about pure experience and mood to me. There might be those "lessons" about suburbia or the darkness of the human soul, but they're way secondary to the main attraction, which is feeling some really weird things for a couple hours.
posted by palidor at 7:51 AM on September 1, 2011


I've introduced two different people to Mulholland Drive, and both times I made sure they were under the influence of cannabis. And there's a reason for that!
posted by palidor at 7:53 AM on September 1, 2011


...Lynchians seem to have this profound conviction that everyone else is just dicking around and that Lynch has some profound truth to communicate that we all need to see, or we're just, you know, pasty white middle-class sticks in the mud.

oh you poor thing. Lynchians? really?

most people i know enjoy lynch's stuff. i can't think of one whose regard is dismissive of any other artist, or who is all evangelical about the shit, or who would thus characterize someone who does not share their appreciation.

sometimes when people like something you don't, they're not part of a cult, and it's not really about you at all.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:19 AM on September 1, 2011


oh you poor thing. Lynchians? really?

THERE IS NO LYNCH BUT DAVID AND MACLACHLAN IS HIS PROFIT.
posted by griphus at 9:46 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick. Take that.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 AM on September 1, 2011


But do you like Lynch and Kubrick AND Polanski ?
posted by k5.user at 10:39 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do! I do! But I am ambivalent on Linklater.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:05 AM on September 1, 2011


and that's basically that Lynchians seem to have this profound conviction that everyone else is just dicking around

That's a lot to read into my wistful little remark that I'll miss the work of one director. If David Lynch has stopped directing, then indeed the world of my favorite movies is a little smaller --- just as it will be if the Coens stopped directing, to name just one other directing team I admire.

Of the two of us, I am not the one suggesting that anyone is "dicking around."
posted by Elsa at 11:07 AM on September 1, 2011


lodurr you might want to look upthread and see what people are talking about liking out of david lynch, which includes other things than the narratival/moral stuff that you are focused on pretty hard. or don't, whatever

oh shit i aint got a problem if you don't have a david lynch Problem
posted by beefetish at 11:12 AM on September 1, 2011


Elsa, it's fallacy of the beard that's dicking around, but not until this weekend.
posted by k5.user at 11:24 AM on September 1, 2011


oh you poor thing.

Because condescension is such a good way to prove the merits of one's case....
posted by lodurr at 11:25 AM on September 1, 2011


... and I would further suggest that y'all exercise a little care in your reading of phrases like "I could take this as an exemplar..."
posted by lodurr at 11:26 AM on September 1, 2011


lodurr, some people really respond to Lynch's films. Some people don't. I do. You (it seems, but maybe I'm wrong) don't.

I have a taste for his peculiar almost-narrative form, for the voice that comes out in his films, and even for grappling with his strikingly problematic portrayals of women. If you don't, I can absolutely understand that. There are plenty of reasons not to like his work.

It seems to me that preference isn't a big difference between us. But it strikes me that you speak as if my fondness for Lynch movies reveals something profound about my character or intellect or philosophy, while I do not think that your dislike reveals anything profound about your character or intellect or philosophy... just that we shouldn't have a Lynch movie marathon together. (But maybe Hitchcock? The Coens? Scorsese? C'mon. I'll bring the popcorn.)
posted by Elsa at 11:31 AM on September 1, 2011


What was Tim Burton's last good film? Discuss.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:49 AM on September 1, 2011


What was Tim Burton's last good film? Discuss.

I would love to see (and take part in) the pontificating, arguing, and arm-wrestling that would come up if you changed it to "What was Terry Gilliam's last good film?"
posted by Elsa at 12:02 PM on September 1, 2011


Pee-wee's Big Adventure.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:03 PM on September 1, 2011


Ed Wood
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on September 1, 2011


Cabin Boy
posted by griphus at 1:09 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


A fancy lad are ye?
posted by The Whelk at 1:12 PM on September 1, 2011


I'm fond of Mars Attacks. Alternatively, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
posted by epersonae at 2:08 PM on September 1, 2011


Why did everyone hate Tideland? I liked Tideland.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:18 PM on September 1, 2011


But it strikes me that you speak as if my fondness for Lynch movies reveals something profound about my character or intellect or philosophy...

... and again, I suggest you re-read the phrase I used to introduce my observations, and in addition ask: why do you care what I think?
posted by lodurr at 2:36 PM on September 1, 2011


I'm undecided on Sleepy Hollow. Mars Attacks was definitely good.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Hey! That means neither of them have made a good movie in ten years.

I can't really explain why I didn't like Tideland, but I can't recall it very clearly, either.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:39 PM on September 1, 2011


If you don't think anyone should care what you think, why do you say it? I care what you think, because it is implicit in communication and interaction that I should.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:40 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Burton can get past his daddy issues (and occasionally even when he can't), he can make some interesting films. It's not exactly Burtonian, but I thought he did a rather good job with Sweeney Todd.

As for Gilliam, the only one I don't particularly like is Fisher King -- which is the fave Gilliam film of several friends of mine, so go figger.
posted by lodurr at 2:40 PM on September 1, 2011


It's not that I don't think people should care what I think -- it's that I find it interesting when people care enough about what I think to parse it selectively and respond defensively.
posted by lodurr at 2:41 PM on September 1, 2011


I think your comment read as 'Attention everyone who likes the thing that this thread is about, I think that you look down on other people who don't like that thing,' which yeah is going to provoke some defensiveness. Whether that was what you intended to communicate, it's certainly how it read.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:43 PM on September 1, 2011


Cabin Boy

Wanna buy a monkey?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:10 PM on September 1, 2011


Why did everyone hate Tideland? I liked Tideland.

"Like" isn't a word I'd use to describe my feelings about Tideland, but I found it compelling, fascinating, at times endearing, and dreadfully tense to watch. Boy oh boy, some people HATED it, though. The only thing I hated about it was Gilliam's intro.
posted by Elsa at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2011


but I thought he did a rather good job with Sweeney Todd.


You're not allowed to have an opinion ever again.

Please compare

This to This
posted by The Whelk at 4:17 PM on September 1, 2011


Anyway Mars Attacks had some good scenes and Sleepy Hollow was very ....well put together? If a bit lifeless. Ed Wood was the last time I came out of a Burton movie feeling anything other than mild to severe disappointment.
posted by The Whelk at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2011


Actually you can pin point the start of the energy draining out of Burton's movies at about Sleepy Hollow. Mars Attacks at least had some anarchic fun and Ed Wood coasted on goofy optimistic glee, but everything after has been increasingly staid and robotic and remote.
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not exactly Burtonian, but I thought he did a rather good job with Sweeney Todd.

Not if he had anything to do with the casting of people who cannot sing.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:30 PM on September 1, 2011


I guess I like Ed Wood. But what was the last good Burton movie before that?
posted by shakespeherian at 4:34 PM on September 1, 2011


Batman Motherfucking Returns
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on September 1, 2011


BOOOOOO
posted by shakespeherian at 5:55 PM on September 1, 2011


ANY problem with that movie is made up for by Michelle Pfeiffer being all crazy and intense.

I like my Batman operatic and stylized.
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on September 1, 2011


PLUS 1930s EXPRESSIONIST SETS AND SNOWY GOTHAM
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on September 1, 2011


The Burton Batman movies are just as campy as the Adam West teevee series, but everything is black.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:13 PM on September 1, 2011


THATS

WHY

I

LIKE

THEM
posted by The Whelk at 6:15 PM on September 1, 2011


I'm quietly judging you.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:21 PM on September 1, 2011


(decides to not make a respect the cock joke)
posted by The Whelk at 6:22 PM on September 1, 2011


I think something we can all agree on is that no matter the director, Johnny Depp should be given more opportunities to wear quirky hats.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:39 PM on September 1, 2011


and ridiculous accents
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 PM on September 1, 2011


(decides to not make a respect the cock joke)

Thank you for getting that.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:09 PM on September 1, 2011


*RAIN OF FROGS*
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on September 1, 2011


Okay, okay: you can stop with the allusions now. You got what you want.

...you can hardly stand it though
by now you know it's not going to stop
it's not going to stop
it's not going to stop



'til you wise up.

posted by Elsa at 7:49 PM on September 1, 2011


That was such a good movie. I'm surprised more people haven't seen Speed Racer.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:02 PM on September 1, 2011


I'm speed racer and I drive real fast
posted by The Whelk at 9:45 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're not allowed to have an opinion ever again.

It's aggressive, domineering bullshit like this that leads me to make statements like the one shakespherian apparently finds so "provocative."
posted by lodurr at 5:32 AM on September 2, 2011


Why are you talking about me like that? I'm trying to have a pleasant conversation. We don't need to argue about shit.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:35 AM on September 2, 2011


shakes, you explained the subject of the post better than the post itself. Thanks.

I liked the movie Dune better than I liked the books. The books had too much of that, "I anticpated that you would anticipate me anticipating that HA HA!" like the Family Guy spoof of Speed Racer. The movie was lovely by comparison, though I'd love to see Lynch's real version.
posted by Eideteker at 9:04 AM on September 7, 2011


I liked the movie Dune better than I liked the books.

what.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:35 PM on September 7, 2011


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