Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: David Lynch

Lucky (2017)

Realism truly is “a thing”.

Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is 90 years old and believe it or not, feels fine. He can’t move his body like he used to and sure, it’s a little creaky every so often, but for the most part, he’s getting by just fine. He spends most of his days doing the same things, like waking up and getting a coffee. Then, he watches game shows on TV and tests his knowledge. And then, lastly, he ends up at the local bar, where he wants to smoke, but doesn’t. Instead, he sits around and waits for someone to have a stimulating conversation with him, whatever it may be, or about whatever.

Lucky doesn’t have much of a plot and that’s actually fine. All it really needs is a solid bit of characters, good performances, and a sweet sense of time and place and it gets by just fine. Making his directorial debut, legendary character actor John Carroll Lynch seems to know how to let a story like this play itself out; he takes his time enough to where some could say it’s “boring” and “slow”, but really, it’s just languid and it fits with everyone and everything else here.


Especially the one, the only and the late Harry Dean Stanton himself.

And yes, it’s pretty crazy to watch this movie and realize that this would end up becoming Stanton’s swan song, but it feels so incredibly fitting. Stanton himself has never really gotten the chance to have a movie all to himself and it seems like, even at age 90, he was due; the role doesn’t really challenge him, or stretch the talents we know him for, but it doesn’t necessarily have to, either. All it has to do is offer us another great glimpse of the never-ending and charming talents of Stanton, why he was great, why it was always nice to have him around, and why, above all else, he will be missed.

And yes, like I said, Stanton’s pretty great here. He’s charming, wise, and seems like he’s years above everyone else that he meets. But the movie is smart in that it isn’t just about Lucky and his life, as it’s also about the people he runs into on a daily-basis, most of whom put up with him and have been doing so for quite some time. Some will be happy to see David Lynch show up in a cooky-role as a guy looking for his tortoise, others will be happy to see Ron Livingston show up as a life-insurer with a huge mustache, and others, like myself, will be happy to see a nice little Alien reunion between Stanton and Tom Skerritt, in one of the movie’s sweeter scenes.

Seriously, why’s that ‘stache so huge?

But the movie isn’t just about one character over the rest – it’s about all of them and it’s why it’s so sweet.

Carroll Lynch and co-writers Drago Sumonja and Logan Sparks seem to understand how to get the heart of this tale, but never playing their hand too much. Some may not see this as having much of a point, or better yet, not really being about much other than just a bunch of old people talking and yammering on about things that can kind of seem random, but it really isn’t. It’s about watching life pass you by, understanding that reality, moving on, and doing whatever the hell you can to make the best of it while you have it. It sounds cheesy, in retrospect, but Lucky, the movie, as well as the character, aren’t and it’s why it’s a small joy of a movie.

And it’s why we’ll forever miss the talents of Harry Dean Stanton.

Consensus: Sweet and sultry, Lucky is the kind of small and oddly charming movie that works best because of its time, attention, care, and solid performances, especially from the late, great Harry Dean Stanton.

7.5 / 10

Goodbye legend. You will surely be missed.

Photos Courtesy of: Magnolia Pictures


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

As not seen on TV.

In the small, relatively folksy town of Deerfield, Washington, FBI Agent Desmond (Chris Isaak) inexplicably disappears while hunting for the man who murdered a teen girl. And although the killer is never found, Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), after experiencing all sorts of crazy dark visions and supernatural encounters, actually predicts that whoever did such a murder, will do another, and very soon. He’s right, because somewhere in the small, relatively folksy town of Twin Peaks, a high school girl named Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), will soon mate the same fate, however, she obviously doesn’t know. Instead, she spends most of her last days alive, hanging with friends, whoring herself out to dirt-bags, doing coke, and oh yeah, being pestered by her sometimes sadistic father (Ray Wise), who may, or may not, have more sinister intentions in his head.

Fire Walk with Me is obviously the perfect movie for fans of the TV show. It doesn’t just set everything up in a perfect little bow that we came to know and expect from the show, but actually makes the show, in ways, better. For instance, Fire Walk with Me, being that it’s movie, allows for David Lynch to unleash his darkest, meanest and cruelest tendencies, unlike anything he’s ever tried to do before, whereas with the show, it’s a lot more silly, odd, and well, somewhat light. Of course, the show has its dark moments, but when it comes to which piece is the darker, meaner of the two, Fire Walk with Me absolutely takes the cake.

Poor Laura. Someone give her a hug.

That said, it’s also one of Lynch’s lesser appreciated movies because, well, it’s not exactly that much of a mind-trick.

There are bits and pieces of it where Lynch loses control of reality and lets his freak-flag fly, but mostly, it’s actually subdued, so that he can make way for more time with Laura, these characters, and the awful situation that she’s in, all leading up to her death. It’s actually a pretty brave decision on the part of Lynch, who doesn’t just seem like he’s trying to tell the story that we spent nearly two seasons of episodes trying to know more and more about, but also get down deeper into the myth and the idea of Twin Peaks, in that the bright, sometimes shiny little town by the woods, while pretty on the outside, is also pretty dark, screwed-up, and ugly.

Really, really ugly.

But still, that’s why Fire Walk with Me, while definitely a flawed movie, still hits hard; it’s unrelenting and brutal, but it also comes from a soft spot in Lynch’s heart, clearly. While he’s not against showing these characters getting down and dirty with life, he also knows that there’s something about them that he feels for and sympathizes with. Mostly in the case of Laura, he understands that she has a rough life and doesn’t want her story to go unnoticed, which makes it a slight bit traumatizing to see just where her story goes and leads up to, even though yeah, we all know where it’s going.

And really, Fire Walk with Me works perfectly if you know Twin Peaks, the show, sort of love it, and accept it for all that it is. If you hadn’t seen the show, there’s sort of no point to seeing this; there’s one too many threads, call-backs and references that just work way better if you already have previous knowledge. Hell, even the few times that the movie does try to go back make a mention of the show, it’s a little sloppy.

Uh, what?

For example, Agent Cooper does show up here and there, every so often, but it’s so random and unnecessary, it just feels dumb. Same goes for an odd appearance by David Bowie, who literally bumbles his way through three minutes, and Kiefer Sutherland and Chris Isaak’s cop characters, who honestly don’t serve much of a purpose to the overall story. They’re all just added-on threads to a story that’s honestly kind of thin in the first place.

The only one who really matters here the most is Sheryl Lee’s Laura Palmer.

Lee, with a face that any camera could fall in love with, takes over every scene she has here, with sheer heartbreak and sadness, that she makes the movie better, just by showing up and giving it her all. While she was on the show and still great, she was playing two different characters, essentially – as the living, breathing, sexing, and snorting Laura Palmer, Lee is terrific. You feel for her every second, even when the movie seems to lose all control. Because, in a way, she has too, and it’s why it’s all the more tragic of a watch.

It almost makes you wish that she was in the show more. Something we’ll finally be able to see, hopefully with the show back, in all its glory.

Or maybe you. Never freakin’ know with David Lynch.

Consensus: Even though it’s got some random and weird issues, Fire Walk with Me is still a perfect tribute to those who loved the show, and also want to explore the darker side of the tale.

8.5 / 10

Fun times.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Inland Empire (2006)

Wait. What?

Nikki Grace (Laura Dern) is an accomplished actress who, after much time spent waiting and wondering, finally gets the role as the lead in On High in Blue Tomorrows. It’s supposed to be her comeback role, so to speak, so there’s a lot of pressure wearing on it, not to mention, a lot of pressure from her husband not to fall in love with her co-star Devon (Justin Theroux). Sure, it can be done, but the two are playing characters who are having an affair, making it a tad bit harder. However, the director (Jeremy Irons) trusts that both of them will keep it as professional as can be and will make sure that the movie comes out perfectly, because believe it or not, it’s been attempted before, but for some reason, the movie just hasn’t been made. Why, though? Eventually, Nikki and Devon find out and it causes both of them to start imagining weird, rather insane things, that they don’t know if is real, or not.

Wait, what?

Honestly, there’s a lot more to the premise of Inland Empire, in that there’s not just one story, but about three or four more of them, none of which make a single lick of sense, or better yet, ever seem to come together in a way that you’d imagine. Now, if sitting around for three hours and watching as a bunch of random stories get told to you in the most confusing manner imaginable sounds like a good time, then be my guest and enjoy the hell out of Inland Empire.

I, however, didn’t and just couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. Sure, there were things to admire and of course, this is David Lynch we’re talking about here, so I can’t be all that surprised, but still, it just didn’t quite work for me. There was so much going on, without any rhyme or reason, that after awhile, I had to sort of give up and just accept the fact that the movie’s going way beyond my intelligence and I’m best to just let it do its thing and see if I can make it up in the end.

Spoiler alert: I couldn’t.

Sure, is that more of a problem with me, as opposed to the movie? Definitely, but by the same token, there is something to be said for a three-hour movie that not only feels every bit of it, but never seems to show any signs of actually going anywhere. Lynch is well-known for doing this sort of thing time and time again, and while it’s always had me happy and rather pleased, this go around, it just didn’t work. It seemed like too much meandering and craziness for the sake of being meandering and crazy, as if there wasn’t a whole lot of story, but weird and surreal imagery that Lynch just had to get out of his system.

And okay, it makes sense, because the look and feel of this movie is, above all else, freaky. Then again, how could it not? Filmed on a hand-held digital-camera, the movie is grainy, dirty and downright gritty, but in a way, it’s also more terrifying for that reason alone, often times feeling like a documentary, than another glitsed-up flick. Film itself can do wonders, but digital-video can also do the same, especially when you’re really trying to go for an aura of realism, even if, you know, there’s nothing realistic happening here.

No seriously, what?

And once again, that’s all me. The movie gets away doing its thing, but it’s so frustrating to watch, that no matter what Lynch does behind the camera and how much inspiration may come out of him, it just didn’t connect for me. There’s a lot going on here and a lot that randomly happens, but the only thing I could remember clearly in my head was a very few haunting-images, bunny-rabbits, a dance to “the Locomotion”, and a lot of walking down hallways.

Like, a lot.

But Laura Dern, all issues aside, is great here and gives it everything she’s got. There’s no denying that Dern’s probably perfect for Lynch’s creepy, twisted and warped mind, and it’s why her performance here, with so many shades shown, is something to watch. Even when it seems like the rest of the movie has gone far, far away, she’s always there, working her rump off and making sure that everything sticks together. She allows for it to do so, too, it’s just a shame that it didn’t fully connect at the end.

For me, at least.

Consensus: Absolutely confusing, weird and random, Inland Empire is a hard movie to get into, mostly due to its frustrating plot, but there is some art to be seen here.

5 / 10

See, even Laura doesn’t know.

Photos Courtesy of: Pretty Clever FilmsFour Three Film

Lost Highway (1997)

Sometimes, you’ve just got to get off the road. Like, way off the road.

Cool and happenin’ jazz musician Fred (Bill Pullman) lives a pretty fine life with his lovely wife (Patricia Arquette). But for some reason, he constantly keeps on thinking that she’s having an affair, driving him to go a little bit nuts in the head. However, he is shocked when he discovers that she’s dead and is being framed for it all, without he himself knowing whether or not he actually did it. Meanwhile, I think, there’s a young mechanic named Pete (Balthazar Getty) who is suddenly drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress (Patricia Arquette) who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend (Robert Loggia). Are these two tales linked? And if so, by what?

Uh. I’ll take my chances at a Motel 6.

Lost Highway is, no surprise, another one of David Lynch’s mind-benders that probably takes more time to watch and decipher it, again and again, than is probably necessary. However, there’s also some fun to be had in that, what with the movie not forgetting to constantly throw small hints, clues and little bits and pieces at us that may or may not tell us the whole story, or may just lead us down a path towards more darkness and confusion than ever before. Then again, there’s some fun to be had in that, especially when Lynch himself seems to know of the maze he’s taking us on, rather making stuff as he goes along, as he can often sometimes seem to do.

And in Lost Highway, there’s some fun to be had, but also some annoyance, too. In a way, it’s hard to really pin-point what it is about this movie works and what doesn’t, as much as it’s easy to say what’s hitting its mark the way it’s intended to, and what isn’t. For Lynch here, it seems like he’s got the mood down perfectly; there’s a creepy air of neo-noir mystery, coldness, and darkness that actually makes it more interesting to watch, despite the slow pace and sometimes meandering story. But Lynch clearly put a lot of effort into the way the movie look, felt and sounded, with all aspects being top-notch and creating a very paranoid, sometimes eerie aura of danger lurking somewhere underneath, and it pays off.

Then, you get to the story and well, there’s a lot to be desired.

It’s not that Lynch made a mistake in telling these two different stories and demanding that we make the connection in our times, by ourselves, it’s just that they aren’t all that interesting to watch. Bill Pullman’s story has some interest-factor because of it seeming like an attack on the male-psyche, whereas Balthazar Getty’s seems to sort of go nowhere. It’s as if Lynch was so enchanted with Arquette in the first place, that he didn’t really care how much mileage he could get out of her – so long as she was willing to act in two, somewhat different roles, then so be it.

Like, is she even real?

And well, there’s not a problem with that, either, because Arquette is quite good in both roles, playing up her beauty and sweetness, as well as her possible viciousness and danger, too. Arquette’s dual roles, while showing her off as being both sleek and sexy, also give her a chance to fool around with the audience, not allowing us to know whether or not she’s a good person, a bad one, or even a person at all. After all, she could just be a figment of these two guys’ imaginations, as well as our owns. The movie doesn’t always make that clear and while it’s a solid job on Lynch’s part for keeping that guess up and about, it’s also a solid job on Arquette’s too for never losing our attention.

But it does deserve to be noted that Lost Highway, by a certain point, at least, does seem to have painted itself into a corner that it can’t get out of and when it’s all done, there’s a big question-mark left. While you can say that about practically every other Lynch flick, it feels more frustrating here, where it’s as if Lynch himself didn’t have the answers or conclusions, but instead, just wanted to take his good old time, going wherever he oh so pleased. Sure, that’s fine, mostly because it’s an entertaining and compelling watch, but sometimes, a little help here and there could definitely help.

Actually, I know they do. But hey, that’s why I am me and David Lynch is, thank heavens, David Lynch.

Consensus: Odd, creepy and downright freaky, Lost Highway highlights Lynch at his most subversive, but also shows that his knack for storytelling doesn’t always pan-out as well as he may intend.

7 / 10

Yeah, don’t ask.

Photos Courtesy of: Jay’s Analysis

Only God Forgives (2013)

Aka, “The Staring Game“.

Despite him apparently being a Muay Thai fight club operator, Julian (Ryan Gosling) operates mainly as a drug-pusher that finds himself in a bit of a pickle when his big brother acts like an ass, and gets killed for being one. The man that killed his older brother, Lt. Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm), isn’t the type of person you want to mess with but don’t tell that to Julian, or his recently-visiting mother (Kristin Scott Thomas). Since the death of her oldest son, she’s been a wreck and she wants revenge, at any cost or any way possible. That means Julian, and if not him, than anybody else she can find to do the dirty deed will do.

After Drive stormed the theaters and took mostly everybody by storm (with the exception of a few), many people were not only wondering who the hell this Nicolas Winding Refn guy was, but what he had up his sleeve next. Well, suffice to say, after about 2 years of planning, rumors, and divisive receptions at Cannes, here it is, Refn’s next flick that will most likely piss more people off than ever. And yes: That does mean you, artsy, fartsy Drive fans.

Refn’s style is anything but mainstream; rather than being all about giving us a comprehensive plot filled with intelligible characters, a cohesive plot-structure, and a reasoning for certain scenes placed in a rhythm that makes understandable sense, we get a flick that will probably have more and more people scratching their heads. Not just by the story-structure either, but mainly by how little Refn makes sense of this story. It does seem pretty conventional right from the start, and actually continues to do so, even at it’s craziest moments, but where most will be lost with this flick is that it finds itself in some weird territory. And I’m not just talking about weird territory in the sense that people say and do weird things, because that’s what the plot calls on for them to do in a way that connects to their sense of setting, but more in the sense of how David Lynch has been able to make a career off of so far. Yup, the dreaded “Lynch-word” had to have eventually come out, and that’s more than enough of a reason to scare the utter crap out of people from seeing this movie.

"Watch what you say to Eva."

“Watch what you say to Eva.”

However, my not being a general fan of Lynch’s style and works over the years, I have to say that somebody who can capture a style like his, but add more cohesion to it is all fine and dandy with me, and that is exactly what Refn was able to do. There’s plenty of shots of long, dark hallways, people staring into mid-space, as if they want to say something but decide to shut their traps anyway, Asian men singing karaoke late at night, blood-flavored corn syrup splattered all over, and moments/scenes that feel and look like they are dreams, but because Refn has a style that is so melodic and tense, you are never quite sure. It really hit me though, and it got more involved and interested by the material, despite most of it seeming “overly-pretentious” and “artsy”, which are the key words anytime you’ll find from most critics to describe this movie. Can’t say I blame them for believing so, but I can’t help but also feel like I was compelled by what I saw and felt. You sort of just have to roll with what Refn gives and throws at you, and if you can’t, then you might be a lost cause for this movie. However though, I knew what I was getting myself into and I didn’t back down from a single bit of it, even if I do sense there is some problems along the way that even the most hardcore, Refn fan will have to admit to noticing.

First of all, the movie does suffer from an over-abundance of sure randomness that seems to be done for the sake of being so. I don’t know where the hell Refn was trying to go with this story and what he was trying to convey, but whatever it was, did not come out so well on film. Of course there’s a bunch of talk about “God”, “the devil”, “paying for your sins”, and all of that annoying, religious crap, but it never seems to go anywhere or make much sense. Drive never really had much of a reasoning for most of the shite that it pulled off in it’s story, but it didn’t need to. It was just a downright, straight-up crime flick, that maybe had a couple of poignant moments of human-interaction, but wasn’t about anything life-changing or altering to begin with. This movie is far, far different from that one and it makes you wonder just what Refn was trying to say underneath this material. “Material” that, mind you, will throw you for a couple of curve-balls at times by just how violent and gruesome it really gets.

Though the infamous, “head-stomping scene” in Drive will forever remain Refn’s bloodiest couple of minutes on the big screen, there are plenty of scenes here that battle it out with that one, and come pretty damn close to making us gag or possibly even yack-up the day’s breakfast. Or lunch, all depends on when you watch it really. Though I don’t want to give away too much of what sort of violence happens, and the hows, and the whys, and the wheres, I will say that there are a couple of scenes that will cause you to look away, and others that will actually surprise with what level of violence they actually escalate to. In fact, one scene that everybody’s been hyping-up for the longest time ever since that first trailer popped-up, is probably the most memorable part of the whole movie, but for the sole fact that it surprises you with where it goes. I’m going to leave it at that, but just know that Refn isn’t too keen on giving the audience what they want to see, and if he is keen on it, be sure to expect something twisted on it’s side with that view-point of his. Just a fair warning, that’s all.

Another fair warning that I can’t forget to mention and feel pleased about doing so is that most people will be disappointed with Ryan Gosling here as Julian, the drug-pusher/fight club owner. Many won’t be pissed with Gosling’s performance because it’s bad or anything, it’s actually the farthest thing from, it’s just that all of the wit, the energy, and the charm that he’s featured so much, and so well in the past, is pretty much absent here. That said, the guy’s still great playing that soft-spoken, brooding-type that doesn’t need to say much, or anything at all, just to get his point across. The guy’s got presence and it’s nice to see him shown that in a movie that challenges him as much as this one does, but it’s been like the 3rd or 4th role in-a-row of this type that we’ve seen him do. Time to mix it up just a little bit, Ry. Please don’t kick my ass though.

The one in this cast who actually gets more to work with, and probably more screen-time is a relatively unknown, Thai actor by the name of Vithaya Pansringarm. I have never, not for a single second of my life seen this guy in anything before, but what good I do hope comes from this movie is that that all changes and I see more of him everywhere and anywhere I can. Pansringarm’s physical-presence is what throws most people off here because he’s a small, middle-aged man that seems like he would be helping you get a spare tire on, rather than chopping your ass off in half, but looks can be quite deceiving, as Refn and Pansringarm both prove more times than one here with this character. Like Gosling, the man’s got presence, but uses it in a way that scares you to high heavens, even when he’s just showing up, staring at a person, and asking interrogating them in anyway that he can. And I do mean, “ANYWAY THAT HE CAN.”

Mommies aren't THAT trashy, right?

Mother’s Day must have been an international holiday in that house. Woo-wee!

Together, the two form a pretty worthwhile feud that isn’t all about proving who has the bigger dick, or who’s the better fighter, but more of who has the bigger heart and who cares more. That’s the type of rivalries I like to see in my movies, even if they are between a little, middle-aged Asian man, and a young, hunk-of-heaven known as Ryan Gosling. Never thought I’d see that coming, ever, but damn does Refn love to surprise us.

Last, but sure as hell not least in this cast is Kristin Scott Thomas as Julien’s mother, Crystal, the trashy, gangster-wife who seems like she came straight from a Jersey Shore audition, didn’t get the part, and decided to piss everybody off around her because of it. Scott Thomas has always been a marvelous actress, but she’s never really blown me away with anything as of late, but she totally took me by surprise here, not only by commanding the screen with every ounce of energy that she had, but also proving that she’s the biggest hard-ass of them all. There’s some weird shit going on with this character about her sometimes incestuous relationship with her two sons, but it doesn’t get past the fact that this woman is mean, ugly, and always ready for a good fight, even if it’s through words and not through the fist-a-cuffs. Even though many of have been crapping on this flick for being too stylish for it’s own good, many have been loving and praising Scott Thomas’ performance and with good reason: She keeps the energy of the movie going, even if Refn does lend a helping-hand, every once a few whiles.

Consensus: Only God Forgives is Nicolas Winding Refn at his most stylish and odd-ballish, but if you are able to take it all in as it is, not think too much about it’s material, and realize that it’s not going to be Drive in any way, then it might just work for you and your art-sensibilities.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Round 1: Fight!

Round 1: Fight!

The Elephant Man (1980)

It’s like Forrest Gump, had it been directed by David Lynch. And instead of a box of chocolates, it was life-like bunny rabbits.

Rescued from his degrading life as a circus freak, John Merrick (John Hurt) is given a chance by a dedicated surgeon (Anthony Hopkins) to live his last years with comfort, respect, and dignity. But since life has not been so kind to John Merrick, he finds it hard to open-up to the rest of the world and let others in. Then again, can ya blame him when you look like this?!?!

David Lynch is a guy that I can never wrap my head around as to whether or not I like him, or just find him bat-shit crazy. Mulholland Drive had me for the first hour or so, then just totally lost me after about the box came into play; Dune just sucked and was a film I wish I couldn’t understand, just to add some more interest to it; Wild at Heart is strange, but very engrossing with its themes and different genres; and Blue Velvet is a very strange, dark tale that worked for me mainly because of Dennis Hopper. I know, I haven’t seen all of his movies, but from what I have seen, it’s been a pretty tough act to love, let alone enjoy. However, I think I can add this one to the list of “good Lynch movies” or “enjoyably pleasant ones”.

What sets this film apart from all of Lynch’s other flicks is that it’s not all that concerned with messing with the minds of the audience, as much as it’s actually more concerned about creating a story about a man that has an obvious set-back in his life, but finds anyway possible to get past that and live the life he wants to. Lynch focuses on Merrick and gives us a story that is not only inspiring, but is also very true in the questions and ideas it brings up about how it is to be human. People look at Merrick and see an “animal”, or a “creature”, and write him off as “stupid” just because of the way he looks. However, like every idiot-savant in movies like this (in real-life, I don’t know if they exist), we start to see more of a human-being behind the look and it’s an mesmerizing thing to watch.

Some form of the KKK, I guess.

The KKK for those who are less-fortunate than us.

However, that is definitely not the case because once Merrick starts to actually talk, we all start to realize that this man is brilliant and one that many of us should look up to considering he doesn’t once ask for any pity whatsoever. Nope, this guy just wants to move on with his life and get past the fact that everywhere he goes, somebody will be staring at him and try wondering what the hell is up with his face and body. To be honest, I’d wonder and probably stare too, but I wouldn’t be as rude about it as some of these people are because I’d realize something fairly quickly: this guy’s a human-being and has feelings like any other human. It’s very hard for anybody to feel and act like this in life, and it’s even harder for a guy like Merrick, but he somehow lives this life-style the whole way through and you are ultimately pulled in right from the start. This is mostly thanks to Lynch’s directing skills because he’s able to play everything straight, while still have a little bit of his weirdness here and there. But Lynch never loses himself and always keep his heart in the right place to give us a story that is one for us all to remember and feel touched by. Sounds strange that this is coming from the same dude who gave us a Naomi Watts lesbian scene, but that’s the whole beauty of this film and what Lynch can do as a director.

But also, that was also my one big problem with this flick. See, as much as Lynch dedicated this flick to being one hell of a story about a man with problems, he still brings in all of these freak-show elements that kind of make this film more confusing than it has any right to be. The first five minutes, we get the signature, Lynch freak-out scene but then it doesn’t come around again until the middle, where Lynch starts touching on all of these freak-shows and other themes of his like the night of the obscure and some strange, sexual obsessions that people have. This wouldn’t seem like something as bad to include in one of his total, mind-fuck movies we all know and sometimes, love him for, but when you place it in a film like this, it seems a little cheap. Also, based on the story we have here, it’s very confusing for a viewer to fully understand just what the hell it is that you are trying to say in the first place. Once again though, it is Lynch we are talking about here and the guy’s never been a fully-sane, fully-functioning person to begin with.

But then again, that’s why we have characters to look at and what a character John Merrick is. Not only is Merrick an inspirational-figure in real-life, but also in this movie and wouldn’t be that way if it wasn’t for John Hurt in this almost unrecognizable role here. The makeup job is done perfectly here and captures exactly what the real person looked like (actually, that guy was worse looking it seems) and I could have only imagined how much of a bitch it must have been for Hurt to have to constantly put that on, day after day. But regardless of how annoying it must have been for him, Hurt still gives off a powerful performance and totally transforms himself into Merrick, whole also actually down-playing the role with ease and subtlety. It’s hard to be subtle when you have a shit-ton of make-up and costumes on, but Hurt is able to capture a sincere presence with his eyes. Oh, those enchanting eyes. Shame that this guy hasn’t fully gotten his due yet from the Academy, but hopefully he will soon.

"Hold me?"

“Hold me?”

Anthony Hopkins, another legend on the big-screen, is also very good in a role that seems very fit for him: Frederick Treves. Treves is a character that thinks he is doing the right thing by going around and showing off Merrick to other people, only to realize that he is pretty much doing the same exact thing to him with these meetings, as the last guy was doing with all of those “freak-shows”. It’s one of those characters that hits the dilemma of doing the right thing, but soon realizes he’s way too in over-his-head. But yet, Hopkins always keeps him loveable and for the most part, a guy that’s easy to fall back on, even when shit seems to get a little too hectic for Mr. Merrick. If there was any problem I had with Hopkins, it’s that he always has that frozen look in his eyes where you don’t quite know if he’s nice or just scary underneath all of the glitz, glamour, and charm, but it works for this character and still makes it easy enough for us to care about this guy because he means well, even if others may view it differently.

Consensus: With a surprisingly straight-forward direction by David Lynch, a pair of great performances from Hurt and Hopkins, and an inspirational story at the heart of it all, The Elephant Man is a wonderful flick that will make you feel for it’s main subject but also realize what it’s like to be a human, and what it takes to care for the other humans around you as well.

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

Proof that Bradley can do it all.

Proof that Bradley can do it all. Kind of.

Blue Velvet (1986)

One of the nuttiest movies, you may ever want to see in your life.

An innocent (Kyle MacLachlan) gets mixed up in a small-town murder mystery involving a kinky nightclub chanteuse (Isabella Rossellini) and a kidnapper (Dennis Hopper) with a penchant for snorting helium.

For all of my years while being interested in film, I never understood how come this movie was so influential. I heard it was just a nutty piece of work, however, now that I have finally seen the legend, I can understand where most are coming from.

David Lynch, can kind of piss me off as a director. Films like Wild at Heart, Mulholland Dr., and Eraserhead are so damn nuts and symbolic, that it’s kind of annoying just to watch the craziest shit happen, without you even understanding why this crap is happening. This is one of the films though, where he actually makes sense and focuses more on the story and outline of these characters rather than the bizarre symbolism.

I understand why this is sometimes viewed as a crazy masterpiece, because it really is one of the first films to show a deeper look into the natural lives of your typical suburban American. Many horror films, drama films, comedies, all take a lot of ideas from this film, especially the idea of a “modern noir”. This was one of the first films to actually plant the themes and characteristics of an old Hollywood noir, and plant it in a modern-day setting, but its also played very well. You can never understand whats happening, and you never know whats right, but as the main character delves deeper into the case, you delve a lot deeper into the society, and how beautiful and lovely it is on the outside, but is a cold, dark place on the outside.

But as usual with any Lynch film, there is always going to be some problems for me. I had a problem with the fact that the ending was trying so hard to make a point about something, but actually kind of failed. I understood the point that Lynch was trying to make about social order, when it comes to gender, but I feel like he could have done it in a better way. Also, I kind of got tired by the 4th time “Blue Velvet” was played. The song was good the first time, but after about 5 times, ehh I think I just want some Roy Orbison. Oh and that’s what I get, in a pretty cool scene.

Kyle MacLachlan most known for being on Lynch’s crazy show, Twin Peaks, actually does a good job with the material he’s given here. In the beginning, he plays this good guy well, and when he’s taken into this under-belly and totally changed against his will, it’s believable. But when it comes to great acting Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper are the ones to watch. Rossellini was known as a fashion model before this film came out, and she totally bares it all out there, and I do mean it all. She really is nuts, but that beauty she has is undeniable, so when she’s acting all innocent and tragic, you can’t feel a bit of sympathy for her, and it really matches the film’s tone. But the craziest motherfucker in the planet is my boy, the one and the only Dennis fuckin’ Hopper. Hopper is one of the most under-appreciated actors in the biz, and he is freaking creepy every time he’s on-screen. The film probably has the most f-bombs ever in a film, just because of Hopper’s mouth, he’s freaky, nuts, crazy, nuts, and inhales helium like a pro.

Consensus: Blue Velvet may has its misfires, but it is still one of the most influential films for its portrayal of the dark, underworld we don’t know we live in, and the people that inhabit, played greatly by the incredible cast.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

A film that is basically about God knows what.

Writer-director David Lynch weaves another mysteriously complex tale in this story about an amnesiac woman (Laura Herring) who’s left stranded on Mulholland Drive and gets taken in by a young newcomer (Naomi Watts) who’s moved to Hollywood to pursue her dreams. The two women gradually start to put the pieces of a troubling puzzle together, but the puzzle unravels a dark, sinister plot — as well as unexpected passions.

For me I think David Lynch is an OK director, if your favorite things are watching random shit happen for some odd reason. I liked Blue Velvet, and his most normal Wild at Heart, but this one even as crazy and nutty as it is, still is great.

The one thing I mostly have to praise is the direction from that crazy boy himself, David Lynch. Although, the whole film is basically up to interpretation, you can still sense a great deal of mature writing and directing when it comes to this job. Lynch, makes his usual wacko, surrealist, psychological films, but this time in the form of a Hollywood noir, and somehow, its works.Despite, being all confused entirely by the end of the film, I still somehow enjoyed it mostly cause of the fact that Lynch does create these great details and themes about imagination, and stardom, while plotting them in this helpless place of despair, combined with great elements of total suspense.

But yet, I also kind of have to fight against Lynch for this film. Lynch, does toy with us, the viewer, a lot during this film. Right when we think we have the story’s plain and simple plot in our minds, and understand it all, Lynch pulls the carpet right from underneath us all, and we are just being plucked away, one after another. In ways, I have to give Lynch the credit for at least, testing this idea out, but yet it kind of pissed me off, that the whole film was pretty much up to interpretation, meaning what’s the point of the film in the first place.

The visuals in this film will blow you away, because you got all these crazy colors flyin at you sometimes and you feel as if your trippin’ mad balls, when you realize your inside of the Lynch maze. There is also some natural beauty to this film, cause it showers the darker side of Hollywood, and some scenes are nightmarish material.

I loved how Naomi Watts, was basically, in other words, amazing. Her character goes in a total transformation, from this happy go-lucky chick in the beginning, to this evil, dark, bitchy character by the end of the film, but oh, wait I gave too much away, I’m done. Laura Elena Harring, is very good too, because she fits that look and feel of an old 1950s actress, and all she has to do is stand there and look pretty, cause she does that very well. I found her story to be the best thing about this film, because through this we sympathize with her character and the problem with her life.

There is also a nice side performance from Justin Theroux as the very arrogant director, who doesn’t take no for answer when it comes to his film, and its pretty obvious what the message is behind that character. Oh yeah, and Billy Ray Cyrus is in here too. Nothing like a good ole’ cameo from Achy Breaky Heart boy.

Consensus: It doesn’t do much to make sense, but Mulholland Dr. is one of those wacko films from David Lynch, that just is so strange, incoherent, and crazy, but yet so imaginative, well-acted, and intelligently structured, that it works.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!