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Out to Lynch

The three decade nightmare on film
By PAUL BABIN  |  December 7, 2006

The Elephant Man
Movie: Eraserhead (1977)
Beautiful Dreamer: Loftily-coifed, future pencil end Henry Spencer.
Buried Truth: Marriage sucks!
Surreal Speech: “In Heaven, everything is fine.”
Lynchian Moment: The first baby pictures.
Conscious Assessment: “[Lynch] seems to have reinvented the experimental-film movement”- Pauline Kael, the New Yorker.

Movie: The Elephant Man (1980)
Beautiful Dreamer: Is that John Hurt under all that latex?
Buried Truth: Society might be uglier than John Merrick.
Surreal Speech: “I am not an animal. I am a human being. I am a man.”
Lynchian Moment: Merrick unveiled at the freak show.
Conscious Assessment:The Elephant Man uses some of the devices of the horror film, including ominous music sudden cuts that shock, and hints of dark things to come, but it's a very benign horror film, one in which ‘the creature’ is the pursued instead of the pursuer.”- Vincent Canby, New York Times.

Movie: Dune (1984)
Beautiful Dreamer: Paul Usul Muad'Dib Atreides…or, as his friends like to call him, the Kwisatz Haderach.
Buried Truth: A big budget, major studio release spells death for a director like David Lynch.
Surreal Speech: “I started selling out on Dune.” David Lynch.
Lynchian Moment: The bloated, pus-filled baddie Count Harkonnen taking orders from a flying vagina.
Conscious Assessment: “Lynch has demonstrated…how originality can be tedious. It’s diabolically bad,” Rex Reed, New York Post.

Movie: Blue Velvet (1986)
Beautiful Dreamer: Aspiring detective, or pervert,  Jeffrey Beaumont.
Buried Truth: There’s bugs under those green suburban lawns.
Surreal Speech: “It's a strange world.”
Lynchian Moment: Dean Stockwell’s heavily made-up Ben lip-synching “In Dreams” to a storm light.
Conscious Assessment: “This is an ugly, brutal, naïve movie. One cut above a snuff film. Academic porn.” Barry Gifford, author of Wild at Heart.

Movie: Wild At Heart (1990)
Beautiful Dreamer: Nicolas Cage as Sailor Ripley, or maybe Laura Dern as Lula Pace Fortune.
Buried Truth: Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Surreal Speech: “The world is wild at heart and weird at top.”
Lynchian Moment: Accident  victim Mädchen Amick applying makeup as her brains leak out.
Conscious Assessment: “In any universe but one created by Lynch, the audience might feel stranded. But Lynch has a knack for heightened reality that keeps us attuned to the pleasures of the unexpected.”- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Movie: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Beautiful Dreamer:  My money’s on the log lady’s log.
Buried Truth: Still one of Lynch’s favorites among his movies.
Surreal Speech: Old Guy at Hap’s: “I know shit from shinola.”
Lynchian Moment: Too many.
Conscious Assessment: “Memorable moments and ludicrous ones collide in this psychic autopsy, a weirdly fundamentalist cogitation on the intersection of Heaven, Hell and Washington state.”- Rita Kempley, Washington Post

Movie: Lost Highway (1997)
Beautiful Dreamer: Fred Madison…or is it Pete Dayton?
Buried Truth: You’d have to ask “The Mystery Man”
Surreal Speech: “We've met before, haven't we?”
Lynchian Moment: Fred’s phone conversation with The Mystery Man…as he’s standing right in front of him
Conscious Assessment:David Lynch's
Lost Highway is like kissing a mirror: You like what you see, but it's not much fun, and kind of cold.”- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Movie: The Straight Story (1999)
Beautiful Dreamer: Alvin Straight and his lawn mower odyssey.
Buried Truth: David Lynch at heart is a maker of G-rated movies for Disney.
Surreal Speech: “What’s the number for 911?”.”
Lynchian Moment: The big sunbather with the pink Sno-Balls.
Conscious Assessment: “The film’s deceptive simplicity and unabashed warmth…make it one of Lynch’s most artistically and emotionally satisfying movies.” Geoff Andrew, Time-Out London.

Movie: Mulholland Drive (2001)
Beautiful Dreamer: Betty Elms, or is it Diane Selwyn?
Buried Truth: Hell is being other people.
Surreal Speech: “Now you will see me one more time, if you do good. You will see me, two more times, if you do bad. Good night.”
Lynchian Moment: Who are the tiny old people who crawl under the door?
Conscious Assessment: "
Mulholland Drive parts the veil on a totally cracked, utterly convincing world with David Lynch its  brooding demiurge .” J. Hoberman, the Village Voice.

Related: Naked Lynch, Say ‘cheese’, Fear and loving in Lumberton, More more >
  Topics: Features , Entertainment, Movies, David Lynch,  More more >
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