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His Girl: Happy Birthday David Lynch

muldrisinger.jpg picture by BrandoBardot

In honor of David Lynch's birthday, a repost of his best movie: Mulholland Dr.

David Lynch gets America. America the beautiful, America the bizarre. We can discuss how "weird" he is, how inscrutable his movies can be, how much he loves oddly conceived babies, oddly shaped humans, oddly pale-faced Robert Blake, oddly obsessed Crispin Glover and his "lunch!", but the man gets what drives our subconscious, our sweet dreams, our nightmares.

muldrphone.jpg picture by BrandoBardot

So naturally, Lynch understands one of the oddest cities on earth -- Los Angeles. With his brilliant, labyrinthine Mulholland Dr., a movie that started out like a jilted starlet (it was an axed TV pilot) he digs underneath our peculiar Hollywood system -- a system that pedals dreams, desire, sex, money, magic -- dreams that have the ability to spread like a celluloid sickness all over America (especially during the 2000’s. Did he know how prescient he was going to be?). Through the bright-eyes of innocent Betty (Naomi Watts, in a career defining performance), a starlet seeking fame in La La land, he presents a twisted, romantic, funny, terrifying and deeply emotional mystery involving a gorgeous amnesiac, a monster behind a diner, a persona altering box, a pair of elderly folks who slither under doors, and a director who answers to a dwarf, a mobster and a cowboy. And let’s not forget Coco.

mulmirror.jpg picture by BrandoBardot

Hauntingly beautiful, poignant, funny, subversive, dark, meditative, sexual (Lynch is one of the few American directors who can actually create inspired, erotic and yet intensely emotional sex scenes) and more, Mulholland Dr. poses many questions, but offers few answers, reflecting life in all of its enigmatic complexities. And if you think it’s weird that a box might be responsible for transforming a promising young actress into a suicidal starlet, rubbing herself in a tragic masturbatorial rage, then you need to spend a little more time in Los Angeles. Or on reality television. Or in your girlfriend’s living room after you ditch her. Or in a director’s chair. Or simply walking up and down Hollywood Blvd. between Western and Normandie.

Muldrreflections.jpg picture by BrandoBardot

Speaking personally, I can say that living in this city long enough, Mulholland Dr. does not seem that out of the ordinary. And this realization came to me quickly. Directly upon moving here, the very first apartment I looked at, (recommended to me at the noodle joint across from Jumbo’s Clown Room at 2 AM by a weathered, drunk L.A. native waxing nostalgic about seeing Patty Duke perform her mournful "Don't Just Stand There" on Shindig!) was, unbeknownst to me, that very same apartment Miss Watts inhabited as sad, suicidal Diane. I’ll never forget the creepy familiarity while walking through the grounds, searching for a landlord and knocking on a stranger’s door only to be answered by a stern faced woman who treated me like a suspicious intruder. A lovely place, but, when it hit me just where I was standing, I resisted a possible rental application. I realize it’s only a movie but, no. Living there seemed tantamount to beginning my new life in Roman Polanski’s digs from The Tenant.

muldrivebettyrita.jpg picture by BrandoBardot

That’s how powerful the picture is -- it just gets under your skin and into your bones and bubbles with your blood. It may be notoriously tough to decipher, but truly, Lynch captures the city, its vibe, its ragged romanticism, its cruelty, its impenetrable dysfunction and its absurdity (Billy Ray Cyrus is the pool cleaner. And that makes perfect sense) with his distinct brand of warped clarity. Our country’s often freakish, surreal desperation to emulate or ponder the “glamour” of Hollywood is just as weird and just as affecting and just as relatable as...Winkie’s dream. Mulholland Dr. is a masterpiece. “This is the girl” indeed.

Comments

Jesue V

A beautiful write-up as always.

Marktrainer

Gosh but I love this movie. It's the one where all the things that make DL an unusual filmmaker came together perfectly. Whatever about it doesn't make sense in a literal way makes perfect sense in an emotional way. That said, I've always been among those who believe the first part is Diane's wish fulfillment dream. But it's so much more than that. A recent viewing made me appreciate Justin Theroux's performance, which might have been overshadowed by Watts' et al before. "Wake up, pretty girl..."

C. Jerry

Lovely post. David Lynch had been working in Los Angeles for roughly 20 years before he made his first feature set in L.A. ... LOST HIGHWAY ... which led to MULHOLLAND DRIVE ... which led to INLAND EMPIRE ...

Levi

Fantastic article! A incredible film that stats with me almost every day! From an awe inspiring director!

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