Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Which version of this movie did he see? He mentions the lesbian sex that dominates the third act, as other reviewers have, but he doesn't go on and on about how hot it is, as other reviewers have, so does that mean Vern is just a classy guy, or is it possible he saw the original TV pilot?
Either way, AICN's favorite outlaw has come up with something worth your time, a peek at what David Lynch has been up to...
VERN SAW MULLHOLLAND DRIVE
(includes the spoilers)
First off let me say I feel like a grade-a asshole sitting here Writing a movie review when so many innocent people died here this month and so many more will be dying in other countries soon. But I guess somehow you gotta get back to your life at some point and I'm afraid reviewing movies is about the best I can muster for this world. I speak on behalf of myself only but, let's face it, even the best film Writers are basically just wasting your time. or at least that's what the talbackers say about me, and I'm one of the best film Writers in my opinion, so you do the math.
Anyway what I was able to do was see an early screening of Mr. David Lynch's award winning new picture Mullholland Drive. If you don't know the background on this one I'll fill you in. It started out as the pilot for an ABC tv series that was supposed to do to LA what Twin Peaks did to wherever the fuck in Washington Twin Peaks was supposed to be. However when ABC saw the pilot and found out it was not about lawyers or hospitals they decided not to air it. Don't you like how these tv fucks are willing to give a sitcom development deal to any standup comedian or chef that happens to walk by their office building but they can't even air something really good from an established artist that they already have in the can? Hooray for hollywood.
Once the whole thing fell through Mr. Lynch decided to go back for two weeks, film a bunch of nonsense and throw it on the end and call it a movie so that he could win top awards at the Cannes film festival for his artistic bravery and werewithal in taking something so low as "tv" and turning it into a "film".
Now look, I've straightened up my life but I may or may not come across a bootleg now and then and therefore I may or may not have actually seen the tv pilot version of this picture. And if I did see it I may have liked it alot. And here is what it may or may not have been about:
A glamorous woman's limo makes an unexpected stop on Mullholland Drive. The people in the front seat turn around and point guns at the woman. Suddenly, out of the blue, two car loads of joyriding teenagers straight out of Hot Rods To Hell ram into the limo.
The woman manages to escape alive, but she doesn't remember who she is or why the people were trying to kill her. Or also why she is carrying a purse full of $100 bills and a mysterious key.
Seeking refuge at a random hollywood apartment, she names herself Rita and befriends Betty (Naomi Watts), a goofy aspiring actress who helps her investigate the little shreds of memory she has left.
Also, there is a white trash hitman trying to track down Rita, as well as steal a mysterious black book of names and phone numbers.
Meanwhile Adam, who wears Steven Soderbergh style glasses to signal to the ABC television viewing audience that he is a hot hollywood director, finds his production being interfered with. You see, a shadowy organization of mafia like thugs, midgets and cowboys is forcing him to recast his movie for reasons unknown.
The series no doubt would have gone on for five seasons or so before we were even supposed to understand what was going on here. The setup is great and you really wonder what in fuck is up here.
But if you thought the movie might tie up any of the loose ends, well, forget it. It not only doesn't address any of these concerns, it completely forgets about them. I'm not even sure Mr. Lynch remembered which movie he was supposed to be adding footage to. The movie version is basically a re-editing of the pilot with a scene or two added here and there and some extra garbage at the end.
I would like to disrespectfully give away what happens at the end, but unfortunately I have no idea what happens, and neither will you. Lynch throws on your typical Lost Highway style random senseless identity switching, your old Eraserhead style meaningless song and dance routines, and a bit of your audience pleasing lesbian sex. This definitely satisfied your David Lynch obsessed nerds at the screening, and that's probaly who Lynch should be shooting for anyway. The people who will spend years trying to crack what the hell this one was supposed to mean, no matter how many times David Lynch tells them to their faces that it wasn't supposed to mean jack shit. But as a representative of everybody else in the world all I can say is, whuh?
Don't get me wrong, if the movie didn't have to have an ending I woulda loved it. This one shows off everything Mr. Lynch is so good at. The gloomy atmosphere and shadowy surrealist conspiracy somehow fit right into hollywood. There are a number of truly great scenes that fit on their own - two really funny ones involving confrontations with Billy Ray Cyrus, one where the hitman has a fuck of a time doing what seems like an easy kill, and a really scary one where two people discuss a nightmare. Like the Robert Blake scene in Lost Highway that last one really has nothing to do with the rest of the movie and would be better off saving up its money for a while until it can afford to move out into a movie of its own.
Naomi Watts is really good in this picture, mainly because she's pretty bad. Her character is a complete goofball, coming down from Canada and stumbling around Los Angeles in wide-eyed awe. She is given lines like, "Come on, let's do it - it'll be just like in the movies!", and she says that without irony. She gives these lines the stiff delivery they deserve. But then what's really brilliant is that later on we see her auditioning for a movie and it turns out that when she's acting she completely changes, and seems like a real person.
I also like the dude that plays Steven Soderbergh. He reacts to his bizarre situation like a real person. When he is mysteriously made to go meet with a guy named "The Cowboy" at a secret corral, he gives the right combination of amusement, disbelief and fear.
The problem here is that the setup is really pretty traditional. When you got a movie about an amnesiac trying to find out why she was almost killed, why she has a bag of money and why she has a key, I mean come on... you want to find out why. When there is a secret conspiracy to recast a movie the reason why it's enjoyable is because you wonder why the hell they would go through all this trouble, and you're waiting for the payoff. When there is a great setpiece about a guy trying to steal a black book of addresses and numbers, you're gonna want to find out what he needs it for, right? Or at least have the book be mentioned again?
I admire the outlaw spirit of David Lynch saying fuck you, I'm not going to tell you what you want to know, I'm not going to stoop to "entertaining you" by "storytelling" and "setting up expectations that are delivered upon in a surprising or other fashion" or "making plot twists that make some sort of sense" or "letting you have any clue what the hell is going on" or "making a movie where things happen that make sense on some level."
See, making a deliberately unsatisfying picture seems, on paper, to be a bold move. My only problem with it is that personally, in the end, I found myself to be not satisfied.
So if you liked Lost Highway, or kind of liked Lost Highway, see this, because it's the same sort of crap but with a better sense of humor. If you're obsessed with David Lynch and absolutely adore everything he has ever done, then see this, because you will absolutely adore it and, in my opinion, even obsess over it.
However, if you're not a big Lynch fan, I recommend watching most of the movie, then getting up to go to the bathroom at some point when it starts to get boring, then get distracted by some sort of reading material, conversation or altercation, never return and never see the end of the movie, always imagining that in the end the threads came together, gave you some idea of what was going on, and at the same time opened up new and more interesting questions for you to ponder at home.
(What really happens is an elderly couple about two inches tall walks out of a box on fast speed, and then it cuts to some heavily made up lady on a stage saying, "Silencio.")