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#1 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 11:40 AM

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David Lynch
What started in the 70s as an obsession to finish his first breakthrough film, Eraserhead (1977), blossomed into becoming one of the most consistent American auteurs. From the almost noir-ish themes of the darkness lurking beneath postcard-perfect Americana, to the dreamscapes of our troubled subconscious, David Lynch has an undeniable focus. Not only is he a very accomplished writer, director, and editor, but he also handles a lot of his own sound work. In all of these areas he maintains his own 'Lynchian' style, a term coined by both his fans and imitators. A true filmmaker in every sense of the word.

Recommended Films:
Eraserhead (1977)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Dune (1984)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Twin Peaks (1990 - 1991)
Lost Highway (1997)
The Straight Story (1999)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Inland Empire (2006)

#2 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:59 PM

So I've been pushing through Twin Peaks for the first time these weeks. This is an incredible work, and I guess I didn't count on that because it was a television show. I am actually rather shocked they would ever cancel this the way they did. When you consider similar television projects from the period like all those Stephen King TV movies, it is hard to believe the fan "phenomenon" wasn't enough to keep this afloat.

I am sure several of you have watch this series by now, but is there anyone here that caught it when it first aired? Were you a Lynch fan at the time? What was your reaction? What did your friends/family think about this weird TV show?

#3 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 01:37 PM

A recent blog from guardian.co.uk caught my attention:

Has David Lynch retired, or is it just a bad dream?
With no film projects in the last five years and a sudden swerve into the music business – is this the red curtain for David Lynch?

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In a house near the Hollywood Hills, a silver-haired man of 65 picks up a guitar. Later, he will paint. He may grind a little coffee. But whatever he's doing, none of it is likely to involve anything even vaguely resembling the making of a feature film. This man is David Lynch – and that particular lack of activity is now, according to a more-or-less reputable source, permanent. The world's greatest living director appears to have quit the job.

The news was broken by another one-off of the old school, Abel Ferrara, who in the course of a recent interview let slip that his compadre "doesn't even want to make films any more. I've talked to him about it, OK? I can tell when he talks about it." And yes, this is only hearsay, but aside from Ferrara having no obvious reason to dissemble, it only confirms what many of us long ago sensed in our collective gut – that the five-year gap since his last film, the wildly ominous Inland Empire, is no mere extended holiday.

From Lynch, of course, there's been no announcement at all. Or rather, official word has focused on the latest step in his freshly-launched music career, a debut album to be released later this year, Crazy Clown Time. If the title seems plucked from a top hat filled with random Lynchian phrasings, the music may well provide the odd surprise: the preceding single Good Day Today is a dose of chipper pop-house that made for one of the strangest conversions to dance music since Michael Caine's 2007 chillout opus, Cained. Lynch has often moonlighted in the recording studio – but until lately always in conjunction with his films. Now, the album is the most concrete sign yet of a serious shift in priorities. Some time ago his website was stripped of any mention of movies and converted into a showcase for the "David Lynch Music Company".

Not that the last few months have revolved solely around Lynch's rebirth as a dance-floor Svengali – let's not forget the thematically-furnished Parisian nightclub, the Duran Duran webcast, the 16-minute Dior ad. That kind of promiscuity is nothing unusual in a career speckled with the extracurricular; even the five-year hiatus is par for the course. But this feels different. For one thing, throughout his other periods of creative wandering, Lynch always had a stack of movie projects waiting to be greenlit, most of which were public knowledge – exactly the kind now conspicuous by their absence. The sense of finality, meanwhile, hardly comes out of the blue: on top of a polite lack of interest in film during his own recent interviews, rumours among fans that "this is it" have been circulating for years (you can see a couple in the comments following the piece I wrote last spring, wincingly wide of the mark as it now looks).

And there's a precedent for Lynch falling out of love with his muse. After all, he already abandoned one aspect of making movies: the cumbersome business of shooting on film, the very thing that always made his nightmare visions look so good. Instead, after the gorgeous old-fangled spectacle of Mulholland Drive, he announced he was now embracing digital video at its cheapest and dirtiest, a move that would yield the scuzzed-up horror of Inland Empire. With hindsight, its tempting to see those last two films as the perfect way to end a career: Mulholland Drive the grand ode to Hollywood that would go down as his masterpiece; Inland Empire its murky and unnerving evil twin, bringing full-circle a story that started with that tour de force of the murky and unnerving, Eraserhead.

Or maybe not. It's unlikely the man himself is going to confirm or deny anything much besides the ongoing benefits of transcendental meditation. But personally, having been fixated with Lynch for as long as I've been smitten with film, and having spent large chunks of the last quarter-century waiting for him to make another movie, this is where I stop. And the strange thing is, that's fine.

The great 1980s noise band Big Black remarked on breaking up that it was an idea that had occurred to too few bands. A similar thing might be said of directors. If Lynch's last hurrah has come and gone without us realising … well, it will have ended a four-decade stretch in which the director never – really, not once – went through the motions. There would be something uniquely depressing about Lynch banging them out long after the passion had faded – forever wearily rearranging dwarves and cryptic old ladies. So if, at 65, he's chosen to give up films along with smoking, then I simply tip my Jack Nance wig to him and say goodbye. Backwards.


--------------------

I know this is completely hearsay, thoughts written out loud on a blog, but there are a few rather convincing observations here. Lynch has always struck me as an artist at the mercy of his inspirations, and those can be a fragile thing. I agree with the author that this would be fine, because I feel David Lynch has procured an amazing career in film. I don't like the idea of any artist going through the motions if the moment has truly passed, and it seems at this moment he is focused on music. He does have some years left, and he has a legacy that he can't really ignore, so we will see. Besides debating David Lynch really being finished with film, what would your reactions be it it really was the case? As I said, I think I would be ok with it, and that goes beyond principle, because I am truly satisfied with the whole of his work.

#4 Lawrence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 01:37 PM

I watched this as it aired, and have been a fan of Lynch since Blue Velvet. I remember being blown away by Twin Peaks at the time, and it was a real hot topic of conversation the next day at work. I also remember people growing weary of it as time rolled on, and being pretty much the only person who thought Fire Walk With Me was any good. I've even got the Laura Palmers diary somewhere. :)

At the time I hadn't seen a show on TV this far out for years, I grew up on weird British shows like Sapphire & Steel, The Prisoner and The Avengers so I didn't find it too far out or anything, it just felt incredibly fresh for it's time. I tried to watch this again a few years back (for the fourth of fifth time), and found it hadn't aged so well, it was way more Beverly Hills 90210 than I remembered, but I only saw the first couple of episodes before drifting off to watch something else. I will see it again at some point though, and don't doubt at all that I'll love it all over again.

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#5 Lawrence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 01:45 PM

Despite adoring Lynch I found Inland Empire really hard to fathom. I really wish he would make a film with a cohesive plot again. I think back to how great directors back in the 40's and 50's were able to work within the confines of the studio system and yet manage to push through something that was uniquely them. Lynch could do that, he managed it for the last time with The Straight Story, and I just feel like we've lost that director somewhere to the guy with his head up his ass.

So what I'm saying is that if he stopped making films for a while, I wouldn't feel it was such a loss. Maybe he just needs to get the creative juices flowing again and film making is a long arduous process, so putting it on the back burner for a while seems cool to me. He's always been a painter, and his involvement with music has been growing more and more, so it feels logical in that sense.

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#6 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 01:57 PM

Did you start with the pilot episode? I cannot really understand your 90210 vibes in the beginning of the series, though it really drags in the earlier episodes of Season 2 into another sort of lesser show as well as 90210. It just started picking up again, and is one of those shows where the good FAR outweigh the lame filler. This is coming from a guy that really appreciates his recent output, and I find the show as a whole somewhere between Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr. I think it is just the nature of television that these similarities to shows like 90210 manage to sneak their way into the narrative, it just seems unavoidable.

#7 Lawrence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:04 PM

It was quite a while back so I can't really say how far we got, of course we started with the pilot episode. Where else do you start? Maybe at the end and work your way backwards? :D

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#8 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:12 PM

Only if you're a dwarf. :D But yeah, my question was dumb dumb dumb.

#9 Lawrence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:17 PM

I know a lot of people knock season two, but I love the whole Black Lodge/Windom Earle storyline.

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#10 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:22 PM

^
Not sure if I've gotten that far yet, I just witnessed the end of:
Spoiler

Ray Wise was just, wow, as are many of the talent they had going for this show.

#11 Lawrence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:25 PM

He'll always be Leland Palmer to me. He's so great in that role, the above spoiler is one of the best moments in the show.

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#12 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:31 PM

Not really sure how it could be topped. The whole segment where:
Spoiler

..is just incredible. I'm really not sure where the show can go from here, but I will soldier on.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
just arrived, which I was waiting for before I was willing to continue. I'm kind of weird about watching TV shows on DVD if I don't have the following seasons, I always expect some terribly cheap cliffhanger.

#13 Lawrence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:37 PM

Well that's where Windom Earle comes in. As I said though most people didn't like that storyline. I thought it was superb though, If the plug hadn't been pulled so quickly I think this show would have stretched a little further.

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#14 Izo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:18 PM

I am a fan of Lynch, though I admit that I often find his films unrewarding, like Lost Highway and INLAND EMPIRE, both of which I want to rewatch at some point.

Actually, my favorite film of his (and I noticed the absence of a recommendation above) is The Straight Story. I feel it's about a perfect movie. Behind that is Blue Velvet.

#15 Duke Togo

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:26 PM

I hadn't seen The Straight Story, but your recommendation will place it on the list. Lost Highway underwhelming? A big-ish problem I had with Lost Highway was Patricia Arquette, I just found her irritating throughout. Otherwise, lots of love for it.

Good Day Today single from Crazy Clown Time:


It does seem to reflect his mastery of sound that is so much a staple of his films, but this will never amount to the success he found in filmmaking. I also think I was expecting something a little more wacky.

#16 sexy rancheros

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 03:42 PM


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#17 Duke Togo

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 06:55 AM

^
So, it seems this is a trailer for the film festival, Viennale 2011. Nice to see something cinematic come from Lynch, I hope this means a continued interest in the craft. The bug (?) squishing scene seems to be a strong nod to Eraserhead.

I only recently noticed these PS2 commercials from the late 90's:






Apparently that forth one was banned, hmm. I know David Lynch was part of a variety of projects during his career, other commercials and I think a few music videos too. I figure this was a way to fund other projects, and I wonder if that is what is behind The 3 Rs.

#18 Izo

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 02:29 PM

The 3 Rs was legitimately unsettling. I liked it.

#19 OMEGA5

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:11 PM

Aaaaargh! Why is it so hard to get Lynch titles in region A blu? Save for blu velvet which was super cheap, I had to get the region free German Lost Highway and I've had to settle for Mulholland on DVD. At least I have Criterion's Eraserhead to look forward to.

#20 Izo

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 08:39 PM

If rumors and Criterion's Facebook are to be believed, you very well may have more than just Eraserhead to look forward to from Criterion.






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