Blue Velvet (1986) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna
|Scoop's notes in white:
The movie is pretty cool and quite insidious.
It takes place in a small American town which is white bread, picket fences, gardens, smiling firemen who pet their Dalmatians and wave to kids from their trucks. In this antiseptic environment, Laura Dern and Kyle Maclachlan want to play Nancy Drew and solve a mystery involving a severed ear.
And then filmmaker David Lynch asks us "what do you bastards think would happen to Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys if they ran into real-life desperado scumbags?". And he shows us, and cures us of our illusions with some shock therapy. I like the way he sets it up, with the cornball music and the excessively sincere acting from the youngsters, just like a 50's TV sitcom, until Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell show up to assault us with over-the-top kinky and creepy. Pretty damned effective. Don't count on it as a date movie, however.
|Actually, the movie isn't as creepy as I
remembered. It shocked and sickened me back in 1986, as
it intended. I guess my new reaction is because (a) I've
seen some shit since then, or (b) I've become inured to
it by a subsequent generation of shocking gore and kink,
in the Tarantino fashion, or (c) the world is less
innocent now, or (d) all of the above.
It was sure considered audacious in its time.
films have ever precipitated as much controversy and as
divergent a spread of opinion as this one. It captured
every possible rating from one star to four. Some people
consider it a masterpiece, and rate it among their
favorites, others consider it demented gutter fodder. You
can see below that the average from the top critcs is 1.5
stars, but it is close to the top 250 at IMDb. That sums
it all up.
Roger Ebert, who gave it one star, said that David Lynch was a talented director using his genius for evil instead of good. Like Dr Frankenstein!
I think Lynch probably would be flattered by that comment.
I don't think you have to like a movie in order to admire it. This movie is admirable in many ways, but not likeable at all, and it is also ugly, so if you like your art to be beautiful, it jest ain't fer you.
|I nominate Isabella Rossellini for the best singing ever done by someone who can't carry a tune. She sings Blue Velvet very slowly, with a spooky piano accompanying her - actually he follows her. It's quite clever. Several times she gets a note wrong at first, but then the piano comes in with the right note and she slides back into it. The net effect is good - it sounds like it should from a boozy singer in a smoky club. Heaven knows how David Lynch showed genius enough to cast her for a singing role, but it worked out, so there ya go! (Other nominees for getting away with a tone-deaf singing performance might include Marlon Brando in Guys and Dolls.)|
comments in yellow:
As the film opens, we
have a perfect urban setting in the quiet lumber town of Lumberton. A
fire truck goes by, and a man is watering his lawn. Suddenly, a bee
stings him. Evidently, he is allergic, and is rushed to the hospital.
His son, played by Kyle Mac Lachlan, returns from college. On the way
back from the hospital, he finds a human ear in a vacant lot.
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