Lost Highway (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I think Lost Highway is kind of a cool movie, maintaining a level of creepiness high enough to require multiple showers if you are watching at home. Having said that, I must add that I don't have any idea what is going on.

Bill Pullman plays a hepcat sax player whose wife is a low-down cheatin' tramp. He can't seem to interest her in anything about himself.

They start to receive mysterious video tapes which demonstrate that someone is watching them in their house.


Patricia Arquette shows her breasts in several close-ups, and her buns in a long shot. There is a very minimal peek into her pubic area.

Natasha Gregson Wagner shows her breasts.

There are some exposed breasts from extras at a pool party, and from women in a porno flick.

Pullman is at a party one night when he is approached by Robert Blake, wearing whiteface. I suppose Blake would be a good mime, because then we wouldn't have to hear him talk, but he's not a mime. He's a guy who is in two places at once. He explains that he is at the party and also at Pullman's house. Pullman thinks that sounds crazier than a David Lynch film, so the mysterious talking mime produces a cell phone, Pullman calls his own house, and the talking mime does indeed answer.

Pullman goes home, and before the night is over, he finds that his wife has been cut in half, ala the Black Dahlia, and that there is another  mysterious videotape, this one showing Pullman standing over the body, drenched in blood. So Pullman ends up on death row, not able to understand how a videotape could show something that never happened. One morning, the jailers go to his cell and find a completely different guy in there. Nobody knows how that could be, but the new guy is a garage mechanic with a genuine life history, and he hasn't committed any crimes, so the police let him go, but decide to keep an eye on him.

The garage mechanic then goes through some adventures with another woman who looks exactly like Pullman's wife (same actress, different wig), and these events seem to parallel Pullman's life in the distorted way of a funhouse mirror.

There are some bizarre comic interludes. The garage mechanic's girlfriend is also the girlfriend of a mobster (Robert Loggia). The mechanic also tunes the mobster's car. At one point, the mobster beats a motorist nearly to death for tailgating. He gets especially upset when the other driver can't tell him how many feet it takes to stop a car going 65 MPH. Loggia lets the poor sap live only after the bloody, weeping man agrees to read the drivers' manual and memorize the safety rules.

Then it starts to get really weird!

Get the picture?

Does it mean anything? Doubtful. David Lynch's filmmaking is pretty much all style, no substance.

It is an oft-repeated axiom that the line between genius and insanity is a fine one. In reality, there is no line. Some geniuses are mad. It is their very madness which makes them interesting.

Both "genius" and "insanity" are ambiguous and imprecise words, but I think what we mean in this case is that a genius is someone with a tremendous talent for something, a talent so great that we normal people could not achieve the same results with any amount of hard work and  perseverance. No matter how hard I tried and how much I studied, I could never think like David Lynch. But insanity can be pretty much the same thing, can't it?

We say a person is insane if they simply cannot recognize the obvious differences between fantasy and reality that are apparent to "normal" people, or if they cannot understand the simple logic of cause and effect, or if they spend too much time focused on a detail that seems meaningless to the rest of us - an insane guy can spend all day watching a bee. In other words, like geniuses, they live in a world that the rest of us can never enter.

Does that mean all surrealists are insane? Hell, no. Salvador Dali was as sane as any of us. He was a calculating genius with a soaring imagination. But some people who are considered geniuses are also genuine nutcases. Antonioni comes to mind. His movies make no sense, and when he spoke, his words were just as incomprehensible as his films, complete babble, exactly what you'd expect from a guy in the local loony bin. I suppose David Lynch is in the same category, but his nuttiest concepts often seem to draw us in.

DVD info from Amazon

This Region I DVD is NOT recommended. Wait for a widescreen DVD, which is now available in Europe. The Region 2 DVD is not recommended, either. It has a nice anamorphic 2.35 PAL transfer, but no features.

Sure most of his Lynch's work is pointless - but it is captivating nonetheless. His unique talent is that he can actually get one involved in something that doesn't make any sense. How many other people have that talent?

I can't name even one. He's unique. That's genius.

He is a genius, and he probably is insane, and he has somehow found a way to make both characteristics profitable.

The Critics Vote

  • General USA consensus: two and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 2.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 7.2/10. The score is skewed far higher in the younger, male, non-American audiences. Americans rate it only 6.6. Women in general rate it only 6.6, but even that number is reflective of a youth bias. Women 30 and older rate it a mere 5.7.
  • Made for $15 million, it grossed less than four million in the USA
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. Lynch has a fairly large cult following, and they find this film magnificent. Most people will find it incomprehensible madness. I suppose both sides are right.

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