The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewTrevor Lynch Archive
David Lynch's Wild at Heart
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Wild at Heart is not David Lynch’s best movie, but it is my favorite. I would argue, for instance, that Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story are all better films. But for some reason they do not call me back year after year like Wild at Heart.

Wild at Heart was released in the summer of 1990, when Lynch was riding high on Twin Peaks mania. It won the Palme d’Or at the 1990 Cannes film festival, albeit over vocal protests. Critics had their knives out for this film, most prominently the blockhead Roger Ebert.

I decided to give Wild at Heart a pass in the theaters because the film had been characterized to me as a boring exercise in nihilism: a tedious road picture about two sex-crazed pinheads filled with pointless weirdness, exploding heads, and running references to The Wizard of Oz. It was the Oz thing that got me. It sounded precious and postmodern, the kind of thing that college-age cineastes would self-satisfiedly snigger at in the theatre.

Seeing Twin Peaks for the first time that fall, however, whetted my appetite for more Lynch, so I watched Wild at Heart as soon as I could obtain a VHS tape. On the surface, Wild at Heart is everything its critics complained about: a freakshow of obscenity and violence and The Wizard of Oz.

But Wild at Heart is emphatically not a pointless exercise in nihilism. Indeed, there is genuine sentiment and humanity in Wild at Heart, as well as a deep moral order. It is definitely a road picture, but the road leads through the wasteland, the Kali Yuga, in which the moral order is almost entirely hidden by a fallen and degenerate world and visible only in fleeting glimpses and grotesque guises. But even in this world, what is right by nature still has the power to bring the film to a satisfying conclusion.

Wild at Heart is the story of two almost feral young Americans, Lula Pace Fortune and Sailor Ripley (played by Laura Dern and Nicholas Cage) who fall in love and go on the run from Lula’s mother, Marietta Fortune, a “crazy fucking bitch” played by Dern’s real-life mother Diane Ladd. At one point, Sailor addresses her as “Miss Fortune,” and she is indeed Our Misfortune—in pumps.


Wild at Heart is based on the neo-noir novel of the same name by Barry Gifford, who later co-authored the screenplay to Lynch’s Lost Highway. Comparing the novel of Wild at Heart to the movie deepens one’s appreciation of Lynch’s artistry. Gifford’s novel is frankly two-dimensional, and a straightforward adaptation really would have been a pointless exercise in nihilism.

Lynch seems to have responded primarily to Gifford’s colorful character names and turns of phrase. There really is something wonderfully vivid about how Southerners of all classes talk.

Lynch takes Gifford’s basic road caper plot but imbues it with real moral and psychological depth. He also wrote a much more satisfying happy ending.

Lynch uses two techniques to deepen Gifford’s narrative.

First, he intercuts statements from Lula and her mother with flashbacks that indicate that they are lying, deceiving themselves, or both. This adds mystery, suspense, psychological complexity, and the satisfying feeling of being let in on secrets.

For instance, at one point Lula recounts how when she was 15, her mother told her she should learn the facts of life. When Sailor replies, “But I thought you said your uncle Pooch raped you at 13.” Lula admits this is correct but denies her mother knew it. The flashback, however, indicates her mother did know. Lula then reports that uncle Pooch died in a car accident a few months later. But there’s a strong implication that Marietta had Pooch killed. Later, we learn that he had impregnated Lula, and the child had been aborted. But both Lula and Marietta either are lying about some aspects of these events, or they have edited them out of their memories.

Second, Gifford’s characters and the world they inhabit are entirely profane. But Lynch adds a religious dimension to the film—but only the sort of religion that could appear to feral Americans in the dregs of the Kali Yuga: a movie.

Religions use myths to create meaning and bring about moral transformations. In Wild at Heart, the overarching myth is The Wizard of Oz. But even though it is merely a profane simulacrum of a religion, it still performs the same functions, helping Sailor and Ripley make sense of the world and giving Sailor the courage to do the right thing in the end.

Where does the movie’s title come from? At one point, Lula says despairingly, “This whole world’s wild at heart and weird on top.” What does it mean to be “wild at heart”? Longtime readers will know immediately where I am going with this.

I find Plato’s tripartite psychology to be genuinely helpful in understanding this film. In Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that the human soul has to be distinguished into three distinct and irreducible faculties: desire, which seeks such necessities as food, shelter, sex, and self-preservation; reason, which seeks truth; and spirit (thumos), which seeks honor. Plato associates reason with the head, desire with the belly, and thumos with the chest, which is where we feel pride and anger. Thumos is wildness of heart.

Thumos is the capacity to passionately identify with and love things that are one’s own—one’s self-image, one’s own family, one’s own friends, one’s own nation, etc.—and to defend them when the come under attack from people with conflicting partialities.

Thumos is often translated as “spirit,” which makes sense if we understand it as “team spirit” or “fighting spirit.” The Greeks associated thumos with anger, for we are upset when we or those we love are dishonored.

Thumos is also associated with self-sacrifice, since fighting over honor risks death. This is how we know that thumos is different from desire. Desire aims at self-preservation. But thumos is willing to risk self-preservation for honor.

Socrates suggests that we can differentiate types of men based on which part of the soul wins out when different parts come into conflict. A man ruled by honor follows it, not reason and desire, when they come into conflict. Whenever men fight when fear or calculation would tell them to retreat, they are ruled by thumos. The thumotic man prefers death to dishonor. The man ruled by desire follows desire rather than thumos or reason when they conflict. Drug addicts, for instance, continue to indulge their addictions, even when reason and honor forbid them. The man ruled by reason follows reason whenever it conflicts with desire or thumos. Thumos may urge one to fight in hopeless odds, but reason can say no. Desire may urge one to excess, but reason can impose measure.

Sailor Ripley has strong appetites for sex, drink, and cigarettes. But he is primarily ruled by thumos, which becomes apparent in the first scene. He and Lula are leaving a dance when Sailor is approached by a black man named Bob Ray Lemon, who begins verbally picking a fight with the intent to stab Sailor. When Sailor realizes what is going on, he says “Uh oh.” But he’s clearly not worried about his own safety. He’s signaling that Lemon is crossing a line. When Lemon pulls out his switchblade, Sailor goes into full berserker mode, repeatedly slamming Lemon’s head into a rail and then into the floor, finally hurling his corpse against the wall, its brains spilling onto the floor. Sailor’s reaction clearly set aside all considerations of self-preservation or likely consequences. Reason and desire were totally overwhelmed by thumos.

After spending 22 months in jail for manslaughter, Sailor is released and reunited with Lula. Fearing the interference of Lula’s mother, though, the couple decide to break Sailor’s parole and head to California by way of New Orleans. One night as the couple are passing through Texas, they encounter an accident scene. Two young men are dead. Suddenly a badly injured girl staggers out of the darkness. Sailor and Lula both rush to her aid. They have to take her to the hospital. It is simply the right thing to do. But doing so ensures an encounter with the police, who might learn that Sailor has broken parole. Sailor sees this immediately, but given the choice between following self-interest and helping a gravely injured human being, he does not hesitate to help. When the girl dies in front of them, there is no point in risking discovery, but at this point, Sailor and Lula have less than $100. Practically every other character in this movie is a sociopath whose first instinct would be to rob the dead, but it does not occur to Sailor or Lula.

Another characteristic of thumotic individuals is the value they place on personal loyalty. Sailor speaks fondly of his public defender, who stood by him, but of course the most striking loyalty in the film is between Sailor and Lula. Sailor says that Lula “stood by me after I planted Bob Ray Lemon. A man can’t ask for more than that.” And the loyalty is mutual, for it is quite risky to resume his affair with Marietta Fortune’s daughter.

As the film unfolds, though, it is clear that Lula’s loyalty is the stronger, for Sailor is infected with individualism. Sailor’s trademark is his snakeskin jacket, which he says is for him “a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom.” Snakes, of course, are low-down, cold-blooded creatures associated with the devil and original sin. Snakeskin is something snakes slough off from time to time, so it is a nice symbol of the individualist who sloughs off relationships and responsibilities in the name of freedom. This is precisely what Sailor tries to do at the end of the movie.

Lula says she has heard the line about the jacket symbolizing individuality and personal freedom “about fifty-thousand times.” Perhaps Sailor is just repeating an advertising slogan, in which case he is actually displaying his lack of individuality and personal freedom. Sure enough Sailor repeats the line in the very next scene, where he picks a fight with a punk who started dancing with Lula. (Uh oh—thumos again.) The punk looks Sailor over and declares “You look like a clown in that stupid jacket.” When Sailor tells him its meaning, the punk simply responds “Asshole.”

And although the punk is supposed to be an idiot (he appears in the script as Idiot Punk) he is completely correct. We all look like clowns clad in our symbols of individuality and personal freedom. Individualism makes snakes—and assholes—of us all.

The great moral transformation of Wild at Heart is when Sailor finally sloughs off the individualist snakeskin and becomes a loyal, loving family man. A decent society educates its citizens both intellectually and morally, helping them overcome the selfishness and hedonism of childhood and the wildness of adolescence to become responsible and rational adults. But Sailor didn’t have much “parental guidance,” and the whole of liberal-individualist-capitalist society works to keep him—and us—in a permanent state of adolescence.

Neither Sailor nor Lula are particularly rational. Lula’s mind seems to move by association rather than reason. As Sailor puts it “the way your head works is God’s own private mystery.” When Lula refers to the world as “wild at heart and weird on top,” the words “on top” could just mean “in addition.” But they could also be in keeping with the physical association of wildness and the heart: wildness is to weirdness as the heart is to the head—“on top.” Thus Lula could be referring to her own proud and irrational character as well, for she is very much a citizen of this world.

Sailor himself is not too strong in the reasoning department, either, but he at least recognizes the necessity of making better decisions. At one point he declares, “Lula, I done a few things in my life I ain’t too proud of, but I’ll tell ya from now on I ain’t gonna do nothin’ for no good reason. All I know for sure is there’s more’n a few bad ideas runnin’ around loose out there.” (Lynch then cuts to Marietta Fortune, in full-blown psychosis, to the terrifying sounds of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Kosmogona.)

At another point he promises Lula that he is not going to let things get any worse. Then he promptly lets himself get talked into an armed robbery, which costs him six years in prison and nearly got him killed. When he is released, he returns to Lula and their son, whom he has never met, but then chickens out and leaves. As he returns to the train station, he is surrounded by a multiracial gang of toughs. He stops, lights a cigarette, and asks “What do you faggots want?” It’s thumos getting the best of him again.

He is duly decked. But in the end, it is not reason that saves him but a vision of Glinda the Good from The Wizard of Oz, who tells him, “Lula loves you . . . If you are truly wild at heart, you’ll fight for your dreams . . . Don’t turn away from love, Sailor . . . Don’t turn away from love . . .” If the Sailor Ripleys of the world only had reason to guide them, they’d be pretty much doomed.

The character that sets the whole story of Wild at Heart in motion is Marietta Fortune, brilliantly portrayed by Diane Ladd. Everyone else just reacts to her. David Lynch is a master of creating villains with a touch of the diabolical, of superhuman or supernatural evil: Frank Booth, Mr. Eddie, the Mystery Man, Leland Palmer, Killer Bob, etc. And who can forget his version of Baron Harkonnen in Dune?

But Marietta Fortune is Lynch’s only female Big Bad, and she’s just one of Wild at Heart’s huge cast of villains: Marcello Santos, Mr. Reindeer, Bobby Peru, Perdita Durango, and the trio of Reggie, Dropshadow, and Juana. In fact, there’s only one unambiguously decent character in the whole film, the detective Johnny Farragut, played by Harry Dean Stanton. Sailor and Lula are both too immature to be good. The overabundance of villains is actually a problem, for Wild at Heart is simply too dark and too violent for many people to enjoy wholeheartedly.

As Wild at Heart unfolds, flashbacks take us further and further into the past, and at every level we find Marietta Fortune pulling the strings. In Lula’s eyes, her mother is the Wicked Witch of the East in The Wizard of Oz. It was Marietta who paid Bob Ray Lemon to kill Sailor. She did it because she discovered that Sailor had been a driver for her sometime boyfriend and business associate Marcello Santos (J. E. Freeman). One night Sailor was waiting in Santos’ car outside the Fortune house when it went up in flames. It turns out that at Marietta’s bidding, Santos had doused her husband Clyde (Lula’s father) with kerosene and struck a match. When Sailor got out of jail and ran off with Lula, Marietta put both Santos and her current boyfriend, detective Johnny Farragut, on their trail.

There was just one problem. Santos’ condition for helping was to kill Johnny Farragut, whom he regards as a danger to his and Marietta’s criminal dealings (probably drugs) with a Mr. Reindeer of New Orleans. Marietta says no but realizes that Santos might well do it anyway. But she doesn’t warn Farragut because she can’t bring herself to admit to him that she broke her promise not to call Santos.

It is classic narcissist behavior. Marietta’s entire life is about projecting bland Southern gracious living clichés. She can’t admit or take responsibility for her errors without compromising her carefully crafted image. The conflict between her fear for Johnny and her inability to admit error leads to a bizarre and hilarious psychotic episode where she in effect commits symbolic suicide, cutting her wrists with lipstick (one of the tools of maintaining her image), then painting her face with it. At that point, she calls Johnny and tells him she has made a terrible mistake. But she refuses to tell him about it on the phone, telling him she will fly to New Orleans and tell him in person the next day. Of course this leaves Farragut in grave danger and probably cost him a night of sleep. Then she vomits in the toilet and begins laughing. The whole drama of death and resurrection has been a catharsis. How does Lynch come up with this stuff?

When Marietta and Johnny meet the next day for dinner, Marietta again refuses to confess and decides that she will just get Johnny out of harm’s way by getting on the road that night. But when he returns to his hotel room, he is kidnapped then murdered by three horrifying thugs dispatched by Santos and Mr. Reindeer. At the end, though, Farragut only feels compassion for Marietta. It is genuinely tragic. He is a good man brought down because he was utterly blind to the depths of Marietta’s deceitfulness and manipulation.

Marietta’s reaction to Farragut’s disappearance is classic. She refuses to call the police, because that would require admitting the true nature of the problem—and also, she probably has lots of unfinished business with the police. When she is given a note, obviously left by the kidnappers, that Johnny has “Gone fishing with a friend, and maybe buffalo hunting,” she immediately interprets it in a face-saving way. He was not kidnapped because of her doing. He was a coward who fled because he was incapable of a serious relationship. When Santos shows up, it is pretty much obvious what has happened, so again to save face, she basically demands that Santos to lie to her, which he gladly does. Marietta then cheerfully pivots to Santos, who will now be her partner in tracking down Sailor and Lula. It is a truly breath-taking portrait of how a malignant narcissist operates.

One villain like Marietta is really enough for a film, but in Wild at Heart there are two. Half way through the film, Sailor and Lula bump into Willem Dafoe’s Bobby Peru (“Just like the country”) in Big Tuna, Texas. Peru has been dispatched by Santos and Reindeer to kill Sailor. Bobby Peru is one of the most repellent characters ever brought to the screen. That’s a teaser, not a spoiler.

The mysterious Mr. Reindeer (played by W. Morgan Sheppard) is another fascinating study. He’s a man entirely ruled by his appetites. When we first encounter him, he’s wearing a tuxedo, sitting on a toilet, drinking tea, and watching a little strip tease in his bathroom. He seems to live in a brothel, surrounded by attractive young women. The madame warns them sternly that they are there to show Mr. Reindeer a good time. “Do not bring misfortune upon yourselves.” In another scene, he is flanked by two topless bimbos talking about a stolen comb. One of them holds a tray with a bottle of Pepto Bismol on it. In yet another scene, he is at a dinner party, surrounded by well-dressed whores, but he only has eyes for Grace Zabriske’s Juana, a twisted, crippled grotesque and one of Johnny Farragut’s killers.

Beginning with the title sequence—an extreme closeup of a match flaring up, followed by a vast, swirling vortex of flames, to the sumptuous opening strains of Richard Strauss’ “Im Abendrot”—Wild at Heart is one of Lynch’s most sensuously beautiful movies: a screen as wide as America filled with strikingly composed images filmed in a way that imbues seedy bars, cheap hotels, and bleak land- and cityscapes with a voluptuous shell pink or sunset or neon luster.

Although I would have preferred more original music by Angelo Badalamenti, who composed the unforgettable score of Twin Peaks, Lynch’s choices cannot be faulted, especially his selections from Strauss and Penderecki and Chris Isaak’s haunting and iconic “Wicked Game” and “Blue Spanish Sky.”

I have grown so fond of Wild at Heart that I am frequently surprised at the strong negative reactions of people to whom I have introduced it. I hope I can do a better job of preparing you. Because Wild at Heart does have its flaws.

For instance, Lynch loses a lot of people early on, in the scene with the Idiot Punk at the rock concert. The film veers into bizarre fantasy when Sailor stops the concert with a hand gesture, humiliates the punk, and then turns the ultra-hard rock band Powermad into a backup group while he croons Elvis’ “Love Me” to an audience of screaming, swooning females. Are we supposed to believe this is possible for a guy who just got out of jail and who, even if he did know the band, could not have rehearsed with them? People who routinely suspend disbelief in vampires and space travel throw up their hands in disgust. But you just have to be patient.

Beyond that, Wild at Heart is just a bit too weird on top. There are eccentrics, cripples, and freaks at every turn, and a lot of them have nothing to do with the plot.

Finally the film is really too violent and gross: sadistic murders, including a man lit on fire and two exploding heads, bloody gunshot wounds, a severed hand (you’ll laugh in spite of yourself), two bloody car accidents, the rape of a 13-year-old-girl, an abortion, what basically amounts to the rape of the same woman at 20, while she is pregnant, during which she has an orgasm, etc.

There were three exploding heads in the first cut, but the murder of Johnny Farragut in the middle of the film was so gross that 80 people walked out of the first test screening—100 walked out of the second screening—so Lynch cut it. For the sake of the people around him, I hope David Lynch saves all of his darkness for the screen.

Viewers draw the line in different spots, but virtually everyone who watches this movie thinks “This is too much”—too much weirdness, too much violence, too much blood—well before the final frames. Lynch described Wild at Heart as “a picture about finding love in hell,” but for most people there’s too much hell there to be redeemed by love.

My answer, though, is that these are problems with our world, not with Wild at Heart. And because the movie dives so deep into darkness, the ending is all the more satisfying.


I have watched Wild at Heart more than 20 times, but in the last viewing before writing this, I realized that I had never before watched it without wincing—closing my eyes or looking away—in certain spots. So it took me decades to finally look at every frame of this, my favorite David Lynch film.

I realize I’m not really selling this here. So let me end with one more try.

David Lynch has not made many films, and Wild at Heart falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. But Blue Velvet is certainly the paradigmatic “Lynchian” film: an innocent young man leaves the garden of childhood naïveté, encounters diabolical evil, finds his strength, and triumphs over it in the end—with all the bizarre touches we expect from Lynch.

In Wild at Heart the protagonists aren’t that innocent, and there’s a whole lot more diabolical evil to endure before the happy ending. The same moral order is there, but it is distant. The horror is far more prevalent and oppressive. But of all Lynch’s other works, Wild at Heart is still the closest to the paradigm of Lynchian perfection, and that should count for something.

Does Wild at Heart have a political message—or at least a political lesson it can teach us? Yes, and it is a conservative one. First, it is a very bleak portrayal of the desire-dominated world created by liberal individualist snakeskin salesmen: a world swarming with criminals and freaks and awash in substance abuse, sexual libertinism, and obnoxious music. It is a veritable Garden of Earthly Delights.

We sympathize with Sailor and Lula, and we see that they have decent sentiments, but they were so poorly nurtured and educated that they might have been better off raised by wolves. Sailor didn’t have parental guidance because both his parents died while he was a child of cigarette or alcohol related illness, and Lula was raised in the midst of a gang of criminals, one of whom raped her at the age of 13.

Furthermore, neither Sailor nor Lula is particularly good at reasoning, so their desires and their thumos keep getting them into trouble, and in the modern liberal democratic wasteland trouble abounds. Lynch clearly believes that there is a moral order to the world. Sailor and Lula are just too thick to know it by reason.

But the moral order can capture their imaginations, shape their sentiments, and set them off in the right direction in the guise of a narrative, namely The Wizard of Oz. In the wasteland, the only myths we have are movies. When the moral order clothes itself in myths, we have religion.

Yes, Wild at Heart is a religious film. Only magic can redeem these characters, and only Christian or post-Christian sentimentalists would want to. In truth, inadequacies of nature and nurture doom them, and their son, to just more of the same.

Yes, Wild at Heart is grotesque and obscene. But religious art has long employed the grotesque and obscene. Just look at Bosch.

Thus Wild at Heart’s ultimate message is: Liberalism is the road to hell, not paradise—and only a Good Witch can save us now.

• Category: Arts/Letters 
Hide 215 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. anon[203] • Disclaimer says:

    Some would-be artists are sophomoric; Lynch never progressed beyond preschool. Cage and Dern are vacuous Hollywood scum.

    Cinema has many worthwhile works; you have disgraced yourself by promoting one of the others. You wouldn’t know art from a fart.

    • Agree: utu, Liza
    • Disagree: neutral, Tyrion 2
    • Troll: Emblematic
  2. utu says:

    He has “watched Wild at Heart more than 20 times.” – This can’t be normal.

    • Replies: @Anon
  3. Anon[666] • Disclaimer says:

    “Trevor Lynch” is the pen name of Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents:

  4. AaronB says:

    There is just something unhealthy about David Lynch. Couldn’t even finish Twin Peaks, made me queasy.

    Somehow he is a favourite of the HBD set. Steve Sailer also loves him.

    There’s something significant there.

    • Agree: Liza
    • LOL: atlantis_dweller
  5. Lynch, Scorcese, Tarantino … dark days indeed.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  6. I don’t know why I spent 20 minutes reading this drivel when there are so many better things to read on Unz Review.

    • Agree: Moi
    • Replies: @Truth
    , @Uslabor
  7. Truth says:


    Lynch is the third most overrated director in American history behind Welles and Tarrantino. Although Peckinpah is up there.

  8. @AaronB

    There is just something unhealthy about David Lynch

    Lynch loves pathology. Some of his venturing into this field produced wonderful and, inevitably bizarre and weird, pictures–be that Blue Velvet, Mulholand Drive or even Dune (uncut version). Is it healthy? That’s the matter for debate. I find some of his visions fascinating. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is delightful, sort of. It is also psychedelic in a Pink Floyd meets John Zorn way. That’s Lynch for ya. Didn’t watch this one though.

    • Replies: @Asagirian
    , @AaronB
    , @Asagirian
  9. @The Alarmist


    Tarantino is a director? News to me.

  10. Asagirian says:

    David Lynch made two masterpieces: ERASERHEAD and MULHOLLAND DR. He made some strong features: ELEPHANT MAN, STRAIGHT STORY. He made one film that I don’t care for but is remarkable: BLUE VELVET. He made something sort of interesting but too confusing: LOST HIGHWAY and INLAND EMPIRE. But he made one total crap, DUNE. And WILD AT HEART I found unwatchable about 30 min in.

  11. Asagirian says:

    Critics had their knives out for this film, most prominently the blockhead Roger Ebert.

    Ebert didn’t hate it. He gave it three stars.

    Ebert really hated BLUE VELVET because he revered Isabella Rossellini and hated the way Lynch used her.

  12. Asagirian says:

    Greg Johnson behaved in a sexually inappropriate way…

    When Alt Right turned into National Inquirer, it got stupid. People’s private affairs are their private affairs.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  13. Asagirian says:

    Lynch is the third most overrated director in American history behind Welles and Tarrantino. Although Peckinpah is up there.

    So, name your top five directors.

  14. Asagirian says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Lynch loves pathology… Is it healthy?

    Do doctors treat healthy patients or sick ones?

    Artists do best dealing with the conflicts and troubles of mankind. Lynch cuts and probes deeper. I think WILD AT HEART is a botched surgery.

    LOL. I recall Armond White got pissed because it shows a white guy beating up a black guy.

    • Replies: @Liza
  15. @Andrei Martyanov

    He has director credits for Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction, among others; for Pulp Fiction he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  16. @Anon

    Thanks for bringing this Tweet to my attention.

    Daniel Friberg is lying. The entire incident is fabricated.

    He has never forgiven me for publicly unmasking him as a liar, a doxer of movement activists, a saboteur of movement events, and an embezzler with very questionable ties to Swedish antifa leader Matthias Wag. Apparently he also never finished his undergraduate degree or MBA. He’s also a hopeless drunkard.

    You can read about his whole sordid history at Counter-Currents in the articles tagged “Friberggate”:

    But this Tweet reveals that he has sunk to much greater depths.

  17. @Asagirian

    Ebert was leading the boos at Cannes.

    • Replies: @Excal
    , @SonOfFrankenstein
  18. Anonymous[258] • Disclaimer says:

    People’s private affairs are their private affairs.

    Apparently the incident took place in a public space, not in private.

    • Replies: @Dave Bowman
  19. @The Alarmist

    He has director credits

    You didn’t catch my sarcasm, obviously. I know who Tarantino is and what he does–mostly overrated crap by a guy with teenage mentality. Hey, if people like him, let them. After Django Unchained I wouldn’t take a crap with him on the same hectare.

  20. @Asagirian

    But he made one total crap, DUNE

    There is much to be said about it. He disowned long version because of editing issues but there is a reason why Dune became a cult movie. Every other attempt to venture into Dune universe after Lynch’s fell short badly despite trying to be true to the book(s). Frank Herbert was ecstatic from Lynch’s Dune vision, absolutely mesmerized. Even had no objections to introduction of weirding modules. Lynch’s visions of Giedi Prime or Guild are absolutely stunning. Now there are rumors of that:

    and especially:

    Nobody would blame Villeneuve for wanting to take inspiration from David Lynch in any capacity. While his Dune adaptation is flawed and not especially Lynchian, it has real moments of epic bedazzlement

    I am salivating already. Obviously what Jodorowski COULD do with it we will never no–but his vision was altogether out of bounds. If Villeneuve could repeat a masterpiece as he did with Bladerunner 2049, it could be absolutely fascinating.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  21. @Andrei Martyanov

    Sorry, I didn’t realise you did sarcasm.

  22. @Asagirian

    Ebert really hated BLUE VELVET because he revered Isabella Rossellini and hated the way Lynch used her.

    He should have considered then the use of Roy Orbison’s In Dreams. The same way as Zorn uses surfing and late 1950-s early 1960s music in his avant-garde turning seemingly peaceful and mundane music into horror stories. Dean Stockwell is absolutely mesmerizing, same way he is in Dune as treacherous Doctor Yueh. Lynch did tell Roy what his movie will do with his music, Roy agreed.

  23. Anon[128] • Disclaimer says:

    On the whole the comments here amply confirm what need not any confirmation: it’s unwise to treat the art subject with people.

    True artists learn to avoid such errors soon, but art disciples and enthusiasts fall to the temptation more easily, and for longer. I speak from first-hand experience, being that I used err a lot in this direction.

    The luckiest case: all what unsettles and disquiets gets met by a psychological cushioning of “unhealthy” and “sick”.
    Then there is “nonsense”, “ostentatious”, “pretentious”, “elitist”, and what not.

    It’s unwise. Just unwise.

  24. utu says:

    I do not know who Greg Johnson is and do not care. I let the text speak for itself. The autor while having few good and penetrating insights about Lynch films is infantile in his obsession with Lynch and that prevents me taking him seriously.

  25. Ruckus says:

    Lol, like any of the slagging commenters here can make a better film.

    It’s been many years since I’ve watched it, but Wild at Heart is one of my all-time faves as well.

    One thing not mentioned in the article is how excellent Lynch is at using music to help set a mood. The placement of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” into the road accident scene is a great example of this – which incidentally launched his music career as well. A classic Lynchian juxtaposition of innocence/vulnerability against death/destruction.

    • Agree: Che Guava
  26. AaronB says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Another artist whose very popular but who strikes me as unhealthy and creepy and gives me the same queasy feeling is Mervyn Peake with his Gormenghast novels.

    Creepy creepy creepy.

  27. @AaronB

    Mervyn Peake with his Gormenghast novels.

    Never heard of him. But again, Lynch is not just creepy, he is most of the time on the line between weird and horror. I believe his view of industry as concentrated nightmare, be that in industrial landscapes in Eraserhead or Dune’s view of techno-horror and inhumanity of Harkonnen’s world of Giedi Prime is what forms his vision. Pay attention to the fact that in many interiors in his movies he uses deliberately devices from 1950s, be that ranges, fridges what have you. Or just recall the Third Stage Guild Navigator container–it is simply delightful;-)

    • Replies: @Asagirian
    , @Che Guava
  28. Asagirian says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    Never heard of him. But again, Lynch is not just creepy, he is most of the time on the line between weird and horror.

    He’s less globotomized than most moviemakers.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  29. @Asagirian

    He’s less globotomized than most moviemakers.

    Possibly, but then one has to consider also literature by Gogol and Kafka. Gogol did produce some of the almost Lynchyan visions which, later, in USSR when turned into movies had same feel to them as Lynch’s cinematography. Surrealism.

  30. @Andrei Martyanov

    Tarantino is more pop culture icon than filmmaker. His one good film, Jackie Brown (1997), was based on an Elmore Leonard novel. His claim to fame as a writer is producing overripe dialog laden with pop culture references that appeals to actors.

  31. @AaronB

    David Lynch resonates because he is a metaphysician and a filmmaker.

    • Agree: Andrei Martyanov
  32. @Truth

    No, Lynch is one of the few true artists working in film. Agree with you on Welles and pop icon/sadist Tarantino. Sam Peckinpah, like Lynch, is a celluloid artist.

  33. @Andrei Martyanov

    I am awaiting Villeneuve’s Dune with eager anticipation.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  34. @SunBakedSuburb

    I am awaiting Villeneuve’s Dune with eager anticipation.

    Me too. It was an amazing feeling to recognize that his Bladerunner 2049 was a masterpiece. It is like tying together Alien and Aliens as a single movie epic.

  35. @SunBakedSuburb

    Tarantino is more pop culture icon than filmmaker.

    After I watched Bad Times At The El Royale with an immense dose of humanity infused into this–I can not take Tarantino seriously. It was cute (post-modernity wise) while it lasted, most of it is BS.

  36. @AaronB

    Gormenghast was outstanding. Like Lynch, you could easily get distracted by the nonstop parade of nearly surreal grotesquerie. Also like Lynch, you could find yourself coming away with complex insights and sympathies. Peake’s work could not easily be politicized; he showed clearly the cancerous downsides of both tradition and revolution.

  37. Wild at Heart is like a Broadway musical, except instead of the characters breaking into banal and overwrought songs, they unexpectedly break into stark believability.

    Too much has been made of his retro grotesque elements; he’s ultimately far more of a unflinching realist than countless directors who are supposedly committed to authenticity and “relatability.” It’s not for people who want to be beguiled into forgetting that they’re watching total artifice; Lynch films are full of honest freaks rather than plausible lies.

  38. @Andrei Martyanov

    I always thought Tarantino was overrated. Just as Spike Lee deep down is obsessed with the Italian tough guys (Jungle Fever, Do the Right Thing, Summer of Sam) and has a love-hate thing for them, Tarantino is an Italian-American obsessed with the Mandingo who has a love-hate thing for blacks.

    Unsurprisingly, Lee and Tarantino hate one another and when Lee uses the word “Guinea” 500 x in a film (And means it) while Tarantino says the N word five billion times they end up publicly criticizing one another.

    • Replies: @Asagirian
  39. @SunBakedSuburb

    JACKIE BROWN was his least successful film.

  40. El Dato says:

    But Sailor didn’t have much “parental guidance,” and the whole of liberal-individualist-capitalist society works to keep him—and us—in a permanent state of adolescence.

    First, it is a very bleak portrayal of the desire-dominated world created by liberal individualist snakeskin salesmen: a world swarming with criminals and freaks and awash in substance abuse, sexual libertinism, and obnoxious music. It is a veritable Garden of Earthly Delights.

    This seems to be ass-backwards. The individualist-capitalist society should work toward making you an adult. Instead desire is given free rein by Big State coddling, fake promises of second chances, fake concern by professionally concerned ones and mindless egalitarianism. Did I mention victim culture, PC mania, fake Identity Mongering and “leading roles” with moral compasses surely influenced by Satan himself. Sure the snakeskin salesman are a vector, but they are just doing what comes naturally. One should run them out of town, power them down or tune them out. Of course you need parents to show you the way. It seems these are rare these days.

    Finally the film is really too violent and gross: sadistic murders, including a man lit on fire and two exploding heads, bloody gunshot wounds, a severed hand (you’ll laugh in spite of yourself), two bloody car accidents, the rape of a 13-year-old-girl, an abortion, what basically amounts to the rape of the same woman at 20, while she is pregnant, during which she has an orgasm, etc.

    Standard day in Big Town.

    How does Lynch come up with this stuff?

    I hear he is into Transcendental Meditation which probably churns the neural network up good so a lot of interesting art comes out of it. It’s like running a sophisticated Deep Dream Generator.

    Have some Victor Tsoy just because I feel like it and it’s Saturday. Gotta run now.

  41. I was watching Open Range eight times.

  42. El Dato says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I passed on that, not wanting to be disappointed US-sequel-style. So I shall have another look.

    As for Dune, putting it on the screen is fraught with difficulties.

    It is basically Anime.

    I mean, a 14-year-old throne heir afflicted by visions of possible futures on a throne recovery revenge trip instrumenting eschatological sand religion (which, however, is meant to be instrumented) sounds HARD to do on-screen.

    And it is.

    Let’s wait and see what Cameron has done to Gunnm (aka “Battle Angel Alita” for the US market; the person who came up with that title during the early 90s Manga Boom needs to be flogged)

  43. neutral says:

    Wonder what this author thinks of her role as a blue haired SJW matriarch in Star Wars?

  44. Che Guava says:
    @Andrei Martyanov


    Peake is worth reading, although difficult for me at times.

    Of the Gormenghast books (three), I found the third the weakest, but it also has an appeal. Now that I am older than when I first read them, I think that I would like the third volume more. His other miscellaneous writings, also much of interest.

    I agree with you on the ‘Director’s Cut’ of Dune, even though D. Lynch disowned it, I also found it better than the original release.

    Liking Trevor Lynch’s essays on films in general, I read many and know that he doesn’t agree on that.

    I also loved Wild at Heart, although seeing it mainly as a romance with weird elements. Must watch it again, only seen it thrice, and the last time quite long ago.

    As in a few of Lynch’s and others’ films at the time, there is some Twin Peaks crossover in casting, of course, the heavenly nymph at the end (I won’t say angel, because angels are not supposed to be women until degraded 20th century U.S. pop culture, and the best translation I can think of 真如 is nymph), is played by Sheryl Lee, played Laura Palmer and her cousin Maddie in Twin Peaks.

    In any case, a Kin-Dza-Dzaian koo! (or was that really meant to imply ‘coup’?) to you.

    To the mods, I was checking Cloudflare’s site, according to it, that I get an endless loop any time I am trying to check for replies is on the customer settings side, i.e. in this case,

  45. Uslabor says:

    And then you took more of your precious time to tell us about it. Funny.

  46. Joe Sweet says:

    Haven’t bothered with Lynch since I left the theater where I had just watched Blue Velvet feeling like I had been assaulted.

    • Replies: @danand
  47. @Andrei Martyanov

    ” … Bladerunner 2049 was a masterpiece.”

    Absolutely agree. It’s also the most expensive cult movie ever made.

    • Replies: @Blindlight
  48. Asagirian says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I find some of his visions fascinating. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is delightful, sort of.

    I had the strangest experience with TWIN PEAKS.

    The first Lynch movie I saw was BLUE VELVET and didn’t much care for it. Seeing it again some yrs back made it appreciate it more but I still didn’t like it.

    I associated Lynch with BV and DUNE(which got horrible reviews, and when I finally saw it several yrs ago, I understood why) and didn’t think him much of a director. WILD AT HEART sounded stupid, and I didn’t bother with TWIN PEAKS when it came out.

    Then, around mid-90s, I went a midnight showing of ERASERHEAD, and it was one of the strangest and most unique cinematic visions ever. I thought that was his one great masterpiece. LOST HIGHWAY came out few yrs later, and I skipped that one. And then MULHOLLAND DR came out and critics were abuzz, and I wondered if it was for real. Yes it was. One of the greatest films ever.

    I sat through an hour of INLAND EMPIRE and found it pointless.

    Anyway, last yr, I finally decided to catch up on TWIN PEAKS and checked out a copy from the library. The thing is I didn’t know Lynch recently came out with a new series of TP. But that’s the one I took out. So, I was watching the new one thinking it’s the original and having the strangest time. Why did everyone look so old even though it came out in 1990? And why were the special effects so good? After several hours of being totally befuddled, I found out it is the NEW series.

    Anyway, it has some of the best things Lynch has ever done. But it’s overlong and I was weary through about 50% of it. Lynch seems to have poured everything left into the new series.
    Oddly enough, even though the hero is split into good guy and bad guy, it seems the bad guy does his share in clearing the way of other bad guys so that the good guy can win.

    • Replies: @Blindlight
  49. Asagirian says:

    This article on STRAIGHT STORY in Film Quarterly is really good.

  50. @anon

    You are exactly correct.

  51. @Andrei Martyanov

    You are exactly right. Except, if people “like” either of them, they should get help.

  52. Blindlight says: • Website

    One of the few Lynch movies I couldn’t get into.

  53. Blindlight says: • Website

    Really? I stopped watching early. Perhaaps a nuther shot

  54. Lynch is disgusting. It is typical that in the US, our owners choose scum like him to hold up as “art cinema.” Man, talk about manipulation.

    Same goes for Tarantino. Frat boys used to get CDs of lines from Pulp Fiction and chant them to each other and giggle. Ergo: art!

  55. Blindlight says: • Website

    Mulholand dr was the best. Inland Empire seemed like I might have missed its essence. Lost Highway is worth seeing

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  56. And what would you call Gene Siskel?

  57. funny how unz republishes cc’s movie reviews now, can’t recommend em enough. Counter current’s archive is a treasure trove, despite the alt rigth’s socialistic leanings.

  58. @Blindlight

    I certainly don’t know as much about cinema as many of the polished commenters here, but I did watch Mulholland Drive three times and agree that it is a great film, even though I still don’t understand it.

    This stimulating review and comments will motivate me to follow the bread crumb trail all of you have laid down.

    • Replies: @atlantis_dweller
  59. wayfarer says:

    Spent the first five years of my life growing up in an apartment, a block from the WB studio in Burbank, California.

    At seventeen I drove a delivery truck for the dry cleaner, Malone’s Studio Service. They contracted with all of Hollywood’s wardrobe departments, actors, actresses, producers, directors, and so on.

    I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly within that business. It’s a dark cold empty enterprise, with neither a heart or a soul.


    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  60. @Andrei Martyanov

    BR2049 was very good until Harrison Ford showed up. The man cannot act any more, and his character’s insertion into the plot was awkward.

    • Replies: @Asagirian
    , @dimples
  61. HiHo says:

    A culture gets the art it deserves. Film is the true modern art of this fast food, me me me, I want it now society.
    Myself…I prefer stone circles!

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  62. ia says:

    My problem with Lynch (as with a lot of modern artists) is that the myths they create are too personal. In the documentary, David Lynch: The Art Life, he talks about seeing a naked woman with a bloody mouth running down the street one night. This was when he was about 16 years old. Now, this an arresting image and no doubt had a profound affect on him. But, it couldn’t have the same emotional affect for me because (1) I wasn’t there, (2) I don’t have his personal history and (3) nor do I have Lynch’s particular psychological make-up.

    If you tell a story based on something out of Homer or Greek mythology, chances are I and many others can identify with the characters. Say, Odysseus. Why? Because of the fact that the story is still around 2,500 years later. And that Odysseus was probably an amalgamation of several men combined over a long period of time by storytellers which eventually crystalized into something very powerful.

    They collectively built an enduring archetype that speaks to something hard-wired in European sensibility.

    Maybe Lynch has tapped into a new set of archetypes. Who knows? Or he may be as forgotten a hundred years from now as Wilkie Collins, the very popular 19th century horror story writer.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  63. Asagirian says:

    My problem with Lynch (as with a lot of modern artists) is that the myths they create are too personal.

    He’s his own minotaur with a cave.

    In the documentary, David Lynch: The Art Life, he talks about seeing a naked woman with a bloody mouth running down the street one night. This was when he was about 16 years old. Now, this an arresting image and no doubt had a profound affect on him. But, it couldn’t have the same emotional affect for me because (1) I wasn’t there, (2) I don’t have his personal history and (3) nor do I have Lynch’s particular psychological make-up.

    But a great artist can make the personal reverberate with deeper and wider meaning. After all, an image of naked woman with bloody mouth can be used to convey something about darkness of sexuality and violence that reside in all our psyches.

    • Replies: @ia
    , @hydro
  64. Asagirian says:

    BR2049 was very good until Harrison Ford showed up. The man cannot act any more, and his character’s insertion into the plot was awkward.

    I disagree. It was good to see him. He added some lightness and humor to the material. 2049 takes itself way too seriously, even ‘spiritually’. Ford brought it back to ground somewhat.

  65. ia says:

    But a great artist can make the personal reverberate with deeper and wider meaning. After all, an image of naked woman with bloody mouth can be used to convey something about darkness of sexuality and violence that reside in all our psyches.

    I get your sarcasm. Still, I give him some credit. A single person has to (1) come up with the idea, (b) execute it, and (iii) sell it. Very few people can do all three.

    In fact, I’m kind of in awe of these people. Out of 1000 art school graduates maybe 1 can make a living at it. While he went to the Philly School of Art it’s not Yale. He was very smart to go to Hollywood with a grant from I can’t remember who (I think the American Film Institute) and was able to make Eraserhead.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  66. @wayfarer


    Again, Italians like Scorsese and Tarantino can excel in such a business because Italians who grow up on the street know who they can get over on and who they can’t. Hollywood might be a Jewish-dominated business but Italians like Scorsese and Tarantino are savvy enough to maneuver it.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  67. @ia

    Lynch was from a bad part of Philly and his films seem to reflect this.

    If you gave Jim Goad a camera he would make films like Lynch’s.

    • Replies: @ia
  68. Thinking the preppy Eighties backdrop of their formative years was just too bland, Gen Xers tried to outdo the rebellion of the mythical Sixties generation by juicing up their visuals and narratives with a lot of over-the-top, dark Gothic drama with some technicolor touches. It does have its beauty.

    But when deep psychological motivations are used as a justification for a visual feast, I remember the less arty aspects of the Eighties / Nineties psychobabble culture, like the chat-show circuit, wherein ordinary people magnified the details of their non-cinematic lives on TV (instead of on smartphones), drumming up all kinds of conditions that some now use as a way to bring in unearned income from .gov to supplement the inadequate pay from America’s ample supply of low-wage, temporary, part-time and churn jobs.

    The once-idealistic Boomer generation of hippie and yippie individualists, and the less idealistic yuppies and iconoclasts of the Xer generation, have mixed up plenty of snake-oil concoctions, mostly not of the Gothic or debauched kind—mostly of the pyramid-scam job type. Most of the excesses of these generations are less movie-worthy, falling into the realm of the amoral feudal capitalism of the last several decades.

    They do sell their pyramid scams with a lot of psychological razzle-dazzle.

    The alternative for most is the plastic corporate office-job world, with all of its jerk-you-around mouse-on-a-treadmill conformism. Would two generations full of true individualists really come up with a bunch of low-wage jobs requiring so much psychological hoop-jumping to determine culture fitness? What would history’s true rebels think of the petrie-dish staffing methods and Cubicleland’s cloying comradely rituals, the HR-administered personality tests and the fake-peppy workplace Halloween dress-up days?

    So, Xers overdid the Goth and noir a bit, successfully ginning up some visual glory, while failing to carry the torch of real individualism. What about the snake oil that Millennials are selling through America’s Entertainment-Political Complex? They aren’t even trying to feign individualism. They are cloaking full-out collectivism in a bunch of techno-idealism in some cases and, in other cases, in hysterical displays of racism / sexism / xenophobia-shaming that would make Chairman Mao blush or try to recruit them for the ultimate, winner-take-all pyramid scheme: his cultural revolution.

    This article by an Xer sums it up nicely, and given the laugh-out-loud hilarity consistently sustained in every paragraph, it really belongs in Taki’s Magazine. This guy is truly funny.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  69. Asagirian says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    I always thought Tarantino was overrated.

    He made one great movie, RESERVOIR DOGS. He displayed talent in his subsequent movies but in service of mental derangement syndrome.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  70. @HiHo

    Apart from a bunch of American school kids bashing the resident school bully with socks filled with hard objects in imitation of Winstone’s Borstal saga (SCUM was banned because of the number of bullies battered with improvised coshes in US school systems) it has to be said that without British cinema the world would not be the same.

    Of course it is wearying to hear lines repeated from TRAINSPOTTING but British actors have created icons.

    As for Stonehenge, it inspired John Carpenter’s film about Halloween.

  71. @ia

    Simply: being an authentic visual fantasist & artistic director, Lynch has not grown up & developed a sort of emotional & even spiritual maturity. His TM odyssey shows that, because TM is a spiritual supermarket for beginners which you leave after a few months max, Lynch got stuck into perennial infantilism & private psychological contortions, confusing “archetypes” with private obsessions.

    Gnostically, he never got out of lower astral, or to use Assagioli’s psychoynthesis, Lynch’s field of consciousness in never close or in contact with the superconsciousness.

    That all still makes him good, sometimes great director, but not a fully mature creator.

    • Replies: @ia
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  72. Capn Mike says:
    @Andrei Martyanov

    I thought that “Pulp” was brilliant. “Django” was sub-moronic. From the very first frames: “1858 – two years before the Civil War”. Duh. Thanks for that. Also everybody’s got repeating rifles. In 1858. Yah sure.
    ALSO the HATE spewed by Southerners for slaves. Uh uh. Slaves were treasured. They were valuable PROPERTY. Not a great reason, but reason none the less.

  73. Hard to believe that the role Diane Ladd played right before this one was as Clark Griswold’s Mom in “Christmas Vacation.”

  74. wayfarer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    I met or knew enough people in the Hollywood entertainment industry, both at the bottom and top, that I could have easily gotten into the business.

    Thing is, nothing about its pancake makeup world ever appealed to me.

    I was more interested in pursuing a death wish as an adrenaline junkie, in the broken real world.

    Unfortunately, the more you hope to be taken out of this game of life, the longer the universe requires that you play.

    Seems like some kind of cosmic joke, to say the least.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @anonymous
  75. @Asagirian

    Tarantino’s main skill was rediscovering forgotten character actors like Forster or Carradine or Grier.

    There is a curious black and Italian dichotomy evident in the degree to which Spike Lee and Tarantino disliked one another and portrayed one another’s people onscreen.

    Spike Lee was obsessed with the Italian tough guys like Aiello and Ben Gazzarra and “street Guineas” like Leguizamo.

    Tarantino was always obsessed with the super-black Mandingo like Jackson.

    Spike Lee is the quintessential black director. Tarantino is the quintessential brash streetwise Italian-American.

  76. Interesting essay, occasional waywardness notwithstanding.

    He correctly understands that Lynch’s grotesquerie is not intended merely for shock. Rather, they are organically bound to a cinematic vision that, whether you enjoy it or not, is among the few remaining that dares to be original; an oasis amidst a desert of focus-group-tested-to-death, calculated-to-appease-every-niche-demographic mediocrities.

    Conservatives ought to peer into his films more carefully as they would find, perhaps, a kindred soul. It is hard to miss the great theme that weaves itself through each and every one of his works. Namely, an enduring nostalgia for an America in which its citizens were imbued with a sense of purpose and belonging, both on the individual and collective level; a moving lament for its passing and decay, which leaves those same citizens scattered aimlessly like so much discarded detritus upon the ash heap of history. This theme was explored powerfully and movingly in his Twin Peaks: The Return, which taken cumulatively may be one of the greatest films yet created in the 21st century.

    But the author imprecisely identifies the target of much of Lynch’s spleen. If I may be allowed to modify the author’s closing statement: Modernity is the road to hell, not paradise—and there is nobody that can save us now.

    • Replies: @ia
  77. Excal says:

    This is the first comment I have seen on Unz which has gained All Four: Agree, Disagree, LOL, and Troll. I think there should be some sort of award for this.

    Also, I think this is an interesting illustration of the general reaction to Mr. Lynch’s works.

    To the commenter — I think I understand your perspective, but I think you’ve gone well over the top with this. Certainly Mr. Lynch is given to excess and even error, but is he really not even making art?

    I would love to know what Tarkovsky would have thought of Lynch’s work.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  78. ia says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    You knuklehead, he was born in Montana and grew up in suburban DC.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  79. Excal says:
    @Trevor Lynch

    I think Ebert was a great critic in many ways, but I’ve long wondered how much his writing was “influenced” by his employers, and by their conversations with studios and producers. I’m not at all sure his reviews always quite reflected his personal opinions.

    • Replies: @ia
  80. @wayfarer


    The reason that Scorsese and Tom Savini and Tarantino and Stallone succeeded is that Italians from the street understand people and situations and how to deal with them. They understand power structures and how to handle them.

  81. ia says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Simply: being an authentic visual fantasist & artistic director, Lynch has not grown up & developed a sort of emotional & even spiritual maturity.

    Of course if he had reached the higher spiritual plateau he wouldn’t be living in a Beverly Hills mansion with his 4th wife 31 years younger than himself.

  82. danand says:
    @Joe Sweet

    “Haven’t bothered with Lynch since I left the theater where I had just watched Blue Velvet feeling like I had been assaulted.”

    Joe, I had a similar feeling upon exiting the theater after watching Blue Velvet in ’85 (’86?). Later that same evening I was back at the theater with a friend for round 2. A few months later my film studies course professor was at the front of the lecture hall arguing that Blue Velvet was the most significant film since the advent of color. I have to admit, I was not in disagreement with her: I must be a masochist? Though the song Blue Velvet still, on occasion, pops into my head; I prefer Heineken to Paps Blue Ribbon (maybe the Blue Ribbon goes down better with O2 gas).

    It was because of the impact Blue Velvet had on me that I went to the “preview” showing of Wild at Heart. It too is one the few films that stood out in memory; though now the most prominent scene which remains is between Laura Dern & William Defoe. The scene where the two are alone in room, Laura’s character succu(o)mbing to Defoe’s vocal assault(?).

    For me neither film holds up well with time, nor to the small screen. But that was also the era of Miami Vice; almost hard to fathom that Vice wasn’t produced as farce/absurdity now.

  83. @ia

    His time on the streets of Philly seems to have made an impression on him.

    If you watch films like BLUE VELVET they start in the suburbs and end up with the white trash dementia of Hopper and his gang in some back alley somewhere.

    • Replies: @ia
  84. ia says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    His time on the streets of Philly seems to have made an impression on him.

    No. He went to an art school in Philly. He studied Dada, surrealism, expressionism and so forth. He got a grant from the American Film Institute and went to Hollywood and was able to make Eraserhead. He’s not stupid. He had some balls like a lot of artsy-fartsy types and lived in crappy places because artists need cheap space and suburbia is a death wish.

    He’s a product of the modernist art establishment. i.e. emptiness and irony. You add the grittiness of decayed urban USA and bingo, you are cool.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  85. ia says:

    I’m not at all sure his reviews always quite reflected his personal opinions.

    Ebert hosted a series on Ingmar Bergman on PBS in the 70s. Somewhere along the line he married a very ugly black woman. I’d say he read the tea leaves quite well.

  86. @ia

    Lynch’s characters are mostly white underclass extremes like Hopper or Cage or for that matter, ELEPHANT MAN.

    One thing about him or Coen (Who is similar) is that they seem to be subtly mocking working class Americans.

    • Replies: @ia
    , @anonymous
  87. dimples says:

    I agree. Why did BR2049 have to drag in Harrison Ford and the Rachel clone. It was going well up to that point and then jumped the shark. The older Harrison Ford cannot act at all, its a fact.

  88. ia says:
    @Nicolás Palacios

    Conservatives ought to peer into his films more carefully as they would find, perhaps, a kindred soul.

    You write very well.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to look at art being conservative or liberal.

    See, artists are also businessmen. They gotta make money or they don’t last. Especially in an industry like Hollywood. Lynch found a way to make money and his talent carried him into the big leagues.

    His paintings are extremely ugly. See the documentary I reference above. On Amazon Prime.

    • Disagree: Che Guava
  89. ia says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Lynch’s characters are mostly white underclass

    Gosh, I wonder why.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  90. @ia

    …Probably because they are more interesting. Or were in the Reagan era. Today the underclass is so vast and Yuppies all but a disappeared breed with the shrunken middle-class that white trash freaks would seem passe. Bourgeois are not really the norm in the US anymore in a country where former middle-class white people live out of RV’s and 13 year old girls have tattoos.

    Also the idea of a white drug kingpin like Hopper’s crew is absurd in the age of cartels and police state scrutiny. They’d be busted in a minute or shot by MS-13.

    • Replies: @ia
    , @anonymous
  91. Tyrion 2 says:

    When was this? The 90s? Since Greg Johnson owns a website I am sure he is technologically aware enough to have found other ways to pursue his desires, were he that way inclined. Even teenage girls know what Grinder is.

    What accusation will you make up next? That he uses smoke signals to send messages of harassment? Why wouldn’t he just use texts? Or could he not work out how to use anonymous email addresses? Or comments at websites?

    You should think a bit next time and construct a less anachronistic slur. It makes you look prurient and stupid.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  92. Tyrion 2 says:

    Lynch makes realist films told through surrealist imagery and metaphor, which can exaggerate

    the feeling

    of realist horror.

    It therefore seems natural that “the HBD crowd” would be able to appreciate them fully, just as it says a lot about someone who would designate such movies as “unhealthy”. To the gnostic, reality is unhealthy.

    I would be very curious as to what Trevor Lynch thinks of the movie The Congress. It is a movie that I find extremely interesting and I always wonder if I was just in a weird mood when it captured my imagination. It is one that is better not to look up before watching.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  93. @Jeff Stryker

    Oh yes. And watch “The Long Good Friday” for a top gangster movie. Beats anything the Yanks came up with. The French make good movies too.

  94. RobRich says: • Website

    While I disagree with several conclusions, this is a very thoughtful and perceptive reflection on a very reflective and perceptive filmmaker.

    Check out a film on Lynch’s use of scientific method , ‘The Art Life’…

  95. ia says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    You a hollywood type? Or other media? If not you should be. They’d love you.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  96. Liza says:

    Lynch is pure crap. I am ashamed beyond telling that I wasted hours of my life plowing through Twin Peaks. Why are some film experts continually telling us of his “greatness”?

    Vapid, incoherent, slapped-together, demented depictions of ugliness and losers in the name of promoting what – traditional values? Right.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  97. @Commentator Mike

    In his heart of acting hearts, Pierce Brosnan is an A-hole. The last shot of him grinning at the gangster in the IRA getaway vehicle is priceless.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  98. @ia

    I worked for a PR company in Dubai and did bring out a C-List actor to present an event which required me to visit Los Angeles-a hellish week in San Fernando Valley Motel 8.

    This actor liked me so much that he referred me to another filmmaker as a location scout in Dubai for a film that never came about.

    So in the very broadest way, I had some peripheral acquaintance with some of them for one or two jobs.

  99. @Liza

    ELEPHANT MAN was alright.

    • Replies: @Liza
  100. Che Guava says:

    Don’t pay such attention to Anon posters!

    Admittedly, I was also surprised at seeing it.

  101. Che Guava says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    How was Halloween based on Stonehenge?

    It is seeming like a senseless assertion to me.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  102. Che Guava says:

    I disagree with many of your sentiments, but Inland Empire was a pile of crap, I wanted to walk out, but kept thinking that maybe, some flow would emerge. Never did.

    Even in that crappy film, there were a few touches worth seeing. but they never go anywhere. So, it is garbanzola.

  103. Liza says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    The exception that proves the rule.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  104. Elephant man was more than alright.

    I didn’t post my first response to this and i am unsure how to put into words my thoughts about the actors in the film of the article whom I like and enjoy watching and listening to — for very different reasons, more than a lot.

    And the two leads – well, they have more than earned their chops in multiple ways.

    As for writer, director, producer David Lynch’s psychic dissections of human motivations – sometimes they are powerfully inspirational, educational and more than deeply moving. Elephant Man is one of those films and cannot be applauded enough for the direction to every variable. And one has o wonder if that would have been possible without the brutal treatments rendered in other films such as Erasrehead, the extremes I guess might be compromised in films such as Wild at Heart. It was a hard movie to watch and the only that kept me from shutting it off was that somewhere there would be a hopeful resolution. That in all that human trauma and violence, moral mayhem there was a way through. And as it turned out there was. A vast difference from the utter nihilistic Erasurehead. But he is also able to tease out the sublime and it may be that the extremes of violence and trauma help tell the with an astute grace the beauty that does exist amongst the darkness. And I think Miss Dern and Mrs. Brooks (Ann Bancroft) have effectively provide a means of doing that in his films and do so wonderfully.

    There is no way for me to escape my political or socio-ethical differences I have with almost everyone in Hollywood. And watching any number of the films directed By Mr. Lynch takes some doing. But i would be lieing if i didn’t admit to have experienced some level of positive impact from one or more of his films that stretch one’s willingness to explore existential to biological meaning of self and others.


    On a personal note: I have to admit being jealous of any male actor who performs with Miss Dern. I wonder what it was like to perform with her mother, Dianne Ladd, who really went out there in the film (As did Willem Dafoe – good grief – laugh).

    What else can you do to a reasonable man such as Mr. Harry Dean Stanton in this film but remove him. Again, his sublime presence a kind of civility that would keep matters in semblance of normalcy.

    There’s not much to say about Mr. Nicholas Cage, just set him loose . . . and that is meant as a compliment.

  105. Note: Happy to know that Nicholas Cage is a believer. Though not popular in Hollywood , it’s nice to be reminded that not everyone in Tijuana North is devoid of a walk in Christ.

  106. Lynch is sensationalistic and somewhat obvious in his deconstruction of middle class white culture/white families. Wild at Heart is better than Twin Peaks, the reboot may even lose its.own plot at times, but I think its message is more about love than family being as these relationships are often the source of Lynch’s horror. Minority villains abound in his movies but there’s just nothing quite as creepy to Lynch than a seemingly wholesome white family that isn’t. You missed that Sailor and Lula are redeemed characters who change for the better finally despite all those bad influences. Interesting by comparison is what Lynch does with narcissistic love in Mulholland Drive which I watched on cable mistaking it for Mulholland Falls. Oops! Otherwise I find Lynch less watchable as I get older though I’m sure 20 somethings still dig him.

  107. @Che Guava


    Carpenter got the idea of a maniac on the loose after visiting a mental hospital in college where a catatonic 12 year old schizophrenic stared at him.

    But the producer of the film told him he had to set the film on Halloween in order to capitalize on the holiday.

    While visiting Stonehenge in UK he came up with the idea of the mental patient being an immortal agent of Druid spirits with supernatural strength who could not die to tie in with the holiday.

    Originally, Michael was merely a huge insane patient who was shot six times and died on the scene in the original draft (BABYSITTER MURDERS was the name).

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  108. @Liza

    He was directing a documentary biopic.

    • Agree: Liza
  109. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Why is the’ most prolific and one sided philo-semite defending a man who runs a Whie nationalist website?


    Foor for thought

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  110. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tyrion 2

    ‘I would be very curious as to what Trevor Lynch thinks of the movie The Congress. ‘

    You mean Greg Johnson

  111. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:

    ‘I was more interested in pursuing a death wish as an adrenaline’

    You could have found work as a stuntman

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  112. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    Great comment

  113. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Capn Mike

    ‘Also everybody’s got repeating rifles. In 1858. Yah sure’

    They (and other faster shooting designs) were common then. They were not adopted by the civil war armies because of logistical and standardisation issues.

    • Replies: @Capn Mike
  114. Tyrion 2 says:

    Give me an example of just one philo-Semitic thing I have written.

    As for why I’m “defending” Greg Johnson. I’m just pointing out the stupidity of this criticism of him. I mean, it really is dumb, while also being morally objectionable.

    Furthermore, I enjoyed reading this review. I’m a huge fan of David Lynch – I first saw Mulholland Drive aged 15 and was blown away by it – and not just for the obvious reason.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  115. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    ‘the idea of a white drug kingpin like Hopper’s crew is absurd in the age of cartels and police state scrutiny. They’d be busted in a minute or shot by MS-13’

    Walter white

  116. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    ‘One thing about him or Coen (Who is similar) is that they seem to be subtly mocking working class Americans.’

    on your part this piece of commentary is either progress or solipsism

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  117. anonymous[278] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Hoskins and Brosnan never actually met on set. Interesting fact.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  118. wayfarer says:

    I knew Will Harper a Hollywood stuntman, and others as well, one guy who died on the job, and several who got strung out on heroin and/or cocaine, all living out their lives like a flash in the pan.

    Again, the pancake makeup costume world, never once appealed to me. I could simply care less, about either fame or fortune.

    It’s the destiny of a loner, to find peace of mind, only by breaking free from society.

    Snatched From The Fire

    • Replies: @anonymous
  119. @anonymous

    No, he was little more than an extra…and yet the role put his sneaky charm and ferret quality to good use.

  120. Capn Mike says:

    Huh, didn’t know that. Still a stupid movie. 🙂

  121. @anonymous

    The Coen brothers, obviously Jews, always throw ethnic/regional japes into the mix. Working-class Polish Catholics who go bowling like Lebowski and Walter or Mexicans in purple suits.

    In some bizarre schema the hulking Swedish killer of FARGO or the Spanish drug thug of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN are seemingly ghosts of the original settlers (Scandinavians in Fargo or Canary Islanders in Texas) who give the region its character.

    Lynch’s WASPY japes are more class-driven. Any white not living in the suburbs is a lowlife freak.

  122. L Bean says:

    Inland Empire is just as brilliant as Mulholland Drive, but not as cinematically palatable, and certainly it has none of the dreamlike beauty that MD did, but it is basically the same story! Perhaps this is Lynch going “too far”. But it’s Dern’s best performance. Yes it is brutal, and maybe longer than it should be. There is no escape from the pathos, it just ratchets up more and more until the end which has all of the horrible verisimilitude of a Live PD episode featuring some insane homeless wretch wallowing in the depths of every misfortune imaginable.

    It’s sort of like the painful-to-watch pre-suicide montage in MD, but stretched into an entire movie. 99% of viewers probably just can’t do it. Is there a reward? Maybe, if you’re into real, actual nightmares.

    That said, I’ve only watched it once and while I’ve thought about rewatching it, mustering up the will to do it…takes some doing.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  123. Most people who don’t like Lynch are simpletons, period. They just want the spoon fed crap Hollywood puts out. They can’t handle the harsh shit in Lynch films because that harsh shit he makes IS artistic and FORCES one to really accept that it’s happened and is happening in society. And, how fuckin hilarious is it that a douche will kick back their feet with hubris and say “ Lynch isn’t a director at all, knows nothing about making a film, “ oh yeah, and the movie you’ve made we all heard of? What’s that called? Huh? When Stanley Kubrick says one of his favorite movies is one you’ve made , as is well documented he said that to Lynch about Eraserhead, then maybe you could, only maybe, say that. Duhh!

  124. hydro says:

    My problem with Lynch (as with a lot of modern artists) is that the myths they create are too personal.

    That’s a fair comment. However, “personal” often equates “inaccessible.” Van Gogh was panned as well because his work did not “reverberate” with the masses. Only time will tell if Lynch’s star will rise or fall. Just as the mudslingers here who easily denigrate renowned auteurs like Welles because his films did not “reverberate” with them. Of course, these keyboard critics know better than the professionals who for the past half century have consistently ranked “Citizen Kane” in the top spot and studied by film majors throughout the world.

    • Replies: @Nicolás Palacios
  125. @hydro

    I heartily agree with your sentiment, but it goes beyond Lynch.

    One of the great crises with art in general today—of the genuine being subsumed amidst waves of pandering junk—has much to do with these sort of audiences, who simply refuse grappling with anything “difficult”. Thus, we live in a time in which the saccharine, anodyne, and soporific have triumphed; a time in which the likes of Banksy and Rupi Kaur are hailed as geniuses; a time in which wave after wave of insipid superhero movies are considered to be the ne plus ultra of cinematic expression.

    To people who are only capable of finding the most obvious and anodyne intelligible, it is no wonder that David Lynch—or even long dead artists such as William Gaddis and Arnold Schoenberg—whose art shows up their intellectual deficiencies, should be so bitterly repudiated.

  126. Is Trevor Lynch going to come out with another guide to the movies? I hope so.

    I have always liked Wild at Heart and enjoyed reading this review.

  127. anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:

    You sound really interesting. Was it living so close yo hollywood that stripped the glamour away or are you just not made up to appreciate it?

    Are hollywood people really fake?

    Are actors bad people generally?

    Any juicy gossip?

    Hope you dont mind my questions

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  128. anonymous[218] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Lol really?

    I personally have tangled with you several times and twenty to thirty other people on this comment section have. Tobias Langdon on the Occidental Observer has described you as ‘a spectre haunting the Unz review’ in an essay which was reprinted on this website but not featured prominently but which you were quick to comment on (with only 3 other people as yet commenting). You are easily the most philo-semitic commenter here (there is an outside chance that you are an ethnic Jew whose blinders are so strong that you are actually genuine but it is minimal) even more so than Whiskey et al which is saying something.

    As for the demand that i quote something philo-semitic you have said I cannot believe this is a genuine request as I could literally select a comment at random of yours and produce an example. I think you ask in bad faith and as this only going to lead you to act out here and dominate the comments underneath this article for a few hundred more replys ill decide that discretion is the better part of valour.

    ‘give me an example of just one philo-semitic thing I have written’


    You are defending the film review (and sexuality) of a man who literally wants to ship Jews off to thier own ethnostate and bar them from White countries. I find this very odd as you are usually ultra fast to police the comment section here and jump down peoples throats who express even mild critiques of Jews.

    I was just pointing out the incongruity.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
    , @Tyrion 2
    , @Asagirian
  129. wayfarer says:

    I suppose the various layers of darkness emanating from Hollywood’s entertainment industry, are what left me so scornful. As the industry continues to this day, enslaving minds, rather than empowering them.

    I will say though, as I did encounter one face-to-face, there are hidden hands of darkness within this industry that are so much stranger than fiction, extremely cold-blooded entities which most people couldn’t even begin to imagine, let alone accept as some dark truth.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
    , @Karmageddon
  130. @Trevor Lynch

    Ebert was never any fun, always trying to over-analyze every damned thing. Siskell typically nailed it when it came to the net/net of a film.

    I am OK without understanding the “meaning” of Lynch’s work. Hell, people are still trying to “understand” Twin Peaks and the rest. It really doesn’t matter that much as long as we are entertained.

    I think my own personal fav is “Lost Highway”. Excellent film and soundtrack, total mindf**k. The Robert Blake angle turned out to be so ironic.

    By the way, this is quite a refreshing diversion from most of the other dreary threads on this website.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  131. Tyrion 2 says:

    There’s no incongruity. I don’t like lies and lunacies whatever group they’re about. The only reason why I’ve taken issue with more of these about Jews on this site than about Greg Johnson is because there are a lot more of these about Jews on this site than Greg Johnson.

    As for Greg Johnson’s other beliefs, they’re irrelevant to this high quality film review here which I enjoyed reading.

    If I could not enjoy the products of people with kooky or stupid beliefs then I’d probably be unable to enjoy the whole of modern entertainment too, bar maybe the Norm MacDonald show – and his best guest was batty Jane Fonda…

  132. Tyrion 2 says:

    Furthermore, I asked for one example of my supposed philo-Semitism because you won’t find one. This is why you dodged the request. Your cognitive dissonance is palpable.

    Instead, you’ll find me pointing out that “the Jews” are not the cause of all of your (personal) problems. This is no more philo-Semitic than me pointing out that “the gays”, “the women”, “the white people”, “the cishets” or whatever really at all, are not the cause of all of your (personal) problem. It isn’t being philo anything but basic sanity for me to do so.

    • Replies: @anobymous
    , @anonymous
  133. Che Guava says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    That is very strange, but you seem to know of what you speak, so thank you

  134. Che Guava says:

    The viper-nosed landlady (too much plastic surgery) in Mulholland Drive (which I would only place above Inland Empire in the whole body of work by Lynch, although far above), seems to be an examplar of that of which you speak.

    I have seen nothing of new Twin Peaks (want to), but it is a little ironic that Mulholland Drive was originally intended as a TV soap opera, and that Lynch was announcing ‘I am finished with TV’, after it was cancelled, and he had to make a feature film of it.

    Everything since, made for TV.

    The horrendous Inland Empire, cinema release in Japan, other places too, I suppose, at least, it sure was not suiting the medium, and *really boring* most of the time, the only things to stop me from walking out were the hope that it would present some good cinema (never really did, except for about ten minutes in three or so hours) and respect for all of his previous works, including Mulholland Drive, although that, too, is a throwaway compared to the others. New Twin Peaks, not seen, and except for a few shorts on his subscription-only site, and some of those are old and not interesting, everything he made since he said ‘never work in TV again’ is made for TV.

    I would calculate that The Straight Story was the last to be specifically for cinema.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
  135. Che Guava says:
    @L Bean

    I agree that Dern performs very well, but the whole and the thread of it (the movie, not this thread) is a piece of crap.

    Suppose that, to show it in cinemas, with no intermission, was a mistake, but I would say (to use words that I learnt from Firewalk with Me) that it is a piece that doesn’t differentiate shit from shinola, and the latter (shinola) is, if I understand correctly, also not a compliment.

    Even as a three or four part TV programme, it would be a dull thing.

    • Replies: @L Bean
  136. Liza says:

    Artists do best dealing with the conflicts and troubles of mankind.

    Any artist’s work of art is his way of dealing with his own personal conflicts and troubles and in the case of most of Lynch’s works he is projecting his mental disturbances onto virtually everyone. However, in this culture of low standards, there is a subset of humanity who seem unable to grasp that. They see shit, convince themselves it smells like roses and then they and their friends tell each other how very “powerful” it all is. LOL.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  137. wayfarer says:
    @Che Guava

    Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.


    Imagine trekking across an Amazon rainforest, then venturing within a Milky Way Galaxy, and all the dark predators one could possibly encounter.

    Now imagine a most unusual “exemplar.”


    • Replies: @Che Guava
  138. I am going to rewatch the following:

    David Lynch: The Art Life: I think this doc helps understand some of Mr. Lynch’s motivation.

    What is Cinema


    My overall sense is that many of the extremes in Mr Lynch’s films and others from his cadre of creative talents is that they are in fact not real life as to even most of the criminal element. It is not that there are not extremes, but said extremes are in fact — extreme — even for the criminal element.

    One of the reasons Blue Velvet works is that the extreme is punctuated one both sides with people would not otherwise ever know the extremes exist save by accident. A normal attraction of a young man to an older woman turns out to be an introduction to the bizarre. But generally, most of (guys) that have been allured to older women (and i have had my share, still do) if presented an opportunity would find ourselves in a locked battle with psychopathic child kidnapping criminals.

    Muchless having dragged a would be teenage innocent into the spiders web. It is not there are not people who are bizarre or who live one the edges of razors — there are.

    I would offer this I suspect that there’s a quality in Mr Lynch productions even his being, in which his goal is to offer cautionary tales. And that human beings despite life’s many tragic inescapables still can make choices that yield positives and if they don’t they should, but contact with our fellow humans can be and perhaps is “messy”.

    You show up for work early having no idea that the some number of people have an agenda that is menacing and maliscious and in a blink — your world is turned topsy turvy.

  139. @Liza

    Hmmmmm . . .

    I would agree. That authors are working out some manner of their existential angst. As for exposure — no one holds a weapon to my head forcing me to go to any entertainment venue, or forces me to watch or listen to the same.

    Unless one has seen or read a preview then it’s possible to indulge in some construct having no idea what it’s store. You saw the cast and liked them in something else, you like the directer, the producer, the writer, the cinematographer, etc . . . And once there, regardless of why indulged — it’s a choice to stop indulging.

    Elephant Man is as different from Mullholland Falls as Dune is from Wild at Heart. One can even make a case for a refund . . . choices.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  140. @EliteCommInc.

    DUNE was such a long book that at the time (1984) and director attempting to condense it into a 2 hour film was doomed to failure.

    ELEPHANT MAN was strangely workmanlike although indeed Lynch won an Oscar (Or was nominated). He caught the look and feel of the grimy Dickens era London pretty well.

    As for WILD AT HEART, anyone who has been around unfettered underclass whites in real life knows they are not lovable rogues.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    , @Asagirian
  141. @Capn Mike


    As one treasures one’s plow. Save one fixes one’s beloved plow. In the case of slaves, they whipped as lazy, shackled or similarly treated as repair for any number ailments in need of repair.

    Sure some slaves manged to build some manner of relationship and no doubt even were raised to a level of human commonality —-

    However, anyone who buys into the benign southern nostalgia regarding slavery is embracing a mythos that simply did not nor could ever exist. Upwards of some 4 million human beings by the end, of varying ethinicities/cultures, languages, under control by force (several hundred murders may have been against those blacks (over slavery’s history – but then one cannot murder property). I suspect that real life among that environment makes Mr. Lynch and Mr Tarantino look like amatuers as purveyors of human violence.

    What I appreciated about Mr Tarantino is not the violence (over the top as it can be) is the story telling. Django Unchained is not about slavery or revenge in my view. It’s a love story. And the stage of that love story is best set by the story of Drsilla(?) told by Christopher Waltz about the princess in need of rescue. The protagonists are not the lone rangers setting about John Brown’s quest for black freedom. Their goal is very specific and it is driven by the story of rescuing the trapped princess. It just happens to take place in the very bizarre world of the slave environment.

    But slaves cherished — slavery was not a benevolent enterprise for most slaves.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Liza
    , @Capn Mike
  142. @Capn Mike

    But slaves cherished — slavery was not a benevolent enterprise for most slaves.

    And we need to stop telling ourselves that it was in order to avoid the reality of its injustice. Unjust against the backdrop of the Declaration of Independence, not some universal motif that slavery was bad.

    I am not interested in a debate about slavery — I think history in the US settles the matter.

  143. @EliteCommInc.

    On the subject of Tarantino Italians were imported to replace blacks after emancipation and then they were lynched.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  144. @Jeff Stryker

    “As for WILD AT HEART, anyone who has been around unfettered underclass whites in real life knows they are not lovable rogues.”


  145. “As for WILD AT HEART, anyone who has been around unfettered underclass whites in real life knows they are not lovable rogues.”


    I liked Dune, I did not see it in theaters and did not read the the original written work — though, i was a huge Science Fiction reader as a kid. I most likely shunned it for it’s mysticism.

    Stranger in a Strange land — might be an interesting project for Mr. Lynch to tackle. I recently reread it.

    And I confess: Miss Dern is one of those women I have a thing for . . . sunk after Rambling Rose.

  146. My concern is what impact these movies have on the psyche of people who are still formulating some manner of ethics or moral code. The removal of the value of human decency, right and wrong, just and unjust against the relative would that have been evolving out of Hollywood, that arts period since the late 1960’s and devolving the our communities is a very real in my view. I remember when the rating system mattered.

    That is my deep concern — how would any of these creators comprehend something as vital and important as celibacy , or fidelity, etc.

    I am watching the Ozarks and I am very disturbed. I couldn’t get through but two episodes of Twin Peaks. The deconstruction is here to stay it seems.

  147. Liza says:

    I am not defending slavery, just saying that if you paid about $40,000 in today’s money for some useful tool or appliance, you are not going to abuse it, ever. At least not if you have 2 brains to rub together. If your device malfunctions you fix the problem in a way that does not do even more damage.

  148. L Bean says:
    @Che Guava

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on IE’s merits. That said, it probably is a film that should have stayed in Lynch’s mind. It’s just too much, and with the nihilistic way in which it was filmed…double plus too much.

    And that’s not even touching the “Should one watch it in a theater?” angle. Yikes.

  149. anobymous says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Implying that I (and others) are insane. Pretending you have insight into whatever personal problems I may have. Defending jews as a group but not allowing them to be criticised as one. I could go on. There is no cognitive dissonance here.

    Literally every second comment of yours is you trying to police what others think about the Jews.

    I pointed out how strange it was to see somebody policing the boundaries of thought as regards Jews and who would usually jump down the throat of *any* critic of Jews come to the defence of a person who (ostensibly) seeks to shift the overton window back to where jewish influence can be discusssed publicly again. How strange? Or perhaps you are a fellow homosexual? Oh im sorry I broke the rules again- only you are allowed to be somemeones armchair psychologist-when its done to you it is unfair.

    To anybody who has been following these comments threads and the hasbara propogators in them it will seem a darn sight unusual that a man whose calls Kevin macdonalds books ‘crackpot’ (an outrageous slander if ever there was one) would come to the defence of a man who by your standards slanders Jews all the time. Added to you referring to him as Trevor Lynch when his correct non-pen name was pointed out to you is really strange.

    I notice you didnt mention how an author here (Tobias langdon) described you as a philo-semitic spectre haunting the Unz review.

    Your last two replys were really weak. Usually the armchair pathologising is much stronger.

    Just wondering thats all.

  150. anonymous[460] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tyrion 2

    Having re-read your comment:

    ‘There’s no incongruity. I don’t like lies and lunacies whatever group they’re about.’

    Oh I get the idea.

    ‘The only reason why I’ve taken issue with more of these about Jews on this site than about Greg Johnson is because there are a lot more of these about Jews on this site than Greg Johnson.’

    Or homosexuals generally.

    If I told you im gay would I be allowed to post rational critiques of Jewish behaviour without being strawmanned/snarked/commented to death?

    Drop me a postcard.

    • Replies: @Tyrion 2
  151. Tyrion 2 says:

    In almost 3000 comments, you could not even find one example. Yet you continue…amazing…

  152. Capn Mike says:

    Yeah, “cherish” was not the right word. “Valued” is what I should have said.
    And as Walter Block would tell you: “Slavery is BAD!” /not sarc

  153. Before we go any further, I for one think the the case is made when our society decided to call human beings property — the damage is done.

    You are welcome to research any number f slave training manuals and obtain the written record of slave treatment in the US and get back to the rest of us.

    Slaves were not repaired and as I mentioned the mechanism of repair was often corporeal punishment.

    Slaves were throw away tools.

    I would be curious just how many slaves you want to account for that price verses breeding regimens.

  154. Tyrion 2 says:

    I couldn’t care less that you are gay or have an anxiety disorder or perhaps are also missing a leg. I only care if you’re outrageously wrong.

  155. Asagirian says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    DUNE was such a long book that at the time (1984) and director attempting to condense it into a 2 hour film was doomed to failure.

    AKIRA was based on a super-long manga, but it works as anime feature.

    NAUSICAA the movie was also based on a very long anime series. But it works too.

    The problem with movie DUNE is not so much the condensed or confusing plot but the sheer ugliness of it. In ERASERHEAD and ELEPHANT MAN, Lynch made ugliness fascinating. In DUNE, it just looks like STAR TREK made by Andrea Dworkin.

  156. @anon

    Of course.

    And you have written and directed… HOW many million-dollar-turning movies, exactly..?

    Thought so.

  157. @Truth

    Spot on about Tarantino. But wrong about the others.

  158. @Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter a damn WHERE crime takes place. The question is simply WHETHER OR NOT any crime ever in fact took place. Non-existent evidence tends to be a bit of a giveaway.

  159. @wayfarer

    You can’t just leave us hanging like that!

    Especially since some of us live here and are (still) trying to break in somehow.

    Plus, that’s a tantalizing, Lynchian description if I ever heard one.

    I will say though, as I did encounter one face-to-face, there are hidden hands of darkness within this industry that are so much stranger than fiction, extremely cold-blooded entities which most people couldn’t even begin to imagine, let alone accept as some dark truth.

    • Replies: @wayfarer
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  160. Che Guava says:

    Thank you for the reply, and sorry, but I was long ago learning that Wikipedia is a slimey game.

    One may try to rely on more chemistry, physics and mathematics artiicles to be accurate, mnst about ht. many are not.

    Amercan Wikepedia, on any other type
    anzimbabwe x, topic is pretty crap.

  161. wayfarer says:

    With all due respect, regarding my somewhat off-topic comments, it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go into further detail, on the Unz Review forum.

  162. @Jeff Stryker

    I am unclear which population you think was subject to lynchings.

    However, I did watch both of the documentaries. One entirely about and largely commentary by Mr Lynch and the other his comments concerning the nature of cinema as a medium.

    The documentary — really explains a lot — and makes some very poignant suggestions. i have to decide whether commenting on them would be fair play.

    But what is most noteable is what gets broached and then left hanging.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  163. I have just watched a film, “The Killer Nun.” It’s an Italian film, supposedly based on actual events — but it keeping with the tradition of Italian film making of the 1970’s forward, there is not accounting for the blood, gore and violence.

    It would be interesting to know how many US “mavericks” were mavericking — Italian mavericks breaking free of their Catholic Traditions and ethos on restraint. The European directors were exposed to real horrors from two very real tragic global conflicts.

  164. @EliteCommInc.

    In one Tarantino’s screenplays TRUE ROMANCE his Dennis Hopper character is shot by the mob for insinuating that Sicilians are black. Ironically, Walken would play the Southern leader of the lynch mob who killed Italians in Louisiana in a film three years later called VENDETTA (1999).

    What is my point?

    That Tarantino as an Italian-American has an uneasy sense of racial identity and his films always glorify black Mandingos and vilify Southern rednecks.

    In real life, he has constantly quarreled with Spike Lee. Lee often vilifies Italian-Americans in films and uses a familiar stock of real-life Italian actors (Leguizamo, Aiello, Turturro) who always play stereotypes in his films.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  165. @jeff stryker

    The history of US Italian – African American relations is loaded with strife, to say the least. It’s a running bet whether the Italians, Irish or Jews used their skin color power dynamics to maintain a white supremacist’s hold on power in NYC. And no films about the the criminal underclass or in the case of whites, the criminal upper class and underclass cooperation have done much to alleviate those realities.

    And I suspect that Spike Lee is one of the few film makers to even address those dynamics. Though in the film “Do the Right Thing” he placed the Italians in a very sympathetic light, Danny Aiello is great in that film and runs deeply against type. I would also note, “Summer of Sam” has a full range of white personalities. As does “Black klansman.”

    And Mr. Lee doesn’t answer any of the dilemma’s he poses, save that violence is immediately destructive to human interpersonal relations.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  166. Smiling . . .

    And Tarantino uses real life black actors (having no real knowledge of the distinctions as to ethnicity is understandable) in more than stereotypical roles: violent, loud, sinister, uncouth, even when they are protagonists . . .

  167. @EliteCommInc.

    Lee’s Italian-Americans are about as the average black would perceive them. You expect to meet someone like John Leguizamo or Aiello in Brooklyn and Lee serves them up like a slice of greasy pizza.

    Tarantino himself seems like the sort of Italian you might meet in a Spike Lee film. He’s loud, gesticulating, has the eyebrows that grow together and equine head of an Italian extra in a Spike Lee film.

    Lee manages to see the humanity in his Italians (Most of them are fundamentally assholes however) and shadings of grey.

    Tarantino cannot. His films are fairly shallow and, when it gets down to it, in bad taste. The black actors he casts deal with lousy one-dimensional roles.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  168. @jeff stryker


    I am going to beg off. Not because I agree. But because I think there is plenty of room for discussion and debate about what is a hard to quantify subjective understanding of human dimension.

    It would be very difficult for me to agree that Mr. Daniel Aiello in Do the Right Thing was one dimensional or that Mr. Christopher Waltz was one dimensional in Django Unchained.

    And as previously noted Black Klansman . . .

    In conflict films as introduced by the article’s examination of Wild at Heart, it is easy to see the characters one dimensionally because the in the forefront are some complicated dynamics. And in conflict films, in very terms — such stark conflicts bring out a singularly dimension that addresses the conflict at hand. If someone is trying to kill you, chances are — your response is going to be one dimensional. But again, I don’t grant that by definition either of these directors only create one dimensional characters. One of the most brutal films ever engaged by a female actor, “Kill Bill”. I am certainly would not argue the violence is not excessive — however, Ms. Uma Thurman’s performance is anything but one dimensional.

    Inside Man, even the supporting cast displayed multiple dimensions. That scene in which the officer, Mr. Victor Colicchio, despite the stereotypical dialects etc. —- describes getting shot, that is a very complex performance and that scene itself is loaded with complexity.

    Pulp Fiction’s Mr. Ving Rhame’s , fight fixer with a sense of justice — as peculiar as it is or Mr. Bruce Willis’s relationship with him and his girl friend. by Miss Maria de Medeiros(?) . . .

    It would be a mistake to characterize singular motivations as singular dimensions.

    I have to admit for all of my whining about conservative values, I have watched my fair share of objectionable, and disturbing films — the value of DVD’s review copies, cable, and the internet. But as to my background, education and experience, it makes sense.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  169. “having a single dominant aspect, quality, concern, etc. and hence narrow, limited, superficial, etc.”

    Now suppose I take the construct of human dimensions outside the frame of classical thought of good and evil, right and wrong, good and bad . . .

    Here’s a peculiar proposition that fits these geners of film very nicely in out deconstructionist age.

    The subtext of motivation is not comprised merely in the obvious, but in the subtlty of the nonverbals or the context between the lines.

    — the manner of phrasing, the pause, the stutter, a glance, a breath, tenor, tone, and that is what actors are for. There are stereotypes, but the dimension of human existence is not embodied in them alone, but broadened and made complex in the suit of the human selves as individuals in this context, few if any of the characters in the films discussed are one dimension, it just requires seeing past the stereotype to the stereo of human expression.

    note: Inside man would have been stronger without the moralist “gotchya” at the end.

  170. Nice piece. thankyou. Lynch is a truly great film-maker, the greatest since Kubrick. His worst films are better than most directors’ best films. Unfortunately most people have vitiated tastes, vitiated by a steady diet of entertainment. Art throws them. Lynch’s work certainly deserves such lengthy and passionate analysis as it is given here.

    Lynch is said to have a dark vision, but I think he simply holds up a mirror. we do not like what we see there. Lynch gives us truth, but we want lies. therein lies the difference between art and entertainment. Lynch gives us art.

    the Wizard of Oz is probably the greatest film ever made, hollywood at its absolute best (or, in a way, vaudeville at its best). Oz is a very deep film, very dark, with only the barest thread of hope. the way Wild at Heart references Oz makes a lot of sense.

    imo, Lynch’s greatest film is Mulholland Drive. The land of dreams is, as Lynch rightly shows, a land of nightmares. My favorite Lynch film is Straight Story, a beautifully simple film, probably Lynch’s most hopeful. straight Story isn’t well known, so it’s good to see it mentioned here.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  171. @EliteCommInc.

    The Italians in Spike Lee’s films were not one-dimensional, they were portrayed negatively.

  172. “Lynch gives us truth, but we want lies. therein lies the difference between art and entertainment. Lynch gives us art.”

    Mr. Lynch gives snippets of truth (depending on the film) . . . and that only in context of the film. Absolute truth not on abet.

    You make A lot of assertions, but not much in way of rationale. I guess one could say —

    “No, he doesn’t”. No, it isn’t.” to each sentence. Wizard of Oz is a fine film but trying to make sense of them as some unified message — well, give it your best shot.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  173. @EliteCommInc.


    People read miles of meaning into the films of Lynch or Lee or Tarantino but I just see old-money WASPS and black intelligentsia and Italian street guys mocking common or garden white working class Americans.

    BLACK KLANSMAN seems like another riff on the redneck where some Jewish hero goes undercover as a plot trigger to enforce the BAD WHITE narrative.

    Even the horror filmmakers seem to follow this narrative. How many films like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE or DELIVERANCE or HILLS HAVE EYES portray rural white degeneracy gone amok?

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  174. @jeff stryker

    Laughing . . .

    I feel far afield of my conservative moorings, defending some of this. You will not get any pushback from me that the film industry a business enterprise.

    Well, depending on the lens one uses to view and or critique any particular film, it is possible to read miles and more of meaning in a film and to do so well beyond that of the director, writer, producer(s) (for those who care beyond the dollar sign) and actors ever imagined. That’s the nature of the subjective, meaning occurs not in the text, the drawing, the picture, the screen but in the minds of the receiver. And that means meaning can have as many avenues as receivers.

    Some films tells stories without argument. Some films are arguments and as you know arguments come in all manner of form, mocking is just one of those forms. That opening scene in Resevoir Dogs in the restaurant. There’s an argument their about service people and whether or not they should be tipped. And part of that argument goes to tradition, work ethic, going the extra-mile. Mr. Steve Buscemi’s character, not only mocks the idea of tipping, but the value of hard work as a basically a so what, if you have a job, hard work is not extra work – it’s work. It deserves no more gratitude than a someone pushing a broom. It mocks the uneducated . . . sometimes mocking is well deserved. She’s Gotta Have it, essentially mocks every manner of black male one could imagine: intelligent, hard working, well meaning, etc. In Dune, it’s the upper caste system that is mocked, even innocence (naivete’) is mocked as even the loyal betray the protagonist Duke and his family.

    In the view of these directors, there’s plenty of mocking as argument to go around. I am a traditional kind of guy, but even I recognize that the “establishment” is relentlessly mocked b y these directors, and anyone taking a serious look at the establishment can certainly see reasons why. In the Elephant Man, Mr. John (Joseph) Merrick, mocks by question, how it Dr. Treeves, with all he has going for him, doesn’t acknowledge God or Heaven . . .

    Since all three of these directors have extreme characters of a myriad of ethnicities and colors, i am comfortable in noting that when they mock — everyone seems fair game.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  175. @jeff stryker

    I am not sure if that is the case with all his characters . . . however, Mr Spike Lee is countering a narrative that has romanticized the worst of “Americana”, the white gangster and the Italian Mafia, most noteably. Let’s face it LA, Chicago and Detroit gangs did not invent the drive by, or mass shooting with automatic weapons. And using the very same tools, served up as dark a portrait of black citizens.

    I feel safe in saying Mr. Lee is challenging that history, in doing so he may be turning the tables. it is n not as if the turned tables don’t exist, in spades no less. Your talking about a country that seated German prisoners of war in theaters while barring black citizens of forcing them to sit in balcony seats or to the rear. I would be the last person to deny that today’s black film makers might be pushing back. And despite all of the identity hoopla there are not that many film makers of Mr. Lee’s color and those that exist, historically had small audiences. Black western heros did not get billing alongside movies about Mr. Bob Dillinger. It’s hard for me to imagine the impact of a medium with mass distribution telling millions of whites, most of whom never came in contact with any black, what blacks are like.

    As for horror films, in which there’s is no small amount of mocking of blacks who either ran away or got killed.

  176. @jeff stryker

    I had forgotten that the Miracle of St Anna was a Mr. Spike Lee film.

  177. @EliteCommInc.

    No ELITE, Buscemi says “I worked for minimum wages” which is more or less the reason why people become career criminals despite the risk.

    Spike Lee actually seems to be BETTER at depicting Italian-American life and culture than black.

    True about Lynch. ELEPHANT MAN seemed to really understand the English class system.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  178. @jeff stryker

    I appreciate the correction, but the point i am making is that mocking in that scene traverses in several directions. In fact, I actually identified with Mr Buscemi’s perspective, in an age where “the gratuity” is actually part of the bill — Laughing — nonsense. And I bet I’m not the only who shared a view. In that one scene is introduced several political issues . . .

    As for one dimensional, not for a second, in my view. And the scene ends in this interesting note, the senior setting down the law as it were – reinforcing the established order. I despise the constant abusive language and violence — but that one scene is loaded with meanings by what on the surface are a band of thugs with few if any compunctions about killing you if you get in their way.

    I can only smile about your reference to Mr. Lee. I am not sure what to make of it. Whether in the end you think that Italians are in fact, one dimensional, despite your own issues with Mr. Lee’s one dimensional portrayals. I am going to slip in, that my views are to US Italian – black relations. Despite the current immigration bruhaha in Italy, I am not sure the dynamic is quite the same given the long history of blacks and Italian intra-relations.

    Elephant Man is a very powerful film, which in my view will be timeless. i have not read anything about what Mr. Lynch thinks of that film, But it really does honor to his parents and the home life they provided, which in my view was a safe place to be who he was.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  179. @EliteCommInc.


    I did not say Lee’s portrayals were one-dimensional. Ben Gazzarra’s mafia boss in SUMMER OF SAM is simply fact. Its not stylized or romanticized. It is a dead-on depiction of what an old godfather IS.

    Few white directors understand African-American life convincingly; however Lee KNOWS Italian-Americans.

    As for comparing criminals, let us be honest. When a young African-American male gets his head blown off for almost no reason it is sad. When a dirt-bag 40 year old Italian-American gangster is killed after a lifetime of premeditated crime, nobody thinks it is any great loss.

    Not to be racist, but the black victim’s photo is always him in his high school cap. When it is a “gangland shooting” it is always some dead-eyed Italian-American middle-aged guy who has obviously killed dozens of people himself.

    If blacks invented the drive-by shooting, they never came up with the grotesque symbolism of Italians like pulling someone’s pants down after he is dead and shoving money up his anus to symbolize he is greedy etc.

    Blacks are often criminals for many reasons like poverty or an awful neighborhood etc. Italians are criminals because it pays well.

    • Replies: @ElitecommInc.
  180. I certainly hope I wrote that blacks did not invent the “drive by shooting” if not excuse my poor proof reading.

    I am going to walk softly here on criminal conduct and its causes, save this, because Italians were more connected to avenues of legal mainstream businesses and political influence, largely barred to much of the black population, so crime paid better. Whether or not it paid well — mmmmm .


    I just watched the “Straight Story” And it is a lovely film (couldn’t think of a manly way to say what I experienced). It’s a beautiful film about many things, told from the perspective of being a man, of manhood. And a wonderful cast. And the only people who get mocked are the people who think that Mr. Lynch is nothing more than an adolescent with a camera. Richard Farnsworth — a great choice and perhaps, the only choice.

    Even I am forced to adjust some perspective on Mr. Lynch.

    The most offensive reference in the film is to making “mexcican coffee”.

    When rooted in actual events and people, Mr. Lynch seems to mold universally moving works.

  181. @paullllllll

    I deeply appreciated this film as well . . . those who recommended it — commendable choice.

  182. @jeff stryker

    And the choice to introduce Harry Dean Stanton at the end of the film, brilliant.

  183. Liza says:

    What do you think of Lynch’s haphazard insertion of his silly electrical sparks, electric wires & flickering, mysterious lights all over the place? Is it because he can’t get us to otherwise understand what is taking place? “See, I know you stupid y’all are – so here’s some electrical images to pound My Profound Ideas into your thick skulls.”

    Maybe he should dig deeper into his bag of tricks for something more subtle if there’s anything understated there in the first place.

    I dunno, maybe some of us are just aren’t intelligent enough to grasp Lynch’s Greatness. We even have the nerve to snort at German expressionism.

  184. @Liza

    “See, I know you stupid y’all are – so here’s some electrical images to pound My Profound Ideas into your thick skulls.”

    First, I am not sure the contention your are making is one he ascribes to.

    Second, I think flickering lights and sparks occurs in more than one of Mr. Lynch’s films.

    Third, “greatness” is a subjective arena predicate on how chooses to support the advance. Thus far our discussion has been soley to the avenues by which meaning may be derived concerning film.

    • Replies: @Liza
  185. Liza says:

    Yes, all his bad films contain sparks/electricity/flickering lights, etc.

  186. @Liza


    I take it. Your response settles the matter of intellectual capacity required to derive meaning from watching any film by any director. Because as chance would have it there are thousands of film reels and digital disks and cards that contain sparks, flickering lights and electricity, by scores of directors.

    No worries. Millions of people don’t have the ability to comprehend :30 sec. commercials, much less 90 minute films with or without sparks, flickering and electricity. So i can sympathize that listing that many films you consider bad — emotionally and mentally taxing.

    I see, your view has nothing to do with Mr. lynch, but with film that has sparks, flickering and electricity period.

    appreciate the clarification

  187. @Liza

    One would have to know the films, because the use of sparks, flashing and electricity has meaning only in context of said —- however, here’s the view of Mr. Lynch regarding electricity in film.

    You might not appreciate films with sparks, flashing and electricity, but at you have some perspective from one of the hundreds of directors who does.

    • Replies: @Liza
  188. In direct response, I think I can safely say,

    No. Not all films with sparks, flashing and electricity are bad films, not even those films with sparks, flashing and electricity made by Mr Lynch are, by definition of the same, bad films.

    As for sulbty, I recommend the “Straight Story” and David Lynch Film: The Art Life.

  189. Liza says:

    It’s that he resorts to these techniques, time and time again. Especially all over Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks.

  190. @Liza

    In Lynch’s films the electrical activity you describe usually signals the intrusion of interdimensional life into our reality. The Cowboy character in Mulholland Drive (2001) is an example of this theme that is present to one degree or another in all of his work.

    • Replies: @Liza
  191. @SonOfFrankenstein

    Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997) is a great horror film. And the prescient casting of Robert Blake as a demon in mime face adds to the director’s mystique.

  192. @Karmageddon

    Hollywood deals in dreams and illusions. It is an industry that pulls in extremely sensitive and vulnerable people, some of whom actually have talent. Waiting for them are manipulators and predators. Since the 1920s the industry has attracted occultists, like the O.T.O., who are interested in using the light and shadow of film to cast a spell over those sitting in the dark.

    • Replies: @Asagirian
  193. @Commentator Mike

    The Long Good Friday (1980) is fantastic.

  194. @Bardon Kaldian

    “… but not a fully mature creator.”

    What you describe requires several lifetimes.

  195. @Liza

    But in this reference the discussion has expanded to include not just a single film, but a body of work as posited by the article’s advance. Most directors have a tool that they use repeatedly. It may work for some viewers and not for others.

    My polity forces me to take issues with many of the films content and no doubt the directors politics — probably. Though Mr. Lynch and i share a care for military personnel, he for veterans in general returning from hazardous duty, uniquely. But examining a body of work, and given the breadth of his work requires for me to take on a different lens. I have never seen erasure head, have no desire to see (maybe a tad now to aid in discussion). But what I have seen and heard, there was a netflix documentary — it far too far over the edge, even beyond repeated references by people I have known since I was in my late teens(?). But that is but one film. Mr. Lee likes the “floating glide” and yet in BlackKlansman, I found it annoying – laugh. But I am going to be careful about limiting my view of Mr. Lee to one singular film in measuring his impact or attempting to comprehend him as a director. Mr. Tarantino gravitates to a “spaghetti (western) italian” motif routinely.

    Mullholland Drive as well as Twin Peaks play heavily on surrealism themes and vacillinating between dream states, the supernatural and the real — sounds quite appropriate that said themes interact with electricity — a vital component of life — forces of energy and the like.

    — Laugh I have no idea how I slid into this seeming defense, but here I am. My encouragement watch some of his other work. and I could never sit through but a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks, so something keeps you coming back. I watched Inland Empire today and it was really a tough slog, especially after watching the Straight Story. I likened Inland Empire to Mulholland Drive, which I found difficult to take because of the ending. Inland Empire seemed stilted and fractured to keep the surrealism intact. I will have to watch True Romance again – I am not much for the contemporary blood and guts of contemporary film.

  196. Wild at Heart is one I hated at first but have grown to love.

    So heart breaking to see Sherilyn Fenn at car crash scene.

    The movie moves about this scene as does Two Peaks which is reflected.

    All Lynch movies have a moment which involve music coming in and out (besides head injuries):

    Best Lynch movie, best scene:

    • Replies: @Asagirian
  197. Such a magnificent movie on many aural levels

    and many road testing skills

  198. End scene Wild at Heart a cinematic Classic

    The original Pink Room scene cannot be beat but you cannot find it today on youtube

  199. Best scene is age restricted​v_lHiT6UVCE

    Dick Laurent is dead…

    Lost Highway is easily best of Lynch for mine.

  200. @Liza

    I am not into art, but the reference for the dance between light, dark, shades of grey and shadow –

    chiaroscuro . . .

    I was expecting you to reference the reliance on relational dynamics, which also doesn’t abide well with me despite its allure. When i think of how many films in which Miss Dern gives space for that, i find it a tad painful. Nothing against Miss Dern, quite the contrary. But I have been waiting for you to comment on the level of open intimacy as excessive.

    Even as a heterosexual male, I get uncomfortable, and not with Mr. Lynch’s films alone.

    • Replies: @Liza
  201. Luludog says:

    Bobby Peru was Willem Dafoe’s greatest role. Best line from movie? “Me and one eyed Jack wanna go peeping in a seafood store”. This line was taken from the great American classic rock song “Shake, Rattle and Roll”.

  202. Liza says:

    Nothing against Miss Dern, quite the contrary. But I have been waiting for you to comment on the level of open intimacy as excessive.

    Excesses of “open intimacy” are the least of what makes most of Lynch’s movies a waste of time for me. I did feel embarrassed watching the lesbian sex and masturbation scenes in Mulholland Drive but that is not why I found Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Eraserhead and Wild at Heart irritating to watch. To me, they are just dumb movies, a waste of time. Personal taste, you know?

    Twin Peaks is truly the worst excuse for film making (series or otherwise) that I’ve ever seen, except maybe for Razor’s Edge (1984) with Bill Murray in the lead. It made me laugh out loud when it was supposed to be serious.

  203. @Liza

    As I noted, judging a film requires setting a lens (standards) by which make that judgement. i think it is a fair and smart choice to move away from your initial previous rationale and assessment that leaves room for some films as opposed to all his films.

    But your first assessment was based on some particular special effects and intellectual comprehension based on – you had no idea. So you were irritated because in your view they were dumb.

    I on the otherhand consider most of the intimacy expressed in detail a bit much, but again that is not in Mr. Lynch’s films alone. For all of the peculiar characters in Blue Velvet, it really a hopeful film about wholesomeness and it value. And I would even go so far as to say in that film, the argument in my view is how wholesomeness redeems as well as establishes workable order. The juxtapositions on man rescuing women and in the same line a young woman from a wholesome environment rescues wayward boy who rescued woman to be reunited with child. Also the value of careful and gentle judgments about other people’s ills — and oddly enough despite the unwieldly dynamics something as cliche’ as “love” covers a multitude of err. Frankly, i had no idea that I held these views. I don’t need films to tell me there’s a lot of darkness out there, even darkness parading as wholesomeness, but in Blue Velvet, consider it in view of what may be own or others existence is self confrontational. To exist in environments in which you are not at all equipped to deal with or at least think you are not. How one moment there is certainly and due to no choice of your own — chaos, and darkness. I’ve worked in inner city environments — where even the supposed good guys are deceptive. And those same elements though not as readily visible can and do exist in the most Idyllic circumstances. I had a sense that in Blue Velvet– a constant strain of innocence ran the course of the experience for the protagonists, not only Miss Dern, but Kyle MacLachlan as well. In my mind it takes a certain level of skill to weave in a sense of innocence given the “ickiness” of the situation and the characters.

    It’s been a long time since i saw it – more than once I think. I can recall thinking, “Well, don’t do that” or “Get the heck out of their”.


    • Replies: @Liza
  204. @Liza


    “Get the heck out of there”

  205. Liza says:

    As a general rule, should people need to be told what the message of a film is? If indeed there is one in the first place. Because I never got it with B.V. or Mulholland. A person I know well grasped the meaning of B.V. but I did not. Then I read some reviews. There are multiple interpretations of both of these movies. In plain English, even people who are far from stupid didn’t know what to make of it all. It is apparently some folks’ idea of a great, or even just competently made, movie, that it must be cryptic and oblique.

    I watched both B.V & M.D. again and concluded that maybe there’s, you know, smarter ways to put forth a message. You don’t need to constantly throw in bits of stuff and magic tricks as Lynch does. And Twin Peaks is unforgivable. You may like having to be tortured for hours to be able to conclude that such & such a film is worthy of 5 stars. Some of us are simpletons, though.

    No hard feelings. 🙂

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  206. Asagirian says:

    Waiting for them are manipulators and predators.

    The ‘tragedy’ of Diane Selwyn was no one was interested in her even to be a manipulator or predator of her. They just totally ignored her. She got some bit roles and was snubbed even by her roommate who came to regard her as a crashing bore.

    So, she needed to invent a conspiracy of manipulators and predators to rationalize why she remained a nobody in Hollywood.

    Around people of talent or promise, manipulators and predators descend like flies.
    Around people of no promise, there is NOTHING. They wish manipulators and predators would even bother with them.

  207. Asagirian says:

    What do you think of Lynch’s haphazard insertion of his silly electrical sparks, electric wires & flickering, mysterious lights all over the place?

    Just like the Sun has solar flares, the human mind has neuronic flares. They interrupt the illusion of the smooth flow of reality. Remember that we are never directly one with reality. We know reality only through impressions and sensations of our eyes, ears, and feels.
    We take reality for granted as stable and smooth because our senses usually function properly. But our perception of reality is totally dependent on our central nervous system, and it is NOT an infallible system. They can be warped by stress, illness, age, drugs, injury, and etc. As Bergman did in PERSONA, Lynch’s films make us aware of the illusion of reality. Reality seems solid and stable to us, but it’s actually very fragile. Even slight disturbances in our hardware can mess up signals. Cognition usually works properly, but sometimes the ignition system in the mind goes off-kilter.

    It’s like TV signals. If they function properly, we watch stable narratives on TV. But if the signals are jumbled, the images turn weird. Or just think of our we are hardly aware of what happens inside a movie projector when watching a movie. We lose ourselves in the movie as real story with real people on screen all the while forgetting that the image on screen is created by 24 frames flickering per second in a projector. The mind is like a projector. It is when it begins to malfunction that we begin to realize our tenuous our sense of reality is. We no longer take the stability of reality for granted.

    Brecht used alienation in theatre for socio-political effect, and Lynch employs ‘sublienation’ for psychological effect.

  208. Asagirian says:
    @Pat Hannagan

    Lynch is sort of like Kobo Abe. Abe used to write one novel that was accessible(though strange) to the average reader and then follow it up with an utterly experimental work that made little sense except to the writer.

    • Agree: Liza
  209. @Liza

    Laughing. Your not getting a message does not my hard feelings make.

    I have been facilitating, teaching and coaching since I was in HS and if there’s one thing I know with absolute certainty, intelligence, wealth, power, status, class, moral standing, education, ethnicity, skin color, talent, innate worth cannot and will not guarantee that anyone comprehend any film by anyone.

    And what’s more because meaning is derived in the receiver what meaning might be gleaned cannot be guaranteed to be universal regardless of how simple, blatant, subtle, direct, indirect that meaning might be. The criterea, that one uses, i.e. “cryptic and oblique,” in these discussions is often one of the personal. One persons water might very well be another’s poison. I for example, noted I couldn’t sit through two episodes of Twin Peaks, before I left it.

    I still reccommend, The “Straight Story” and I include the “Elephant Man”. The more I discuss his films the more I seem to appreciate the value of some that I have seen. As for one’s intellectual capacity whether it’s analytical, meaning making or emotional (emotions can be intellectual), I think you have made clear unless you can tie the effects to the angle and environment – you won’t get a meaning you find of note, if any.

    But its tough not admit that Mr. Lynch has not had a profound impact on Cinema — his mother may very well be displeased with some his choices. However, she would be prod, I think that he has indeed accomplished something of scale. Granted with the help of some very talented and supportive collaborators.

    That you have moved from all, to some to two films in particular suggests that your intellect is intact, in my view.

  210. Asagirian says:

    You are defending the film review (and sexuality) of a man who literally wants to ship Jews off to thier own ethnostate and bar them from White countries.

    I don’t think Greg Johnson is anti-Jewish just to be anti-Jewish. I think he would be okay with them if most Jews were on the side of whites. After all, many Greeks and southern Italians are just as ‘semitic’-looking as Jews, but Johnson hasn’t much problems with them. Why not? They mostly get along.

    The reason why Johnson wants to be free of Jewish Power is because it is hellbent on replacing white folks with non-white tide even in white-rooted and white-made nations. So, his anti-Jewish stance is defensive. He didn’t just wake up one day and decide to hate Jews.

    Now, it’s true that his anger drove him to praise a nutjob like Hitler in the past, but he’s since revised his views and admits Hitler was a pathological nut who brought upon a war that led to tens of millions of white death. He was no white hero.

  211. Asagirian says:

    Defending jews as a group but not allowing them to be criticised as one. I could go on. There is no cognitive dissonance here.

    Speaking of Jewishness, is KILLING OF A SACRED DEER an allegory about Jewish revenge mentality?

    A boy’s father died at the surgery table and blames the surgeon, and the boy demands sacrifice to even the score. It seems like Jewish Power is demanding that white people give up something essential to what they are in to appease the Jews for past and perceived wrongs.

  212. @anobymous

    You’d have thought a comments section to an arts/culture article had a chance to be spared out-of-topic quarrels on Jews.
    You would have been wrong to think that.

  213. @ThreeCranes

    What of it you think you haven’t understood yet?

  214. Liza says:

    Poor Lynch doesn’t seem to have a variety of arrows in his quiver, then. Just that same old, same old, collection of electrical sparks.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Trevor Lynch Comments via RSS
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media.