Movie - Mulholland Drive. WTF?

I like film. I like experimental stuff that does something other than just tell a straightforward story, and I try to keep open.

That said... We have any Lynch fans here that want to explain Mulholland Drive to me? Seemed the first 2/3rds was a boring, poorly written, poorly acted, poorly shot soap opera, then maybe Lynch got bored and started making a movie about angrily masturbating lesbians.

Is it just the case that bad + edgy + bullsh*t = "surrealist," or am I not artsy enough to "get it?" Someone explain it to me.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Seemed the first 2/3rds was a boring, poorly written, poorly acted, poorly shot soap opera, then maybe Lynch got bored and started making a movie about angrily masturbating lesbians.

You could always fast-forward through the first 2/3rds of the movie and enjoy it from there.

I can think of one reason....no, two reasons that movie was worth watching.

Seriously though, I just don't get David Lynch. They'll probably take away my film degree, but he's just too damn obtuse for me. Mulholland Drive (and the Lost Highway) were very stylistically and visually appealing, but good God man, even Luis Bunuel's films had a discernable point.

The somewhat straightforward theory I've seen on Mulholland is that the first part is the Watts' character's wish fulfillment fantasy... the woman she's in love with is a blank slate that accepts her advances, she gives a magnificent performance at that strange audition, etc. The second part is the "real" course of events, the misery of which contributes to her retreat into fantasy.

LobsterMobster wrote:

maybe Lynch got bored and started making a movie about angrily masturbating lesbians.

*added to blockbuster queue*

I don't "get" David Lynch movies. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them. When it comes to Mulholland Drive, I'm not going to lie and claim I can explain the plot or lay the movie out in some sort of cohesive manner. The reason I enjoyed the movie so much was that it was well done, the acting, camera work, etc. (a point I see we disagree on), and that when the credits finally rolled, I was stunned, confused, and groggy. Like I had just got done watching/living through someone else's dream. Imagine how hard it is to get that feeling right. The movie didn't feel half-assed or pretentious (well, not overly pretentious), or like the feeling of the dream had been forced.

I did see it originally in theaters though, and I think that environment heightens the dream feeling even more. Good stuff, even if it's not something I'd want to kick back and watch every day.

This movie was a far cry better than many I have watched. I'm pretty sure it was all what Slumberland stated -- a regressive sort of fantasy that we ended up watching, except we were never explicitly told as an audience what it really was or meant.

I love it, it's one of my favorite movies. If you absolutely must have an explanation for movies it is kinda tough watching Lynch, but I approach his movies a bit different. Dreams don't make sense either when you break them down.. they just kinda flow into all kinds of weirdness.

By the way, if Mulholland left you vexed, stay far, far away from Inland Empire.

Inland Empire has some amazing moments, however.

I've been unsuccessful in trying to understand Lynch. I gave him a pass on Dune because the story is unfilmable to begin with. But then, Mulholland was unintelligible. I just saw Blue Velvet for the first time a year ago or so. At the end of that movie, I swore off any more Lynch films. It seems to me that he starts by making a normal film, and then goes back and adds segments of meaningless opacity. Then he relies on critics to imbue the scenes with meaning.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

maybe Lynch got bored and started making a movie about angrily masturbating lesbians.

*added to blockbuster queue*

Since Naomi Watts is involved, you might want to bump it up to the top.

LobsterMobster wrote:

... then maybe Lynch got bored and started making a movie about angrily masturbating lesbians.

It was from watching this movie that a friend coined the phrase "Powerbating".

unntrlaffinity wrote:

when the credits finally rolled, I was stunned, confused, and groggy.

Well, I see that we agree on two out of three points.

Its David f*&^ing Lynch... what did you expect a director's commentary at the bottom of the screen?

I heard an interview of him the other day.. quite interesting and wacko at the same time. In it he states numerous times to please do not try to "figure out" his movies, to just watch it and take from it what you do from your own perspective. I like this attitude the best. Maybe he has no "master plan" for his movies at all.

Mulholland Drive probably had the most straightforward storyline of any Lynch movie. It's been eons since I watched it, but it was pretty clear cut that most of the movie is a kind of a fantasy. The corpse in the end has been there for a while. The movie STARTS by the camera falling into a pillow, if I recall, so that's kind of a giveaway. So its a dream of wishful thinking of one of the women, who gets rejected by the other in reality, and in the end kills herself... or something.

Man, it's been a while. The "silencio" bit was a hint on the death by the subconscious, or something like that.

In overall I really liked the film. The music, the visuals, just fit together perfectly.

I had a friend ask me about the movie with a big, expectant grin on his face. When I and my other friend expressed our distaste for the movie, he scoffed and said we didn't get it because it was "an L.A. thing." I hope I never live there, and not for the impending doom of the San Andreas faultline.

Mayfield wrote:

Maybe he has no "master plan" for his movies at all.

If that's the case, then I can't help but feel he's hoping we all mistake laziness for art. Isn't it a director's job to have a "master plan?"

hrm the plan is there is no plan, I think thats called abstract

/completely non-confrontational comment

Also, from what I remember, Mulholland Drive was intended as a PILOT and was left deliberately confusing to that end. When they realized it wasn't picked up, they added a few things but not enough to flesh it out completely, even for lynch.

And voila, you have my half-assed explanation.

here is my very simple take on mulholland drive:

woman gets jilted
she kills herself
her soul is in constant torment without understanding what happened via time distortion/ mental torture

end of story

When I first saw the thread title, for some reason my mind was thinking of the movie Mulholland Falls, and I was trying to figure out what the heck you were talking about....lesbians? I finally realized I was thinking of the wrong movie. :0

I admit to being confused, right up until bed time when I ceased caring too much and decided that I really needed to see the apparently glorious racks of the two female characters. Then I was okay. And admittedly turgid.

David Lynch can be frustrating, especially since many of his movies would make great straight up, linear crime dramas. When I watch "Lost Highway" for example, I get caught up in the story of the first couple and want to see a resolution.

I guess you can dismiss his movies as being too "artsy", but I think he's getting at something that isn't artsy, or subtle or abstract at all.

In general I think most people prefer narratives that are linear and straightforward. These stories tend to be more accessible to us. But think for a minute about your dreams.

I have a recurring setting in my dreams in which the Vermont countryside where I grew up is somehow connected directly to India where I've done a lot of traveling. I walk through a spruce forest only to come out on the high Ladakhi desert. Or I'll be walking through a green cow pasture to emerge into the chaotic narrow streets of downtown Delhi.

Though in waking life we rarely construct narratives that are as disjointed as our dreams, we do spend a lot time sleeping and dreaming. We experience these strange, non-linear stories in which different places, times and different characters become one another all the time. You could argue that these non-linear, fluid narratives actually reflect our least fettered state of mind.

I think what makes Lynch so creepy to me is his uncanny ability to bring these dreamlike narratives into waking life. You start to feel a little insane when you watch his movies. The plot elements keep slipping away from you. This can be very frustrating, but it also makes for a very creepy movie experience.

Sometimes when I finish a Lynch movie I despise him and I vow to never watch another one again. But his movies are always memorable, and have a way of creeping into my daily observations and thoughts. To me this means that he's really getting at something very concrete about our experiences as thinking, dreaming beings, even if his methods feel elusive and out of control.

His movies aren't for everyone, for sure. But think for a minute about your latest vivid dream and tell me that Lynch isn't onto something.

FeralP

FeralPug wrote:

We experience these strange, non-linear stories in which different places, times and different characters become one another all the time. You could argue that these non-linear, fluid narratives actually reflect our least fettered state of mind.

I think what makes Lynch so creepy to me is his uncanny ability to bring these dreamlike narratives into waking life. You start to feel a little insane when you watch his movies.

You so nailed it. And I also agree on that one often leaves his films with mixed feelings, so yeah, I wouldn't watch them every day. But next to movies (or games, or books) that spell out the meaning of every single thing that you should understand and fill in every narrative gap so you're sure you didn't "miss anything" I find it a very refreshing change, not to mention more stimulating.
Of course that does leaves the door open for a lot of stupid "artsy" types that don't really have anything to say and take advantage of easily impressed people and critics. In the end I'd say it comes down to what emotions the specific work gives you, and that's different for everybody. Personally, Lynch does it for me.
I'm watching Twin Peaks now, which I missed the first time around as I was a bit too young to "get it" then, and I'm loving it. The second season it's not quite as sharp (it has different directors), but the first is a great place to start if you want to enjoy some more linear Lynch stuff.
Anyone watch Elephant Man lately? Is it good?

The point that was made by Picasso's Cubist works was worth making, and as an experiment in art, it was also worthwhile. However, I don't think his works evolved much as he gained popularity. In fact, his artistic development seems to have stagnated after a while. In conceptual art, you should be trying to say something new. If not, it'd be a kindness to at least try to stay out of the way.

I haven't decided if Lynch is adding anything new to the conversation right now.

wordsmythe wrote:

I haven't decided if Lynch is adding anything new to the conversation right now.

...and if he were, it would probably be, "Chumps! I stick a random lesbian scene in a movie no one really gets and it sells tickets! I know what the American people really want."

wordsmythe wrote:

In conceptual art, you should be trying to say something new. If not, it'd be a kindness to at least try to stay out of the way.

That's a good point, if we're talking about conceptual art, as you say. But I don't think you can say that all art is such, or that it even should be... of course all artistic expression has some kind of message it wants to deliver, but I don't think that it necessarily has to do with saying something new on an "intellectual" plane. A lot of artists, I think, are just trying to convey emotions, and when they find the right ...uuughhh... "style", which enables them to do so in the best possible way, they stop searching new ways to express themselves. You can consider that lazy, and it certainly isn't particularly exciting from the perspective of those who study their work, but I don't think you should condemn it like that... who are they disturbing anyway, that they should "at least try to stay out of the way"?
Of course there are also conceptual artists that really want to say something relevant about society, or politics or whatever, and they have to renew themselves all the time to be relevant at all. But that's another story, and I'm not sure Lynch is one of them.
Don't want to sound arrogant or anything, just trying to make my point...

Agreed, dottore. In the end, though, I think all art should strive to convey or express something -- and I'm not sure yet what Lynch is trying to say. When I come to a conclusion on that, I'll have a better idea of what I think of his movies.

Seconding Slumberland (above)

I watched MD again this weekend, and loved it, but i'm a big Lynch fan. Watts is just amazing in this role, playing the joyful talented Betty, and the bitter failure that is Diane. It's mostly a dream, so of course it doesn't make much logical sense, but it manages to get the story through to you without hitting you over the head with dialogue or exposition. Mixing the last 1/3 up with a flashback sequence is a little confusing the first time through, watch again and you'll see.

I'm pretty sure based on comments here that I more or less "got" what was going on. It took a second viewing to get there way back when I first saw the movie, but I did make it that far.

Really though.. I don't think I'll ever watch it again unless I feel like watching Naomi Watts go to town on Laura Harring... and herself.