Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

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garethw
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Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby garethw » Thu Sep 03, 2009 9:35 am

A few weeks ago I read Greg Olson's recent book, and was curious what others thought of it.

It's great that Olson shares his experiences with us, and I enjoyed reading his interpretations of Lynch's films, but I can't say it's a very well-written book. It has some real oddities in it - I can't ever recall a biography, for instance, where the writer mentions how tall he is (the writer, not the subject), let alone *three times*. He frequently misquotes Lynch's work; asserts repeatedly that "Betty" from MD is from the mid-west, even though he simultaneously also knows that she's actually from Ontario; mentions twice, incorrectly, that cockroaches have 8 legs; occasionally repeats anecdotes... The list goes on. It just smacks of a sloppiness that detracted from what was otherwise an interesting and enjoyable book.

Anyone else?
iefan
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby iefan » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:35 pm

Read the first chapter at Amazon yesterday, laughing at the way it says Lynch began his art career by playing in the MUD as a child.

Also enjoyed reading about his family life and how the subway near his grandma's place frightened him, etc.

Do the rest of the chapters also deal with his family background, or mostly with the history of his other films?
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RStandfest
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby RStandfest » Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:00 pm

Yes, I have to agree. My reaction was similar. The book also spends an inordinate amount of time summarizing Lynch's films. I found myself skipping large chunks of text, feeling that it was filler, seeking out sections that had something more original to present. I did enjoy the connections that Mr. Olson drew between the text of Mr. Lynch's work and his embrace of TM and aspects of the Hindu/Hindi religion, as well as elaborating on the connections with electricity in Lynch's work. I just wish there had been a greater focus on that kind of substance; more material generated by the author making observations, rather than relying on so many quotations. In addition, I am constantly hoping for a book on Lynch to deal more with the non-cinematic work-- his art. Why is it that so many books make so little of his lifelong passion of painting, and producing work outside of cinema. To me, it is the spine of his vision. "The Air Is On Fire" catalogue has an embarrassing text which is one half sloppy interview, filled with repetition and inane observations by the interviewer, and an unbelievably obtuse discourse between European intellectuals, that entirely misses the forest for the trees-- so much time talking about Nietzsche and a European philosophical tradition, and nothing discussed about the work itself, Lynch's identity as an American artist, and his status as an outsider in the art world. However, I still maintain, that Michel Chion's text on Lynch is the most original, poetic, and deeply meaningful of the lot.
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garethw
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby garethw » Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:06 pm

iefan wrote:Do the rest of the chapters also deal with his family background, or mostly with the history of his other films?


It does, but mainly in the sense that it continually alludes to the same influences - an experience he had descending into the NYC subway; how his father taught him to approach a project by first gathering together the materials you'll need. It seems quite repetitive.

It does later talk about his relationship with Jennifer, which is interesting - until it becomes repetitive about that, too.

All in all, it seems like it would have been a better book if it were half the length. And didn't talk about how tall the author is, because I really don't care. :)
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby DigitalGhost » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:39 am

The selling point of Beautiful Dark seems to be that it's definitive (hence the length) rather than insightful and/or well written.
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Annie
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby Annie » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:17 pm

I like his step-by-step descriptions of how scenes were set up. And how he snuck onto the set of FWWM to watch the secret filming!!
Keep your eye on the doughnut, not on the hole.
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby dugpa » Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:23 pm

The FWWM section to me was priceless. I really enjoyed it. I did notice some of the mistakes here and there but they were so minor compared to the wealth of information this book included. The other sense I got when reading this book was that it was a real labor of love. That in itself made me enjoy it more than some of the other Lynch books out there.
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby Jerry Horne » Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:50 am

Just ordered this! I hope I don't spoil anything by skipping right to the Twin Peaks parts.
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Annie
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby Annie » Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:53 pm

Jerry, you JUST ordered it?!?!? I'm surprised at you. Basically, each movie has a chapter, except that Twin Peaks has two (because of FWWM.)
Keep your eye on the doughnut, not on the hole.
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Re: Thoughts on "Beautiful Dark"?

Postby Jerry Horne » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:22 pm

Better late than never! It's just under $40- at Amazon and it seems to never go too much lower. Also just picked up the Inland Empire 2-disc for $15 as well at Amazon. Looking forward to watching it for the first time.

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