David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Discussion of all things David Lynch

Moderators: Annie, BookhouseBoyBob, Ross, Jerry Horne, Brad D

User avatar
Jude
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:30 am
Location: Finland
Contact:

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby Jude » Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:18 pm

this thread has reminded me that maybe I should revisit Inland Empire, I have only seen it once around 2008 when I became a fan of David's work (I had seen TP in '07 and that started it), and back then I didn't like IE that much. But I have to mention that when I watched Rabbits for the first time about 2 years ago I really enjoyed the style and the mood that it has.
User avatar
David Locke
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:24 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby David Locke » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:24 pm

10. Wild at Heart - Weak, Tarantino-before-Tarantino antics dominate this messy and ugly film which only has a few genuinely great scenes. Not a fan -- it almost feels a bit un-Lynchian in how aggressive and nihilist and "trendy" it's trying to be. Out of all ten features, it's only this and Elephant Man I actively dislike.
9. The Elephant Man - Sentimental kitsch, like an afterschool special movie shot particularly well. Sorry, I don't care for this at all.
8. Inland Empire - Just a mess. I've seen it 3 or 4 times, I admire the intention, but it doesn't cohere for me much at all, though there are certainly some strong and intriguing scenes peppered in throughout.
7. Eraserhead - Masterful, but unpleasant and lacking the beauty or grace that his best films have. I don't hate it, but I don't love it.
6. Dune - Yes, flawed and clunky (especially the action scenes). Yes, silly at times, what with the constant monologues. But wow is this one of the most lush and vividly realized sci-fi "worlds" on film. I hate pretty much any film that can be called a "space opera," but the Lynchian dreaminess and pure strangeness of the film drew me in and kept me in its thrall to the end, even though the second half saw a drop in quality. Fascinating atmosphere. Also, as an example of Lynch's unique aesthetic sensibilities grafted onto mainstream material, I find it far more successful and interesting than The Elephant Man.
5. Mulholland Dr. - This is the dividing line where it goes from masterpieces to just good films, or not so good films. Trust me, I used to love this one but it just seems a bit haphazard structurally now. I can see the TV pilot origins, which I know shouldn't matter, but they are visible in just viewing the film to me, and as a result I find it (to put it crudely) kind of a less effective remake of Lost Highway. Still has some of Lynch's greatest scenes, though, absolutely.
4. The Straight Story - Sentimental without being cheap and manipulative like Elephant Man. One of Angelo's most lovely scores, too. An unfairly underrated film which nonetheless seems to inspire endless praise by those who have seen it.
3. Lost Highway - Just an amazing experience. Maybe my favorite of his worlds to return to. Demented and dark, but still somehow seductively beautiful. If the whole film were as perfect as the first 40 minutes, it'd probably be my favorite Lynch.
2. Blue Velvet - Lynch's most complete-feeling work, a lot denser and more mysterious than it may first appear; it's also his most structurally and formally perfect film. Lush and riveting and original (for its time), this was one of the best theater experiences I've had -- you really gotta see this in 35mm if you can. I also saw LH and MD in 35mm, but BV was by far the most powerful.
1. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - Wow, amazing. Pure emotional catharsis on celluloid. Maybe his most dreamlike film, it really feels like a nightmare. Just stays in your head and won't get out. Admittedly it took three viewings until I embraced it, though; I think being familiar with the series is paradoxically what gives that common negative first reaction to FWWM, but what also enhances and gives way to greater understanding and eventually outright love of the picture. A masterpiece.
Last edited by David Locke on Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:00 am, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
AgnililaOzwald
Posts: 30
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:51 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby AgnililaOzwald » Sun Oct 26, 2014 4:43 pm

I suspect my personal ranking of lynch's movies will change the more i watch them.
Garbanzo I OM
Frketson
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:36 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby Frketson » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:57 pm

I still need to watch Elephant Man, Dune and the Straight Story, but so far...

1. Blue Velvet
2. Fire Walk With Me
3. Mulholland Drive
4. Lost Highway

5. Inland Empire
6. Wild at Heart

I've only really seen each film once (I've seen FWWM 3 times) so I'm sure they are going to change but I have no desire to ever watch Wild at Heart again. I enjoyed the cameos from all the twin peaks cast and there are some enjoyable scenes here and there (Harry Dean Stanton was awesome) but as a whole its a mess for me. Really can't believe it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Was expecting so much better.
User avatar
LostInTheMovies
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:48 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:19 pm

David Locke wrote:2. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - Wow, amazing. Pure emotional catharsis on celluloid. Maybe his most dreamlike film, it really feels like a nightmare. Just stays in your head and won't get out. Admittedly it took three viewings until I embraced it, though; I think being familiar with the series is paradoxically what gives that common negative first reaction to FWWM, but what also enhances and gives way to greater understanding and eventually outright love of the picture. A masterpiece.


That's something I noticed this year when I got back into Twin Peaks. Fortunately the release of The Entire Mystery seems already to have shifted the tide somewhat but I swear, a few months ago, it seemed like the majority of fan reactions were hostile. It even made me feel like the series and film were somehow unbridgeable - only the Missing Pieces this summer started to turn my thinking on that.

When I first saw Fire Walk With Me, I had issues with it too. Oddly enough, coming from my first viewing of the series (and loving it), it was actually the "Twin Peaks" parts of the movie that put me off. All my favorite parts of the show - the Lodges, the Little Man, the absurdist humor - suddenly seemed out-of-place in Laura Palmer's story. But I couldn't shake the movie and decided it was a flawed masterpiece the next day. Over time, I see it as less and less flawed.

I also read the critical reactions from the time (I saw it in 2008) and that instantly let me know that, whatever my quibbles, this was a film that desperately needed defending. I was so amazed that they hadn't responded emotionally to the film at all. I can understand objecting to it or feeling it doesn't work as a whole but I'm still perplexed by how nonchalant they all seemed, as if they'd written the review before seeing the movie - or hadn't seen it at all. The stuff they wrote has virtually nothing to do with what's actually onscreen.

And speaking of re-evaluations, I like Inland Empire more and more every time I watch it. It just gets to the absolute core of Lynch's thematic and spiritual preoccupations in a way that no other film does. It's also immensely frustrating because as viewers we aren't allowed to experience it either as a purely experimental work (in which meaning doesn't matter - the point is pure sensation) or a narrative with payoff (too many elements jut out and feel irreconcilable with others). Just when you are experiencing pure mood, he'll dangle some clue that you feel compelled to "figure out." But that's Lynch in a nutshell.

But there's a beautiful feeling to the ending especially, a spiritual journey through darkness and disorientation into a holistic transcendence. Inland Empire also feels VERY deeply related to Fire Walk With Me, especially hearing the behind-the-scenes stories of what Sheryl Lee went through to "channel" Laura Palmer.
User avatar
David Locke
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:24 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby David Locke » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:15 am

LostInTheMovies wrote:
David Locke wrote:2. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - Wow, amazing. Pure emotional catharsis on celluloid. Maybe his most dreamlike film, it really feels like a nightmare. Just stays in your head and won't get out. Admittedly it took three viewings until I embraced it, though; I think being familiar with the series is paradoxically what gives that common negative first reaction to FWWM, but what also enhances and gives way to greater understanding and eventually outright love of the picture. A masterpiece.


That's something I noticed this year when I got back into Twin Peaks. Fortunately the release of The Entire Mystery seems already to have shifted the tide somewhat but I swear, a few months ago, it seemed like the majority of fan reactions were hostile. It even made me feel like the series and film were somehow unbridgeable - only the Missing Pieces this summer started to turn my thinking on that.

When I first saw Fire Walk With Me, I had issues with it too. Oddly enough, coming from my first viewing of the series (and loving it), it was actually the "Twin Peaks" parts of the movie that put me off. All my favorite parts of the show - the Lodges, the Little Man, the absurdist humor - suddenly seemed out-of-place in Laura Palmer's story. But I couldn't shake the movie and decided it was a flawed masterpiece the next day. Over time, I see it as less and less flawed.

I also read the critical reactions from the time (I saw it in 2008) and that instantly let me know that, whatever my quibbles, this was a film that desperately needed defending. I was so amazed that they hadn't responded emotionally to the film at all. I can understand objecting to it or feeling it doesn't work as a whole but I'm still perplexed by how nonchalant they all seemed, as if they'd written the review before seeing the movie - or hadn't seen it at all. The stuff they wrote has virtually nothing to do with what's actually onscreen.

And speaking of re-evaluations, I like Inland Empire more and more every time I watch it. It just gets to the absolute core of Lynch's thematic and spiritual preoccupations in a way that no other film does. It's also immensely frustrating because as viewers we aren't allowed to experience it either as a purely experimental work (in which meaning doesn't matter - the point is pure sensation) or a narrative with payoff (too many elements jut out and feel irreconcilable with others). Just when you are experiencing pure mood, he'll dangle some clue that you feel compelled to "figure out." But that's Lynch in a nutshell.

But there's a beautiful feeling to the ending especially, a spiritual journey through darkness and disorientation into a holistic transcendence. Inland Empire also feels VERY deeply related to Fire Walk With Me, especially hearing the behind-the-scenes stories of what Sheryl Lee went through to "channel" Laura Palmer.


Totally agree re: FWWM. The Missing Pieces are also, indeed, surprisingly cohesive and essential to the overall TP experience; and there are some scenes in there that I kind of wish were in FWWM, like the extended cut of the convenience store meeting which is maybe even more chilling than the one we get in the film, during Bowie's time- and space-defying freak-out. And I've always had a thing for those films that need defending like FWWM does/did -- films that are unfairly bashed but which I tend to watch more often than any of the other films by that particular director (e.g. Eyes Wide Shut [my personal favorite film, ever], Zabriskie Point, New Rose Hotel, Miami Vice (2006), etc). So it kind of makes sense that I would end up embracing FWWM. It's not a contrarian thing either, I just have taste that tends to run counter to the common opinion.

As far as Inland Empire, after 3-4 viewings I just can't get into it and it pains me, but I feel like Lynch just bit off more than he could chew; or that the fragmented, unplanned nature of the process made the film itself feel rather messy and incoherent, as opposed to a confusing but genuinely coherent work like Lost Highway. And beyond all that, I simply don't find it easy or enjoyable to get lost inside IE's world; the digital is ugly and amateurish (I much prefer Michael Mann's use of lower-grade digital cameras around that time), whereas all of Lynch's other work has some kind of filmic beauty to it that makes at least parts of it sublimely affecting. With IE, though, it's like the illusion doesn't convince me; it just looks like a rehearsal or a home video. I think Lynch works much better in 35mm, but he certainly could do wonders with some of the great digital cameras we have today.

As an aside, I've actually watched Blue Velvet today and found it more astonishing than ever. I had the pleasure of seeing that film in 35mm in a nice theater a few years back and it was maybe the most memorable such experience, even beating out such great films as Chinatown and Last Year at Marienbad -- the sound design and the lush, enveloping widescreen images simply come to life in 35mm, on a big screen, in a way they can't quite in a digital format at home. Many say that it's not as mysterious as the later stuff and just a dry-run for all that, but for me BV is incredible (besides its formal perfection) because of how it takes what's ostensibly a normal, banal structure and genre and bunch of tropes, and puts these weird little touches at the edge of everything -- similar to the TP pilot, but much, much more extreme. BV may be more conventional as a narrative than LH and MD and IE, etc. but it feels basically just as unusual, experimental, dreamlike and dark as those.
User avatar
LostInTheMovies
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:48 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:37 am

And I've always had a thing for those films that need defending like FWWM does/did -- films that are unfairly bashed but which I tend to watch more often than any of the other films by that particular director (e.g. Eyes Wide Shut [my personal favorite film, ever], Zabriskie Point, New Rose Hotel, Miami Vice (2006), etc).


Ah, Zabriskie Point. I consider the bulk of that film pretty pretty flawed (although I liked it more when I rewatched it earlier this year) but that ending...hoo boy. That is quite possibly my favorite scene in cinema, period. It's just so goddamn extraordinary like somehow Antonioni captured the apocalyptic end of the sixties in physical form. With the crashing Floyd number, especially that long, slow, anticipatory build-up and the Pop power of those exploding items, it's a purely kinesthetic, audiovisual masterpiece. Gives me shivers just to write about.

With IE, though, it's like the illusion doesn't convince me; it just looks like a rehearsal or a home video. I think Lynch works much better in 35mm, but he certainly could do wonders with some of the great digital cameras we have today.


I understand where you're coming from; that said, one of the things I LIKE about Inland Empire is that it looks like home video! Which sounds perverse, but I feel there's a quality to low-grade video that can be just entrancing and hypnotic. In a way, it makes Lynch's surrealism feel even more uncanny to me because it's closer to everyday reality (among other qualities). I look forward to seeing him work with 35mm again, if that's the route he goes, but I think what's interesting about the IE look to me is that it isn't pristine digital but something very grungy instead.

As an aside, I've actually watched Blue Velvet today and found it more astonishing than ever. I had the pleasure of seeing that film in 35mm in a nice theater a few years back and it was maybe the most memorable such experience, even beating out such great films as Chinatown and Last Year at Marienbad -- the sound design and the lush, enveloping widescreen images simply come to life in 35mm, on a big screen, in a way they can't quite in a digital format at home. Many say that it's not as mysterious as the later stuff and just a dry-run for all that, but for me BV is incredible (besides its formal perfection) because of how it takes what's ostensibly a normal, banal structure and genre and bunch of tropes, and puts these weird little touches at the edge of everything -- similar to the TP pilot, but much, much more extreme. BV may be more conventional as a narrative than LH and MD and IE, etc. but it feels basically just as unusual, experimental, dreamlike and dark as those.


I've heard that BV really transforms on 35mm on a big screen. It would be great to see it that way - it's a film I've always respected more than loved, and I'd like to fall under its spell.
User avatar
David Locke
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:24 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby David Locke » Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:18 pm

Oh, I definitely agree that Zabriskie Point is quite flawed -- but I think these flaws are exclusively in the screenplay and the two leads acting (plus that atrociously out-of-place Orbison song that MGM put in at the very end behind Antonioni's back). The explosion scene is indeed absolutely stunning, and the entire movie is as beautifully shot as anything I've ever seen; it's this quality that redeems it for me. It's not just a cold technical admiration, though; I love the way the film so atmospherically captures the textures and rhythms of the American Southwest, be it the smog-choked advert-filled streets of Los Angeles, or the dusty deserts of Arizona and Death Valley. But then I've spent a lot of time in those areas, and so to see them depicted so poetically is just a rush for me -- I've watched the movie, or parts of it, more than any other, I think. The first half in particular I know by heart; it's one of the most beautiful pieces of pure cinema I've ever seen, if one can forgive the clunky dialogue (I think the film kind of gets awkward and stalls in the middle when the two leads meet in the desert, but as you say it certainly picks back up again). ANYWAY, despite how flawed ZP is, it's one of the films that's most inspired me, visually, as an aspiring filmmaker (along with Antonioni's other films), with the unique way it looks at the world and sees so much of beauty and interest to show. So I can't help but love it. The Passenger (an all-time top 3 film for me, which sports both ZP's stunning form AND a boatload of poignant content to match) takes this awe-struck cinematographic perspective even further, in how it lushly depicts the natural world, but on a purely visual level I'm a sucker for ZP's eye-popping widescreen 'scope photography.

Blow-Up is also a masterpiece (I feel Antonioni really worked magic in color, much as I love the alienation trilogy too), and one that Lynch has publicly expressed his love for. One can certainly see parallels with the atmospheric rustling of the wind in the trees in that film, and the many shots of same throughout Twin Peaks and FWWM.
User avatar
LostInTheMovies
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:48 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:46 pm

David Locke wrote:Oh, I definitely agree that Zabriskie Point is quite flawed -- but I think these flaws are exclusively in the screenplay and the two leads acting (plus that atrociously out-of-place Orbison song that MGM put in at the very end behind Antonioni's back). The explosion scene is indeed absolutely stunning, and the entire movie is as beautifully shot as anything I've ever seen; it's this quality that redeems it for me. It's not just a cold technical admiration, though; I love the way the film so atmospherically captures the textures and rhythms of the American Southwest, be it the smog-choked advert-filled streets of Los Angeles, or the dusty deserts of Arizona and Death Valley. But then I've spent a lot of time in those areas, and so to see them depicted so poetically is just a rush for me -- I've watched the movie, or parts of it, more than any other, I think. The first half in particular I know by heart; it's one of the most beautiful pieces of pure cinema I've ever seen, if one can forgive the clunky dialogue (I think the film kind of gets awkward and stalls in the middle when the two leads meet in the desert, but as you say it certainly picks back up again). ANYWAY, despite how flawed ZP is, it's one of the films that's most inspired me, visually, as an aspiring filmmaker (along with Antonioni's other films), with the unique way it looks at the world and sees so much of beauty and interest to show. So I can't help but love it. The Passenger (an all-time top 3 film for me, which sports both ZP's stunning form AND a boatload of poignant content to match) takes this awe-struck cinematographic perspective even further, in how it lushly depicts the natural world, but on a purely visual level I'm a sucker for ZP's eye-popping widescreen 'scope photography.

Blow-Up is also a masterpiece (I feel Antonioni really worked magic in color, much as I love the alienation trilogy too), and one that Lynch has publicly expressed his love for. One can certainly see parallels with the atmospheric rustling of the wind in the trees in that film, and the many shots of same throughout Twin Peaks and FWWM.


I think in pure visual terms my favorite Antoinioni film might be Red Desert. I could stare at frames from that film for hours! Especially if they include Monica Vitti. :)
User avatar
David Locke
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:24 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby David Locke » Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:54 pm

LostInTheMovies wrote:
David Locke wrote:Oh, I definitely agree that Zabriskie Point is quite flawed -- but I think these flaws are exclusively in the screenplay and the two leads acting (plus that atrociously out-of-place Orbison song that MGM put in at the very end behind Antonioni's back). The explosion scene is indeed absolutely stunning, and the entire movie is as beautifully shot as anything I've ever seen; it's this quality that redeems it for me. It's not just a cold technical admiration, though; I love the way the film so atmospherically captures the textures and rhythms of the American Southwest, be it the smog-choked advert-filled streets of Los Angeles, or the dusty deserts of Arizona and Death Valley. But then I've spent a lot of time in those areas, and so to see them depicted so poetically is just a rush for me -- I've watched the movie, or parts of it, more than any other, I think. The first half in particular I know by heart; it's one of the most beautiful pieces of pure cinema I've ever seen, if one can forgive the clunky dialogue (I think the film kind of gets awkward and stalls in the middle when the two leads meet in the desert, but as you say it certainly picks back up again). ANYWAY, despite how flawed ZP is, it's one of the films that's most inspired me, visually, as an aspiring filmmaker (along with Antonioni's other films), with the unique way it looks at the world and sees so much of beauty and interest to show. So I can't help but love it. The Passenger (an all-time top 3 film for me, which sports both ZP's stunning form AND a boatload of poignant content to match) takes this awe-struck cinematographic perspective even further, in how it lushly depicts the natural world, but on a purely visual level I'm a sucker for ZP's eye-popping widescreen 'scope photography.

Blow-Up is also a masterpiece (I feel Antonioni really worked magic in color, much as I love the alienation trilogy too), and one that Lynch has publicly expressed his love for. One can certainly see parallels with the atmospheric rustling of the wind in the trees in that film, and the many shots of same throughout Twin Peaks and FWWM.


I think in pure visual terms my favorite Antoinioni film might be Red Desert. I could stare at frames from that film for hours! Especially if they include Monica Vitti. :)

Definitely can't argue with that. ;) I think Vitti looks even more ravishing in L'eclisse, though in all of those 60s films she's pretty much every male (or lesbian!) cinephile's wet dream. ANYWAY....

So, back on topic: Just the other day I caught the first half hour or so of Dune, and I was really impressed by a lot of things about it. I avoided it for years because of its reputation and the fact that I have no interest in "space operas" and am not even much of a sci-fi fan generally... but wow, this thing looks gorgeous! I mean, the production design, the spaces that these people inhabit, is so lush and richly realized, the editing and camera-work is typical Lynch with the dreamy dissolves, and that disgusting humongous sponge-like creature at the beginning, with its suggestively vaginal opening, is like something out of Eraserhead. This film definitely seems like the bizarro visuals of Eraserhead grafted onto a space-opera story, which makes sense, but I guess I just wan't expecting such great visual dreaminess. I thought it was a total botched job, with floating heads and endless monologues instead of any kind of interesting filmmaking -- and while there is a lot of speechifying and unnecessary dialogue, it works kind of well in a way as pure hypnotic incantation, I wasn't even paying attention to much of it honestly, I just loved what I was seeing. So yeah, I'm gonna have to check out the rest of the film, even though I doubt it will end up being at the top of my Lynch-list.

On the other hand, I couldn't make it past ten minutes of re-watching Wild at Heart recently, which is too bad because I know that there's some beauty and poetry in there (like the car crash scene) in between all the unLynchian cruelty and lack of compassion. I mean, I know the film was sort of borne out of a time and place where Lynch was looking at the wider world around him and seeing all this violence and finding it repulsive, but I just feel like the film spits that violence back at us without much humane consideration, very much unlike films like FWWM or Blue Velvet. And regardless, its aesthetic is too trashy and loud for my tastes, what with all the Powermad songs -- maybe that's why the car crash sequence and the road scenes before it strike me as special, because there's a reflective mood in the air, there's some melancholy Chris Isaak on the soundtrack, and there's the feel, for once, that something of value is really at stake here and life's not just a gory sideshow.
User avatar
LostInTheMovies
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:48 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:24 pm

David Locke wrote:maybe that's why the car crash sequence and the road scenes before it strike me as special, because there's a reflective mood in the air, there's some melancholy Chris Isaak on the soundtrack, and there's the feel, for once, that something of value is really at stake here and life's not just a gory sideshow.


Yup, you nailed it. I think the second half of Wild at Heart is stronger than the first - not just the Sherilyn Fenn scene (which tips the mood of the film toward melancholy) but also some really powerful stuff with Bobby Peru, who is a great character. The first half feels mostly like Lynch in party-mode, which is sort of fascinating if not his most rewarding (it's like he's just luxuriating in the moment of having a new network TV show, getting press coverage, and dating Isabella Rossellini - this is the closest Lynch gets to coasting on his "weird" persona rather than just naturally embodying it).

Watching all his films in order though, I did realize just how important Wild at Heart is as a transitional work, along with (even more so) Twin Peaks & Fire Walk With Me. That whole period sees every facet of his filmmaking approach shift radically. Most of the changes occur more noticeably in Twin Peaks, but I think for visual style Wild at Heart is the key work: he drops the more restrained classicism of Eraserhead through Blue Velvet and embraces the impressionistic flow that will characterize all of his later works. Wild at Heart also allows us our first real subjective peek into a female character's head, and it mixes reality and fantasy unlike his previous films.
User avatar
David Locke
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:24 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby David Locke » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:29 am

LostInTheMovies wrote:
David Locke wrote:maybe that's why the car crash sequence and the road scenes before it strike me as special, because there's a reflective mood in the air, there's some melancholy Chris Isaak on the soundtrack, and there's the feel, for once, that something of value is really at stake here and life's not just a gory sideshow.


Yup, you nailed it. I think the second half of Wild at Heart is stronger than the first - not just the Sherilyn Fenn scene (which tips the mood of the film toward melancholy) but also some really powerful stuff with Bobby Peru, who is a great character. The first half feels mostly like Lynch in party-mode, which is sort of fascinating if not his most rewarding (it's like he's just luxuriating in the moment of having a new network TV show, getting press coverage, and dating Isabella Rossellini - this is the closest Lynch gets to coasting on his "weird" persona rather than just naturally embodying it).

Watching all his films in order though, I did realize just how important Wild at Heart is as a transitional work, along with (even more so) Twin Peaks & Fire Walk With Me. That whole period sees every facet of his filmmaking approach shift radically. Most of the changes occur more noticeably in Twin Peaks, but I think for visual style Wild at Heart is the key work: he drops the more restrained classicism of Eraserhead through Blue Velvet and embraces the impressionistic flow that will characterize all of his later works. Wild at Heart also allows us our first real subjective peek into a female character's head, and it mixes reality and fantasy unlike his previous films.

I do recall the second half having most of the best scenes, too; I actually quite liked the ending and even found it a bit moving in that unusual Lynchian way, though it's still too little too late. And yeah, it's strange how "on top of the world" Lynch was for that one moment in 1990. That it was WaH that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes seems almost arbitrary, as if it could have been anything he had just released -- considering how negatively that film was subsequently greeted by most critics, and how little a positive legacy it seems to have built in the years since (sure, it has its fans, but it seems like only Dune and possibly Inland Empire are more widely criticized amongst Lynch's features, now that FWWM has been mostly positively reevaluated).

Totally agree that WaH was a pivotal shift in Lynch's mode of expression (a good example of this more impressionistic style is the film's first sex scene, which climaxes in a flash of burning-orange sunlight). I'm glad the shift happened too, for it produced most of Lynch's greatest and more interesting works. There's something a little drab about the staid, classical form of his first three features, especially, which would've been constricting if continually used. It's like he started as a more restrained Kubrick-esque filmmaker, with long and wide shots aplenty and an overall "objective" feel and ended up, by necessity, altering that style to suit his increasingly subjective portrayals of people coming apart at the seams.
User avatar
LostInTheMovies
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:48 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby LostInTheMovies » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:42 am

David Locke wrote:
LostInTheMovies wrote:
David Locke wrote:maybe that's why the car crash sequence and the road scenes before it strike me as special, because there's a reflective mood in the air, there's some melancholy Chris Isaak on the soundtrack, and there's the feel, for once, that something of value is really at stake here and life's not just a gory sideshow.


Yup, you nailed it. I think the second half of Wild at Heart is stronger than the first - not just the Sherilyn Fenn scene (which tips the mood of the film toward melancholy) but also some really powerful stuff with Bobby Peru, who is a great character. The first half feels mostly like Lynch in party-mode, which is sort of fascinating if not his most rewarding (it's like he's just luxuriating in the moment of having a new network TV show, getting press coverage, and dating Isabella Rossellini - this is the closest Lynch gets to coasting on his "weird" persona rather than just naturally embodying it).

Watching all his films in order though, I did realize just how important Wild at Heart is as a transitional work, along with (even more so) Twin Peaks & Fire Walk With Me. That whole period sees every facet of his filmmaking approach shift radically. Most of the changes occur more noticeably in Twin Peaks, but I think for visual style Wild at Heart is the key work: he drops the more restrained classicism of Eraserhead through Blue Velvet and embraces the impressionistic flow that will characterize all of his later works. Wild at Heart also allows us our first real subjective peek into a female character's head, and it mixes reality and fantasy unlike his previous films.

I do recall the second half having most of the best scenes, too; I actually quite liked the ending and even found it a bit moving in that unusual Lynchian way, though it's still too little too late. And yeah, it's strange how "on top of the world" Lynch was for that one moment in 1990. That it was WaH that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes seems almost arbitrary, as if it could have been anything he had just released -- considering how negatively that film was subsequently greeted by most critics, and how little a positive legacy it seems to have built in the years since (sure, it has its fans, but it seems like only Dune and possibly Inland Empire are more widely criticized amongst Lynch's features, now that FWWM has been mostly positively reevaluated).

Totally agree that WaH was a pivotal shift in Lynch's mode of expression (a good example of this more impressionistic style is the film's first sex scene, which climaxes in a flash of burning-orange sunlight). I'm glad the shift happened too, for it produced most of Lynch's greatest and more interesting works. There's something a little drab about the staid, classical form of his first three features, especially, which would've been constricting if continually used. It's like he started as a more restrained Kubrick-esque filmmaker, with long and wide shots aplenty and an overall "objective" feel and ended up, by necessity, altering that style to suit his increasingly subjective portrayals of people coming apart at the seams.


Yes - I LOVE Kubrick and that style of filmmaking and find a lot to recommend and admire in early features (indeed, Eraserhead may be his most perfectly-executed work). That said there's something that feels really right and natural about him adopting a looser style - like he's fully coming into his own as an individual filmmaker. And I find I respond viscerally more to, say, Mulholland Drive than Blue Velvet.
User avatar
David Locke
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:24 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby David Locke » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:49 am

Finally watched Dune, and I really liked it! I'm probably alone in ranking it 6th, but I found a lot to enjoy -- even though it's heavily flawed and not at all working on the same emotionally powerful levels as his best work. Here's what I just edited into my original post about the film:

Yes, flawed and clunky (especially the action scenes). Yes, silly at times, what with the constant monologues. But wow is this one of the most lush and vividly realized sci-fi "worlds" on film. I hate pretty much any film that can be called a "space opera," but the Lynchian dreaminess and pure strangeness of the film drew me in and kept me in its thrall to the end, even though the second half saw a drop in quality. Fascinating atmosphere. Also, as an example of Lynch's unique aesthetic sensibilities grafted onto mainstream material, I find it far more successful and interesting than The Elephant Man.
User avatar
Gabriel
Posts: 746
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 12:53 pm

Re: David Lynch: Ranking His Movies From Worst To Best

Postby Gabriel » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:13 am

The article seemed like the usual ill-informed trash where someone who hadn't seen many of the films has done a quick bit of research to generate click bait.

It's difficult to rank the films. I love some of them and admire, but don't necessarily like, others.

I love Blue Velvet, Dune, Lost Highway, The Straight Story and FWWM.

I like Wild At Heart and The Elephant Man.

I admire, but dislike, Mulholland Dr. Watching the last 45 mins is like having my teeth pulled and to me justifies some accusations of Lynch doing 'weird for weirdness' sake.'

Sorry to say, but Eraserhead feels like a deranged student film to me and Inland Empire seems like a bunch of test footage and random web clips slung together. Can't help it and I know some people will likely consider me a philistine, but that's life!

Return to “DAVID LYNCH”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests