How would you rank David Lynch's films?

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Here Comes That Bob
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Here Comes That Bob » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:37 pm

I'm honestly suprised that so many people have "The Straight Story" ranked at the bottom. To me personally it was one of the most powerful Lynch's movies, with beautiful cinematography and superb performance from veteran actor Richard Farnsworth. Eventough the film didn't include surreal elements and wasn't made in Lynch's traditional fashion I still find it to be a top notch flick.
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby ArmsBendBack » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:15 pm

Here Comes That Bob wrote:I'm honestly suprised that so many people have "The Straight Story" ranked at the bottom. To me personally it was one of the most powerful Lynch's movies, with beautiful cinematography and superb performance from veteran actor Richard Farnsworth. Eventough the film didn't include surreal elements and wasn't made in Lynch's traditional fashion I still find it to be a top notch flick.


The Straight Story is a wonderful film, but for me at least, it is the least Lynchian of all his films, and for this reason alone, the film suffers by comparison to his other work. Very few other filmmakers could have made Eraserhead or Mulholland Dive, whereas many could have made The Straight Story, again, I love the film, but it's very difficult to make a list like this, any small reasons for separation help.
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David Locke
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby David Locke » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:34 pm

I think The Straight Story is very Lynchian. Even if you disregard the content/subject matter of the film completely, the form is very much in line with his aesthetic as of that time. The extremely slow, beautiful dissolves; the subtle, inimitable sound design; the look of the small town that Farnsworth's character is from (kind of like a Midwest Lumberton); and so on. But the content of the film is hardly lacking Lynch's touch. We get a lot of familiar Lynchian motifs -- a fixation on fire, stars/the night sky, vehicles (like WAH, it's very much a road movie in a weird kind of way), and a main character who represses some unspeakable act or trauma (the dark implication is that Alvin was indirectly [?] responsible for the death of his daughter's children).

One thing in TSS that's a little different from Lynch's other films is the relatively straightforward, unaffected way that many of the small-town characters speak. Usually Lynch directs his actors into a kind of weird hyper-realist trance, but most of the people here come across as very genuine, almost uniformly kind, banal even. So in terms of acting it's a little different, but I think in the other ways I mentioned TSS is very much a Lynchian film. I think The Elephant Man is the least Lynchian of his features. (Yes, I've seen Dune). Besides some aesthetic touches which more call to mind Eraserhead than the rest of Lynch's oeuvre, it's a pretty ordinary film, relatively speaking anyway. It also happens to be my least favorite Lynch feature, partly for these reasons.
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby ArmsBendBack » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:36 am

David Locke wrote:I think The Straight Story is very Lynchian. Even if you disregard the content/subject matter of the film completely, the form is very much in line with his aesthetic as of that time. The extremely slow, beautiful dissolves; the subtle, inimitable sound design; the look of the small town that Farnsworth's character is from (kind of like a Midwest Lumberton); and so on. But the content of the film is hardly lacking Lynch's touch. We get a lot of familiar Lynchian motifs -- a fixation on fire, stars/the night sky, vehicles (like WAH, it's very much a road movie in a weird kind of way), and a main character who represses some unspeakable act or trauma (the dark implication is that Alvin was indirectly [?] responsible for the death of his daughter's children).

One thing in TSS that's a little different from Lynch's other films is the relatively straightforward, unaffected way that many of the small-town characters speak. Usually Lynch directs his actors into a kind of weird hyper-realist trance, but most of the people here come across as very genuine, almost uniformly kind, banal even. So in terms of acting it's a little different, but I think in the other ways I mentioned TSS is very much a Lynchian film. I think The Elephant Man is the least Lynchian of his features.


The Elephant Man borrows many of Lynch's early filmmaking trademarks from Eraserhead, industrial cityscapes and sound design, and the similarities don't end there. I always considered The Elephant Man to be quintessential Lynchianism, certainly in terms of the look and sound of the film, if not the way the story is told, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive have it covered there.

And you have convinced me that The Straight Story is not the least Lynchian of his films. There are elements of that film I overlooked, and it's probably a far greater film than I gave it credit for. That's not to say I never was an admirer of the film, I have always thought it was a beautiful film, but it has been many years since I saw it, and I never studied it with the same interest as his other films. You have helped me gain a new appreciation for it now. I see it in a different context.
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Here Comes That Bob
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Here Comes That Bob » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:42 am

David Locke wrote:and a main character who represses some unspeakable act or trauma (the dark implication is that Alvin was indirectly [?] responsible for the death of his daughter's children).


Where did you get that from? I don't think that was ever implicated(at least I didn't get that impression). The cause of his truma was revealed in his conversation with another ww2 veteran in the bar, where he expressed his guilt over accidentally killing a young scout boy in a friendly fire if I'm not mistaken.
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Snailhead » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:24 pm

I think in most hands, The Straight Story would probably end up being a maudlin affair.

I sometimes forget about TSS when thinking about Lynch's work, but it's one of his best. TSS and Elephant Man stand out as his only films that have made me cry at the end.
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David Locke
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby David Locke » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:20 pm

Here Comes That Bob wrote:
David Locke wrote:and a main character who represses some unspeakable act or trauma (the dark implication is that Alvin was indirectly [?] responsible for the death of his daughter's children).


Where did you get that from? I don't think that was ever implicated(at least I didn't get that impression). The cause of his truma was revealed in his conversation with another ww2 veteran in the bar, where he expressed his guilt over accidentally killing a young scout boy in a friendly fire if I'm not mistaken.

I think it is very heavily implied, though still rather subtly because it is a G-rated Disney film after all. Sure, Alvin's traumatized from the war, but there's something else that haunts him. I'd point to this analysis by Tim Kreider as a good reading of the darker aspects of TSS.
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Henry Spencer
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Henry Spencer » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:08 pm

I'd say that for me it looks like this:

1. Eraserhead
Pure Lynch, the most surrealistic and generally the best movie ever. Because of Lady in the Radiator
2. The Elephant Man
The very first Lynch that I've ever saw. Because of the beautiful and moving history
3. Fire Walk With Me
The first Lynch movie that I saw and knew it was his film. Because of Laura Palmer and The Pink Room music
4. Blue Velvet
Because it inspires me a lot (I became a filmmaker because of David)
5. Mullholland Drive
Because of Betty and Rita
6. Inland Empire
Because of Poland (I'm Polish)
7. Lost Highway
Because of the claustrophobic climate
8. Wild at Heart
Because of Marietta's red face
9. The Straight Story
I don't believe it is His movie.
10. Dune
No comment.
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Thatfabulousalien » Sat Jan 28, 2017 4:43 pm

To limit it to only six:

1 Eraserhead
2 Blue Velvet
3 Mulholland Drive
4 The Elephant Man
5 Lost Highway
6 Inland Empire

I don't think Dune was as bad as people make it out to be but it didn't leave me with as much of an impact as many other Lynch films.
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby underthefan » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:57 am

For me, it's (and I'm not including TP the series, only his features):

1. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me - I wouldn't say this is his best film, but I find it most emotionally affecting, not to mention that "balls to the walls" performance by Sheryl Lee.
2. Mulholland Dr. - I find this to be his best, most accomplished, and coherent film in which his ideas about identity are most clearly and successfully expressed.
3. Lost Highway - This one feels like an antecedent of MD, especially in terms of its themes, but I love the mood and atmosphere, plus Patricia Arquette's memorable performance(s).
4. Blue Velvet - Even though I enjoy this one, I think of it as Lynch-lite, diet-Coke, sort of a more mainstream acceptable film that people who are not necessarily Lynch fans will appreciate the most.
5. Wild at Heart - I know WAH is more of a mixed bag, but Cage and Dern are great and there are some insanely unforgettable moments (like Sherilyn Fenn's car crash).
6. Inland Empire - Some days I prefer this one over BV and WAH for the sheer sense of freedom, exploration and experimentation, but it sure can't come close to the cinematic look of his other films.
7. Straight Story - This one is sparse and beautiful, but I don't find myself returning to it.
8. Eraserhead - For me, it comes closest to the spirit of IE but like many of his earlier films, it's just too cold for my taste.
9. Dune - Honestly, I saw this one ages ago and have no need to revisit it.
10. The Elephant Man - Same as with Dune.
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby tmurry » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:43 pm

Inland Empire - An obsession for a decade, will answer "best movie ever" as this, despite digital grade
Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me - Best movie of the 90's, full stop
Mulholland Drive - Surprisingly un-deep, but a masterpiece
Wild at Heart - Hidden in the shadows of other things, but great
Lost Highway - The knottiest Lynch film for me, tough but a lot there
Eraserhead - Really perfect first film, surprisingly direct
Blue Velvet - Really great scenes, doesn't come together as a whole as well as later films
Elephant Man - Nice choices, only Lynch film that succeeds by "Oscar" standards, but that's not a compliment necessarily
Straight Story - Some nice moments (bar scene), but overall beneath him
Dune - Suffers from being on a Lynch list, not as bad as repped, but the only film that is difficult to see as a true Lynch film
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby IcedOver » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:26 am

I'm no longer the biggest fan of "ranking" stuff, but if I had to rank 'em best to worst, this is probably what it'd be. I go back and forth on some. My list is pretty atypical, I realize. Sometimes I feel like the bottom two could be interchanged as being the worst.

Blue Velvet
Eraserhead
The Elephant Man
The Straight Story
Inland Empire
Lost Highway
Dune
Wild at Heart
Mulholland Drive
Twin Peaks - Fire Walk with Me
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby IcedOver » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:42 am

Here Comes That Bob wrote:I'm honestly suprised that so many people have "The Straight Story" ranked at the bottom. To me personally it was one of the most powerful Lynch's movies, with beautiful cinematography and superb performance from veteran actor Richard Farnsworth. Eventough the film didn't include surreal elements and wasn't made in Lynch's traditional fashion I still find it to be a top notch flick.


I agree, it's an amazing film with flawless direction. It feels like some people take the fact that Lynch doesn't have a scripting credit on the film as an indication that it was less his film (he probably did some work on the script but didn't take credit). However, plenty of the most well-known directors didn't write many or any of their films, but that doesn't make them any less their films. This movie is just beautiful, unabashedly sentimental and emotional. I think it represents the kind of world Lynch wishes were more of a reality, one in which people treat others with kindness and forgiveness is possible. In much of his work characters strive for this only to be pulled down, but this is a whole movie that lives in that realm. The movie also has what I consider Badalamenti's best film score.

Why this movie didn't get a better release is beyond me. It played in the shittiest, most broken-down arthouse theater in my town when it was released. The screen couldn't be formatted to accommodate the 2.35:1 image, so a couple feet on each side were projected on the curtains, and the image was dark and dank. Still, I was deeply affected by the film and went back to that same damn theater twice more. Then a few months later it showed for a week at a nicer multiplex, and I went. Three years ago all of Lynch's films played via DVD or BD projection at a local theater, but this movie was shown in 35mm, so I had an opportunity to get another good look at this in 35mm.
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Judge Giant
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Judge Giant » Wed May 03, 2017 3:55 am

1. Mulholland Drive
2. Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me
3. Inland Empire
4. Blue Velvet
5. Lost Highway
6. Eraserhead
7. The Elephant Man
8. Wild at Heart
9. The Straight Story
10. Dune

The only ones on that list that stay in the same position are 1 and 7-10. Mulholland Drive is Lynch's magnum opus. The Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story and Dune all stand apart from Lynch's other work in their own respective ways - and I do like the former two a lot.

2-6 are all his best work (MH aside) and are pretty interchangeable for me depending on my mood.
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Gabriel
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Re: How would you rank David Lynch's films?

Postby Gabriel » Wed May 03, 2017 3:06 pm

1 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
2 Blue Velvet
3= Lost Highway
3=The Straight Story
5=The Elephant Man
5=Dune
5=Wild at Heart

8=Eraserhead
8=Inland Empire
8=Mulholland Drive

Broadly speaking, I love the first seven close to equally. FWWM will always blow me away though. It's the finest transition of a TV show to the big screen I've ever seen. It expands Twin Peaks into truly epic territory. Rarely has a TV spinoff managed to be radically reworked for a different medium yet maintain its soul and seem, at heart, still to be part of the same universe or multiverse.

The last three films I really don't like at all, which will doubtless amuse Lynch aficionados no end, but this is me rating them by what I enjoy watching!

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