Wednesday, June 15, 2016

F This Movie! - Mulholland Dr.

No hay Patrick and Erika! And yet we hear Patrick and Erika.



Download this episode here. (36.2 MB)

Subscribe to F This Movie! in iTunes.

Listen to F This Movie! on Stitcher.

Also discussed this episode: The Nice Guys (2016), Everything is Copy (2016), In a Valley of Violence (2016)

37 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about watching this again last night. Then I got it into my head that I need to pick a day to marathon though this, Blue Velvet, and Lost Highway.

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  2. Yes! I'm so excited to listen to this! One of my favorite movies of all time.

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  3. For anyone interested, here are the ten dvd clues that Patrick mentions early on:

    1. Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film; at least two clues are revealed before the credits.
    2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
    3. Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?
    4. An accident is a terrible event...notice the location of the accident.
    5. Who gives a key, and why?
    6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
    7. What is felt, realized, and gathered at the club Silencio?
    8. Did talent alone help Camilla?
    9. Note the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkles.
    10. Where is Aunt Ruth?

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    1. I absolutely HATED that this was on the DVD. I can't imagine Lynch wanted this in any way.

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    2. You think so? I always like to imagine he put them in there to distract us.

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    3. I always assumed the studio convinced him to do it because Lynch is always so cryptic in interviews. He NEVER gives out that kind of information as he wants you to figure it out yourself. Or sometimes, I think he doesn't want you to figure anything out, form your own interpretation and you are ultimately correct in your interpretation.

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    4. Michael GiammarinoJune 16, 2016 at 3:31 PM

      Convinced? More likely forced.

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  4. You just made my morning by doing this for one of my favorite movies from my all time favorite director.

    You also made my morning by stating that Lost Highway and Mulholland are VERY similar. I've been talking about this for years! I was always kind of pissed that critics slammed Lost Highway and then praised Mulholland Drive but it felt like because Mulholland was about Hollywood (and those bastards love the irony of being slammed) that they were more accepting of it. I don't know, it has better performances I guess and Lost Highway does seem like Lynch experimenting with the structure and then perfecting it in Mulholland. Lost Highway is less polished but I think it's better, well, some days I do.

    Re: "Trash Monster" - I believe it's pretty simple that he represents seedy Hollywood and all of what it eats. Even more, he represents all of what can fuck up your dreams. You would have to assume that everything from "Winkies" gets thrown out in that dumpster. Food scraps, broken dishes, etc... So it would be metaphorically correct to see that the aspiring actors who are in Winkies are "thrown out there" as well. The guy who has the breakdown when talking about the dream can lead you to assume that he is overwhelmed by the evils of Hollywood (or even his inner demons) that are eating him up inside. Diane and Betty are both doomed and so is the fate of the hired gun who Diane meets with there as well.

    Don't even get me started on Club Silencio. That whole scene describes what the entire film could be representing. "It is all a tape". Is Lynch not only giving you clues in the film but also making a much larger statement on film itself being fake? That everything you see on the screen means nothing? Therefore, Hollywood is not reality? I think so. But that's the beauty of Lynch, he'll never straight up tell you.

    Lynch being my fav, his films rotate in and out of order of my favorites. When "Inland Empire" came out I watched it 6 times in a row and had a totally different experience every time. The first, I was just taking it in, the second, I was terrified, the third, I was sobbing like a baby, etc... That was my fav Lynch movie for a while but at the end of the day, Fire Walk With Me is and will always be my fav of his. It's the only movie that still scares the shit out of me and is the scariest film I've ever seen.

    Side note - can critics please stop saying "Lynchian" for every F-ing art film! It's like they have no frame of reference other than Lynch to turn to. Sorry, rant over.

    Again, thank you for doing a podcast on Lynch and I'm really happy to hear that you respond to him so positively. He should always be in talks as one the greatest American Directors of all time. We will never have another voice like him. We'll have a million imitators, but they'll never get it right.

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    1. One other thing - when watching MD, it helps to keep in mind that Lynch has cited "Sunset Boulevard" as one of his favorite films ever. (I think he's even said it IS his favorite)

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    2. Not that it matters, but when I said I watched Inland 6 times in a row, I didn't mean in one sitting of course haha!

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    3. Michael GiammarinoJune 15, 2016 at 8:51 PM

      I've grouped Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire as Lynch’s "psychogenic fugue" movies.
      Also, I think Val Lewton's The Seventh Victim is very influential to the style of Lost Highway.

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  5. The DVD had no chapter stops. Not a big deal but kind of a big deal.

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    1. That's because a masterpiece like this should be watched in one sitting, you heathen.

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    2. It's freaking 8 in the morning, relax with the name calling. I haven't even had my coffee yet.

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  6. I had a dream a couple of weeks back that I was invited to be a guest host on the show, and this was the movie Patrick, JB, and I talked about. I guess my dream is dead. :(

    Really looking forward to this one, though!

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    1. That was no dream.

      Silencio.

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  7. I'm so excited! I've been hoping you guys would do this one one day. Definitely one of my favorites. My Twitter profile has been the trash monster for as long as I can remember.

    For anybody who has Hulu, all or most of Lynch's early short films are a available via Criterion Collection. Worth checking out.

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  8. I always interpreted the trash monster as a manifestation of the demon of what she's done following her and haunting her. No matter what she does she can't escape it and it's this evil nasty thing. It eventually leads to her demise. That's what I love about this movie, it's like a painting that can be seen so many different ways. I loved the podcast!

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  9. Great job, guys. That was a real 5-Napkin episode. INTERPRET THAT HOWEVER YOU'D LIKE.

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  10. I love Mulholland Dr. but I don't think its his best. I know I'm in the minority but I think one day The Elephant Man will be seen as his masterpiece. Go back and watch it I think it proves Lynch can make a great movie that you don't have to rack your brain for years trying to figure it out. I love Lynch movies that you cant figure out but I also would love his couple movies you can watch and when its over get it lol.

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  11. Great podcast! Though after spending a week thinking about the movie for my review of the Criterion Blu-ray I respectfully reject the idea that there's a fantasy half and a reality half. I think both halves are "reality" inasmuch as anything Lynch does exists in a reality. I think the film is about the way Hollywood cycles through actresses, treating them as interchangeable and disposable. We explicitly see that in "this is the girl" and the sleazy actor in Betty's audition. I like the idea that even though Watts and Harring play the characters at the beginning and the end, they are all different people. They look the same because that's the way Hollywood views starlets. Sometimes they hit it big and find love. Sometimes they are left discarded, bitter, and broken.

    Going through the extras on the BD, it seems clear Lynch doesn't endorse those ten clues. They were a demand by a distributor or studio and he made them but he doesn't stand by them and would probably say they don't really unlock anything. I don't want to "solve" a movie like this. Patrick may be correct in the way the story fits together, but if so it's a puzzle with pieces jammed together and forced to fit. If the first half is just a dream, why is Betty creating side stories for Justin Theroux, the shadowy studio men, the cowboy, and the guy in the diner? What's the deal with the blue box? Why is Betty the one who disappears from the bedroom after the Club Silencio sequence? Why'd I have the bowl, Bart? Why'd I have the bowl???

    Llorando...

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    1. I won't disagree with anyone's interpretation of the movie and I certainly think there's a certain "reality" to the first half of the film in terms of what it says, but for me there is enough cinematic language to suggest that the first half is meant to be read as a dream/fantasy, albeit one informed by real life. Even the first shot of the movie is us diving down into a pillow, essentially going to sleep and having the dream that follows.

      I've always interpreted a few of the side stories as Diane's rationalization for things in her life. The Justin Theroux/shadowy studio men is her explanation for why she hasn't gotten the parts she wants -- it's not her fault, but rather a vast conspiracy in which filmmakers are subject to the wills of businessmen in suits. I agree that not all the pieces add up, which I try to articulate on the podcast. As soon as you attempt to line things up 1:1, the movie loses some of its power (for me, anyway).

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    2. I hear you, and you may be dead on. I just find it less interesting to view the early stuff as dream/fantasy. There's no right answer in this. For me, it's a richer story if viewed as different facets of the same flawed gem. I think the first time I watched Mulholland I thought the story looped around and that after Harring gets amnesia Watts treats it as a "do over" where she can recapture and recreate the early days of their relationship. Which makes even less sense than either of the scenarios we've presented. So what do I know?

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    3. Totally valid. I don't think we're far off from each other, either, because I think the genius of David Lynch is that even his "dream" structure works in such an emotional way that it's still as real as anything that's "real." The emotional beats, the logic of the events -- all of it works, so I never feel like it's one of those "just a dream" cheats. Does that make sense?

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  12. Michael GiammarinoJune 16, 2016 at 1:40 PM

    Here's a very quick aside. Patrick, have you ever heard of Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast? If you're still a big time Star Trek fan, I recommend it highly. It's one of the best.

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  13. you mentioned almost every one of David Lynch's films. One of his best that you forgot was 1999's beautiful film The Straight Story. His G rated movie for Disney. Definitely worth being at the top of the list.

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  14. It makes perfect sense. I prefer to engage with the film on a more abstract emotional level with plot pushed way into the background, but I don't see you as some literal stickler trying to connect all the dots either. Lynch is on a very short list of filmmakers that affect me in this way. It's primal, the fear in the moments before the garbage man appears; the chills when Rebekah Del Rio sings "Llorando"; the sensuality of the audition. I'm lost in the jitterbug dream.

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  15. Brilliant comment on this podcast, I worry about my Neighbours because all you hear coming from my house is screaming, everynight, I wonder what they think?

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  16. This is my very first F-this-movie episode, and I'm about 50 minutes through. First of all, I LOVE the banter between these two! It's very obvious you have a great relationship, and it makes for a very entertaining listen. Thanks for that!

    About the movie: Was I wrong to assume for years that the real story was that Diana had been sexually abused by her grandparents, and that Laura Elena Harring (red HERRING?) was just another facet of her own personality in order for her to deal with things, perhaps blocking things out, but that the final realization of what happened to her (in the club listening to "Llorando") drove her to suicide?

    It would explain the miniature grandparents coming after her, the vicious memories hounding her until the only way she can stop them is by killing herself.

    I also assumed that the trash-heap monster behind the dumpster was the repressed nightmare-memory of the abuse, and that the man who was pretty much scared to death was yet another facet of her personality, one that couldn't deal with the truth of the abuse.

    I never thought that any of the relationship between the two women had been real; one of David Lynch's clues was that something important happens before the credits. I'm wondering if that POV shot of her sinking into the pillow and then the dreamy-cut was before the credits? If so, wouldn't that say that the entire movie is a dream, except for her suicide, and that nothing that happened was ever real? And I can't remember right now, but isn't the Jitterbug winning sequence before the credits? If so, it makes more sense to connect the Jitterbug dance contest to her grandparents (the Jitterbug hasn't been popular since their time, I believe), which is a big clue that the reason for her running away has to do more with her parents than any personal accomplishment on her part.

    Was I totally off base?

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    1. **I meant "grandparents" not "parents" in the 2nd-to-last line, sorry!

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    2. 1. Thanks for the nice words! Glad you enjoy the show.
      2. I have never considered (nor read anywhere else) your interpretation of the movie, but it's super interesting. Now I want to rewatch the movie with your comments in mind. Thanks for sharing that -- even if I end up not reading it the same way, I think it's a completely valid take on the movie.

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    3. I remember I came to this conclusion on my own and then felt totally confirmed after reading a particular article. But I just assumed that this was THE accepted meaning; now that I've googled around though, I see it hasn't really been a part of the conversation.

      Anyway, it's pretty dense, but very engrossing. If you have some time, it will be worth it, I promise you!

      http://www.imanisystems.com/Mulholland_Drive_Analysis.html

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  17. Not specifically a comment about this movie, but during the discussion, Patrick, you raised the question of (paraphrasing) whether you can still enjoy something on an emotional, aesthetic level after you intellectually dissect exactly why you had that response to begin with. Basically, is level of emotional enjoyment inversely proportional to intellectual understanding? It seems to me that, at worst, those two types of enjoyment occur independently, and may actually reinforce each other rather than detract from each other. If it were true that intellectual understanding ruins emotional reaction, an expert chef would never truly enjoy a meal, a composer could never emotionally respond to a piece of music.

    For myself, personally, the art that I respond to most, emotionally, are the same pieces that I'm most drawn to study and better understand intellectually. Further, to stick to the realm of movies, I'd say even a film that I've spent a long time with and have come to understand on an emotional and intellectual level will ALWAYS stand above one which, thought affected me emotionally, I haven't had the chance to truly dig in and dissect.

    I know you posed it as a question and didn't firmly come down on one side or the other, but thought I'd weigh in!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Ryan! I didn't mean to suggest that movies can only be enjoyed on one level or the other -- like you, movies work best when they engage you both ways. I think I just meant that in cases like Mulholland Dr., which I enjoyed the first time I saw it even though I could not intellectually tell you what the fuck was going on, is it ok to think a movie is great even if I didn't "get" it and it was only working on me emotionally. Like, can a movie work JUST on a visceral level but still be great? I don't actually think that applies to Mulholland Dr., which does engage me intellectually. It was more just a hypothetical. But we are not at all apart on this issue. Thanks!

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  18. Blue Velvet is really the only David Lynch Film I like. Mulholland Drive is nothing more than an incomprehensible mess that people try to ascribe meaning to. I usually never feel like I wasted my time watching a movie, but this film makes me feel the same way as taking a pencil, closing my eyes, and scribbling on a piece of paper. When I open them, perhaps if I squint real hard I might see something there.

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