Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Respectfully Disagree: Blue Velvet

"What are you saying, Eric?"
"Yes, Eric, just what exactly do you mean?"

This was supposed to be a weekly feature. It's not. 

Dear Kevin,

You're a big fan of David Lynch. That's fine. He has a very distinct style, and tells a number of unique stories that are fascinating to people all over the world. I am not one of those people, I don't think. I watched Blue Velvet, and the entire time wondered why I was supposed to care about the characters, and why they were motivated to do what they did, and if I was going to start caring, or see any motivation anytime soon. I never did. The story, where a woman has her kid taken, and husband killed, by some guy, who for no reason dresses up in a fake mustache sometimes, and sucks air before raping women, and a young collegiate decides to investigate all this... I didn't like it. I thought his romance with Isabella Rossellini was absolutely and inappropriately out of the blue. I thought the amount of times Dennis Hopper said "fuck", and the variety of ways he said it, was laughable. I thought all the dialogue was laughable, really. The aesthetic was unpleasant for me. So many wide shots of grainy, disgustingly painted places with unsavory characters. I was busy being disconnected from the characters' problems, and griping about the set and wardrobe to notice any of the film's good points, apparently. I've heard this is one of his most accessible films, and if that's true I either have a thing for his inaccessibility, or these people are confusing a simple story for accessibility. I did not like this film, and probably won't like David Lynch films in the future, according to some. 

With care,
Eric T. Voigt

Dear Eric, 

I respectfully disagree. I'm sorry you didn't care about the characters. You didn't see what motivated them? Jeffrey and Sandy were two horny, inquisitive kids with the best of intentions (they just wanted to solve a good mystery); Dorothy Vallens was lonely and traumatized. Her husband and child were kidnapped! Frank frequently abuses her! He cut off her husband's ear to make a point! Holy God, man, have a heart! Frank wears a fake mustache to hide his identity because he's involved in shady dealings. And that's not just air he's sucking. You thought his (Jeffrey's) romance with Isabella Rossellini was absolutely and inappropriately out of the blue? Again, she's a lonely, damaged, desperate woman. He's young, vulnerable and NOT FRANK. Worlds collide quickly and uncomfortably, and it makes for a messy and short-lived but nevertheless engaging affair. As for Dennis Hopper saying "fuck" all the time. No qualms here. He was loud and uncouth. You've never encountered anyone like this? If I were a father and I brought my son to a baseball game for a fun-filled bonding experience, Frank would be the guy in the seat right behind, guzzling beer and cursing with his shit-faced friends, and the day would be ruined, probably. Sure, the dialogue was laughable sometimes, but it worked within the world Lynch crafted. It was supposed to be sugary and overly sentimental sometimes, but I don't think the awkward dialogue dominated the film. I won't even try to sway you on the aesthetic aspects, but I thought the filmmakers achieved an absolutely perfect look. I'm sorry you didn't like this film, but don't let that sway you from viewing other Lynch films in the future. Give them a chance. You loved Mulholland Drive

Kevin Kern

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