Films I’ve watched: Lynch (watched 1/3/09)

This is the beginning of a series of film reviews. I take a movie I’ve watched and review it. Some of these will be new films, some old, some I’ve seen a thousand times. But they are films I’ve watched. That’s the only requirement.  Sounds simple enough.  The problem is I watch a lot of bad films. Why do I do this? You tell me. I suppose, like any enthusiast, my expectations are high and my disappointments are common.

lynch-docSuch is the case with the documentary Lynch.

You guessed it, this film is about a filmmaker, David Lynch. Clever title, and this is only the beginning.

I should give some background on David Lynch and me.  I have been watching David Lynch films since before I knew who he was.  The first film of his I remember seeing was Mulholland Drive. I didn’t get it. In fact, I hated it because I didn’t get it. Who was the guy behind the diner? What was the blue box all about? Why the Hell is Naomi Watts acting so poorly?  Over my head by a mile, but I was only, what, sixteen? Seventeen? I didn’t know shit. And still, some scenes stayed with me. The woman singing and fainting while the song continued playing, the director getting manhandled by Billy Ray Cyrus, the tiny grandparents crawling under the door.  These are things you DO NOT FORGET. EVER.

That is how David Lynch is. Indelible. Unforgettable. So unique and so bizarre, he doesn’t seem of this planet. I have since watched Mulholland Drive several times, and while I still don’t get it all the way, I love it. I appreciate it.

I have watched everything by David Lynch that I could find. (Thanks Eric for showing me Wild At Heart and Blue Velvet when I really needed it) I love his short films. I love Twin Peaks. I love his book about Transcendental Meditation. I love David Lynch. I even went to a screening he presented in person of Inland Empire, his most extravagant and controversial “experiment.” I got motion sickness at the screening, and guess what? I fucking loved it.

So why does this documentary suck so much?

It follows David Lynch around as he makes Inland Empire, in sound stages, in Poland, at his office. You would think this would be the ultimate companion piece to the film he made and his visionary talents.  Sadly, this documentary was not made by David Lynch, but rather a lackey, a hanger on. A film school reject with one eye and no brains.  Sitting though this doc is like being really sleepy through a film for long periods of time. You have no idea what is going on, and you really don’t care, you just want to go back to sleep.

The director is credited under the name blackANDwhite. Pretensious. I’m sorry. But you’re a professional. This is not a White Strips video. I want to know your name. The fact that you hide behind this monker is proof of your embarrasssing lack of talent. OOhh, and capitalizing the AND is soo artsy.  Did your parents nod approvingly as they wrote another check for film school?  Again, apologies to blackANDwhite but you suckANDblow.

So what we get throughout the ninety odd minutes is random edits of David Lynch making art, taking to Laura Dern (easily the best parts), soaking a jacket in green paint, and stressing over his latest project.  AND? It leads to nothing. No mood, no integration, no genius. Listen documentary. There is only one David Lynch. AND YOU ARE NOT HIM. So stop trying will ya? Annie said it best, “I didn’t know you could make a documentary about David Lynch so Boring.”

That sums it up. This was a boring movie. It could have been a real insight to Lynch’s thinking, his world, his ideas, but it was too obssessed with making the filmmaker look good. This was a documentary about blackANDwhite trying to ride David Lynch’s coattails to the ends of the Earth. Even in the interviews where David Lynch is talking about Philadelphia or his days growing up in and around Montana, the crew is like, “ha ha David, you’re so funny. I love you soo much, cool, awesome cool.” You guys are boring! Stop getting in the shots! Stop putting the camera on the floor! If I have to tell you one more time to focus that fucking lens, I’m going to lose it!

Oh, and I loved how you guys put in a bunch of pointless footage you obviously shot on your day off about a girl running around a carnival and some kid walking around a factory. Ooh, it’s so Lynch of you. Instead of listening to what David is saying about a film he loves or a thought he has, I have to try to get through another series of out of focus shots of some kid skipping along a street! Stop It! You are not David Lynch. GET OVER IT.

Basically I don’t like this film.

The only thing that this film has going for it is David Lynch. I, like many of fans, could sit through three hours of DV camera footage and call it brilliant. And that is exactly what the documentary is banking on. “Hey, It’s got Lynch, so people will automatically love it.” You almost had me going there for a second documentary, you really did. Too bad you only spent about three minutes in the editing room going, “umm, okay, this and then that and then some other shit. Who care? Its David Lynch.” I care. I fucking care! You insulted my hero by making this, and insulted me by marketing it as innovative and insightful.

Don’t see this documentary if you like David Lynch. It actually does the man a disservice. It makes him look weird, and angry and stupid for hanging around with these idiots all day. If you want to know more about David Lynch, read Lynch On Lynch, or Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. Or watch anything else about David Lynch. You’ll feel better about your hero and yourself.

-Charlie


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