Mar 3, 2009

Blue Velvet

I go back and forth on what is my favorite David Lynch film. It wasn’t hard for me to realize, however, that Eraserhead and Blue Velvet are the most important to me. Although Eraserhead left a much larger impression on me, Blue Velvet is a film that I go back to most often. Blue Velvet is also one of the few films that has made me feel patriotic as an American. Like the setting of Lumberton in Blue Velvet, I grew up in a small town. Also like the world featured in the film, I felt slightly disturbed by the strange wholesomeness of the community and also sought to find the more subversive elements in my small town.

Jeffrey Beaumont is a fairly “normal” college student who returns to his hometown after his father suffers from a severe stroke. The stroke scene in Blue Velvet is hilarious like many of the tragic events featured in the film. I especially liked when a Jack Russell terrier starts attacking the water coming out of the hose in slow motion. Although supposedly “man’s best friend,” this doggy seems completely apathetic to his owners horrible fall. This scene, and like many other in Blue Velvet, is a brilliant assault on the values that the post-World War II suburbanites held so deeply.

Jeffrey Beaumont finds himself in a strange situation when he finds a human ear randomly in a vacant grass field. Once giving the ear to a local police detective, he begins to realize that things are not quite right in Lumberton. Then on after, Jeffrey begins to realize that the small town he grew up in is not so normal after all. With Blue Velvet, David Lynch was able to create a film of mystery that borders on the surreal. David Lynch has admitted that he is not an intellectual and that his ideas come from subconsciously within. I believe this is why Blue Velvet is a unique film and the story that could not have been contrived by the most clever of screenwriters/filmmakers.

Isabella Rossellini is an undeniably beautiful and stunning woman yet I find it hard to see her as sexually attractive. This is probably due to her ability to play a completely deranged Dorothy Vallens in Blue Velvet in a very authentic manner. Whether it be a knife wielding Dorothy demanding Jeffrey to strip or her being completely naked and battered near the end as she speaks of Jeffrey putting his “disease” in her, she is genuinely creepy. Dorothy also acts as the perfect opposite and arch enemy of Jeffrey’s teenage love interest, Sandy. Whereas Dorothy is somewhat voluptuous and dark haired, Sandy is very homely (or more like ugly) and blond. David Lynch’s dichotomy of the beautiful ruined whore and the plain Jane wholesome blond girl next door is something that probably crossed his mind many times in his younger years. With the conclusion of Blue Velvet, it seems that beautiful deranged women are only good for screwing and wholesome girls are good for marrying. What a profound revelation.

Dennis Hopper’s performance as Frank Booth in Blue Velvet is without doubt one of his greatest. The only other performance by Hopper that rivals it is his performance in Tim Hunter’s River’s Edge as the crippled psycho biker Feck. From the initial appearance of Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, the tone of the film changes. Frank Booth is a criminal with some serious mother issues. Like many of the most inhumane killers and politicians of history, Booth seems to have some sexual issues as shown after he rapes Dorothy Vallens in an almost ritualistic manner. A friend of Frank Booth named Ben also seems to have sexual issues. Frank calls Ben “suave” various times during his visit at his old ugly whore infested residence. Ben’s “suaveness” is that he is an effeminate homosexual pimp (assumed) that has an ability to pull off pancake makeup. Due to their odd sexualities and pathologies, both Frank and Ben have fallen into a life of “unnatural” crime.

Suave Ben

Despite being a somewhat strange film, Blue Velvet is a great film to watch with friends. Quoting such Frank Booth lines in Blue Velvet like “baby wants to fuck!” and “Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!” have become a sort of cult (or not so cult) phenomenon. One also cannot forget the memorable soundtrack in Blue Velvet. Dorothy Vallen’s less than musical performance of Blue Velvet is notable as well as queer Ben’s lip-sync performance of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.” To briItalicng up River’s Edge once again, this film and Blue Velvet make the perfect two billing midnight living room screening.

Blue Velvet is the ultimate piece of cinematic Americana. That being said, I believe David Lynch to be the greatest truly “American” contemporary director. Only America could produce such a unique individual as the ever so charming Frank Booth. Only America could produce such an ideal “normal” young man as Jeffrey Beaumont. Finally, only America could produce such a unique film as Blue Velvet. What a shame that Hollywood is full of such banal and mediocre “directors.” One can only guess how many David Lynchs are hiding out in American small towns.

-Ty E


Keith said...

I mentioned this on another blog not long ago, but I've never seen this film. I have no idea why not. I've just never done it for some reason. I need to change that though. I hear so much praise for it.

vivian smith smythe-smith said...

Why does Keith acompany his name with a picture of that worthless Scottish cunt Sean Connery ?, the only good thing about Connery is his rampaging heterosexuality, in virtually every other respect he's a fucking pile of horse-shit.

Pzykoskillz said...

I love this movie. Hopper does an excellent acting job in this movie and Frank Booth is up there with some of my favorite movie characters.