Friday, November 28, 2008

Siskel & Ebert on ‘Blue Velvet’

Here’s a Siskel & Ebert discussion I vividly remember... particularly Mr. Ebert’s argument that Isabella Rossellini was treated “cruelly” by director David Lynch.

I saw “Blue Velvet” in 1986, and I haven’t seen it since. I don’t want to see it again. I suppose that means I agree with Roger Ebert, though Gene Siskel defends the film ably.

I must acknowledge, after seeing Dennis Hopper in this clip, that Hopper did deliver one of the great villainous performances in modern movies.

19 comments:

that dude said...

BLUE VELVET is a masterpiece.

I saw it a few times when it came out...so many filmmakers work off variations of his formula.

David Lynch is a true original. And a real Artist. Can't say that about most.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ "Mulholland Drive" is the only movie of his that really mesmerized me. There were five or six times in the midst of that film that I felt like applauding.

that dude said...

MULHOLLAND DRIVE is a great one, no doubt. But LOST HIGHWAY is also incredible. I even like parts of DUNE, and that's a bad film.

Sure, some of the later work can be indulgent, but ERASERHEAD? ELEPHAN MAN? C'mon! Makes me get up and go to work in the morning.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Believe it or not, dude, I never saw all of "Erasehead." Can barely remember what I saw of "Elephant Man." Never felt like seeing "Dune."

I've seen "Lost Highway" a couple of times... most recently a couple of years back at the New Beverly. It didn't work its magic on me.

"Wild at Heart" I enjoyed, however. The second time even more than the first.

And his last one? "Inland Empire"? I actually walked out of the theater.

onefinemess said...

Since we're talking about Lynch, and I haven't seen any Twin Peaks love..let me throw some in. One of the few TV shows my wife and I have both enjoyed (yes it got bad towards the end and with the movie, yada yada).

I really enjoyed Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet I think I thought was decent (it's been ages) and Lost Highway was a real ordeal to make it through. Wife wouldn't watch it. It was interesting though, I'll give it that.

Never saw his first two pictures, but of course I had to watch Dune a few times. Even if it wasn't perfect, it was still an adaptation of one of my favorite books, and was definitely done with style. All my friends fell asleep watching this one in High School...but I made it through.

I think he's definitely a polarizing creator, even on a film by film basis. My overall, average opinion of him is just average, because the good & the crap seem to cancel each other out.

Andrew said...

Lynch is a peculiar one. Most people dislike half his films and love the other half, but there's basically no common overlap of which films fall into which category. For me, I love Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive, Wild at Heart, and The Straight Story (doesn't get talked about enough), and I hate Dune, Lost Highway, and Inland Empire.

I really wish Lynch didn't switch to video with Inland Empire. Prior to that film I always approached a Lynch film thinking that even if I disliked most of it, it would at least be nice to look at. Not anymore. He removed the safety net.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ God, I wanna see "Mulholland Drive" again. Right now. On a big screen.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there!

I just remember the scene when a woman is raped violently....

i would NEVER go and see that again.

{thumbs down}

that dude said...

Mmmmm, STRAIGHT STORY. Yeah, that one was good.

Never saw INLAND EMPIRE.

David Lynch is a true independent.

The Obenson Report said...

I often get the feeling that David Lynch is laughing at us behind closed doors, thinking, "they really like this shit I'm producing? Ha-ha! I didn't think it would be this easy, but a lot of them are sold."

I've seen most of his films, from Eraserhead to Inland Empire, which was the most self-indulgent tedious pieces of crap I'd seen in awhile!

I can't begin to explain the unwavering support and attraction his core fans have for his work, so I won't bother.

His films are usually well photographed, which I appreciate. But, I need much more than just a pretty picture.

Obviously, I'm not a fan. But, I applaud his ability to make his films exactly as he wants to make them, without compromise, unlike most other filmmakers. That doesn't mean they're great, however.

He's eccentricity helps, I suppose.

After Inland Empire I swore him off! So, no more Lynch films for me. I will not be suckered any longer. I'm done!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Lynch often talks about his disinterest in narrative and his desire to simulate the flow of dreams. Only after seeing "Mulholland Drive" did I appreciate this approach to telling a story.

bill said...

In 1997, after Isabella Rossellini published her autobiography, Ebert revisited the movie:

...[quoting Rossellini] "People came out with blankets and picnic baskets, with their grandmothers and small children. I begged the assistant director to warn them it was going to be a tough scene, that I was going to be totally naked, but they stayed, anyway. I went out and talked to them myself, but they were already in the mood of an audience and just stared at me without reacting to my plea and warning."

Unquote. Extraordinary. It is customary to clear the set before nude scenes. Here we have the general public settling down with picnic baskets to watch Rossellini enact humiliation. But Rossellini was being humiliated not only in the film, but by the film. Where was Lynch? Why did he film the scene with total strangers watching? Did he feel it would enhance her sense of embarrassment?

"Blue Velvet" was in some ways a remarkable movie, and my one-star rating probably reflects personal aversion to that particular scene more than a balanced judgment of its artistry. But now that I've read Rossellini's book, I feel more than ever that a compact between actor and director was violated, and that what I was feeling was really there - painful, humiliating and unwarranted.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks, bill.

Andrew said...

Something I just remembered, this clip is actually a special feature on the Blue Velvet DVD. I don't know why Lynch would want to include a clip of possibly the most influential critic in the country bashing his film, but I admire him for doing so.

maria said...

david is one strange, but talented dude.

here's a new Q&A from last week's NYT.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/magazine/23wwln-q4-t.html?scp=2&sq=david%20lynch&st=cse

Andrew said...

Reading that Q&A with Lynch, where he laments that so many films are watched on tiny screens these days reminds me of this classic Lynch YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0

The Obenson Report said...

Re his approach: I understand and appreciate that; I've just seen it done differently, in ways that appeal to me. I was going to say "better," instead of differently, but realized it's all subjective anyway.

Mulholland drive is probably his most accessible film. If you haven't, you should watch Inland Empire, or Lost Highway. Interesting concepts for stories, but just not well executed, IMHO.

eeaster said...

Lemme guess - did those six places you wanted to applaud in Mulholland involve two naked women? I was pretty much clapping at those points too.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Eric, dude... you underestimate me and Lynch. I'm talking about this and this, for starters...