Film

An Open Letter to David Lynch

I guess what I’m asking is "why don’t you make another movie?" Is it a matter of money? Is it really that hard for someone as undeniably gifted as you to find financing for your latest flights of fancy?

Dear God of Post-Modern Moviemaking:

Too much? Have I put you off already? If so, I'm sorry. It's just hard imagining what I have to say, and how I have to say it. You see, I've loved you for a very long time. No, not your subversive Midwestern mentality that sees beauty in the most grotesque of worm-infested rotting meat mannerisms. Nor am I particularly enamored of your current concentration on Transcendental Meditation, though I can completely see where you're coming from with the whole "free your mind" ideal. You see, I've loved your MOVIES for a very long time - since I first saw your "straight" drama The Elephant Man way back in 1980, and I'm here to say that I miss you, and need you back in my life terribly.

Wow - how weak-willed and whiny. I was hoping to come off a little more forceful than this. You see, I am a real movie maniac, someone who linked up with your Wild at Heart so significantly that I remember watching it over and over when it was finally released on VHS (I know, you HATE that. Sorry again). Several dozen viewings later and I can argue with anyone over the merits of your bizarro-world Wizard of Oz riff. I'm as Powermad as Sailor and Lula, hotter than Georgia asphalt and convinced that peaches do indeed spread diseases. Crazy old cousin "Jingle" Dell's got nothing on me, and I can easily…dammit. There I go, rambling again. You have that effect on me, don't you know.

I remember when my passion became permanent, not just some fleeting filmmaking fancy. It happened when I first saw Eraserhead. This was years into your career, after Man, after Dune, and just as Roger Ebert was calling you "reprobate" for the masterful Blue Velvet. Previously, I could see what you were saying, but didn't find it fully enveloping my aesthetic spirit. And then I saw the story of Henry Spencer and his decidedly wacky hair-do, and I was hooked. Later, as I learned that everything is fine in Heaven and that deformed babies can be a bitch, I marveled at the grandeur in your monochrome visuals, vowing to use the experience as a way of becoming more connected to your creativity.

It worked, you see. It worked like goddamn gossamer gangbusters. Velvet begat an appreciation of all things Angelo Badalementi, and when it was announced that you were tackling TV, I drank in every episode of Twin Peaks and its sly sitcom doppelganger, On the Air. I riffled through the red herrings to try and decipher who exactly did kill Laura Palmer, and never once flinched when you trotted out "Bob" and his baffling supernatural status. I even worshiped every minute of the big screen prequel Fire Walk with Me, knowing full well that it would only add to my appreciation of your reason-defying dream logic. Like getting lost in a gorgeous woman's eyes, I have been absent in your artistic aspirations for years.

Just this year, I voted Mulholland Dr. the film of the decade (2001 - 2010), and with good reason. It stands as a symbol of everything I adore about you - clever casting, unusual characterization, mixed up narrative meaning, arch ambiguities, and facets that only mean something to you, and those who sync up with your special brand of cinema. It’s a similar sentiment I share with your other great '90s epic, Lost Highway. Dick Laurent may be dead, but my feelings for you have only increased through the years. Even when you went "native" taking digital technology to expert experimental extremes with INLAND EMPIRE, I remained your dotting devotee.

But David, my dear, that was over four years ago. Sure, I signed up for your website, hoping the exclusive content promised would live up to the $10 per month I was paying for the privilege. For the most part (Rabbits, Dumbland), it was. Yet it wasn't enough, either. Special Edition DVDs didn't quell my desire. Promised added content which never materialized didn't spoil my special feelings. But your current MIA career…instead of making my heart grow fonder, your absence is starting to piss me off.

It's not a vehement anger, but it's getting there. I saw Wild at Heart just the other night, and in a pristine HD presentation. The attention to detail, the contrasts in color and the complicated intersecting storyline blew me away…all over again. I've had similar sensations recently with Blue Velvet, Dune, and Eraserhead. Each time, each partial to complete revisit, was like the first time we met. I was mesmerized. I was spellbound. I was once again adrift in your uncompromising brilliance, desperate for something new to wrap my starving sense of art around. Even going back to The Straight Story, your least "Lynch" film off all, brought more baffling questions.

I guess what I'm asking is - why don't you make another movie? Is it a matter of money? Is it really that hard for someone as undeniably gifted as you to find financing for your latest flights of fancy? It's not like you don't have some tantalizing projects just lying around waiting to be realized. Ronnie Rocket? Dreams of the Bovine? One Salvia Bubble? Is the current state of the cinema so narrow-minded and noxious that you can't find an economic sanctuary and yet certified hacks like Shawn Levy and Walt Becker continue to pocket millions? Are we really in danger of losing you to a lifetime in service of your Foundation and fondness for TM? Or is there something much deeper going on?

Let's cut to the chase - are you breaking up with me? Are you simply going to sit back on your limited oeuvre laurels and wait for me to give up? Do you honestly think that will work? Come on, I've heard about Snootworld, your possible next project (listed as an animated film, intriguingly enough) and just the mere mention of something you could be potentially, perhaps, be working on is enough to get me through those dark filmic nights of the soul. And truth be told, I don't want to be dumped. Instead, I want to continue experiencing the kind of cosmic epiphanies that seems irretrievably tagged to your films. It happened way back in 1980. I know it will continue to happen, no matter when you release your next project.

Until then, I will have to simply wait. As the rock and roll scholar Tom Petty once said, it truly is "the hardest part." You can toy with me all you want, mock my obsession and its connection to your ever-changing moods, and I still won't waver. That's the glory of, and the hoary old story of love. You can avoid me all you want, but I will not be ignored! I need you to make more movies. Please? If not just for me, but as a favor to the rest of the artform. Cinema is stale without you - and I know my life is as well.

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image