Blue Velvet 1986 ★★★★★
Rewatched Jul 22, 2012
This review reportedly contains spoilers.
I can handle the truth.
David Valkenet said:
I love Blue Velvet. It's my favourite Lynch, as most of his usual bag of tricks are applied to character and story as well as mood building and atmosphere. It's fantastic, and I'm sure many people far more eloquent than I have waxed poetic about the virtues of this film.
So, let me take this opportunity to address a phenomenon that is very prevalent with retro-screenings. As great as it is to see an older film projected on 35mm on one of the biggest screens in Melbourne, these screenings bring with them their own special brand of asshole: the pretentious film douche-bag. These are the people who complain about 'movie-talkers' (another group I can't stand) and yet commit a heinous offence, potentially much worse than the 'movie-talker'. Yes, people, I'm referring to the 'knowing pre-laugh' and the 'pretentious over-laugh' (or KPL & POL as they shall henceforth be known). See, the majority of movie-talkers do so because they are trying to follow the plot of the film, they ask questions quietly in order to enhance their experience (I still in no way condone this behaviour, but I do have more sympathy for it that the fuckers who commit KPL & POL).
Let me take this moment to quickly define the terms:
KPL is when the spectator lets out a forced chuckle moments before a joke so that he can indicate to all those around him that he has seen the film before.
POL is when the spectator either laughs at something with more verve and gusto than is warranted, or laughs at something he believes the filmmaker intended to be funny and by laughing indicated to the rest of the audience that he understood the true intent of the filmmaker - as if to say he just shared a little moment with the filmmaker.
Unlike a regular laugh, both of these actions are voluntary and require planning and preparation of the mental faculties. In other words, the spectator perpetrating these crimes is doing so on purpose to prove to everyone else how well they know the film, or how they 'get it' more than you do. They are laughing for your sake, not their own.
I have seen Blue Velvet at the wonderful Astor theatre twice now and both times I have encountered a larger number of KPL and POL assholes than usual.
Let me briefly talk about the two scenes in which KPL and POL annoyed me the most:
1) When Dorothy Vallens turns up at Jeffrey's house naked and bruised and says "he put his disease in me" people were busting a gut and rolling in the isles. Personally I find nothing funny about this scene, but even if I did there is no way it's that funny.
2) I believe it's just before Sandy delivers her magnificent Robin speech, Jeffrey turns to her and asks "Why is there evil in the world? Why are there people like Frank?" Now, I don't think this is intended to be funny. The only possible way I could see this as being humorous is if you were laughing at it ironically, in a way that diminishes the drama of the scene. I think this film is far from ironic, and Lynch's portrayal of these characters feels really earnest and sincere, as is evident in the Robin speech. It's easy for people today to scoff at genuine idealism when so much of what we are fed is drenched in cynicism and detached irony.
This has got to stop. We need to make room in our lives for sincerity, and cherish the robins