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Blue Velvet: 1986 (R) NEW

I remember I had just completed my last Top 50 for the site. I was feeling good and accomplished, figuring this list would last a while. Then I watched this movie since it was very high on Daniel M’s Top 150. Mind was instantly blown. It is really quite comforting that even at my age and with all the films I have seen I can still find new films that still have a very profound effect on me. After watching this film for the first time I instantly put it into my Top 10. It has been slowly creeping up until it is now firmly my number 2 favorite film of all time.

Blue Velvet is a surreal and strange film from David Lynch. Not full Lynch like with Eraserhead, but surreal enough that it creates a strange and unique atmosphere. What begins as a look at a 1950’s style Beaver Cleaver-ville, you soon discover that there is more to this Eisenhower-esque town then meets the eye. Or to borrow a line from another Lynch work, “The owls are not what they seem.” We spend the rest of the film looking at the duality of human nature, of this small town, and really of the world in general. A picture painted of small town life free from the crime associated with the big city, only to learn there is a criminal underbelly hidden deep underneath the town’s visage. While most everyone seem to be good and honest folk, we then are shown there are some truly despicable characters in the world thanks to Frank Boothe and his associates. And finally we see the duality of the nature of man with Jeffery Beaumont as a good and naïve young man poised against Frank. And how Jeffery’s exposure to people like Frank may have a subtle corrupting effect on Jeffery, as some of his actions are framed in the same way as Frank’s actions. In addition, the film is an exercise in duality itself, a film beautifully shot, but dealing with some very ugly and disturbing imagery and themes.

In addition to this, there is that familiar strange eroticism in this film that is common in a lot of Lynch’s work. Combine the surreal imagery with the pairing of Dorothy and Jeffery makes this the strangest sexual awakening I have ever seen. And the ending is simply beautiful. The symbolism of the Robin, the song Mysteries of Love, and the return to normalcy makes it one of my favorite endings ever. Add in one of the best villain performances by Dennis Hooper, the atmosphere, and the music; and you have a film that almost became my favorite film of all time. ALMOST being the key word.