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Top 100 films
First movie...

Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

Thoughts: I last watched this David Lynch film about a year ago, so it's time for another viewing. The first time I watched it I was perplexed and mesmerized. It's a film that grows on the viewer and it is oddball director David Lynch’s most definitive film. It lacks the accessibility of The Straight Story or The Elephant Man, but is more coherent and less of a mind **** than Mulholland Dr. or the elusive Inland Empire (still have not got through that one). Blue Velvet seems to be a perfect blend of Lynch’s story-telling and his surreal mood evoking bizarreness.

I like the Lynch trademarks of random images and sounds that are irrelevant to the plot, but push the atmosphere. For example - a candle burning, a white picket fence contrasting against a perfectly blue sky, a close up of lipstick, a flickering shadow, and so on. Blue Velvet is a mystery and something of a detective novel for protagonist Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigates a missing ear (yes, you read correctly) and turns up a web of kidnapping, ransom, and murder. Dennis Hopper plays the villain Frank Booth and Isabella Rossellini is the mistreated woman who’s husband is murdered and child kidnapped. Their scenes together are disturbing and extremely odd. Everybody has a fetish, but Frank Booth as played brilliantly over-the-top in full expletive laced glory by Hopper takes this to new heights and is perhaps one of the screen’s most disgusting, unpredictable, and odd bad guys.

The 50’s vibe going through the film – whether it be the nice tree lined avenues, the oldies music, and the nice neat trim fashions provide a satire of a small town America that never existed except in our own minds. It’s all wonderful, creepy, and hilarious. Watching Beaumont voyeuristically investigate a crime and slowly learn of the evil nature lurking beneath smiling faces is a pure joy. Lynch puts the viewer in his position so we almost become the character who is in over his head. Never is this more apparent when he views a rape from hiding and peeking through a living room closet. During these tense moments Lynch almost out-Hitchcock's, Hitchcock.

Best scene: For me the best moment in the film is more of a sequence than a single scene. Beaumont is discovered by Booth and taken on as a “guest” through his labyrinth of road rage, beer critique, shady criminals, and a semi-cross dressing Liberace-summoning Roy Orbison lip singing Dean Stockwell. What tops it off is Hopper mouthing along almost orgasmically... why? Just why? But lord help me I love it. Like most of Lynch’s material it’s just strange, yet so damn funny and watchable. It’s almost a parody of Bogart’s journey through the hellish nights in The Big Sleep with characters in situations only the imagination could come up with.