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“Blue Velvet” 
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Post “Blue Velvet”
“Blue Velvet” (1986)

Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle McLachlan) has returned home from college to attend to family matters after his father has been hospitalized. Returning from a hospital visit, he is walking across a vacant lot and finds a human ear. This may be the most ‘normal’ discovery in the movie. Jeffrey decides to do some amateur detective work with the aid of friend, and potential love interest, Sandy (Laura Dern) and soon finds himself “trapped” in the apartment and the life of a psychologically and sexually tormented lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini). Her tormentor is Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) who holds her husband and child hostage while demanding payments of depravity.
This is a tough movie to enjoy. Kyle McLachlan performs admirably offering Jeffrey a likeability, innocence, intelligence and distressed vulnerability. Dennis Hopper embodies a character more disturbing than many serial killers. There seems nothing he won’t do to satisfy his urges and I sat frozen with nearly every one of his appearances, unable to blink or look away. Isabella Rossellini effectively conveys a woman who has become so mentally withdrawn that she’s barely aware of her surroundings. Those times she is aware are some of the most terrifying. Despite the –perhaps a bit cloying- ending scene (which features the worst animatronic robin since “Mary Poppins”) I was left feeling cold. Not because of items “Blue Velvet” got wrong, but because of items it got right. After his encounter with Dorothy, Jeffrey will not be the same; nor will the audience.

Awf Hand awards 3 out of 4 stars. This is great filmmaking of a twisted subject.


Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:32 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
If any movie has ever earned the label of "Overrated" it's Blue Velvet. It goes so far over the top, and this is Lynch so you know that it's not going to mine for subtlety, that it eventually collapses into grotesque comedy. Aside from the truly eerie "still life" that Frank creates out of some unfortunate people the movie is one hysterical vignette after the next. That it's done well just didn't matter -- this is Lynch at his stupidest. From the slow-mo cheese of the opening to that hilarious robot bird (I like the Mary Poppins nod that Awf Hand made) Blue Velvet does everything wrong that Twin Peaks would ultimately get right.


Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:54 pm
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
majoraphasia wrote:
If any movie has ever earned the label of "Overrated" it's Blue Velvet. It goes so far over the top, and this is Lynch so you know that it's not going to mine for subtlety, that it eventually collapses into grotesque comedy. Aside from the truly eerie "still life" that Frank creates out of some unfortunate people the movie is one hysterical vignette after the next. That it's done well just didn't matter -- this is Lynch at his stupidest. From the slow-mo cheese of the opening to that hilarious robot bird (I like the Mary Poppins nod that Awf Hand made) Blue Velvet does everything wrong that Twin Peaks would ultimately get right.


OK Major - a challenge for you

When I was a college my professor would often ask us to argue for the side we did not believe in.
usually if we were particularly vociferous towards one POV

So construct an argument as to why people should see Blue Velvet and make up their own mind :-)
Rob


Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:07 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
Robert Holloway wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
If any movie has ever earned the label of "Overrated" it's Blue Velvet. It goes so far over the top, and this is Lynch so you know that it's not going to mine for subtlety, that it eventually collapses into grotesque comedy. Aside from the truly eerie "still life" that Frank creates out of some unfortunate people the movie is one hysterical vignette after the next. That it's done well just didn't matter -- this is Lynch at his stupidest. From the slow-mo cheese of the opening to that hilarious robot bird (I like the Mary Poppins nod that Awf Hand made) Blue Velvet does everything wrong that Twin Peaks would ultimately get right.


OK Major - a challenge for you

When I was a college my professor would often ask us to argue for the side we did not believe in.
usually if we were particularly vociferous towards one POV

So construct an argument as to why people should see Blue Velvet and make up their own mind :-)
Rob


Challenge accepted. I'll do this from work tomorrow and, as a bonus, I won't do the minor cop-out of constructing a positive review.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:23 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
majoraphasia wrote:
If any movie has ever earned the label of "Overrated" it's Blue Velvet. It goes so far over the top, and this is Lynch so you know that it's not going to mine for subtlety, that it eventually collapses into grotesque comedy. Aside from the truly eerie "still life" that Frank creates out of some unfortunate people the movie is one hysterical vignette after the next. That it's done well just didn't matter -- this is Lynch at his stupidest. From the slow-mo cheese of the opening to that hilarious robot bird (I like the Mary Poppins nod that Awf Hand made) Blue Velvet does everything wrong that Twin Peaks would ultimately get right.

For fuck's sake, you can see the make-up in this shot:

Image

I'm tired of defending this movie, but major's analysis of the film is frustrating because it feels like he missed the point. I mean, if you actually think that Blue Velvet does everything wrong, you clearly saw a different movie. I suppose you never bothered to consider why certain scenes were silly to begin with, or why they're edited next to scenes that are terrifying. Blue Velvet's not about subtlety, nor really about delivering a message or expounding on themes (though it does both).


Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:15 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
majoraphasia wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
If any movie has ever earned the label of "Overrated" it's Blue Velvet. It goes so far over the top, and this is Lynch so you know that it's not going to mine for subtlety, that it eventually collapses into grotesque comedy. Aside from the truly eerie "still life" that Frank creates out of some unfortunate people the movie is one hysterical vignette after the next. That it's done well just didn't matter -- this is Lynch at his stupidest. From the slow-mo cheese of the opening to that hilarious robot bird (I like the Mary Poppins nod that Awf Hand made) Blue Velvet does everything wrong that Twin Peaks would ultimately get right.


OK Major - a challenge for you

When I was a college my professor would often ask us to argue for the side we did not believe in.
usually if we were particularly vociferous towards one POV

So construct an argument as to why people should see Blue Velvet and make up their own mind :-)
Rob


Challenge accepted. I'll do this from work tomorrow and, as a bonus, I won't do the minor cop-out of constructing a positive review.


Woo hoo and maybe we can encourage someone to take you on with their opposite view.
My professor was right in his assertion that if you do it dilligently it's possible to change your POV

Can't wait
Rob


Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:36 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
I spent a fair bit of time after I watched "BV" wondering 'WTF did I just see?!' There were two paths I went down in contemplating.
1. This is great movie about some depraved individuals living in what appears to be a pleasant community. It is neatly book ended with the bugs. The bugs (bad) are shown just beneath the neatly trimmed lawn, and later being eaten by the robin (good). The characters on screen play out this relationship with the insects of society feeding on the weakest amongst them. McLachlan is introduced as "The Unwitting Robin" and despite the pull of the dark side, emerges as a vanquisher. I enjoyed and appreciated this depth. (Obviously, this was the one I chose)

Is this a bit ham-handed with symbolism? Perhaps. Was the contrast between happy-town USA and the dark side of Sin-City too great? Did the cutsy-ness serve to undermine the gravity of the crimes being committed? Maybe this was "Arsenic and Old Lace" taken to the x-rated extreme?
Those thoughts brought me to the second path.

2. This is a twisted crime movie that was offered some pretty window dressing when set in a northern logging town. The nearest comparison that I could make would be with "Fargo". In my opinion "Blue Velvet" would fail on many levels in that comparison. It strives for a happy ending following the scenes of depravity, where we see our characters joyfully living their lives. Jeffrey et al look out a window at the mecha-robin and he finds his happy place as the devourer of evil, while damaged lounge singer plays with child in park. Aw shucks.

Part of me wanted to see Jeffrey smacking his GF around, just to see the final and complete demise of his goodness. His father collapsed and was nearly consumed by the evil weevils, why couldn't Jeffrey have a collapse of character?


Pedro, as for the makeup, I just took that whole scene as an assembly of characters who were doing the strangest things imaginable. Wearing a poorly crafted white-powder-face was just another oddity I accepted as part of that world. -kind of like the firecracker throwing guy in "Boogie Nights". I'd have a hard time-believing that Lynch would employ a make-up artist who would create an appearance that he didn't want. -It must really be apparent in higher-definition.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:33 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
I tend to think of Blue Velvet as a collage of images that David Lynch finds disturbing. Those images don't necessarily build a cohesive whole and Lynch probably didn't deeply analyze them to find any logical through-line to them. If I have any problem with the movie, it's that it's disjointed and ultimately not very rewarding. It is less than the sum of its parts. But it does have some stunning moments.

I do think that the makeup thing was intentional. It was a strange carnival scene, so it's strange carnival makeup for a strange carnival character. Blasting a bright light into a face that looks caked with flour just ups the ghastliness.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:42 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
Ken wrote:
I tend to think of Blue Velvet as a collage of images that David Lynch finds disturbing. Those images don't necessarily build a cohesive whole and Lynch probably didn't deeply analyze them to find any logical through-line to them. If I have any problem with the movie, it's that it's disjointed and ultimately not very rewarding. It is less than the sum of its parts. But it does have some stunning moments.


This. I agree with this. Many months ago, our resident boy genius, Zeppity Zepp Zepp, said the following:

Zeppity Zepp Zepp wrote:
Divorced from his love of surrealistic images and wacky plot-lines Lynch may be one of the most heavy-handed directors out there working today. Seriously, what was the point of the symbolism in Blue Velvet? When you're working with a theme as obvious and pretentious as "the suburbs are actually eeeeeeeevil!" you need to keep things short and dramatic, not beat your viewer over the head with nonsensical caricatures and arty montages that only drive home points that one could've figured out by just following the damn story.


Ken's statement and Zeppity's thoughts meshed together are exactly why I consider Blue Velvet a smouldering piece of shit. Granted, Pedro's epic post in his journey thread opened me up to a potential rewatch, but for now, I still hate the living guts out of the movie. Lynch's theme ("the suburbs are actually eeeeeeeevil!") is thrown at the audience time and time again from the opening shot of the film. Lynch isn't after anything more in the film than that thought. He does nothing to connect the individual parts of the movie, aside from cramming that thought down our throats over and over. It's heavy-handed pretentiousness dressed up in weirdness for no reason other than to be weird and different. It isn't thought out or connected, just there as a set of images. What he's after isn't all that insightful! He just dresses it up and tries to pass it off as deep or meaningful! If that isn't pretentious, then I misunderstand what the meaning of the word is.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:14 pm
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
You know, I get why most of you dislike Blue Velvet. I really do. However, your dislike comes from mere surface scratching, and I suppose you could argue that if the film was better, it would encourage you to dig deeper.

I guess I just had a different experience watching this film, and short of my post on it in the cinematic journey thread, I don't know how else to defend it. Eek. This is a sad day for film criticism.


Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:42 pm
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
At least it's better than Eraserhead.


Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:14 am
Post Re: “Blue Velvet”
Major - we are waiting :-)


Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:29 am
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