'Lost on Mulholland Drve' by Roger Ebert

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Apr 17, 2002 5:27 AM
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Hey -- pretty clever of him to use the annual Boulder film exercise to provide proof that his original idea, i.e. "none of this makes any real sense, together" was the truth, rather than his own inability to put any puzzle pieces together. ;)

Of course, that many people are going to have that many different opinions -- that doesn't make the film obtuse; it just means there are too many cooks in the kitchen!

Not all of MD can be explained, but, intuitively, who didn't feel that it was the story of Diane Selwyn's dream of remorse and wishful thinking?

The more I watch the film, the more I see the "split" between the tv pilot and the actual movie, and Lynch's need to justify/rectify the many plot threads that would have evolved, had ABC given him the time.

However, the genius is in the fact Lynch did this "wrap-up" in such an amazing manner that it poses many potential conclusions, depending on the viewer. Overall, though, the fact that it is "The Diane Selwyn Story," seems irrefutable.
Apr 17, 2002 8:59 AM
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After a week of study they sure didn't pick up much or Ebert is not convinced or simply does not want to admit it.

There is definitely not a blue box in the drawer by the bed. There is something blue but it looks like a small purse/makeup bag. It is flat not cubicle.

If they were watching this close how did they miss the raw meat and poptop in the bag?

Where did he get that the waitress was Diane Selwyn?
Apr 17, 2002 10:04 AM
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Yeah, true, but at least Ebert clearly loves the movie, and is encouraging Joe Public, his usual readers, to watch the thing with an open mind, which is, in my opinion, how anyone will be able to see what is really there.

But I also have to say, Banana, that the more I watch it, the less a t.v. pilot enters into my mind. It's all from Lynch's subconscious, and all feels like a complete whole
Apr 17, 2002 11:03 AM
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ANd also, I 'm struk by the fact that the first half, and the second half, are absolutely perfect mirror reflections of each other, structurally. Lynch uses the disparity of tone as a strength, as both realities are equally convincing, and interconnected, but tragically unable to join.
Apr 17, 2002 11:05 AM
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And also, one other thing: The hitman asks Diane if this is what she really wants. SHe kind of smiles ruefully to herself and repeats the line from All About Eve: "More than anything in the world," but with one major change from the original line. SHe says: "MOre than anyhting in THIS world." Thus giving us a real understanding of her state of mind, etc.
Apr 17, 2002 11:07 AM
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Anyway, I have to say, having seen this thing 11 times now, I love it more and more (and I'm not easy to impress). I think it is a work of real genius, absolutely, and I'm glad even the likes of Ebert (even if his reading is pretty narrow and disappointing) can recognize this fact and recommend it. The film deserves a wider audience, which, someday, it will get.
Apr 17, 2002 11:09 AM
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Not all of MD can be explained, but, intuitively, who didn't feel that it was the story of Diane Selwyn's dream of remorse and wishful thinking?

Yeah, exactly. I couldn't help feeling that it was Diane in a lucid dreamstate, as if she was calling the shots and telling the story from a more flattering perspective in her state of denial.

And I hate to say it, but ever since I read an article that said that this was Lynch's TV pilot reimagined and elaborated on, I keep thinking of the scenes that seemingly had no place and thinking "ah, that's where that came from!" For example, the hitman thing, which really had no place whatsoever until the end revealed his true identity. But I really, really admire the way Lynch took what he had from the pilot and completely reinvented it by shifting the focus of the story.

Also Ebert's assessment of why it didn't all make perfect sense was good. The fact that it was like a dream makes sense of the fact that no one could piece it all together perfectly and pin it down and call it this or that. Dream interpretation is always subjective, and I never figured that there would be one correct interpretation except to the person who dreamed it.

I have babbled enough. I have to see this damned movie again...

Cyn
Apr 20, 2002 11:00 AM
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[QUOTE]Now, this poses a problem. The way I see it, MD was simply not a very good movie. How easy would it be to make a movie that doesn't make sense? How easy would it be to make a movie that was really wierd? I think people liked this movie simply for the fact that it was wierd and didn't make sense. These things do not make it a good movie! Any director could do the things Lynch did with this movie, but they all knew that: A.) the movie wouldn't be good and B.) the movie would not make any money. [/QUOTE]

See, I had this problem with a couple other Lynch films, namely Eraserhead and Lost Highway, (which I never figured out). Sometimes I had the feeling that they were just yankin' my chain and that Lynch was just throwing scenes in to confuse more than to clarify. Maybe it was the case in these instances, but I really didn't feel this way about MD because I really felt that it played like an honest to god dream and with that in mind, I *was* able to make sense of some things that I never thought I'd figure out. I think that's the only way to approach it...like Ebert said, almost as a "surreal piece" or an abstract. And I don't think that just because a film isn't completely coherent on the first viewing, that doesn't necessarily make it a "bad film" either. I think it has more to do with how the material is handled, and in MH's case, I really think it worked. I think the performances and the powerful emotional base helped to add up to something of great substance. You just have to be willing to give it some thought after leaving the theater and not mind the fact that you may not be able to decipher every last detail.

Even the dreamer can't completely make sense of his/her own dream. And if you hate it when people start telling you their dreams, then you'll probably hate this movie. ;)

Cyn
Apr 20, 2002 3:51 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sweensoft
I found Ebert's insights to the film far better than any I have read yet. The bottom line is that MD doesn't make sense.

Now, this poses a problem. The way I see it, MD was simply not a very good movie. How easy would it be to make a movie that doesn't make sense? How easy would it be to make a movie that was really wierd? I think people liked this movie simply for the fact that it was wierd and didn't make sense. These things do not make it a good movie! Any director could do the things Lynch did with this movie, but they all knew that: A.) the movie wouldn't be good and B.) the movie would not make any money.
I admire Lynch for making "different" movies, but I hate to admit that they simply are not very good.
[/QUOTE]

No offense intended, sweensoft, but if you found Ebert's to be the best explanation, that is simply because the idea of the movie not making any sense is the idea that makes most sense to YOU.

However, that's not the same as calling this "no sense" idea the truth, because many, many, many people (most all people who post on this forum) like the movie because it *does* make sense.

Not "any" director could have done these things. I would love to see, say, Ron Howard, he of the literate and unsubtle mind, create a compelling, haunting masterpiece that is still compelling and haunting, even if some people, such as yourself, have no clue what it might be about.

I see you've only posted a few times, so you must not realize that this is the most rehashed argument -- the idea that those who did not "get" anything about the movie think those who felt they did understand it are just being pretentious, and those who did get the movie considering those that could not appreciate the film are just plain stupid.

It's a tired argument that grows more tiring each time someone tries to make a claim from either side. For the record, I do not think you're stupid because you did nut understand anything about the movie --- but it is a bit 'over the top' to say that any director could make it and the movie wasn't very good, in the face of several critical awards and positive reviews.

Not everything needs to make 100 percent linear sense in order to have an underlying narrative that does make sense --- if it did, I am afraid all of our lives would be a giant waste of time, and "not very good, I'm afraid," because life never makes any sense.
Apr 20, 2002 4:10 PM
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Well, you may get others to rise to your bait, but I know a troll when I see one.

ttfn, mon ami.
Apr 20, 2002 9:14 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dan Jardine
Well, you may get others to rise to your bait, but I know a troll when I see one.

ttfn, mon ami.
[/QUOTE]

Thanks, Dan, for reminding me that sometimes, what might seem a post with a misguided complaint may really be a troll in sheep's clothing. I shan't bother to go any further, particularly since this person appears to just keep saying the same things over and over and over again, without anything to back it up.

Not since Rainman decided to critique Wapner have I heard so much redundancy.

Apr 20, 2002 9:28 PM
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Like most great films, with Mulholland Drive, if you are willing to put a little effort into it, the rewards are manifold. It is admittedly much easier to take pot shots at a movie that is unconventional and challenging, but it isn't particularly rewarding, nor is it the sign of a mature viewer to dismiss what so many articulate and intelligent viewers find to be a profoundly affecting experience.
Apr 21, 2002 2:15 PM
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I think this film is like a riddle that you think you know what it is all about and yet the answers are right in front of you. Every single scene had something to do with this film's meaning I believe, but I have not been able to piece the film together bit by bit. The man with the dream in the beginning, the theatre, the director and the mob (where did that story end?),the switching of parts by the three actresses once the box is opened or not really. What part was the dream, the end or the beginning? Who was the lady with the Amnesia, Cammila Rhoads? Was Diane Selwhin (Better acted by Naomi) the blonde Betty (her acting wasn't very good in the beginning but seemed to get better, maybe it was because she was innocent and then exposed to the darkness of hollywood)? Hollywood is seen as a place of dreams and nightmares. I would like to know what the film means, I was intrigued, weirded out, disturbed, and have never paid so much attention to details within a film.
If only they reshot the whole film for the theatres, you can notice which part was the pilot.
Apr 21, 2002 2:46 PM
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"The more you look into it the less you really know" Tony Shalhoub of The Man Who Wasn't There, another great film I saw this week, describes this film.
Apr 21, 2002 2:59 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sweensoft
I dont have anything to back it up? What do you have to back up your statements? I can back up my statements because they are true...THE MOVIE DOESN"T MAKE SENSE.[/QUOTE]

Because I'm lazy, I'm just going to quote my Best Films of 2001 article in response to Sweensoft:

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Last month, Los Angeles Times television columnist Brian Lowry had some nasty things to say about film critics who have praised David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. After noting that the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics each named it the best film of the year, he wrote: "Their endorsement reflects the ultimate example of intellectual hubris -- the assumption if you don't understand it, it must be brilliant." I pity Brian Lowry for being so frustrated by the film that he felt the need to lash out at people who admire it. His comments reflect the ultimate example of egotistical hubris -- the assumption that if you don't understand it, no one else does either. With all due respect to Mr. Lowry, I hereby present my picks for the best films of 2001.

1. Mulholland Drive. Alternately funny, scary, thrilling, and powerfully moving, Mulholland Drive runs the emotional gamut and you can almost touch the ever-present sense of dread oozing from the screen. David Lynch's masterpiece starts out like a fairly conventional mystery-thriller, with a plucky aspiring actress named Betty (Naomi Watts) moving to LA and playing Nancy Drew by trying to help a woman with amnesia (Laura Elena Harring) unravel the mystery of her identity. Then the final act pulls the rug out from under the viewer and dismisses everything that has gone before -- or does it? I think the film makes sense, but even if you don't understand it (or think there's nothing to understand), you can still savor the rich, mesmerizing experience: a startling collision of daydreams and nightmares.
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Ya see, stating that IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE as fact is pretty egotistical, dontcha think? It's your OPINION that it doesn't make sense and I gotta respect that. But stating that as a fact... now, well, why is that I always hear critics being accused of pawning off opinions as facts when I see it being done by people who aren't critics so much more?
Apr 21, 2002 5:03 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sweensoft
MD does not make sense. how is this fact? no one has been able to understand it. its not egotistical...its the truth. [/QUOTE]

Plenty of people understand it. Don't assume that just because you don't get it that nobody else does. That's egotistical. Think about it.
Apr 21, 2002 8:07 PM
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Michael,

He's not thinkin'. He's too busy bein' a smart aleck to be thinkin'.
Apr 21, 2002 8:12 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by 22cute
Michael,

He's not thinkin'. He's too busy bein' a smart aleck to be thinkin'.
[/QUOTE]

:p :p
Apr 21, 2002 8:22 PM
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LOL 22cute.

Michael, if your argument could not move our friend sween, little could. It's not just MD he/she does not understand; it's basic human discourse.;)

However, your Best of 2001 comments about Mulholland Drive are right on the money.

What amazes me is this: if I saw a movie and I did not understand it, at all, I would not jump to the immediate conclusion that it was incomprensible. I'd probably assume that, for whatever reason, I just didn't relate.
Apr 22, 2002 6:09 AM
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