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"Mulholland Drive"

Directed by David Lynch.
Written by David Lynch.
Starring Naomi Watts, Laura Herring and Justin Theroux.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  10/31/01 


Happy Halloween!  Bellview has grown to 272 subscribers, and as the year winds down, I expect it to top 300 before New Year's.  This does not count those that receive it on forward, as many of you do for friends, neighbors and partners.  Crazy...

...and, speaking of crazy, I went to see a David Lynch film tonight.  This is the same man that brought us "Blue Velvet", "Wild at Heart" and most famously, the TV series "Twin Peaks."  All of these properties have one thing in common:


WTF stands for "What the fuck?", and that is what you will be saying when you leave the theater after seeing this film.

"Mulholland Drive" is one of the most frustrating film experiences I have had in a couple of years.  The movie starts off with a car accident involving the mysterious Rita (Laura Harring) on LA's Mulholland Drive late one night, and she seems to lose her memory in the wreck but knows that she might be in some trouble.  She holes up at an abandoned apartment on nearby Sunset Drive, but doesn't know that she is about to have an unexpected guest.  Betty (Naomi Watts), an aspiring actress, is the niece of the woman that owns the abandoned apartment, and the two hit it off well at first.  Although Betty is trying to find work in Hollywood, she is intrigued by Rita's past and tries to help her regain her memory.

Now, that is where the film starts.  And, the next 90 minutes is very impressive, with some of Lynch's best work in scenes that *don't* involve the two main characters.  One of my favorite scenes is the pitch meeting in the board room, where film director Adam (Justin Theroux) tries to understand why a criminal (played in a cameo by Dan Hedaya) wants to use a particular actress for an upcoming film.  The camerawork and the incredible use of silence in this scene make for an unnerving moment or two, followed by a hilarious sequence involving an espresso.  There are other great moments here (again, in the first 90 minutes or so) that make for a never-dull experience and enough weird stuff going on to keep you sharp.

In fact, I was pretty much locked into giving this film an Opening Weekend.  But then...



At the point where Rita and Betty decide to take their friendship, ahem, one step further, the film falls off the rails and it then became "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" (in other words, horrible).  Not only do the leads then switch roles, but the mystery of the first three-fourths of the film seems to not interest writer/director Lynch at all.  Lesbian activities, scary creatures, miniature old people and general what-the-fuckness dominates the final 40 minutes and from looking around my theater, people seemed to be confused, lost, or leaving the theater.  I wanted to do the same, but I was still hoping that the film would gain some sense back and decide to do something interesting.

It did not.

Unlike "Memento"--a film that doesn't quite provide all the answers but provokes mind-bending conversation about it afterwards--"Mulholland Drive" creates so many questions that you don't even want to figure them out.  I would see this film just to enjoy the first 75% of it, because I think that part of the film is very, very good.  Just try and get it out of your head after you have finished watching.

Rating:  $8.25 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09