Happy Birthday!

by robbiefreeling
January 20, 2006 11:36 AM
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The man turns 60 today, and it would be bullshit to not give this dude his due. Mr. Lynch, we've had some rough patches, you and I—forgive me for my years of insolence and naivete; for my insistent nose-wrinkling at the mention of your name as a clueless youngster; for my unforgivable lack of noticing Twin Peaks' charms upon its initial airing due to my age-challenged self, and my subsequent refual to watch Fire Walk With Me, a useless bias that persists to this day. Things took a slight change for me in late 1996, when I first read a Premiere article on the imminent threat of Lost Highway. After scoffing like a teenager at a family picnic, I read the detailed synopsis and thought, "Well, that sounds kinda...interesting."

As a result, I wouldn't say the love affair began, but my dread and fascination with Lost Highway, which I still didn't see during its initial theatrical run, dovetailed with my beginning to watch movies a little differently. The one-two punch of Straight Story and Mulholland Drive helped hearken in a new era of film watching for me, one in which perception grew lucid, and generic definitions fell away like paper balloons. Those two films—two of the greatest of all American films—informed each other beautifully, almost spiritually. The humanistic core that I perceived as missing in favor of mannered tchotchkes in Blue Velvet and Eraserhead was perhaps there all along, just waiting to burrow out. Alvin Straight's John Deere lawn mower headed straight for Los Angeles; for Mulholland Drive's heart was, surprisingly, on its sleeve. Lynch's oddness suddenly seemed like a heightened clarity. And then, I "got" it. The crystallizing power of Mulholland Drive is somewhat difficult to define, so let me be as evasive and effusive as the movie itself, and say that for me, movies were never the same again. In the moments after Mulholland Drive ended, I literally walked into a wall. By accident. Then upon exiting the small Times Square screening room, I found myself inundated with neon...and people. I cowered, because I was both ennobled and terrified by what I had seen and didn't know yet how to contextualize it with the world I was living in. I ran to a payphone (pre-cell phone days for me) and called a friend. Just to hear a voice.

Inland Empire is soon to come, and I've remained relatively unknowledgeable of this latest Lynch flick, shot on DV it seems. Perhaps it's too much to ask that it will do for digital what Drive did for celluloid, but I'll be waiting to see what new ways of seeing will emerge as a result of it.
Have a great birthday, my man, and celebrate the big 6-0 in style. Wish I could buy you an espresso. (I know where you can get the best...)


  • StayPuft | January 26, 2006 7:37 AMReply

    WAIT, you won't watch FIRE WALK WITH ME? Have we spoken about this?

    I would like to go on the record that the first Lynch film I ever saw was FIRE WALK WITH ME and I hadn't seen a single episode of TWIN PEAKS. It remains, in my mind, one of the most undervalued pieces of American Cinema of All Time. Capital A, T. I also think it ranks up there as one of the scariest films Ever Made. Capital E, M. Watching FIRE WALK WITH me was a transforming experience and is in large part responsible for my love of movies. It's certainly responsible for my interest in scary movies and what makes them scary, what scary is, what scary means, and why the fuck no one makes scary movies anymore.

    TWIN PEAKS is a phenomenal show, but don't ever let FIRE WALK WITH ME slip by for no reason, no how. In my eyes, it's way up there with his best work, without question, and rarely recieves the props it deserves.

    Watch it alone in the dark.

    Much praise to Mr. Lynch, as always, but especially on his b-day. You were the love of my artistic/cinematic life growing up and you will always hold a special place in my eraserheart.

  • Dinalane | January 23, 2006 9:21 AMReply

    So you finally got over your 'I won't watch" Twin Peaks phase? All I can say is FINALLY (loser)!

  • Mike Broder | January 23, 2006 6:01 AMReply

    I actually just bought all the Twin Peaks DVDs, which should look sweet on my new 42" HD screen. Things are looking up.

  • filmmaker | January 22, 2006 3:28 AMReply

    Mike Broder formally of Small Planet Pictures has disappeared with the proceeds from both Gypsy 83 and the Steve Buscemi produced Rockets Redglare! (sundance 2003) Please help spread the word to expose this criminal if you can, thank you

  • seanmcavoy | January 22, 2006 2:40 AMReply

    It's safe to say that Twin Peaks (yes a TV show) and Blue Velvet turned me on to cine-love.

    Happy Birthday big dawg.

  • mjr | January 21, 2006 7:41 AMReply

    also, dl was born on fellini's birthday!

  • brotherfromanother | January 21, 2006 5:08 AMReply

    was the premiere article you read the one written by David Foster Wallace? A lot of self-serving bullshit there, but also one of the best lines about Lynch ever. after mentioning Quentin Tarantino as one of Lynch's ostensible disciples, DFW brings up Reservoir Dogs and says (with a nod to Blue Velvet): "Quentin Tarantino is interested in watching someone get his ear cut off; David Lynch is interested in the ear."
    I couldn't agree more, both with that statement and with robbief's lovely birthday shout-out.