I started this post as a Scenes We Love and with good reason -- David Lynch's Mulholland Drive is not lacking when it comes to compelling plot twists and stunning visuals. Naomi Watts delivered an amazing performance as Betty Elms, the aw shucks America's sweetheart who comes to Hollywood with high hopes and her alter (real?) ego, Diane Selwyn -- the failed actress who becomes lost in her own nightmares while trying to make a life for herself in the city of dreams. All this, combined with a bazillion other bits of florid praise I could heap upon the film, almost made it impossible to choose just one scene in particular. While I've had this internal struggle before when writing for the Scenes We Love column, it got me thinking about some of the less talked about moments in the film, which are downright hilarious.
So silencio, dear readers. I'm going to ask you to shelve the thousand and one interpretations of Lynch's tale about the mythic city upon which America has invented itself and invite you to check out three scenes in the film that added a little levity to an intensely dark story. Given that this is Lynch, even the funny is filled with touches of tragedy, but that's why we love him after all. Hit the jump for more.
"Something bit me bad!"
An incompetent hitman only plans on killing one person in order to get a hold of a mysterious black book containing the name of a girl he's been hired to kill, but ends up committing triple homicide before the job is done. After shooting the guy who has the goods, he accidentally puts a bullet through the wall – which ends up lodged in the ass of the woman next door. She puts up one hell of a fight but he overpowers her and then drags her, kicking and squealing, into the hallway -- where, of course, the maintenance man sees the whole thing. Faced with this new dilemma, the assassin convinces the guy that the woman is hurt and needs to get to the hospital – and if you haven't seen the rest, I'm sure you can guess where this is all going. Every time the killer tries to play it cool, he's met with some kind of comical opposition. Bullets go astray, noises abound when he's desperate to be quiet, and a vacuum cleaner goes off immediately after he's done firing shots, not a few seconds before when they could have covered the sound of gunfire. Clearly, this is not the guy you want to hire to get the job done. I tend to think this is Diane's subconscious dreaming about the evil deed done wrong because she feels guilt and remorse for hiring him to kill her lover.
"Napkin ... "
Filmmaker Adam Kesher meets with a motley crew of shadowy mafia-like figures who are forcing him to recast his movie, The Sylvia North Story, for unknown reasons. Just another day in Hollywood I suppose. In order to impress the head cheese (played by Lynch's soundtrack guru, Angelo Badalamenti), executives have obsessively researched the finest espresso brands in the world. But the boss is not easy to please -- and the gang has failed in this regard one time before, so the tension is almost unbearable when he brings that tiny cup daintily to his lips and takes a sip. With one final smug wipe of his mouth, the bigwig's displeasure is known. His flunkies respond in a bizarre and hilarious fashion (all while Kesher watches in disbelief) that makes the scene truly memorable.
"Now you've done it."
Put yourself in Adam Kesher's shoes. Sure the guy seems like a self-absorbed, hipster tool when we first meet him (well okay, he kind of always seems that way), but you gotta feel for him when he realizes that his film has been commandeered by a bunch of thugs. To make matters worse, he heads home and catches his wife in bed with the pool guy -- well played by Billy Ray Cyrus. It's not every day that a man gets cuckolded twice in an afternoon. Kesher's reaction to the whole matter is to stare blankly, sabotage his cheating wife's jewelry and try to strangle her -- all in the most awkward way possible. Billy Ray (in painted on jeans) gives Kesher the business, mullet style, and kicks the poor guy out of his own house.