Saturday marks the tenth anniversary of David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive.' Honestly, I'm not even going to pretend I know what 'Mulholland Drive' is about (though, Roger Ebert, God bless him, just might). What was originally intended to be a pilot for a television series later became one of the most bizarre and confusing movies ever to hit a theater. David Lynch seems to be celebrating the anniversary by opening a Paris nightclub based on the Silencio theater in the film. Unfortunately, I am not at all cool enough to go to Lynch's club (or any club, really), so instead I called an assortment of FOMF (which stands for Friends of Moviefone, a term I just coined right this second) to get their opinions of Lynch's classic film ten years later.
Damon Lindelof – (showrunner, 'Lost'; writer and co-producer, 'Star Trek')
I LOVE 'Mulholland Drive.' And not just because of the over-the-top girl-on-girl stuff, but because Justin Theroux inspired my ongoing love of bold-framed eyewear. Unfortunately, I'm holed up in a hotel writing 'Star Trek 2' and cannot give this the time and attention it deserves
Alexander Skarsgård -- ('True Blood,' 'Melancholia')
I saw it in the theater ten years ago. I remember I was very moved by it. And like, "What the fuck just happened?" -- that kind of thing. "What did I go through? What was that? What's he trying to do to me? David, why are you fucking with my head? What's going on? Get out of there!"
Rider Strong – ('Cabin Fever', 'Boy Meets World')
I first saw 'Mulholland Drive' while shooting 'Cabin Fever.' Our director, Eli Roth, had been David Lynch's assistant for a while (in fact, Lynch was instrumental in getting 'Cabin Fever' off the ground), and while we were on location in North Carolina, Eli took the whole cast to the movie. When the lights came up, I was completely dumbstruck -- I remember wanting the film to start over again right away. I turned to Eli and said, "What...I mean...do you know what that movie is all about?" And with a big smile, Eli said, "I have no idea, but I love it so fucking much."
For awhile, I became a little obsessed with 'Mulholland Drive.' I loved that every time I saw it, it didn't get any less weird. I loved that even the seemingly "normal" scenes had crazy floating camera moves or insane sound design. I loved that the DVD didn't have chapters, so I had to watch the whole movie. Or, at the very least, I had to painstakingly fast forward to the (lesbian) "Silencio Club" scene, which was (ridiculously hot) so brilliantly executed that I watched it over and over again.
I've always interpreted the movie as the quintessential Hollywood tragedy, in content and form. The story begins as a classical, kind of cheesy movie in which Naomi Watts is a fresh-faced young actress out to solve the mystery of another woman's amnesia...but we keep getting glimpses of darker things lurking underneath. This Nancy Drew-ish story turns out to be an elaborate fantasy Naomi's character has created. In reality, she's a failed actress who's more successful lover left her for a director. Out of jealousy, Naomi hires a hit man to kill her ex-lover, and then, unable to live with the guilt and her self-loathing, she kills herself.
The actual form of the movie -- an enticing, simple plot that lures us in but then is undermined by a rawer, more confusing and complicated truth -- is a perfect representation of the process by which many a young person comes to LA seeking fame and fortune. And on another, "meta" level, the fact that 'Mulholland Drive' was a pilot the network canceled and Lynch rewrote to make into a movie only tells the same story: the Hollywood dream never pans out the way we hoped.
I'm not one of those Lynch fanatics who thinks everything the man does is genius (I mean, 'Lost Highway' is a disaster), but in this case, I think like the layers and loose ends actually serve the movie perfectly. Regardless of whether you can decide what's "real" or "fantasy," you feel, on a visceral level, the disintegration of hope. And even if you think the movie's about something else entirely, you could be right, and I don't care. Because it doesn't matter, I'm with Eli: I just love it so fucking much.
Guy Branum -- ('No Strings Attached,' 'Chelsea Lately')
I think the best reading of 'Mulholland Drive' is as a massively re-developed adaptation of Archie Comics, much in the way that the "Rock-em Sock-em Robots" adaptation turned into "Real Steel". It's a Betty and Veronica story, with an actual Betty and a nameless Veronica who decides her name is Rita. The Archie they are vying for is Justin Theroux, but, like in the Archie comics, Archie isn't the real prize, being the Queen of Riverdale is. And in this movie, the Riverdale is Hollywood. The Jughead, I assume, is the audience.
But then of course it all falls apart because Veronica puts on a Betty wig, Betty and Veronica have sex and everything falls apart and there's a tiny man in a box and then Naomi Watts wakes up and everyone is someone else.
And then you have to say that 'Mulholland Drive' isn't prose, it's a poem. But it's still about Hollywood. I still have no clue what it's about.
The best clue I ever got about the movie was when I was on a bus on Sunset Boulevard (like in the movie!) and a homeless crazy woman in her 40s got on talking about how she was just as great as Marilyn Monroe. She had on a bad blonde wig, and she was, in her way, Diane Selwyn. (The last name of the ingénue from 'Singing in the Rain'!) Hollywood is the place where movies are made, and it's the place where movies are about. There is little space left over for humanity. Trying to be an icon and a person makes you crazy.
It makes you crazy if you are a homeless lady who failed as an actress, and it makes you crazy if you succeed and lose all connection to humanity.
Now I'm going to go back to trying to succeed in Hollywood. If you ever see me at a Hollywood party looking a little disheveled and staring longingly at my super-successful lesbian ex-lover and her new girlfriend, remind me to shoot myself. Silencio.
Nell Scovell -- (creator, 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'; writer, 'Warehouse 13')
If you're still thinking about the "'Mulholland Drive' plot ten years after it was made than you've thought about it way more than David Lynch. Here's my understanding of the film: Naomi Watts befriends a woman who loses her memory after a car accident. Things get freaky. Also, anyone who saw this movie on videotape died a week after viewing it. Fortunately, I saw it on DVD.
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