Monday, November 04, 2002

diehl, leonard and a visit to lumberton

Made a trip to AFPL on my way home to pick up some more "popular fiction".

* Show of Evil/William Diehl {the sequel to Primal Fear}

* Reign in Hell/William Diehl {the third and final Martin Vail book}

* Sharky's Machine/William Diehl {I must confess, his books are page-turners and perfect reads for my commute to and from work}

* Out of Sight/Elmore Leonard {I had to get the book after I saw the movie. This will also be my first Leonard book}

* Rum Punch/Elmore Leonard {source material for Tarantino's tribute to the blaxploitation era, Jackie Brown}

We cancelled our South Asian Writers Group meeting for lack of quorum (a lot of people are making trips home) and settled down to watch Blue Velvet instead. This has David Lynch sharpening his claws and is good preparation for his awesome opus last year, Mulholland Drive. Apart from being the first collaboration of Badalamenti and Lynch, the film is also interesting for showcasing Lynch's unique artistic style and his fondness for the quirks of human behaviour and situations, and the heady mix of film styles. Lynch employs the style and mood of film noir to explore the dark underworld of his seemingly peaceful virginal hometown (depicted as nostalgic, dreamlike and pastoral via a hybrid of a 50s B-movie and a teenage romance). The film is worthy of the cult status it has achieved over the years, although it lacks the tightness of some of Lynch's later works (Mulholland Drive, in particular).

Special features on the DVD include Mysteries of Love, a decent "behind-the-scenes" documentary featuring dust puppies, an accessible enumeration of the benefits of widescreen, insights on the Bobby Vinton song that gives the film its title, and some bad video captures of Lynch as he talks about his inspiration and process on the film. The documentary takes its title from a song that Lynch wrote for the film. Also on the DVD is the snippet from the Siskel and Ebert show where Ebert slammed the film (and Lynch along with it) while Siskel defended it. Ebert's review includes some of the issues he had with it.

There are some rather unfortunately noticeable gaffes in the film: Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) has an amazingly regenerative complexion considering how fast his wounds heal in the course of the film; there's the case of Jeffrey Beaumont's vanishing and reappearing earrings. I also wonder why Sandy (Laura Dern) is wearing a wedding ring.

This is one of Dennis Hopper's best roles -- it would appear that he was born to play the helium-sniffing ritualistic rapist Frank Booth. After all, it is quite an achievement for him to essay a role without saying "dude" or "man" either implicitly or explicitly. This was his first role after he got out of rehab, and the change is welcome. Frank Booth is one of the most terrifying, disgusting and evil entities you would never want to know.

Related: A detailed walkthrough of the film

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