“Blue Velvet” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 17
“See that clock on the wall? In five minutes, you are not going to believe what I’ve told you.”
I was a little worried going into Blue Velvet that it was going to be too weird and surreal for me. My only previous exposure to the films of David Lynch was his first – Eraserhead.
I also was genuinely surprised to find that it never got too strange, but rather told a fairly straightforward mystery wrapped in an unusual trapping.
I really like Laura Dern, and she anchors the movie for me. Kyle MacLachlan’s fine, but his motivations seem shaky and rather stupid as the plot progresses. Of course, Dennis Hopper steals every scene he’s in as a terrifying nutjob, as per usual in his roles.
The detour to pimp Dean Stockwell’s place was the only part that seemed completely unnecessary, although it did set a particular atmosphere and gave Hopper more time to induce fear.
I kind of came out if the film wondering why it seemed a bit held back from what it seemed like Lynch was really pushing towards. The story got interesting as it reached the middle of the film, and then sort of unraveled to become less interesting as it reached its ending.
SPOILER QUESTION: How did the ear end up in the grass in the first place? Did Dorothy Vallens receive it from Frank as a warning and then decide to go pitch it in a grassy field? I know: “surrealism”. Still bugs me.
I did enjoy it overall, and it kept my attention, but it was surprisingly mainstream – at least, more than I expected it to be. I have a feeling it’s a film that reveals more upon subsequent viewings. It’s an ok movie. Not great, not bad. Just ok.
Blue Velvet was at the time of this review at #157 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #342 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Blue Velvet vs. Night of the Creeps
There’s something wonderful about how well Night of the Creeps manages to straddle its horror-comedy line perfectly. It also has an 80s aesthetic that only services its absurdity more. It’ll win over Blue Velvet.
Blue Velvet vs. Jumper
Blue Velvet definitely wins. Jumper is a bad movie. No two ways about it.
Blue Velvet vs. Up
I’ve probably said it a hundred times, but here’s once more: Up has an excellent opening sequence, and then descends into a trite, talking-dog Dreamworks picture. It’s one of my least favorite Pixar films. Blue Velvet wins.
Blue Velvet vs. Follow That Bird
As a child, I probably liked and appreciated Follow that Bird much more, but as an adult, I’m not sure I could sit through it again. Blue Velvet takes it.
Blue Velvet vs. The Spy Who Loved Me
Roger Moore is my favorite Bond for his mix of suaveness, charisma, ability to charm the ladies, and never-ending, slick vehicles and gadgets. The Spy Who Loved Me isn’t my favorite of his Bond films, but it’s still a decent one. It’ll win the matchup over Blue Velvet.
Blue Velvet vs. +1
You probably haven’t seen +1, but it’s right in my wheelhouse. It’s also pretty adventurous for trying to be a teen comedy, science fiction, and horror film all in one. It’s well worth seeing at least once. +1 beats Blue Velvet.
Blue Velvet vs. John Dies at the End
There’s a lot of surrealism in John Dies at the End – even more than Blue Velvet, strangely enough. While it doesn’t do quite as much with its source material as it could have, it is a unique film. It needed a bit more star power and budget to truly transcend. It will still win the battle over Blue Velvet.
Blue Velvet vs. Red Tails
Other than the dogfighting, there’s not much to like about Red Tails. It’s Blue Velvet, for the win.
Blue Velvet vs. Reign of Fire
Reign of Fire reigns supreme with its still-impressive dragon effects work and ultra-cool premise. Bale and McConaughey lead the film quite well, too.
Blue Velvet is now ranked #783 out of 1404 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next week’s films are Hot Fuzz, The Night of the Hunter, and I’m Here. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.