I have been re-watching Twin Peaks for, literally, the first time in a decade. I first saw the series when the Season 1 DVD was released, unfortunately long before Season 2 ever saw a DVD release, on December 18th, 2001. I got the box-set for Christmas. I had never seen the series before, but in the midst of my Lynch obsession at age 15, I was pumped.
Since I’ve been re-watching it, I’ve been thinking a lot more about David Lynch than I have for years– at least since Inland Empire was released. While I know that Twin Peaks is specifically not exclusively the work of Lynch, in any sort of auteur sense, it certainly maintains a lot of elements that are specific to his aesthetics, and the episodes he himself directed are certainly the best of the series. The point is, I’ve been thinking about how awesome David Lynch is, and how really he is sort of the only ‘dark cult figure’ that I can still deal with after decades of obsession & attempting to navigate ‘fanboy’ culture (which, for the record, any sort of genre-based fanboy culture–actually just make that any sort of fanboy culture in general–is pretty much the most annoying thing in the world; I can no longer deal with the cult of Werner Herzog due to his incessant pandering & the caricature of himself that he’s fallen into (and the fact that Klaus Kinski is 100x more awesome than Herzog while Herzog gets all the credit majorly pisses me off)). Anyway, the point is I’ve made a list of why I will love David Lynch forever.
1. David Lynch understands the idea that films are more than just a representational narrative, rather, they are experiences in their own right.
2. David Lynch is not afraid of unwavering intensity. In fact, he loves it, and uses it to a very strong degree. Within the first season of Twin Peaks, made for prime-time network television, after establish a jovial tone filled with the lower-middle class & hat-tips to coffee and pie (“americana”), there are strobe lights, sexual perversions, and intense screaming & crying. This is not Lynch pandering towards “revealing the dark underbelly of suburbia”– maybe that is what Blue Velvet did, but I’d argue it’s more likely that Lynch is just prone to exploring this intensity in various environments (which if you ask me, the rest of his filmography seems to prove).
3. David Lynch, as a person, is not afraid to call people out on their bullshit. On watching movies on an iPhone, he says, “Get real.” During a Q & A session after the Chicago premiere of Inland Empire, when some pretentious film-student (undoubtedly from Columbia) asked, “So, I noticed you use a lot of Polish locations in this movie. Were you at all influenced by the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski?” Lynch simply stared at the man, looked him up and down, and said, “No,” before signalling for the next question.
4. David Lynch has amazing hair. I have modeled my hair after David Lynch’s hair. I have never gotten more compliments on my hair in my entire life.
5. David Lynch’s primary interest in genre tropes is what he can use them to achieve, i.e. he seems to float around the periphery of horror because of his interest in the intensity of affect. While he hovers around the periphery of genre archetypes & ideas, all of his work is always uniquely his, which is something entirely admirable.
6. David Lynch’s obsession with drones in virtually all of his films is amazing. There are always arguably diegetic sounds that haunt almost every scene; whether it be the waterfalls in Twin Peaks, the hum of an interior in Lost Highway or just the highway in Mulholland Drive.
7. David Lynch has played a particular role for me at a personal level at almost every stage of my ‘creative’ development. I started writing this post as biographia, but I get bored doing that so I decided that I’d just work in list-form instead.
8. David Lynch LOVES TO FILM CRYING. There is like sobbing in almost everything he’s done, which is kind of a really intense thing to have in a movie, which makes it really awesome and affective, always. Lynch is also completely unashamed that he loves to watch women smoke, and I like it when people don’t even bother to hide their fetishes’ influence on their work (unlike certain asshole directors who also ‘hover on the edge’ of genre who really like feet and who I wish would just disappear off the face of the earth).
9. David Lynch’s films are funny in a way that is really sort of goofy but also thankfully not trying too hard. There are actual jokes in most of Lynch’s films, which is not something that happens in most contemporary “comedies.” On the other hand, Lynch is not afraid of an utter-seriousness when it’s important for a scene. While many of his contemporaries will ‘give the audience a break,’ so to speak, by throwing in some awkward humor to lighten a particularly intense scene, Lynch simply goes for the gold and comes out on top.
10. David Lynch wrote a script called Ronnie Rocket that is one of the most wonderful things ever.
12. David Lynch fully embraced the internet, both as a sort of medium for short works, and as a medium to communicate with his fans long before it became commonplace to do so. This proves that, despite comments, he clearly does not hate technology, but rather embraces it when it is appropriate (I believe Inland Empire was one of the first feature-length films shot on whatever digital video camera it was shot on).
13. David Lynch resists interpretation. This plays into the number 1 reason I presented, but it’s worth reiterating: there have been plenty of essays that try to ‘interpret’ the plots of Lynch’s later films, to somehow fit them into a narrative box that is digestible and hegemonic & “makes sense,” but when asked, Lynch is always just like “calm down bro, the idea of a complete narrative isn’t important, what is important is how the events make you feel.” That officially makes him the best.
And that is why David Lynch is amazing.