The Friday Afternoon Movie: Blue Velvet

In remembrance of Dennis Hopper, who passed away on May 29th, The FAM presents David Lynch’s 1986 masterpiece Blue Velvet, a film that did perhaps just as much for Hopper’s career as it did for Lynch’s. I would imagine that most, if not all, Coilhouse readers have seen this film at least once. Starring the aforementioned Mr. Hopper as the psychotic Frank Booth as well as Kyle McLachlan, Laura Dern, and Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet is the story of a small town that hides dark and terrible secrets. It’s a classic Lynchian theme by now, but coming after the disaster that was 1984’s Dune — a film that I must admit, I like very much and a book, I must admit, I dislike as equally — it was a revelation.

Much of the film’s success must be placed at the feet of Mr. Hopper who, after accepting the role of Frank Booth (he was Lynch’s third choice for the part) was said to have exclaimed “I’ve got to play Frank! I am Frank!” His portrayal of Booth: impulsive, unpredictable, and terrifically violent, makes for one of the scariest characters in all of film. His constantly shifting moods and disturbing, recursive, Oedipal-tinged sexual proclivities, combined with his iconic nitrous oxide kit, are the perfect foil for McLauchlan’s naive, amateur detective. It’s a truly masterful performance.

In many ways Blue Velvet may be Lynch’s crowning achievement, and part of reason for that, I would maintain, is due to its relative simplicity. The imagery he uses here is powerful, but it is also far less obtuse than he has a tendency to be. In other words the signal to noise ratio of meaningful symbols and Stuff David Lynch Thought Looked Pretty is fairly low, making for what I feel is a much more complete and perhaps enjoyable experience.

At the very least, it’s a chance to see Dennis Hopper at his crazed, drug-addled best, every line spewed wild-eyed, frothing, and peppered with profanity. He shall be missed.

6 Responses to “The Friday Afternoon Movie: Blue Velvet”

  1. Celephais Says:

    Without a doubt, this was the single most influential film in my cinematic education. Well, this and _Big Trouble in Little China_.

  2. otto hottentot Says:

    IMO the best Lynch movie, for the reason you wrote, sir, not too much fancy inventions that look clever in the eyes of the director. Maybe he was not too much into all his sectarian shit at this time.

  3. Cjrpos Says:

    Wow, someone else who liked the ’84 Dune and disliked the book, I didn’t think there was anyone else. :P

  4. Vivacious_G Says:

    Ditto on the Dune movie/book thing. I know I saw Blue Velvet but I don’t remember any of it except one disturbing scene with I.R. Must watch again.

  5. klytus Says:

    Heineken? FUCK THAT SHIT!

  6. .typhoid Says:

    I must be an anomaly as I like both the book and the film, an attitude that usually inspires vomit-inducing horror in most Herbert fans.