This September will mark the 25th anniversary of BLUE VELVET. David Lynch’s dark, surreal film has had a long and rocky road to the cult status and critical acclaim it now celebrates. The film, which is admittedly quite off-kilter by today’s standards – let alone 1986’s, was met with lukewarm response upon its initial release but today stands as a triumphant overture to the delightfully twisted career of Lynch.
Frequent Lynch collaborator Kyle MacLachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a young man home from college to care for his ill father. Stumbling upon a severed ear in a vacant lot, Jeffrey is slowly drawn deeper and deeper into the previously hidden underbelly of his peaceful hometown — where, nestled between white picket fences and smiling milkmen, hides one of the craziest, most ill tempered psychopaths ever introduced to audiences.
Dennis Hopper’s portrayal of Frank Booth is responsible for breathing new life into the actor’s then-stagnant career. From his shockingly extreme foul-mouth to the sadistic physical abuse he deals out on those around him, Booth is not a man you want to meet in a dark alley — let alone in a David Lynch film. Under Lynch’s direction, Hopper turns the crazy up to 11 — providing audiences with some truly uncomfortable moments as Booth takes his neatly intertwined ideas of sex and violence out on Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a lounge singer whose tragic story forms the backbone of BLUE VELVET’S mystery.
Over the years there’s been a lot of discussion about the film’s themes and influences — from Lynch’s fascination with the dark scum that rests under the surface of small towns (explored further in TWIN PEAKS) to the film’s post-modern take on crime noir films of the ‘50s. Whatever way you choose to look at BLUE VELVET (and there are plenty of interpretations of the film floating out there in the ether), the fact remains that the film is a movie that should be seen at least once. BLUE VELVET may not be an easy watch — there is some heavy subject matter made even heavier by exceptionally strong performances from Hopper and Rossellini. That said, there’s no better way to watch the film and truly soak in all that Lynch has to offer than on a quiet Sunday evening at the Alamo Drafthouse
We’ll be showing the film twice this month — once at West Oaks and once at Mason Park. At both screenings we’ll be screening a special 35mm print and — best of all — we’ll have specials on Pabst Blue Ribbon, Frank Booth’s beer of choice.
Whether you’re looking to revisit David Lynch’s surreal take on suburbia or you’re watching the film for the first time, there’s no better opportunity to sloppily apply some lipstick, hook up your favorite gas mask and fall down the rabbit hole of weirdness that is a David Lynch film.