Mulholland Dr. (2001)


I stopped taking this movie seriously the minute I saw Billy Ray Cyrus enter the frame. Actually, I stopped long before that, but I kept hoping that maybe if I kept on watching, some ounce of credibility would be bestowed on it eventually. It didn’t happen.

Within the first ten minutes, I felt like I had turned on the Lifetime Channel because of how terrible the acting was. Then, I did some research. Apparently, this movie started out as a pilot for ABC. You know, the channel owned by fucking Disney. So that made sense. As I kept watching, though, I realized that it wasn’t really the acting, since I had seen a lot of these people before, save for Billy Ray. It was the script. It was so entirely ridiculous that there was no way for it to be salvaged. Not even the actors knew how to turn it into something not laughable. I get that it’s supposed to be stylized film noir, but there’s a difference between over-the-top and non-realistic.

I decided to make a list of questions, then, for David Lynch, the writer/director of this film. Starting from the top:

Why would you ever name a 30-something woman in 2001 Betty? Any aspiring actress with a lick of sense would have dropped the nickname synonymous with eighty year old women and opted for something modern, like Liz, or Beth.

Why has it been twenty minutes and nothing has actually happened?

What is up with all the close-ups on the eyes?

Why does there have to be a psychic woman living next door? I feel like that cliché has been overused so many times that it has lost its value of moving the plot forward.

Why is the subplot/comical relief of Adam getting dumped even in there?

Why is the landlady’s business who stays with Betty? Is she not allowed to have friends?

What kind of audition is this? Why are they all so accomadating, and why is it acceptable to have a make-out session?

Why has it been an hour and ten minutes and I still feel like nothing has happened?

…More eye close ups?

Why is everyone in this movie so hostile toward one another?

Why make a big deal about changing what Rita looks like if all it means is putting on a wig? With the whole, "Let me do it" spiel I thought at least she'd get a radical haircut and makeup change. What was really implied was "Here, let me put this wig on you because you apparently can't do it yourself."

Why do both women just happen to sleep naked? I mean, I get that it’s a lesbian romance, but I don’t know many people who sleep naked on a regular basis. I also don’t know anyone who actually dreams with their eyes open.

…I think you get the idea. I think had everything been faster, it might have been able to hold my attention. As it was, I struggled to not just shut off the television. It was one of those movies where I could get up, walk away for a few minutes to get something to drink without pausing and be confident that I would know exactly what was going on when I came back.  It was just… so…. slow.

Because I don’t want to bore you anymore, I’m going to stop now. To keep asking stupid questions, I’d have to go through the entire movie, and who wants to do that? I mean, I gave it a 4/10 because I wanted to stop watching an hour in.


The Movie Mistress


  1. The robotic quality of the acting was intentional. Up until the audition scene, I truly wondered why the actors were so flat but it was all an illusion. David Lynch instructed his actors to act like that.

  2. I just thought it was sad that such an interesting plot (2 hours in) was lost because of the PAINFULLY slow pace. Because I admit that after a couple hours it did pique my interest. But I shouldn't have had to want to turn it off before that. Even after that, when it was a bit more interesting, it was still extremely slow paced, no matter the intentions.

  3. I can see where you are coming from in many of your criticisms but you have to keep in mind that these were all intentional decisions. You have to keep in mind that the bulk of this movie is meant to be either a dream sequence or a daydream.

    I can agree with you about the pacing though, it is especially hard because the movie doesn't totally make sense.

  4. The answers to most of your question are answered by the simple fact that the first half of the movie is Betty's fantasy. Despondent, depressed and feeling guilty over hiring a hit-man to kill her lover, she re-imagines her life as ideally as she can. This leads to the over-the-top wooden acting and some of the really outlandish character choices.

    I don't disagree with your criticisms, because even knowing this some of them are annoying, but I can see the purpose of the choices here.

  5. I haven't seen this in a while, but I find you thoughts funny and interesting.

  6. I haven't seen this in a while, but I find you thoughts funny and interesting.

  7. It doesn't do much to make sense, but Mulholland Dr. is one of those wacko films from David Lynch, that just is so strange, incoherent, and crazy, but yet so imaginative, well-acted, and intelligently structured, that it works