Author Topic: 90s US Round 6: My Own Private Idaho vs. Lost Highway (Deadline: June 14)  (Read 19661 times)

mañana

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 20857
  • Check your public library

Disses:

From scanning past verdicts I learned that I’m not the first to have an aversion to the theatrical scenes. I know Van Sant is borrowing from Henry IV (I have Google too) but none of it worked for me. To be fair, I often can’t tell the difference between good and bad Shakespeare, but this felt stilted and it was at times a chore to sit through. I thought perhaps it was employed to provide a language of the street boys, but that really didn't make sense since they don’t speak that way amongst each other, only to Bob. It's a choice, it just didn’t work for me.


Keanu, he’s a liability. Although he is pretty, I'll give him that.


A small quibble, small because I appreciate the attempt, but the stylized sex just did not work for me. They’re not still images, but instead the actors are holding positions and sometimes you can see their muscles twitch and shake. I suppose this is employed to give a sense of calm, but it totally pulled me out of the movie. An interesting idea for certain, it just didn’t work for me. When I captured the images as screen shots, they looked really great, but in the film it just felt awkward to me.

Props:

River Phoenix is terrific in this film. If you had asked me last week what I thought of him, I would have said he was a great talent, but the fact is I wouldn’t have known what I was basing that on. Turns out Running on Empty is not where his reputation was formed. He does everything the script asks him to do: he’s funny (“You know your Math), he’s heartbreaking, and you can't take your eyes off him. How good is he in the campfire scene? My favourite scene in the movie by far.


Nobody would mistake My Own Private Idaho for a comedy, but the film does show us some humour on occasion. Some of the johns early on are entertainingly loopy, the sequence with the talking beefcake magazines is great, and I love Mike’s reaction to Scott and Carmella canoodling. 

I also really liked the sequence back in Portland where two kids address the camera and share their date stories. Watching these nondescript, marginalized teenage boys was a window into the next 15 years of Van Sant’s (arty) career.   


It’s also all pretty and stuff. The landscapes and the home movies are all really effective and beautiful. I above stated my reservations about the linguistic style, however visually the film is an achievement. Some might charge the salmon stream image as a little too on the nose, but I thought it worked really well (I wish I had that screen shot). 

« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 04:00:03 AM by matt the movie watcher »
There's no deceit in the cauliflower.

mañana

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 20857
  • Check your public library

The first forty 40 minutes of Lost Highway are pretty darn spectacular. Had Lynch left it at that, it would have stood as a terrific movella (movie-novella). The sound design, the atmosphere, the tension, Robert Blake; its horror movie magic. The rest of the film is good, but it’s that first act that should be in Cooperstown. After that, things get really odd, inexplicably people turn into other people, but I’m game. Maybe some viewers can make absolute narrative sense of all this, I have some ideas but they’re mostly guesses, but of course it doesn’t matter.


It doesn’t matter because unlike other suspense directors, Lynch isn’t interested in plot, the twist, or the reveal. He takes standard noir setups (sleeping with the boss’ girl) and characters (femme fatale) and makes them for the art house and super high crowds. This is classic noir material, but it’s also the stuff of B and C level thrillers, stuff that Tom Berenger or even Shannon Tweed might have made in 1990. Lynch’s genius is co-opting the plots of these films, but heightening them with atmosphere, terrific character acting, and then abandoning the plot altogether. He exploits our knowledge of movie conventions and that’s why movie nerds love him so much; it may not be English, but we speak the same language.


I mentioned he exploits our knowledge of conventions. A really funny example is how he subverts our expectations in the Robert Loggia chase scene. The scene feels like something from a generic B grade thriller, and the excepted violence does come to fruition. But the altercation has nothing to do with “business”; Mr. Eddy just really hates tailgating. “Fifty CINECAST!ing thousand people were killed on the highway last year ‘cause of CINECAST!ing assholes like you! Tell me you’re gonna get a manual”. I really did not expect that scene to conclude that way.


Lost Highway is not Lynch in peak form (for my money that'd be Mulholland Drive or the Twin Peaks pilot) but there is a lot here for those of us into his shtick to cheer for. And the first act in particular is an absolute clinic. I also think the cast is uniformly good, with Loggia and Blake being the standouts. Bill Pullman seems like a strange fit but he does a good enough job. I also really liked Patricia Arquette's performance, and I'm about 75% sure that's not just the superficial male part of me speaking.  
« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 12:06:03 AM by matt the movie watcher »
There's no deceit in the cauliflower.

mañana

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 20857
  • Check your public library
Verdict: Coming Soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 03:37:51 PM by matt the movie watcher »
There's no deceit in the cauliflower.

Thor

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 6536
    • KTQ
Considering the low turn out here, would people object if I waded in a little later this week? I've watched MOPI, and though I know Lost Highway very well, it's still been a couple of years since I watched it, and I would need to see it again in the light of MOPI. Maybe I could get an extension until Tuesday night? (and some other people can also join in so it's not just Matt, Ses and me?)
Wanting for Thor what Thor wants for Thor.

worm@work

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 7505
Considering the low turn out here, would people object if I waded in a little later this week? I've watched MOPI, and though I know Lost Highway very well, it's still been a couple of years since I watched it, and I would need to see it again in the light of MOPI. Maybe I could get an extension until Tuesday night? (and some other people can also join in so it's not just Matt, Ses and me?)

I hate to be asking for another extension but if this gets pushed to Tuesday night, then I can join in as well.

facedad

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 10983
  • World Phucking Champions.
    • Be my netflix friend
Yeah, I'd love to do this (I've seen both multiple times), but I'm just having trouble finding time for them.
You're just jealous! Nobody loves you because you're tiny and made of meat!

https://twitter.com/thefaceboy

http://www.thereelists.com

pixote

  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 32353
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
Would Thursday allow enough time for everyone?

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

facedad

  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 10983
  • World Phucking Champions.
    • Be my netflix friend
If we say no, are you just gonna keep bending back?
You're just jealous! Nobody loves you because you're tiny and made of meat!

https://twitter.com/thefaceboy

http://www.thereelists.com

Melvil

  • Godfather
  • ******
  • Posts: 9978
  • Eek
I watched Lost Highway earlier in the week and MOPI last round. I might try to watch MOPI again if the deadline is extended, but either way I plan on weighing in.

pixote

  • Global Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • *****
  • Posts: 32353
  • Up with generosity!
    • yet more inanities!
If we say no, are you just gonna keep bending back?

Yeah, but I don't foresee that kind of solidarity.  It's dog-eat-dog out there.

(I can post a verdict by Thursday.)

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.