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Wild At Heart

By Adam Lippe


There was some riff-raff about the fact that MGM’s new disc was the R rated cut, and not the unrated version that was released in Europe. The main difference is apparently in the smoke that appears when Dafoe blows his own head off, which was added to avoid an X.

I watched the Region 2 disc and the smoke is not there, though I don’t really see what the big deal is, since the whole scene is so silly, especially with the rubber head rolling around on the ground after the head comes off. The smoke would add an air of mystery to a movie that’s all surface shock effects, though I guess it wouldn’t hurt one way or the other if it had to adopt yet another incongruous tone. Perhaps I just don’t find the self-awareness of the movie as funny as Lynch does, but I wonder how after Gregg Araki’s bastardization of the same style in movies like The Doom Generation (the whole, I’m-too-cool-to-take-the-material-seriously, but that’s only because I couldn’t make the movie straight because I’m not actually talented, stance, a melting pot of distanced irony), how one can really watch Wild At Heart and not cringe at how hard Lynch is trying to be weird for weird’s sake in every single shot. Is the juvenile humor mixed with the repetitive imagery of striking matches (subtle symbolism Dave!) and constant Wizard of Oz references only praised because it’s Lynch who made it? I may not have liked Perdita Duranga (the other film based on the same novel) that much, but at least De La Iglesia had the balls to try to play it as trash, and not try to excuse himself from his own film. “Yeah, it’s trashy material, but I’m way too cool for that.” You think any of the actors are a bit embarrassed in retrospect with Lynch letting them ham it up so much? I even felt a little sympathy for Crispin Glover for that whole insect/underwear scene, especially because it doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the movie, and was probably only shot because Lynch couldn’t find any women to randomly walk around nude for that sequence.

bobby_peruome would roll their eyes at describing any Lynch film as weird for weird’s sake and there are things that fit within the film, no matter how bizarre they seem, but then there are things such as all the scenes with the guy that Santos hires who we initially meet on the toilet with naked girls dancing in front of him. I don’t even mind Diane Ladd’s scenery chewing, but what is the point of her embarrassing display as she smears lipstick all over her face? I think we got the point that she’s not all there and a bit obsessive. Is it in all in tune with the rest of what we see? I guess, if you’re going to take it as a genre parody, but certainly not as serious cinema. The first time I saw the movie was when I was 18, and I thought to myself, “This is the either the worst movie I’ve ever seen, or, hopefully, a fitfully funny comedy that doesn’t want to commit.” The important thing is, now that I’ve sampled Wild At Heart for the second time, not only do I not care about the answer to that question, but I’m happy to say that I never have to watch it again.

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Now on DVD and Blu-Ray


By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.