I watched this again last night for the first time in years, and some of the images are still floating in my head today... whether all the pieces make sense or not (I think they don't), the overall story is still strong, given that it was a TV movie-pilot for a series and David Lynch went back later and cobbled it into a single movie.
Some of the images are stronger than anything he's done before or since, and the music is beautiful and truly haunting.
When you see it again, Naomi Watts' performance takes on a whole new depth of meaning; it's really an Oscar-level piece of acting. And Ann Miller's casting as the landlady becomes not just a campy hoot (which it is), but an important part of the story.
I'm sure some people find it pretentious, or just something David Lynch made up as he went along. But does anyone else like it?
(If you haven't seen it and you plan to, best to close this thread right now; the less you know going into "Mulholland Drive" the better.)
I know the old couple from the movie are going to get into my nightmares at some point.
I also love the composer, Angelo Badalamenti (btw, he is one of the Castigliani brothers in the movie!). Not related to Mulholland, but here is a clip where he explains how he creates music for Lynch's works, and I think its fantastic.
Thanks, OP, I love M-H.
Naomi Watts is stunning in this.
And it has, at it's core, a heart breaking lesbian love story.
Baldalamenti's music is perfect.
Lynch has said that the best way to see the movie is like its a dream.
I love it but it has some really slow spots. Lynch could have cut about 20 minutes and produced a masterpiece.
Even with all of its terrible flaws, and there are many, Mulholland Drive is among my favorite movies. It's a mystery, a love story, a drama, a comedy all rolled into one. There are some very good actors in it doing some very fine work.
At least David Lynch attempted to do something serious, which is more than you can say for most directors in Hollywood today.
There is precious little intriguing material being done these days.
I miss Ann Miller, she was a real hoot.
OP, if you're in LA, visit Caesar's--it's where they shot the Winky's scene, including the back parking lot where the scary man with really bad teeth lives.
Another huge fan here. Such a devastating movie. The dinner scene at the end where Laura Harring flaunts her relationship with Justin Theroux in Naomi Watts' face is excrutiating. I've lived that scene. Naomi Watts was AMAZING.
Liked it a lot but always bugged me that it was failed ABC pilot -- so all that double life stuff was added in later. makes me wonder if Naomi Watts got damn lucky because her Betty character might've been bad cloying acting if she hadn't had the evil to balance it, make it all look intentional. And she didn't know about said evil side when she was giving original performance.
I didn't know it was a pilot but I too love this movie. I have no idea what's going on when I watch it though. That's what makes I special though. Would someone like to attempt to explain it?
It's in my top five. It was not a pilot. I have no idea where OP got that.
Movie titles that are streets in LA:
Am I missing anyone? Of course, TV has Melrose Place
OP got that it was a pilot... because it was a pilot. Almost any review of it will mention that at least in passing.
It was definitely a pilot, R15. You're an idiot. A basic search on the Internet would tell you that. It was rejected and he turned it into a movie. I would have loved to see it as a TV show, but it will always be a classic piece of cinema now. It's in the top 5 movies (if not #1) of the 2000s.
I haven't seen this film in at least ten years, but it's so unforgettable that I won't have to watch it again to be all over this thread.
And the fact that Naomi Watts didn't even get nominated for an Oscar is the gold standard of proof that the AMPAS has its collective head up its ass.
Naomi Watts simply gave one of the best screen performances ever. I'm not much of a fan of Lynch, but she just blew me away.
Is it true that Watts had anal with Lynch for the part?
I also heard that he made Heather Wilson take it in the rear.
I couldn't ever get into it, which surprised me because I'd seen all of Lynch's previous stuff and liked most of it. He lost me on Mulholland and don't think I've ever seen any of his newer movies, like the one about the rabbits.
R21 the Republican congresswoman from New Mexico?
Naomi Watts can't act for shit. She was good at playing a terrible, terrible, hopelessly bad actress. Shocker.
The scene with the guy behind the trash dumpster!
I think R21 means Heather Graham.
where have you heard that R21?
Masterpiece. Nothing less.
OP, you should check out Inland Empire - absolutely haunting and another Lynch masterpiece.
Can I just say. I know what you mean, OP when you say Naomi Watts' performance was "Oscar level." But it seems like most Oscar nominees aren't "Oscar level." Oscars nominations are populated by performances from actors who just "show up".
For example, Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress who hasn't "ripened" yet. That's not a condition of her age necessarily, but more of acting chops. She is still "finding it." Yet, she's touted as this year's one to beat.
It's more about The Hunger Games franchise, and the enormous egos of Harvey Weinstein & David O Russell. Her performance is just a little above average, and Silver Linings Playbook is just another romantic comedy. Nothing unique about it.
How can anyone compare her to Marion Cotillard or Naomi Watts or Rachel Weisz. She's not in the same league.
Love this movie and the soundtrack both re so haunting. And agree the scene where Camilla is flaunting her relationship with Adam and then kisses the other blonde actress is painful to watch. You can actually feel your own chest tightening and stomach sinking.
[quote]I didn't know it was a pilot but I too love this movie. I have no idea what's going on when I watch it though. That's what makes I special though. Would someone like to attempt to explain it?
I can try -- based on the best guesses of critics and what I saw.
But: major, MAJOR spoilers ...
The "real" part of the movie is the last 30 minutes, and everything that happened previously was a dream of Naomi Watts' character (not the plucky young actress of the first part, but the desperate failed lesbian actress of the end).
(Rather than try to separate Diane/Betty and Rita/Camilla, I'll just refer ot them as Naomi and Laura....)
On a second viewing, the clues are there; after the opening jitterbug sequence, you see someone in a bed tossing and turning (later, it's revealed to be Naomi's bed) before the next shot. It happens so quickly that it fades from memory immediately.
When you see the first part of the movie through the lens of a dream, it makes more sense: Naomi comes to L.A., gets a slightly surreal "classic" Hollywood apartment right off the bat, and is proved a brilliant actress on her first audition. Her relationship with Laura Harring goes from best friend to Nancy Drew girls to tender lesbian lovers.
The Hollywood at the end of the movie is shot flatly and undreamily; it's ugly and unglamorous. When you see Naomi and Laura having sex "for real," it's much less idealized and more like workaday porn. And when Naomi hires the man to kill Laura, you realize that she dreamed this fantasy about her Hollywood career and their relationship because she couldn't handle the truth -- Laura had just had a brief affair with her, but her real love was Justin Theroux, and she had the career Naomi wanted.
Of course, there are still unresolved threads and images... the blue box and the blue key are never explained and the horrible bum/monster behind the dumpster is more of a symbol than a character.
When I watched it again, I was struck by how many times the characters repeated "You don't get to pick the girl" and variations thereof, as well as the phrase "This is the girl."
On first view, it doesn't have much import. On second watching, the repetition becomes the theme of the movie. Naomi DOESN'T get to pick the girl, and "This is the girl" becomes a mantra: You don't ever really see the person right in front of you when you're in love.
At least that's what I got. I'm sure some other DLers have other details and interpretations.
The "real world" sex scene between Laura and Naomi on the couch is very raw and cold in a "straight porn for men" way. It is not idealized and romantic as in the dream. When Laura rejects her right then and there for the director, Naomi tried to forcefully finger-fuck her until she is pushed off. A minute or so later, Naomi is seen violently fingering herself in some kind of haze in a VERY unerotic scene. It's as if the male gaze of Hollywood has burned through her dreamworld and left her with nothing. Hence her wish-fulfillment dream of Justin Theroux (the director) get his ass handed back to him by Billy Ray Cyrus (the boyfriend fucking her). She also needs to punish both male and female sexuality by having the mob goon beat the shit out of both the director's wife and Billy later on in the film. The goon is Nemesis (revenge) going after the sexuality of those who betrayed her and also attacking her own gullibility at being taken advantage of.
Naomi looks gorgeous in the scene where Justin kisses Laura on the set. Check out her glaze of tears--a deliberate 40's style cinematic technique that represents her dreamworld literally pouring away through her eyes.
"Diane Selwyn" was named after Edgar Selwyn, one of the inventors of Hollywood; a producer who was screwed out of his holdings by Samuel Goldwyn. So the name "Selwyn" evokes a loser in the Hollywood rat race, the theme of this film.
Now, can someone tell me the significance of the title? I've driven over Mulholland Drive, and it seems chiefly noteable for its sweeping views of the San Fernando Valley.
Here's the sequence where Betty goes to the set where they're screentesting the "I Told Every Little Star" musical number.
It's just perfect -- Justin Theroux is shooting a movie within a movie, while an aspiring actress is mouthing the words to an old pop song about not telling someone you're in love with them, which is the theme of Diane's dream.
Then studio goons come in and force Theroux to say the words "This is the girl" -- right before Naomi Watts enters, looking like a stunningly beautiful Hitchcock ingenue among all the others on the set.
In one look, it's clear Theroux desires her, and not just for his movie... but she's not the girl.
I don't think everything in Mullholland Drive needs to make sense in the way one expects a typical narrative film to make sense. What's important is that the images are compelling and provoke thought and emotion. Which is what separates movies like Mullholland Drive and Melancholia from pretentious pieces of shit like The Master and The Tree of Life.
I have to wonder if this did go to series if Naomi Watts would be known more as a TV actress or a film actress. And what ever happened to Laura Harring?
What, no mention of Chad Everett? He may have been getting on in years but he was still hot as hell.
[quote]I have to wonder if this did go to series if Naomi Watts would be known more as a TV actress or a film actress. And what ever happened to Laura Harring?
I don't know... but reading up on the making of the movie after I put up the original post, I found that ABC didn't like the casting of either Naomi or Laura, which is astonishing and baffling. They were perfect in the roles, and both drop-dead stunning.
Still think there's no reason they shouldn't have at least been nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress (though Naomi Watts did sweep many critics' polls).
touching film in so many ways
R38- I think that about a lot of actors. Josh Brolin was in a failed 2005 FOX pilot called Murder Book. If that had been a hit, he'd probably just be David Boreanaz and not the Oscar nominated film star he is now. And Jeremy Renner had a show (The Unusuals?) a few years ago that ran about 7 episodes. Again, if that had been a hit, would he have been nominated for an Oscar for Hurt Locker that he had already shot? Or would he not have been taken seriously as a film actor. I bet not. And he certainly wouldn't have grown into the worldwide action hero star he is now.
A lot of people, I think maybe even Ebert, have speculated that Lynch never intended it to be a series, it was just a ruse to get funding for the movie. The "pilot" was way too weird for tv and Lynch knew it, he was just using them to fund the movie.
[quote]I don't know... but reading up on the making of the movie after I put up the original post, I found that ABC didn't like the casting of either Naomi or Laura, which is astonishing and baffling. They were perfect in the roles, and both drop-dead stunning.
ABC thought they looked too old - they were quite a bit older than the women they portrayed. Naomi was playing early 20s and was early 30s at the time, while Laura Harring was 37.
Should be required viewing for anyone who wants to go to Hollywood and become a "star."
[quote]ABC thought they looked too old - they were quite a bit older than the women they portrayed. Naomi was playing early 20s and was early 30s at the time, while Laura Harring was 37.
Amazing Hollywood logic. I can barely see the objection to Naomi Watts based on the age in the script (though she did it with no problem), but ABC thought Laura Harring was over the hill for their audience? Yeah, just look at this hideous old hag.
r46 again - Judging from photos online, Laura Harring's weight has gone up and down a lot over the years.
Here she is in January 2012 at a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation.
Her biography states she grew up in a small town in Mexico, went to boarding school in Switzerland, and married "Count Carl-Eduard von Bismarck" while she was young. He was a member of the German parliament.
Chad Everett should have won the Oscar, not boring Naomi Watts.
None of the actors in this movie won (or were even nominated for) an Oscar, you silly twat @ R50.
That's former Miss USA Laura Herring, thank you -- one of the first to make the crossover from pageants to acting (right before Halle, also beat by a Miss Texas). I think the TV series would've been VERY different -- more of the director (now Mr. Anniston), more of the hitman who keeps shooting the wrong people, etc. So who knows if Naomi would've made any impact -- or been Sherilyn Fenn, at best. Where luck comes in, I guess.
Fucking great movie. One if the all time greats and makes a great double feature with SUNSET BLVD. Can't believe no one has mentioned the Club Silenco scene.
A friend of mine used to cringe at the way she pronounced her own name: "LOWL-ra". Funny, her last name has been spelled a dozen different ways here too including wrongly by me.
but did watts fuck lynch to get the part??
I always thought there was some connection between the bum behind Winky's and the character Lee Grant played - the one who came to Betty's door and told her bad things were happening in the apartment. She looked like a cleaned up version of the bum.
[quote]A lot of people, I think maybe even Ebert, have speculated that Lynch never intended it to be a series, it was just a ruse to get funding for the movie. The "pilot" was way too weird for tv and Lynch knew it, he was just using them to fund the movie.
The pilot was indeed shot and shelved for over a year. It took Lynch a lot of time to find the money to buy it back. If he hadn't done that we would have never seen it. Ebert is a moron.
Here's a New Yorker article about the making of the pilot and ABC's canning of it.
'Mulholland Dr.' is the best film of David Lynch.
There is nothing redundant in this movie. All the images have a special meaning and yet they are not approached so much by common logic, but mostly you can reach them with your intuition and feelings.
Ecstatic, tragic, lovely, bizarre, tender, sarcastic, dreamy, sad, heartbreaking,melodic, mysterious, BEAUTIFUL.
I will never get over this movie and i'm happy for this. I believe that many people feel the same after watching this masterpiece.
After Wild at Heart I swore I would never go to another David Lynch movie. Ugh. And then Mulholland Drive came along and I was stunned. It was so beautifully shot and had a story that was impossible to fully understand yet you couldn't take your eyes off the screen. Masterful. I remember going online afterwards to figure it out and how everything fell into place when you realized the whole first part of the movie is Watts' dream life and the last part is her reality. Laura Harring was absolutely GORGEOUS in that movie. The dreamy love scene between Harring and Watts was so erotic.
Any movies similar to Mulholland Dr.?
Please don't mention other David Lynch films, because i have seen them all.
I also googled similar movies to Mulholland Drive and ffs most of those movies were not really similar!
It's not about lesbianism at all- that's just a metaphor. She has a 'crush' that stems from envy.
Most of the movie is the abstract dream of a failed actress.
It's about getting chewed-up by Hollywood and spat out onto the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". The grievous rejection you must constantly endure to be a working actor. Wondering why another actor was chosen over you.
If she had lived, she would have ended up as Jane Fonda's character in "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", saying lines like: "Central Casting has it all rigged before you ever show up" or "Maybe I've been playing up to the wrong sex in this town...".
This needs to be a musical. If only SMASH weren't going to be cancelled Mulholland Drive the musical could be the next show they are casting! Ivy and Karen both get a starring role and they can have sex!!!
R62, it is not "similar," but you might like "Les Enfants du Paradis."
I saw MD when I was working in Munich, at a little English-language movie theatre near the Deutsches Museum. I saw a late-night screening and was the only person in the theatre, which I recall also had a replica of the Statue Of David to one side of the movie screen.
In retrospect, I can't imagine a more perfectly bizarre scenario in which to see the film and I think it added to my love.
No movies like Mulholland Drive.
We need masterpieces! We are full of mediocre stuff as it comes to cinema, music and literature.
R62, American Horror Story is a mystery TV show with dreamlike horror sequences.
I understand why Lynch can't make another movie. After Mulholland Dr, what more he could possibly give?
I have never seen anything similar. It surpasses all the movies i have seen and actually they are a whole lot!
It's not just the lines or the direction or the acting. It's not just some tricks of the light. Everything fits perfectly and not in a common way. There is still space for emotions, mystery and magic even when you receive the picture. You feel the movie, you don't simply view it. It strikes you again and again! Every time i watch it (and i think it's more than ten times until now) it gets under my skin.
I don't think that a movie could ever achieve what Mulholland Drive did. Usually in movies, we love the movie for some parts of it or for some lines. In Mulholland Dr. everything is needed and is so vital. It's an entity itself, it doesn't rely on the power of a few scenes. All the moments of this film have a a cause, they don't just pass you by.
I liked Inland Empire as well, i love Lynch's movies in general, but i don't think that any of them is better than M.D.
Mulholland Drive combines the harmony and the mystery perfectly. It fits all the way.
R32, I got chills just from reading what you wrote.
Mulholland Drive is such a hauting masterpierce. A film I wasn't expecting at all, saw it maybe two years after it opened, and it just blew me away... The first time i didn't "get" any of it, except that I got everything... It works on a subconscious level I guess, it's so well done everything works emotionally and even logically, and you can still be entranced in it even without clearly understanding it...
Knowing the story, it is such a nightmare... I'm glad I knew so little going in. That movie truly is a sleeper.
And the music...
R35, the reason why I ened up watching this movie was because they kept showing that scene (I've Told Every Little Star) over and over and over again in the DVD shop where I used to go. I ended up being very curious and watched the film to see what it was all about. The screenshot of the Naomi/Laura kiss that has so often been used repelled me initially.
David Lynch is a full-blooded Cro-Magnon who is pushing his Cro-Magnon agenda.
As far as he is concerned, those of us with Neanderthal DNA can all just go to hell in a hand basket.
It's not fair, and all of the accolades he receives reveals where Hollywood's mind is at.
R74 i can't even appreciate your humor...i wonder if you find what you wrote clever. Really!
I consider myself a cinephile, but I thought this movie was a pretentious piece of crap. If it didn't have Lynch's name attached to it, people wouldn't be so afraid to admit that they hate it.
I would rather watch White Chicks again than Mulholland Dr.
David Lynch is a known skinny-fatter, a common trait among Cro-Magnons.
Those with Neanderthal DNA are muscular.
which one looks better?
I've heard that David Lynch has those weird skinny old man bat wings LOL.
R76, with all due respect i don't think you understood the movie. Unfortunately you didn't feel it either. But it's ok, to each their own.
R69 thanks for answering my question. You are the minority, because except for you, only a person had the kindness to answer it. I appreciate it. However, i just googled American Horror Story. I saw some trailers of it on YouTube and what i saw is not my cup of tea. It seems too sensational, without a deeper meaning. Lynch is not just a sensationalist. That's the difference. He combines meditation with art and feelings in his pictures and Mulholland Dr was the only movie he did that he admitted that he used meditation before shooting a lot of scenes of it. Usually ideas come to him while working, but with Mulholland Drive he was very meditative and hopefully it seems so! Mulholland Dr is the masterpiece of masterpieces! It has logic, not in an ordinary way but in a divine, carmic way. Its dreaming qualities and its poignancy chill the viewer. That happens because the movie is not just sensationalism as R76 implied that it is. Actually there is nothing pretentious about Mulholland Dr. Everything fits and it is so painful and yet...so real and dreamy simultaneously! I LOVE IT SO MUCH! And i'm not the only one! It's a movie that has been loved a lot. It deserved the attention it got. Lynch surpassed himself with MD. He gave everything in it.
R65, maybe someday i'll see "Les Enfants du Paradis."
I'm not in the mood for it yet. Thank you too, for answering though!
[quote]Any movies similar to Mulholland Dr.?
r69, there's a Korean movie based on a folktale called "Tale of Two Sisters" that reminded me very much of Mulholland Drive in some ways. Very dreamlike, beautiful and creepy repetition of visual motifs, you're often not sure of what's real or imagined, and the narrative seems almost to split or disintegrate in the middle. Very interesting film.
The entire thing is on YouTube, and Netflix has it, as well:
Thanks a lot for your recommendation R82.
I'll definitely watch it this week
I love Mulholland Dr also. A haunting, multi-layered masterpiece, that Lynch himself says was not meant to be interpreted in any specific way. It works more like a dream.
If someone is still looking for "similar" recommendations, I'll mention "ENTER THE VOID". Not really similar (after what could be?) but haunting and even moving in similar ways
Lynch's best film, in my opinion. It holds up very well, especially in this social media driven age of "fame at all costs".
David Lynch is the only true original in American cinema today. It sucks that he can't get money for his films here. It's also very telling about the state of film financing in the US (let's make more dumb movies for the masses!).
I have never hated a movie more that this disjointed mess. I'm not surprised if he cannot get his projects produced. There is a small audience for art films. Andy Warhol would not have been able to get big budget financing for his work either.
You're so linear, R88.
R82 i finally saw 'A Tale of Two Sisters'. Well, yes, the direction and the cinematography are amazing, the colors and the pictures of this film are really impeccable and dreamlike. However, i didn't like the story. The script lacked the depth, the meaning and the magic of 'Mulholland Drive'. In Mulholland Drive everything fits in a magical, beautiful and threatening way.
In 'A Tale of Two Sisters' that doesn't happen. The 'twists' here, most of the time seem stilted and decorous and the horror moments unfortunately are typical of many Asian horror movies. On the other hand, despite the script, the actors used in A Tale of Two Sisters were very interesting to watch and they delivered well their parts.
If this film was based on a better story and script, it could have been a great movie, but unfortunately that doesn't happen in spite of the excellent direction and the beauty of its colors. In general, this problematic exists in most Asian movies. The scripts are always their weak point. They always end up too common, even if the cinematography and the direction are splendid.
Anyway, thank you again for your recommendation R82. It was an interesting film to watch despite its uneven plot.
The sex scenes are hot
I put this in my Netflix queue because of this thread, and I just watched it again. So many things become apparent when you see it after a long break - the significance of the blue key, Camilla's attempts to be kind to Diane, Betty's glowing pink sweater and Diane's faded pink bathrobe, etc. And the makeovers... in the first part, Betty makes over Rita, and gives her short blonde hair like her own. In the second part, Diane is always looking washed out because she wears Camilla's signature crimson.
So... anyone wanna tell me what the fuck was up with the Cowboy?
r92 We see The Cowboy 2 more times, indicating that things did not go well and that Naomi Watts character is all that failing in Hollywood represents. Great movie!