From Eraserhead to Twin Peaks, to David Lynch’s recent attempts to predict the weather, find out which of Lynch’s movies you’ll adore, avoid, or ask yourself, “what exactly did I just watch?”
- Eraserhead (1977)
I guess it’s an ambitious decision to summarize David Lynch’s Eraserhead, so I won’t make the effort. If childhood deformities and railway tracks are not your cup of tea, I suggest you move on. Eraserhead is considered Lynch’s break out film, as well as one of Stanley Kubrick’s favourites. A fair bit of warning before watching: make no attempt to understand this film. Side effects may include nihilism, coughing fits, neurosis, and fear of No. 2 pencils.
- The Elephant Man (1980)
Based on Bernard Pomerance’s play of the same name, The Elephant Man is about Joseph Merrick, a physically disabled man living as a spectacle in a travelling “freak show” in 19th century London. John Hurt takes on the lead role as the curious and kind “Elephant Man,” while Anthony Hopkins plays opposite Hurt as Dr. Frederick Treves. The film is a very obvious evolution from Lynch’s Eraserhead.
- Dune (1984)
Much has been spoken about Lynch’s Dune (1984) since Denis Villeneuve’s vision debuted on widescreens in 2021 as a remastered version of the sci-fi epic. Mostly, conversations have been held in derision for the late classic. However, there is praise to be had. The film stays true to the book and honour’s Frank Herbert’s dreams of sand worms, intergalactic empires, and awaited prophecies with the added benefit of a rock of ages-like soundtrack. Whether you need a good laugh, want to enjoy Lynch’s escapades into science fiction, or discover the beginnings of Kyle MacLachlan’s career, Dune (1984) is the right movie for you.
- Blue Velvet (1986)
David Lynch approached Kyle MacLachlan on the set of Dune (1984) for his part in Blue Velvet, set in a sleepy town with a strange mystery unfolding. MacLachlan plays Jeffrey Beaumont, a boy home from college who finds a severed human ear in a field nearby. The finding leads him down a rabbit hole of mad men, harlots, diners, and dives. Yet, the film is first and foremost a coming of age. Jeffrey is infatuated with the enigmatic woman in blue (Dorothy Vallens) whilst also brewing a close friendship with the girl next-door (Laura Dern).
- Twin Peaks (1989-1991)
Perhaps David Lynch’s most impressive and well-known creation — Twin Peaks. The television show set in the town of its namesake about a murder and a mystery. Twin Peaks follows Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and the town’s sheriff, Harry Truman (Michael Ontkean), on their quest to find Laura Palmer’s killer through sheer wit, prophetic dreams, and songbirds. Lynch makes no attempt to hide the show’s soap opera-like qualities and the odd character moments are an acquired taste, but if it’s not esoteric than its not David Lynch.
- Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
The follow-up film to David Lynch’s popular television series, Fire Walk with Me follows the life of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the days leading up to her death. Many fans of the beloved TV show keep their distance from this darker piece, preferring a story in fine feather than the illustrative tragedy of a young girl. I think it’s a fine watch if you’re a fan of the show with the added benefit of David Bowie making a spectacular appearance.
- Mulholland Drive (2001)
A young girl (Naomi Watts) intent on becoming an actress enters the world of Hollywood glamour and gore, and meets an enigmatic woman known as “Rita” (Laura Harring). The film is well known for its unorthodox jump scares and Lynch’s principle dreamy atmosphere. If you are looking for a love story and a bit of fear, look no further than Mulholland Drive.
- What Did Jack Do? (2017)
Honestly, for a short film less than 20 minutes, it’s worth a watch. David Lynch has a conversation with a monkey (Jack) in a train station café. Can’t say much more than that.
- Weather Report (2005-2021)
David Lynch—the weatherman. I guess he wanted a new occupation in the 21st century. You can find his weather reports on his YouTube channel where he posts daily. He is a man of routine.
David Lynch is one of the strangest filmmakers in the world, whether he is the best is relative. However, what draws many into his web of mysteries and daydreams is perhaps his touch for the weird and the unordinary. Lynch makes no attempt to hide just how strange the human mind can be and what it might imagine. He’s more magician than film director.