If it's crap ... We'll tell you
CAT: I guess we should preface this review with the fact that neither Harris and I have ever seen "Blue Velvet" before.
HARRIS: Cue the hordes of movie nerds screaming in rage.
CAT: “String ‘em up!”
HARRIS: Fact of the matter is, our first real exposure to "Blue Velvet" was at Fun Fun Fun Fest ’11, listening to Henry Rollins tell a story about freaking out Dennis Hopper by yelling “I’M GONNA SEND YOU A LOVE LETTER FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!” at him in the parking lot of a Captain Beefheart art show.
CAT: Mmmmm, Henry Rollins...
HARRIS: And now I regret bringing it up.
CAT: Since it’s a David Lynch film, it means that it’s going to be another movie where I don’t expect to understand a damned thing that’s going on.
HARRIS: You have to give credit though: it’s a little disjointed, but it’s easily Lynch’s most comprehensible and straightforward film. As opposed to, say, "Lost Highway" or "Mulholland Drive".
(Editor's note: Actually, I believe that honor goes to his 1999 film, "The Straight Story", for the record).
CAT: "Blue Velvet" is ultimately all about the decay and corruption that lurks just beneath the surface of an otherwise idyllic small town. And Lynch likes to make sure you understand this; he drives it home with a lot of bug imagery, like the beetles swarming beneath the lawn.
HARRIS: Meanwhile, Agent Dale Cooper, fresh from the FBI academy in Quantico, returns to a small town with a daaaaaark secret and stumbles upon a hidden world that he never suspected...
CAT: A "Twin Peaks" joke? Really?
HARRIS: Look, it’s already half the cast and crew of "Twin Peaks". David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan and (soundtrack by) Angelo Badalamenti! And a log! Lots of logs!
CAT: Why do I put up with you?
HARRIS: The first thing we noticed is that this is an incredibly beautiful transfer to high-definition. The visuals on the blu-ray are astoundingly clean, to the point of looking almost like video rather than film.
CAT: I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it; I’m not fond of when film looses that graininess. It feels less like a movie somehow. Still, there’s no denying that it makes everything incredibly vivid and the colors pop out like a painting.
HARRIS: And a good thing too, considering how heavily color and light plays into this movie. Every trip by Jeffery Beaumont (Kyle MacLauchlan) into Lumberton’s seedy underbelly is marked by the sudden change of color.
CAT: Everything goes from being pale earth tones to strong, striking colors.
HARRIS: And it’s played to excellent contrast. The Yellow Man’s canary-colored sports coat. Frank Booth’s (Dennis Hopper) black-on-black outfits. Broken bird-cum-femme fatale Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) is dressed in deep blue or whore-red, while sweet and virginal Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) is contrasted in pale pinks and light blue patterns.
CAT: And they have that blonde/brunette dichotomy going on. And of course the blonde is the “good girl”.
HARRIS: I would have thought you’d enjoy being portrayed as the sultry siren.
CAT: I’d prefer it if Rossellini didn’t look like Dave Foley in drag.
HARRIS: It’s the hair.
CAT: And the eyes. And the teeth.
HARRIS: Is it wrong that I’m kinda turned on now?
CAT: That actually works within the context of the movie, which plays heavily with sexuality of the characters.
HARRIS: Every conversation that Jeffrey has with Sandy sounds like they’re talking about fucking. Or whether they’re about to have sex or not.
CAT: That’s no accident. Even when Jeffrey gets caught breaking into Dorothy’s apartment, it comes across in sexual terms. “Don’t look at me! Don’t touch me or I’ll kill you! Now let me suck your dick!” This is the weirdest break-in reverse mugging sex scene I’ve ever seen!
HARRIS: Those crystal clear visuals on the blu-ray prove that Kyle MacLachlan is spending half of this scene thinking “I have the most awkward hard-on right now.” And let me say that if there’s anything I never need to see again, it’s Dennis Hopper screaming “Daddy needs to fuck!” while diving face first into somebody’s crotch.
CAT: If it’s anything, this is the story about how Jeffrey...
HARRIS: Agent Cooper.
CAT: Jeffrey starts off expecting a wacky Scooby-Doo adventure and stumbles into something far more profoundly fucked up than he could ever imagine. He tries to be a white knight to Dorothy...
HARRIS: It’s kind of hard to be a white knight when you’ve got a raging hard-on...
CAT: ... But he gets dragged further into her crazy world rather than pulling her out.
HARRIS: Complete with a nitrous-huffing criminal and his gang of droogs, a kidnapped husband, Frank N. Furter’s queenier drug-pushing younger brother - played by Dean Stockwell - and the saddest stripper ever dancing on a car while Jeffrey gets the crap beat out of him. And apparently raped.
CAT: Where the hell did you get that?
HARRIS: It’s in the way Jeffrey acts when he gets back home. If it were a female character, there’d be no question that she had been sexually assaulted.
CAT: Which brings us to the merits of the movie. The acting in this is uniformly excellent even if everybody has to compete with Dennis Hopper famously chewing all of the scenery like a hamster with an eating disorder.
HARRIS: You kind of get the impression that Hopper just wandered on to the set one day and Lynch just decided to let the cameras keep rolling.
CAT: It’s also notable for the fact that this was Isabella Rossellini’s first acting job. Up until this point, she was mostly known as a fashion model and as Ingrid Bergman’s daughter.
(Editor's note: Hmm, this isn't actually true. Rossellini was in a few films, including "White Nights" before this, but this was the film that elevated her to stardom).
HARRIS: This is also the movie that saved David Lynch’s career after the financial debacle that was "Dune". It established what is now Lynch’s signature style and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director.
CAT: The movie has an odd, almost off-putting timeless quality; at different times it could easily be in the fifties or sixties as the 80s. My only real complaint though is that it feels a little disjointed at times.
HARRIS: Ultimately this is because the original movie was well over four hours long before Lynch cut it down to a far more reasonable two hours.
CAT: The extra footage was thought to have been lost forever, but Lynch has apparently found the deleted scenes, which are included in the Blu-Ray’s extras. (51:42 minutes worth of freshly found lost footage, upgraded to HD!)
HARRIS: And a good thing too; for a 25th Anniversary release, this feels incredibly light. Besides the footage, there’s a documentary about the movie and the Siskel and Ebert review from 1986.
CAT: And a short blooper reel.
HARRIS: Trust David Lynch to make a movie where even the outtakes are uncomfortable and disturbing.
CAT: Over all, the movie is gorgeous and incredibly well done. You can see why it’s one of the top films in cinema history.
Harris. Indeed, if you’re a Lynch fan or you just want to see this movie in the way it should be appreciated, you really need to pick up this disk.
CAT: And then afterwards look around your life and realize that this world you live in is just a candy-coated topping.
HARRIS: You give me shit for "Twin Peaks" jokes and you drop a "Blade" reference?
CAT: Because they don’t expect it from me. Say goodnight Gracie.
HARRIS: Goodnight Gracie.
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