Psychic Rave

A critic dreams his review of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive

DEAR CITY PAGES:

This is so exciting! I'm writing from a limo that's taking me to...wait, hold on a second. Someone's trying to tell me something. Okay.

So, yeah: I have to tell you about this really weird dream I had last night. See, when I first moved here to the City of Dreams, I knew these two girls (no, really--this is the truth!) named Rachel and Misti. Rachel was this blond girl who wanted to be in the movies, and Misti was the dark, sexy, sinister sidekick who was sort of her "personal manager," if you know what I mean. And the two of them lived in this house on Mulholland Drive with this East Coast gangster guy, and one day they ran screaming out of the house because he...

Wait--I'm getting off the track here. The point is: I had this really weird dream last night. And those two girls were in it--only the blond one was called "Betty" and the dark one was "Rita." At the start of the dream, they take me to this old Hollywood vaudeville house. We go inside, and meet this creepy guy in an Eagle Scout uniform. He looks like an innocent young boy and moves like a decadent old man--and when he talks, he sounds just like Jimmy Stewart. He won't tell us his name, but there's a tag on his uniform that says "Missoula." Someone in the audience explains that "he lynches people"--which, in the dream world, means that he either turns them into funny little dwarves or mannequin-people who talk like dingbats.

So the lynching guy steps up to this Thirties-era radio microphone and announces: "You are about to see the movie...but there is no movie!" Then there's this crackling noise like the sound of a light bulb burning out--and Betty and Rita are onstage wearing weird masks and reading dialogue from old film noir. Then they start kissing, and then the curtain comes down, and the lights go out.

Now here's the really strange part. Betty and Rita--who have actually turned back into Rachel and Misti--drag me out of the vaudeville house and into this shiny new multiplex where there's only one movie: Blue Highway-Head Walk With Me. So the movie starts, and it has all these clips from other movies that I know I've seen somewhere--like the one about the guy who finds a severed ear, and the one about the guy who beats another guy's head against a railing until his brains spill out. Then, suddenly, there's a scene of Betty and Rita--or, rather, Rachel and Misti playing Betty and Rita--totally nude and making out. The real-life Betty turns to me and says, "When directors get old, the only parts they really care about are the ones with naked girls. And I ought to know: Antonioni once felt me up with his one good hand."

Then I awake from the dream...and find myself sitting in a Denny's wearing an Eagle Scout uniform. And everyone in the restaurant tells me that the entire Twin Cities is waiting for me to say something about this brilliant movie I have just seen. Thumbs up or thumbs down? I want to say something, but I feel stuck. I can't remember! Have I seen a Skinemax movie with really cool sound design? Or an Alain Resnais movie with lesbian sex scenes? I just can't remember! I want to articulate myself--but when I try to speak, I start singing "Three Little Words," and then I look down and see that I'm dressed like Connie Francis. And then Chad Everett (the guy from Medical Center, right?) pulls me outside and ushers me into this limo. And here I am.

So, yeah--the point I wanted to make about the movie is...hey, wait a second! We're not supposed to stop here! This isn't...

 
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