Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK VS. THE GENIUS OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE

Hulk takes on Lynch.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK VS. THE GENIUS OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE

DAVID LYNCH IS ONE OF HULK'S FAVORITE FILMMAKERS.

THIS MAY SOUND STRANGE TO A PORTION OF HULK'S READERS BECAUSE HULK TEND TO GO ON AND ON ABOUT THINGS LIKE THE POWER OF CONVENTIONAL DRAMA, STORYTELLING 101 AND HOW TO MAKE A GOOD ACTION SCENE... AND DAVID LYNCH SEEMS ABOUT AS FAR AWAY FROM THAT STUFF AS POSSIBLE. BUT HULK THINK HE'S JUST THE BEES' KNEES.

THERE IS A POPULAR CONCEPTION THAT DAVID LYNCH JUST THINKS UP WEIRD SHIT AND PUTS IT IN HIS MOVIES. THERE IS ALSO A (FAR WORSE) POPULAR CONCEPTION THAT PEOPLE WHO LIKE HIS MOVIES EMBRACE THIS RANDOM WEIRD SHIT AS SOME SORT OF PRETENTIOUS RUSE TO SEEM SMART... IF YOU THINK EITHER OF THESE THINGS THEN HULK HEARTILY ENCOURAGE YOU TO KEEP READING. HOPEFULLY YOU WILL GET A CHANCE TO SEE WHAT LYNCH IS ALL ABOUT.

THE FIRST PROBLEM IN PROVING THAT DAVID LYNCH ISN'T JUST DICKING US AROUND IS THE FACT THAT HE ACTUALLY PROPAGATES THIS "MY MOVIES ARE JUST WEIRD SHIT I THINK OF!" CONCEPTION HIMSELF. HE OFTEN TALKS ABOUT THE MOST STRANGE METHODS OF INSPIRATION AND EXTRAPOLATION. BUT THIS IS JUST BECAUSE HE NEVER, EVER WANTS TO DIVULGE HIS INTENTION. THIS SERVES THE VERY IMPORTANT PURPOSE OF LETTING HIS FILMS' INTERPRETATIONS "LIVE FOREVER" SO TO SPEAK. IT GREATLY ENCOURAGE DISCOURSE AND AFFECTATION. IT EVEN ALLOWS HULKS TO WRITE COLUMNS ABOUT IT! AND WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, HE JUST WOULD NEVER DO SOMETHING SO REDUCTIVE AS TO SAY "THIS IS WHAT I ACTUALLY MEANT."

BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT DAVID LYNCH, FOR ALL HIS TANGIBLE WEIRDNESS, IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY SMART AND SELF-AWARE FELLOW. ONE WHO IS CLEARLY WELL-VERSED IN PSYCHOLOGY, SYMBOLOGY, DREAM INTERPRETATION AND CRAP LOAD OF SEMIOTICS. HOW DO WE KNOW THIS? WELL, FOR ONE, HE WENT TO PRESTIGIOUS PENN ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS IN PHILADELPHIA AND HULK PRETTY SURE THESE CONCEPTS MIGHT'VE COME UP A FEW TIMES.

BUT FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE STUFF THAT ENDS UP ON SCREEN IS JUST TOO VIBRANT AND SYMBOLICALLY CONCRETE TO IGNORE. THERE IS A THROUGH-LINE OF LOGIC THAT PRESENTS ITSELF IN EARNEST. AND A MOST BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF COMMON LYNCH TROPES LENDS ITSELF ENDLESSLY TO INTERPRETATION... WHICH MEANS, NO,  HIS FILMS ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT A BUNCH OF WEIRD STUFF UP ON SCREEN.

AND HULK CAN THINK OF NO BETTER WAY TO TRY AND "PROVE IT" THAN WITH HULK'S MAYBE-DEFINITIVE INTERPRETATION OF DAVID LYNCH'S MASTERPIECE MULHOLLAND DRIVE.

LET'S DO THIS.

PART 1 - LYNCHIAN QUALIFIERS

WHAT'S THAT? AN INTERPRETATION OF A FILM THAT IS ABOUT 12 YEARS TOO LATE TO BE RELEVANT OR USEFUL?

SORRY! THE MOVIE IS SO GREAT THAT HULK JUST GONNA DO IT ANYWAY. PLUS HULK NOT REALLY SATISFIED WITH THE OTHER EXPLANATIONS HULK'S READ, SO THIS WILL BE CATHARTIC.

BUT FIRST WE HAVE TO ESTABLISH A FEW THINGS ABOUT HOW BOTH CINEMATIC INTERPRETATION WORKS AS WELL AS THE BRAIN OF DAVID LYNCH.

1) WHEN TALKING ABOUT THE MEANING OF LYNCH MOVIES YOU'RE BASICALLY DIVING HEAD FIRST INTO THE FIELD OF SEMIOTICS, WHICH IS BASICALLY THE INTERPRETATION OF SIGNS, METAPHORS, ANALOGIES, ETC. ALL FOR THE DIRECT PURPOSE OF DEDUCTING A LARGER MEANING. AND SEMIOTICS DICTATES THAT ANY IDEA, IMAGE OR MOMENT IN AN ARTIST'S WORK IS FAIR GAME FOR SAID INTERPRETATION, AS LONG AS THE INTERPRETER UNDERSTANDS IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FULLY INTENTIONAL ON THE ARTIST'S PART. BUT THE OTHER IMPORTANT THING ABOUT SEMIOTICS IS IT STILL ASSUMES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AUTHOR ANYWAY (BUT HOPEFULLY IN A HUMANE, UNDERSTANDING WAY).

2) SO SEMIOTICS IS NOT TRULY DEFINITIVE, BUT IT IS STILL DEFINITIVE ENOUGH TO HAVE REAL VALUE. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? THERE IS NO WAY HULK CAN PRESENT THESE IDEAS AS "VALID FACT" (ESPECIALLY WITH LYNCH NOT DIVULGING OF THE HIS INTENT), HULK CAN ONLY PRESENT A CASE. BUT THE IMPORTANT THING IN MAKING A CASE WITH SEMIOTICS IS THAT COLLECTIVE CONTEXT IS THE MOST CRITICAL THING TO USE. IT REQUIRES THAT THE DEDUCTION BOTH MAKES SENSE BASED ON ALL THE EVIDENCE, AND THUS FITS INTO THE CONTEXT OF EVERYTHING ELSE PRESENTED. IT THIS LAST PART THAT RITUALLY DRIVES HULK NUTS WHEN PEOPLE START INTERPRETING ART. HECK, THERE'S 90 MILLION LOST THEORIES OUT THERE THAT ARE BASED ON ONE DETAIL AND GO ON FOR PAGES AND PAGES WITHOUT EVER FITTING IN A LARGER CONTEXT OUTSIDE THE ARGUMENT (LOST "GURU" DOC JENSEN WAS PARTICULARLY HORRIBLE AT THIS). ONE MUST ALWAYS BE CAREFUL NOT TO JUMP OFF THE HANDLE INTO MEANINGLESS EXTRAPOLATION. ONE MUST CONSTANTLY ASK "HOW DOES THIS ALL PIECE TOGETHER?"

3) THE BEST GATEWAY FILM FOR GETTING A GRASP ON THE WORK OF DAVID LYNCH IS DEFINITELY BLUE VELVET. THE FILM REVEALS A WHOLE SERIES OF DUALITIES THAT CAN BE SEEN THROUGHOUT HIS WORK:

A) DAYWORLD/UNDERWORLD - BLUE VELVET MAKES THIS EXPRESSLY CLEAR. ON ONE HAND WE HAVE THE SURFACE OF SUBURBIA. BRIGHT. SHINY. HAPPY. DAVID LYNCH COLORS THIS WORLD WITH AN EQUALLY CREEPY/FUNNY-AS-HELL LENS. EVERYTHING TAKES ON THIS REAL 1950/60'S STYLE. PEOPLE ARE SUPER-BUBBLY TO THE POINT OF CARICATURE. IT'S ALL VERY ROCKWELLIAN ON PURPOSE. BUT THEN LYNCH HAS THE UNDERWORLD. DARK. SEEDY. MACABRE. PROFOUNDLY FUCKED UP. THERE'S SEVERED EARS. GAS MASKS. "DADDY WANTS TO FUCK." HE CLASHES THESE TWO WORLDS IN SHOCKING WAYS AND EXAMINES THE WAY CHARACTERS SHIFT BACK AND FORTH. THE DICHOTOMY BETWEEN THESE TWO "WORLDS" IS THE FUNDAMENTAL THEME OF ALMOST ALL OF HIS WORK. MOST NOTABLY, TWIN PEAKS, WHEREIN A PICTURESQUE TOWN IS POPULATED BY DARK SECRETS. SO AN IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER HERE IS THAT EVEN AT ITS MOST OBTUSE AND STRANGE, LYNCH'S WORK IS OFTEN ABOUT THE MOST BASIC DUALITY OF EVIL AND GOOD WITHIN HUMAN BEINGS. AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT ALL THE MORE RESONATE.

B) BLONDES/BRUNETTES - AGAIN A DICHOTOMY. LYNCH IS FASCINATED BY THE HAIR COLOR DYNAMIC AND FREQUENTLY USES IT AS A COMMENT ON "IDENTITY SHIFT." SO OFTEN CHARACTERS TRY TO "FEEL LIKE A NEW PERSON" AND CHANGE BETWEEN THE TWO HAIR COLORS. IT FREQUENTLY TIES RIGHT INTO HIS 50'S/60'S VIBE WITH THE CLASSIC ARCHETYPES OF JACKIE AND MARYLIN. BUT RARELY IS THIS ABOUT TRANSFORMATION FOR GOOD. OFTEN THE SHIFTING OF BLONDE TO BRUNETTE IS A MATTER OF DISPLACEMENT. THEY'RE RUNNING FROM SOMETHING WHETHER IT BE HEARTACHE, THE MUNDANE OR EVEN FROM EVIL ITSELF.

4) DON'T GO NUTS - THERE ARE A LOT OF BULLSHIT INTERPRETATIONS OF LYNCH. HULK TALKIN' TOTALLY NUTS STUFF. WHAT THESE PEOPLE FORGET IS THAT THE CORE OF LYNCHIAN INTERPRETATIONS IS USUALLY PRETTY NORMAL. THERE ARE NO INSANE THEORIES OR CONSPIRACIES AT PLAY. PEOPLE AREN'T SECRETLY ALIENS (EXCEPT WHEN THEY ARE. THANKS TWIN PEAKS!). THERE ARE NOT EXTENSIVE MYTHOLOGIES. THERE ARE OFTEN JUST MANIFESTATIONS OF SOME BASIC HUMAN EMOTIONS AND FEARS. OFTEN THERE'S A DOMINATING THEME WHICH IS THE KEY TO FIGURING EVERYTHING OUT: BEING A TERRIBLE FATHER (ERASERHEAD), THE FATE OF THE SOUL (ELEPHANT MAN), JUVENILE RUSH TO LOVE (WILD AT HEART), INFIDELITY (BLUE VELVET), ABUSE (TWIN PEAKS) AND GUILT (LOST HIGHWAY). THE CONCEPTS AT THE HEART OF THESE STORIES ARE ACHINGLY FAMILIAR. BUT WHAT MAKES THEM SO DISTINCT IS JUST THE EERIE METHOD AND SURFACE THAT LYNCH GIVES TO THEM.

5) A FEW OF YOU MAY NOTE THAT IN THE SUMMARY HULK COMBINES A FEW SCENES TOGETHER NOT IN THE PRECISE ORDER THEY HAPPENED, OR THAT THEY WERE INTERCUT. THIS IS SIMPLY IN THE INTEREST OF STAYING ON TOPIC AND NOT JUST REGURGITATING THE MOVIE'S SCENE ORDER VERBATIM AND RUINING FLOW. HULK HOPE THAT COOL...

6) WHEN IT COMES TO ACTUALLY DISCUSSING MULHOLLAND DRIVE, ONE THING THAT YOU HAVE TO KNOW IS THAT PART OF THE FILM IS ACTUALLY FROM A 2 HOUR PILOT THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO LAUNCH A TV SHOW. THAT FELL THROUGH (TOO WEIRD!) AND SO LYNCH ADDED A FEW SCENES PLUS THE ENTIRE LAST 20 MINUTES OR SO AND TURNED IT INTO A FILM... PEOPLE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THIS FACT LIKE IT WAS SOME KIND OF OBSTACLE, BUT TO HULK IT IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. ESPECIALLY GIVEN HULK'S INTERPRETATION IT SHOWS JUST HOW IN CONTOL LYNCH IS REGARDING EVERY BIT OF WHAT WE SEE. IT ALSO FULLY SUPPORTS THE NOTION THAT THE LAST 20 MINUTES WORKS AS A KIND OF "LEGEND" TO FIGURE OUT THE FILM.

SO WITH ALL THOSE QUALIFIERS OUT OF THE WAY, LET'S GO DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE...

PART 2 - THE BARE-BONES REALITY

THE FIRST TWO HOURS OF MULHOLLAND DRIVE IS A DREAM.

... THERE. HULK GOT THAT OUT OF THE WAY IMMEDIATELY.

NOW, WE'RE ALMOST CONDITIONED TO HATE WHEN A FILM PULLS THE "IT WAS ALLLLLL A DREAM!" CARD ON YOU AND THERE'S GOOD REASON FOR IT. SO OFTEN THE DEVICE IS USED AS AN UTTERLY NONSENSICAL, MISLEADING, AUDIENCE-JERKING FAKE-OUT WITH LITTLE TO NO REDEEMING VALUE. SOME EVEN STOOP TO IT WHEN THEY JUST DON'T HAVE AN ENDING.

BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH LYNCH. NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. THIS IS AN EXAMINATION OF THE ENTIRE PROCESSING OF DREAMING ITSELF.

THE OTHER REASON IT DOESN'T FEEL CHEAP LIKE THAT IS BECAUSE HE USES A WHOLE LOT MORE SLIGHT OF HAND IN THE PROCESS (JUST AS ANY TRUE ILLUSIONIST REALLY WOULD). HE WANTS YOU TO EASE INTO THE REALIZATION AND NOT BE JERKED. HE WANTS YOU TO FIND THE TRUTH, NOT BE TOLD IT. BUT LIKE HULK ALLUDED TO BEFORE, THE REAL REASON THE DEVICE WORKS SO DAMN WELL IS BECAUSE LYNCH USES THIS "DREAM" TO SAY FAR MORE ABOUT CHARACTERS THAN HE POSSIBLY COULD IN "REALITY." HE USES THE DREAM TO BRING US SO DEEPLY INTO THE NEEDS, WANTS AND PSYCHE OF THE MAIN CHARACTER THAT IT ENDS UP BEING THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY TO GET A PICTURE OF HER SOUL. AND WHO WOULDN'T WANT THAT FROM THEIR MAIN CHARACTER?

THINK ABOUT THE WORD ITSELF: DREAM. WHAT ARE OUR LIFE DREAMS? WHAT DO WE DREAM ABOUT? WHAT ARE OUR NIGHTMARES? LYNCH USES THE NARRATIVE OF THE FILM TO EXPOSE OUR NEEDS, WANTS AND DESIRES. REMEMBER HOW HULK DEVELOPING CHARACTER TREES IN SCREENWRITING 101 (POINT #10)? LYNCH IS REALLY JUST EXPLORING THE SAME THING IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY. HE WANTS TO GIVE US A PICTURE OF OUR HAUNTED PSYCHES AND SUBCONSCIOUS IDS. AND EVEN THEN, IT HAS LONG BEEN INSINUATED THAT MOVIES ARE DREAMS AND NO ONE IS MORE AWARE OF THAT THAN MR. LYNCH. HE SEEMS TO DELIGHT IN IT. THINK ABOUT HOW OFTEN HE USES DREAM-LIKE AND UNNERVING CINEMATIC LANGUAGE TO REINFORCE THAT IDEA. THERE'S NO BETTER PLACE FOR THAT THAN THE SILVER SCREEN.

BUT IN ACCEPTING THAT THE FIRST TWO HOURS OF THE FILM ARE A DREAM OF THE MAIN CHARACTER, THAT MEANS THE LAST 20 MINUTES ARE "REAL." WELL... THEY DON'T ACTUALLY SEEM REAL BECAUSE THE SCENES ARE PRESENTED OUT OF ORDER IN STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS THOUGHT. ALSO MANY OF THE CHARACTERS ACT IN EXTREME, LURID WAYS. THAT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE EMOTIONAL MEMORIES. THE FACTS PRESENTED IN THESE LAST 20 MINUTES ARE ABSOLUTELY REAL, THEY'RE JUST SHOWN IN THE WAY SHE EXPERIENCED THEM.

"But wait! Why make the ending seem like a dream, when really the first two hours is the actual dream and that is just shot like a (sort of) normal movie?!?!"

GOOD QUESTION PROVERBIAL READER! IF "MOVIES ARE DREAMS" AND REAL-LIFE IS FAR MORE STRANGE THAN FICTION, THAN LYNCH IS JUST FULLY EMBRACING THE CONCEIT. THE REGULAR STORY IS A MOVIE! AND REAL LIFE IS ABSURD! IT'S NOT THAT EXTREME A CONCEPT SO TRUST HULK, IF YOU ACCEPT IT, UNDERSTAND IT AND ROLL WITH IT, THEN THE WHOLE THING WILL MAKE PERFECT SENSE.

SO BEFORE GOING FORWARD, LET'S SUMMARIZE ON A FACTUAL LEVEL EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS LAST 20 MINUTE REALITY WHERE EVERYTHING IS REAL (CHRONOLOGICALLY):

***

A WOMAN NAMED DIANE SELWIN (NAOMI WATTS' REAL LIFE CHARACTER NAME) IS AN ACTRESS TRYING TO MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD. SHE SEEMS SOMEWHAT ANGRY AND UNHINGED. SHE HAS A BRIEF FLING / FALLS IN LOVE WITH A FAMOUS MOVIE STAR NAMED CAMILLA RHODES (LAURA HARRING'S REAL LIFE CHARACTER). CAMILLA GETS DIANE A FEW JOBS AS AN EXTRA OR WITH BIT PARTS. CAMILLA IS CLEARLY KIND AND AFFECTIONATE TO DIANE, BUT NOT IN LOVE. SHE'S EVEN A LITTLE WORRIED ABOUT HER. DIANE THEN SEES CAMILLA FLIRT WITH FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD DIRECTOR ADAM KESHER (JUSTIN THEROUX).

CAMILLA BREAKS UP WITH DIANE, WHO BECOMES ANGRY, HEART-BROKEN AND DESPERATE. DIANE'S LIFE DESCENDS INTO CRAP. AT SOME POINT IN THIS MISERY SHE APPARENTLY HAS REBOUND RELATIONSHIP THAT ALSO DESCENDS INTO CRAP. SHE SEEMS TO BLAME CAMILLA FOR ALL OF IT. DIANE IS INVITED TO A PARTY FOR CAMILLA AT THE DIRECTOR'S HOUSE ON MULHOLLAND DRIVE. DIANE SHOWS UP AND BRIEFLY FEELS CONNECTED TO CAMILLA, BEFORE ADAM'S PRESENCE RUINS IT. DIANE MAKES AWKWARD CHIT-CHAT WITH COCO WHO IS ADAM'S KIND BUT WEARY MOTHER. BUT WHEN CAMILLA ANNOUNCES HER ENGAGEMENT TO ADAM, SHE UNINTENTIONALLY RUBS IT IN DIANE'S FACE. DIANE STEWS. BUT THEN, SOMETHING EVEN WORSE HAPPENS. A YOUNG, NAMELESS BLONDE GIRL APPEARS AND BEGINS MAKING OUT WITH CAMILLA. BEING DITCHED FOR SOME FAMOUS DIRECTOR IS HUMILIATING, BUT SOMETHING DIANE CAN UNDERSTAND. BUT NOT EVEN GETTING TO BE THE GIRL ON THE SIDE? DIANE RAGES AND SEEMINGLY MAKES A BAD DECISION IN HER HEAD.

NEXT WE SEE DIANE IS IN WINKY'S DINER, HIRING A CONTRACT KILLER (JACOB FROM LOST!) TO KILL CAMILLA. WHILE DOING SO, DIANE OBSERVES A WAITRESS SERVING HER NAMED "BETTY" AND A MAN WATCHING HER FROM THE COUNTER. THE CONTRACT KILLER SAYS WHEN HE RETURNS THIS BRIGHT BLUE KEY TO HER, THE MURDER WILL HAVE BEEN COMMITTED. LATER, DIANE STARES AT THE BLUE KEY ON HER COFFEE TABLE WHICH MEANS THE MURDER HAS BEEN COMMITTED. CAMILLA IS DEAD. THE GUILT HAUNTS HER. SHE IMAGINES CAMILLA COMING BACK TO HER. BUT SHE IS TRAUMATIZED. THE POLICE WANT TO SPEAK WITH HER. HER DEMONS HAUNT HER. IN A HAZE OF GUILT AND FEAR, DIANE TAKES HER OWN LIFE. IN DOING SO, SHE ASCENDS INTO THIS WEIRD GHOSTLY IMAGE, SHINING IN THE LIGHTS OF ADORATION AND STARDOM WITH CAMILLA.

***

GOOD GRAVY, THAT'S SOME GRIM STUFF RIGHT THERE... BUT IT'S THE KIND OF HOLLYWOOD TRAGEDY OF YESTERYEAR THAT LYNCH IS FREQUENTLY OBSESSED WITH. IT IS THE FILM'S REALITY. AND KNOWING THESE FACTS BECOME THE KEY TO FIGURING OUT JUST WHAT IN THE DAMN HELL IS HAPPENING IN THE FIRST TWO HOURS OF THE FILM.

SO WITH THIS DREAM, THE FIRST QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF IS THIS... WHAT WOULD THE DIANE CHARACTER ACTUALLY DREAM ABOUT? WHAT WOULD BE THE DREAM OF SOMEONE WHO EXPERIENCED ALL THOSE THING? WHO WANTED STARDOM AND ENDED UP KILLING AN EX-LOVER IN A FIT OF JEALOUSY? WHAT WOULD BE THEIR HOPES, FEARS, WANTS AND DESIRES? WHAT KIND OF PSYCHE WOULD THIS PERSON HAVE? WHAT KIND OF LIFE WOULD THEY REALLY WANT?

AND WHEN YOU ASK ALL THOSE QUESTIONS, YOU CAN LOOK AT THE FIRST TWO HOURS OF "THE FILM PROPER" IN SUCH A WAY WHERE SUDDENLY IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

PART 3 - "THE DREAM"

(THIS WAS ORIGINALLY A BIG LONG DESCRIPTION, BUT HULK BROKE THEM DOWN INTO SECTIONS AND LETTER DESIGNATIONS TO HELP IN REFERENCING AND ORGANIZATION.)

SECTION I - ESTABLISHING A MIND AT EASE...

A. - INTRO

SO LET'S START FROM THE BEGINNING. THE FILM BEGINS WITH A PINK BACKGROUND. SWING DANCERS AND SILHOUETTES EMERGE AND START DANCING TO SWING MUSIC. IT IS A BRECHTIAN GESTURE. LYNCH IS NOTING THE ARTIFICE. WE'RE ENTERING "THE WORLD OF SHOWMANSHIP AND CINEMA." WE ARE BEING PREPPED FOR THE FACT THAT WHAT WE ARE ABOUT TO SEE IS NOT REAL.

THE IMAGE BEGINS TO HAVE SOMETHING ELSE APPEAR OVER IT AS ETHEREAL MUSIC PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND. NAOMI WATTS APPEARS TO US IN BOOKEND IMAGES OF WHAT WE WILL LATER SEE AT THE END. SHE IS GHOSTLY AND BATHED IN LIGHTS AND ADORATION. TO HER SIDES ARE AN ELDERLY COUPLE. WE DON'T REALLY KNOW THIS NOW, BUT THEY ARE HER PARENTAL GUIDANCE FIGURES. THE ONES WHO PROMISE NAOMI WATTS CHARACTER SHE'LL "MAKE IT" AND BE ADORED!

AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

FOR THE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO STILL ROUTINELY CLAIM HULK IS "AN IDIOT" FOR THINKING THAT LYNCH INTENDED THE FIRST TWO HOURS OF THE FILM TO BE A DREAM, WHAT DO WE SEE HAPPEN? WE SEE THE CAMERA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOME UNSEEN CHARACTER, LYING DOWN AND PUTTING THEIR HEAD ON A PILLOW... HULK MEAN COME ON! BUT REALLY THIS SHOT IS FROM PERSPECTIVE OF THE REAL DIANE SELWIN.

SHE IS FALLING ASLEEP.

B. - THE DREAM PROPER BEGINS

IT'S NIGHT. A HAUNTING IMAGE PASSES BY WITH THE STREET SIGN FOR MULHOLLAND DRIVE. WHITE / BLUE FLASHES GO AROUND (THESE WILL BE USED A BUNCH). WHAT IS MULHOLLAND DRIVE TO DIANE SELWIN? WHY IT'S WHERE CAMILLA TRULY LEFT HER BEHIND AND ALL HER WORST FEARS CAME TRUE.

AS THE CREDITS BEGIN WE WATCH A CAR DRIVING UP MULHOLLAND DRIVE ITSELF, WHICH IS A DARK MOUNTAIN ROAD. LAURA HARRING'S CHARACTER IS ON HER WAY TO A PARTY (NOTE: AT FIRST HULK WILL USE "LAURA HARRING" AND "NAOMI WATTS" TO REFER TO THOSE APPEARING ON SCREEN BEFORE WE CLARIFY THEIR "DREAM IDENTITIES").

ANYWHO, THE DRIVERS PULL OVER AND PULL OUT A GUN TO EXECUTE "THE HIT" ON HER (THE VERY ONE THAT IS THE INCEPTION OF THE REAL DIANE SELWIN'S GUILT). ONLY INSTEAD OF BEING KILLED? TWO CARS OF PARTYING TEENAGERS SWERVE AND HIT THEIR CAR. THE DRIVERS ARE KILLED. FATE HAS INTERVENED. THE LAURA HARRING CHARACTER IS SPARED.  THE REAL DIANE HAS DREAMED WHAT SHE WANTED TO HAPPEN. HARRING EMERGES FROM THE WRECK, BLOODIED AND CONFUSED. SHE WANDERS DOWN INTO THE WOODS TOWARD THE LIGHTS OF THE CITY BELOW. SHE WALKS THE STREETS, CONFUSED. WHITE AND BLUE LIGHTS OF CARS GO BY AND FLASH ON HER FACE. SHE FINALLY COLLAPSES IN SOME BUSHES OUTSIDE AN APARTMENT COMPLEX.

MEANWHILE, AT THE ACCIDENT ABOVE, TWO POLICE OFFICERS ARE ALREADY AT THE SCENE (ONE OF THEM IS THE GREAT ROBERT FORSTER!). THE TWO COPS JUST SIT THERE SLACK-JAWED AND MAKE HILARIOUS, OBVIOUS OBSERVATIONS ABOUT WHAT MUST HAVE HAPPENED AT THE ACCIDENT. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

ON ONE LEVEL, THEIR RELATIVE DUMBNESS AND INEPTITUDE IS EXACTLY WHAT THE REAL DIANE SELWIN WOULD WANT TO HAPPEN: A POLICE FORCE THAT WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO TRACE THE MURDER BACK TO HER. BUT ON ANOTHER LEVEL, THIS IS THE FIRST OF MANY MOMENTS WHERE LYNCH WILL POINT OUT AND MAKE FUN OF THE CONVENTIONS OF MOVIES AND TV SHOWS. THE COPS' DIALOGUE IS SO DAMN PERFUNCTORY AND OBTUSE. A PURE EXPLANATION OF WHAT THE AUDIENCE ALREADY KNOWS, FOR NO OTHER PURPOSE THAN COMING TO THE CONCLUSIONS THEMSELVES AND PLACATING "PLOT." HULK MEAN, LOOK HOW SLOW AND LAMELY THEY TALK. LYNCH IS 100% AWARE OF WHAT THEY'RE DOING HERE AND HE'S HAVING A FUN LITTLE JOKE ON THE NATURE OF EXPOSITORY DIALOGUE.

THE NEXT MORNING, AN OLDER WOMAN (AUNT ROSE) HAILS A CAB, APPARENTLY LEAVING FOR A VACATION, AND LAURA HARRING'S CHARACTER RUNS INSIDE HER NOW VACANT APARTMENT TO HIDE. EVEN THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT; SHE IS RUNNING TO THE VERY PLACE IN WHICH THE REAL DIANE'S SUBCONSCIOUS CAN FIND HER.

C. - CONSCIENCE AND GUILT

NEXT, DIANE'S DREAM BRINGS US TO WINKY'S DINER. WE SEE A MAN WE DON'T RECOGNIZE AT FIRST, BUT WHO WILL LATER BE IN THE WINKY'S DINER SCENE IN  "REALITY." HE IS PLAYED BY THE GREAT CHARACTER ACTOR PATRICK FISCHLER. HE IS TALKING TO HIS THERAPIST. WHAT DOES HE SAY? "I JUST WANTED TO COME HERE...THIS WINKY'S...I HAD A DREAM ABOUT THIS PLACE." AND BEGINS TO DESCRIBE THIS SORT OF DAY-NIGHT SCENARIO HAPPENING IN HIS DREAM (WHICH IS NOT A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM, BUT A REFERENCE TO A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM. KEY DIFFERENCE.) HE REMARKS THAT HIS THERAPIST WAS STANDING OVER BY THE COUNTER LOOKING OVER AND HE FELT GUILTY.

BUT THE REAL CONCERN IS THAT THERE IS A VILE MONSTER HIDING OUT BACK. HE CALLS IT THE MOST HORRIBLE THING HE'S EVER SEEN. THE THERAPIST TELLS HIM THAT THE MONSTER IS NOT REAL AND ENCOURAGES HIM TO GO LOOK FOR HIMSELF. THEY GO SILENTLY TOWARD THE BACK, TERRIFIED. THE MUSIC DRONES. WHEN THEY COME TO THE CORNER, A HIDEOUS MONSTER/HOMELESS MAN EMERGES AROUND THE BEND AND SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. HE COLLAPSES TO THE GROUND CLUTCHING HIS CHEST. THE FILM ITSELF RATTLES.

OKAY. THIS IS ONE SCENE THAT SEEMS A LITTLE HARDER TO UNTANGLE, BUT IT'S ACTUALLY ANOTHER THING THAT'S PRETTY CLEAR. FOR STARTERS, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST VISCERAL AND UNNERVING CINEMATIC MOMENTS HULK HAS EVER SEEN. BUT ON THE CEREBRAL LEVEL IT MAKES SENSE: THE ENTIRE SCENE IS A MANIFESTATION OF REAL-LIFE DIANE'S GUILT. FOR STARTERS, IT TAKES PLACE IN WINKY'S, THE PLACE WHERE SHE HIRED THE CONTRACT KILLER. AND THE MAN WHO HAD THIS DREAM? HE IS THE SAME MAN WHO STARED AT HER FROM THE COUNTER, SEEMINGLY JUDGING HER (EVEN IF HE OBVIOUSLY HAD NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS DOING). SO HOW DOES DIANE'S DREAM PROCESS HIM? SHE DISPLACES EVERYTHING BY TURNING HIM INTO THE FIXTURE OF GUILT. HE BECOMES THE ONE TALKING TO HIS THERAPIST. HE IS FEARFUL, RUNNING FROM SOMETHING. HE IS A PERSON WHO CANNOT FACE HIS DEMONS (LIKE DIANE) - DEMONS THAT ARE ALL TOO REAL. WE'LL REVISIT THIS ALL IN A BIT, BUT DOESN'T IT MAKE PERFECT SENSE? THE WINKY'S LOCATION IS RETURNED TO TIME AND TIME AGAIN. IT'S THE ANCHOR TO THE REAL-DIANE'S GUILT.

D. - THE POWERS THAT BE

NEXT WE SHIFT TO SOMETHING EVEN WEIRDER. A SERIES OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS MOVE ACROSS THE SCREEN IN WEIRD, DIMLY LIT, FLUORESCENT LOCATIONS. ALL WITH THE SAME MESSAGE: "THE GIRL IS STILL MISSING." NOW THIS COULD HAVE MANY MEANINGS. THE LARGEST CONCERNS HOW THE REAL DIANE IS "MISSING," BUT THIS INFORMATION FIRSTLY SERVES ON A FUNCTIONAL LEVEL TO IMPLY THAT LAURA HARRING'S CHARACTER, SOMEONE OF SEEMING IMPORTANCE, IS STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR AFTER THE ACCIDENT.

SO WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? ON THE SURFACE, THESE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY THE UNSEEN FORCES BEHIND THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. BUT THE OPULENT WAY THEY COME ACROSS IS NO ACCIDENT. THEY ARE ALMOST GOD-LIKE POWER FIGURES. THE MAIN ORCHESTRATOR APPEARS TO BE MICHAEL J. ANDERSON, THE LITTLE PERSON ACTOR WITH WHOM LYNCH FREQUENTLY COLLABORATES.  A DWARF AS A MYSTICAL FIGURE? ISN'T THAT A LITTLE CRASS FOR LYNCH? EH, IT'S NOT BELITTLING. LYNCH HAS USED DWARFS AND GIANTS TO RELATIVE PURPOSES AS ALL-KNOWING UNIVERSE POWERS BEFORE. HERE WE HAVE ANOTHER.

BUT RATHER THAN BEING GOD OF THE UNIVERSE, THIS FIGURE IS SIMPLY GOD OF THE MIND. THE REAL-DIANE'S MIND SPECIFICALLY. HE AND HIS EXTENSIONS SEEM TO BE DIANE'S ID. WE'RE TIPPED OFF BY THE BLUE VELET CURTAINS, WHICH HAD A SIMILAR PURPOSE IN LYNCH'S FILM OF THAT SAME NAME. AND IN THE DEEPEST PARTS OF DIANE'S BRAIN WE FIND THESE NONSENSE MACHINATIONS WHICH BOTH HUNT AND AVOID THEIR PURPOSE: WAKING DIANE UP, COMING TO CONSCIOUSNESS AND COMING TO REALIZATION.

BUT THEN EVERYTHING CHANGES...

E. - OUR BEST POSSIBLE SELVES

ENTER "BETTY ELMS," PLAYED BY NAOMI WATTS. THIS IS THE REAL DIANE SELWIN'S DREAM VERSION OF HERSELF. WHILE THE REAL DIANE IS UNHINGED, JADED AND JEALOUS, THIS VERSION OF HERSELF IS NONE OF THOSE THINGS. SHE'S NOT EVEN "DIANE" - SHE'S A FRESH-FACED, UPBEAT KID WHO STILL LOOKS AT LOS ANGELES THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES. WHY "BETTY?" IT'S THE SIMPLEST AND SADDEST MATTER OF DISPLACEMENT. WHILE AT WINKY'S HIRING CAMILLA'S KILLER, SHE GLANCES UP AT HER WAITRESS' NAME-TAG AND SEES "BETTY." SHE'S SIMPLY "ANYBODY ELSE" - AND DIANE WOULD RATHER HAVE ANYONE ELSE'S IDENTITY THAN HER OWN.

SO BETTY ARRIVES IN L.A. ALONG WITH TWO ELDERLY TRAVELERS WITH WHOM SHE HAD A DELIGHTFUL CONVERSATION ON THE PLANE. (THIS IS THE SAME COUPLE THAT APPEARED IN A GHOSTLY IMAGE WITH HER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM. THIS CONFIRMS THEIR "PARENT-LIKE" GUIDANCE). THEY WISH HER THE BEST WITH AN EERIE DISPLAY OF NICETY. WHEN THEY LEAVE, LYNCH LINGERS ON A SHOT OF THEM IN THE BACK SEAT OF THEIR CAR. THEY HOLD THE CREEPIEST FUCKING SMILES OF ALL TIME AS THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND TOWARD THE CAMERA. WHAT MIGHT ILLICIT A SIMPLE "THE FUCK!?!?!?" IS ALSO ANOTHER DIRECT COMMENTARY. LYNCH IS USING HIS ROCKWELLIAN PALETTE, ARTICULATING THE HORROR THAT IS THIS PUT-ON NICETY OF PEOPLE "MAKING IT" IN THIS TOWN. JUST REMEMBER, WHENEVER LYNCH IS LAYING ON THE NICETIES TO TERRIFYING RESULTS IT IS A DIRECT COMMENTARY ON MISGUIDED OPTIMISM.

SO ANYWAY, BETTY ARRIVES AT HER AUNTS APARTMENT AND MEETS... COCO! IT SEEMS THAT FAMOUS-DIRECTOR ADAM'S MOTHER IS NOW HER LANDLORD IN HER DREAM. THIS MAKES SENSE. COCO WAS NICE AND SOMEWHAT JUDGMENTAL OF HER SON'S RELATIONSHIP WITH CAMILLA. AND IN HER CONVERSATION WITH REAL-DIANE, COCO WAS NICE, BUT STILL PITIED HER. SHE SIMPLY SAW DIANE FOR WHAT SHE WAS. SO WHAT IS COCO'S FATE IN THE DREAM? SHE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ADAM WHATSOEVER. SHE BECOMES THE ROLE-MODEL FIGURE FOR BETTY. SHE GIVES HER GREAT ADVICE AND SUPPORT. SHE SEES BETTY FOR THE WONDERFUL LITTLE SPARK-PLUG SHE IS. AGAIN, IT'S PURE DISPLACEMENT ON THE PART OF THE REAL-LIFE DIANE SELWIN.

IMPORTANT NOTE: IN THIS CONVERSATION BETTY REVEALS THAT SHE'S ARRIVING IN L.A. AUDITION ALREADY IN HAND! HOW NICE!

AND THEN BETTY FINALLY GOES INTO HER AUNTS APARTMENT...

F. - ENTER "RITA"

AND THAT'S WHERE SHE MEETS LAURA HARRING'S CHARACTER. SHE FINDS LAURA FIRST IN THE SHOWER. SHE'S NAKED AND VULNERABLE. THE SCENE IS LITTERED WITH WOMB-LIKE IMAGERY. LAURA HARRING CAN BARELY SPEAK. IT IS CLEAR SHE HAS SOME KIND OF AMNESIA. BETTY LEAVES HER TO GET CLEANED OFF AND DRY. WHILE STANDING IN A TOWEL, LAURA HARRING LOOKS UP AND SEES A POSTER FOR RITA HAYWORTH. SHE EMERGES AND SAYS HER NAME IS "RITA."

NOW WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED HERE?

SO AT THIS POINT WE'VE ESTABLISHED THAT THE LAURA HARRING CHARACTER IS STILL BASED OFF THE REAL CAMILLA RHODES; ONLY BECAUSE THIS IS DIANE'S DREAM, SHE HAS "SEPARATED" HER INTO TWO HALVES. IN THIS AMNESIA VERSION, SHE HAS TAKEN ALL THE THINGS SHE LOVES ABOUT CAMILLA RHODES AND LEFT THEM INTACT. HER BODY. HER KINDNESS. BUT GONE IS THE CAMILLA MONIKER AND TRAPPINGS OF FAME. THERE IS ONLY THIS IDEAL VERSION NAMED "RITA." AND WITH ALL THE WOMB-LIKE IMAGERY INVOLVED WE ARE WITNESSING HER "BIRTH" OF SORTS. AND NOTICE HOW MUCH RITA WILL LOVE AND NEED BETTY. IN THIS MOMENT THERE IS A KIND OF INSTANT CONNECT AND TRUST. AND SINCE THIS IS DIANE'S DREAM, IT IS RITA WHO DEPENDS ON BETTY INSTEAD OF DIANE DEPENDING ON CAMILLA.

BUT AT THE END OF THIS CONVERSATION WE GET THE FIRST OF MANY SIGNIFIERS THAT SOMETHING IS OFF ABOUT THIS WHOLE WORLD. THAT SOMETHING IS OFF ABOUT THE VERY FABRIC OF REALITY. IN FACT, BETTY OUTRIGHT SAYS IT: "I'M FROM DEEP RIVER, ONTARIO (WHICH IS ACTUALLY TRUE FOR DIANE) AND NOW I'M IN THIS DREAM PLACE."

"Wait Hulk! Didn't you say the "Camilla Rhodes" persona was separated? What happened to the bad stuff???"

FOR THAT WE TURN TO THE NEXT SCENE.

G. - ADAM KESHER THE FAMOUS DIRECTOR

WE ARE INTRODUCED TO ADAM KESHER, FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD DIRECTOR CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN A MEETING BECAUSE HIS LEAD ACTRESS (OUR "RITA") HAS GONE MISSING. THEY'RE DISCUSSING THE REPLACEMENT AND THE STUDIO HEADS PROCLAIM THAT THIS NEW WOMAN "CAMILLA RHODES" ABSOLUTELY HAS TO BE HIS CHOICE FOR THE LEAD. WHO IS THE WOMAN IN THE PICTURE? IT'S THE GIRL WHO KISSED THE REAL CAMILLA AT THE PARTY AND EFFECTIVELY "REPLACED" THE REAL DIANE.

SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? IT MEANS THE NAME CAMILLA RHODES HAS BECOME THE EMBODIMENT OF HOLLYWOOD EVIL. THE KIND OF PERSON WHO IS JUST FATED TO STARDOM APROPOS OF NOTHING. THE IN-DREAM "CAMILLA" IS THE OBJECT OF ALL THE REAL-DIANE'S VENOM. SHE'S NOTHING MORE THAN A TALENTLESS HACK WHOSE CAREER IS PROPAGATED BY THE POWERS THAT BE.

BUT WHAT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE IS THAT THIS SCENE INITIATES A WHOLE SEQUENCE OF HORRIBLE THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO THE ADAM KESHER CHARACTER (REMEMBER THIS PHRASE FOR LATER: SOMETIMES GOOD THINGS HAPPEN? WELL SOMETIMES BAD THINGS HAPPEN TOO). ADAM IS FURIOUS. THE CHOICES IN HIS FILM ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM. HE STORMS OUT OF THE RIDICULOUS MEETING AND SLAMS A GOLF CLUB INTO THE WINDSHIELD OF THE STUDIO HEAD GUY'S CAR. AND THUS? THE POWERS-THAT-BE DECIDE TO SHUT THE FILM DOWN.

THIS SCENE ALSO HAS WONDERFUL, ON THE NOSE COMMENTARIES ON HOLLYWOOD CULTURE. THE ARRIVING STUDIO BOSS ASKS FOR A CAPPUCCINO. APPARENTLY THERE IS SOME HISTORY WHERE HE HAS NOT ENJOYED THEIR OFFERINGS BEFORE. THE CAPPUCCINO COMES AND HE ALSO ASKS FOR A NAPKIN. HE SIPS THEN HILARIOUSLY SPITS IT OUT. THE ONES ORGANIZING THE MEETING ARE INCREDULOUS THAT ONE OF THE BEST CAPPUCCINOS IN THE WORLD WAS NOT UP TO HIS STANDARDS... SAFE TO SAY LYNCH IS JUST HAVING A LITTLE FUN WITH THE HOLLYWOOD COFFEE MAFIA (AND THIS FROM A MAN WHO LOVES HIS COFFEE).

SO NOW THE DREAM'S ATTENTIONS TURN TO OUR HITMAN (JACOB!). HOW IS HE MANIFESTED IN THE DREAM? FOR ONE, HE'S A BIT OF A PROTO-SURFER DOUCHEBAG TYPE. HE STANDS ACROSS FROM A MAN AND THEY JOKE AT LENGTH ABOUT THE HILARIOUS RANDOMNESS OF CAR ACCIDENT HANDLING "THE JOB" FOR THEM (MEANING THEY THINK "RITA" IS DEAD). BUT AS SOON AS THE HITMAN SETS EYES ON THE GUY'S ADDRESS BOOK, HE SHOOTS HIM IN THE HEAD SO HE CAN TAKE IT (AS THIS IS AN EXTENSION OF HIS MISSION). BUT WHEN THE HITMAN ATTEMPTS TO MAKE THE SHOOTING LOOK LIKE A SUICIDE ATTEMPT, IT SUDDENLY TURNS INTO THIS RIDICULOUS COEN-ESQUE SET-PIECE. THE CIRCUMSTANCES GO ON AND ON AND ON WITH MORE AND MORE PEOPLE SEEING WHAT TRANSPIRED, AND NEEDING TO BE KILLED. IT'S FUCKING HILARIOUS, BUT THE LARGER POINT IS THE HITMAN IS WHOLLY INCOMPETENT IN THE DREAM WORLD. YET ANOTHER THING DIANE WOULD SO DESPERATELY WANT.

SECTION II - TRYING TO WAKE UP!

IT IS AT THIS POINT THAT WE HAVE INTRODUCED MOST OF THE MAIN DYNAMICS AND WE CAN FULLY EXPLORE THEM.

H. - CLUES

BETTY AND RITA FISH THROUGH RITA'S PURSE AND FIND A WHOLE BUNCH OF CASH AND A STRANGE TRIANGULAR BLUE KEY. "WHAT DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF?" BETTY ASKS. "SOMETHING," RITA REPLIES. BOTH ARE OBVIOUS REFERENCES TO THE MONEY/KEY INVOLVED IN THE REAL-DIANE'S DEAL. THESE DETAILS ARE SO DEEPLY TIED TO THE REAL-DIANE'S GUILT THAT THEY UNNERVE BETTY AND RITA. THEY BOTH DECIDE THERE IS SOMETHING SO SCARY ABOUT THE OBJECTS THEY PUT THE PURSE IN THE CLOSET AND LOCK IT AWAY. LIKE THE HOMELESS DEMON BEFORE, THIS IS ANOTHER MOMENT OF REAL-DIANE'S ID AND GUILT TRYING TO UNRAVEL THE FABRIC OF THE "DREAM WORLD" AND BRING IT BACK TO HER FEARS OF THE REAL TRUTH.

BUT IT IS ALSO AT THIS POINT THAT RITA FIRST REMEMBERS WHERE SHE WAS GOING THE NIGHT OF THE ACCIDENT... TO MULHOLLAND DRIVE. IT IS AT THIS MOMENT THAT WE REALIZE EVEN IF DIANE'S ID WANTS TO HIDE ALL THE EVIDENCE, IT IS STILL SLOWLY GOING TO KEEP LEADING HER BACK IN THE DIRECTION OF GUILT.

MEANWHILE, FAMOUS DIRECTOR ADAM KESHER LEARNS HIS MOVIE HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN AND DECIDES TO RETURN HOME. THERE HE FINDS HIS WIFE IN BED WITH THE POOL GUY, WHO'S PLAYED BY MR. MILEY HIMSELF, BILLY RAY CYRUS! HULK MAKES FUN BUT HE'S ACTUALLY KIND OF GREAT IN THIS MOVIE, EVEN WITH THE LIMITED PART. HE JUST SO PERFECTLY CONVEYS THIS ABSENTEE ZEN THING. ANYWAY, IN REAL LIFE ADAM'S WIFE SLEEPING WITH THE POOL GUY DIDN'T BOTHER HIM AT ALL. BUT IN THE DREAM? HE'S INFURIATED. AND WHAT IS PARTICULARLY FUNNY IS THE WAY ADAM'S WIFE GETS ANGRY AT HIM, LIKE IT'S HIS FAULT FOR DISTURBING THEM. HE TRIES TO GET EVEN, BUT ENDS UP UTTERLY EMASCULATED. IT'S A PERFECT AND RIDICULOUS DREAM-FATE FOR THE MAN WHO STOLE REAL-DIANE'S BELOVED CAMILLA.

SO DIANE AND RITA INVESTIGATE AND LEARN THERE WAS INDEED AN ACCIDENT ON MULHOLLAND DRIVE THE NIGHT BEFORE, AND THAT IS MOST LIKELY THE ONE INVOLVING RITA. BUT THEN RITA HAS ANOTHER MEMORY SURFACE. IT IS THE NAME "DIANE SELWIN." SHE WONDERS ALOUD IF THAT MIGHT BE HER REAL NAME. THEY COMB THROUGH THE PHONE BOOK AND FIND THE NAME AND CALL. WHILE IT RINGS, BETTY SAYS A PERFECT ASIDE TO RITA: "IT'S STRANGE TO BE CALLING YOURSELF."

ON THE NOSE AND STILL JUST PERFECT. AND TO HAMMER IT HOME, THE VOICE ON THE MACHINE SAYING THEY'VE REACHED DIANE SELWIN? IT'S NAOMI WATTS' VOICE, ONLY MORE DOWNTRODDEN. SHE SOUNDS LIKE THE REAL-DIANE. YOU CAN'T ENTIRELY TELL THE FIRST TIME, BUT IT'S JUST SUCH A GREAT MOMENT. YET AGAIN, THE ID IS TRYING TO UNDO THE FABRIC OF THE DREAM. BETTY HANGS UP AND THEY ARE UNNERVED YET AGAIN, BUT THEY PRESS ON. THEY BEGIN BARGAINING AND COMING UP WITH EXCUSES TO MAKE IT ALL MAKE SENSE. THE SAY THEY NOW KNOW RITA ISN'T DIANE (THAT'S FOR SURE).

AT THIS POINT HULK WANTS TO BRING UP A COMPARISON TO INCEPTION. YOU KNOW HOW IN THAT FILM THE SUBCONSCIOUS IS TRAINED TO ATTACK THE DREAMER TO TELL THEM IT'S A DREAM AND WAKE THEM UP? THAT'S TOTALLY WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE. THERE'S WHAT DIANE WANTS (THE FANTASY) BUT THEN WHAT DIANE NEEDS (THE TRUTH, BOTH OF WHAT SHE DID AND THAT SHE IS DREAMING).

DIANE'S MIND IS BATTLING ITSELF.

I. - A SYSTEM OF LAW

MEANWHILE, ADAM IS NOW STAYING AT THE SCUZZY "PARK HOTEL." HE RECEIVES A KNOCK ON THE DOOR AND THE RECEPTION GUY SAYS THAT HIS CREDIT CARDS HAVE BEEN DECLINED. "BUT I PAID YOU IN CASH," RETURNS ADAM. STILL, HE CANNOT STAY THERE. IT SEEMS THE POWERS-THAT-BE HAVE EVEN MORE POWERFUL REACH THAN MERE CASTING DECISIONS. ADAM CALLS HIS ASSISTANT CYNTHIA AND IT SEEMS HIS ENTIRE BANK ACCOUNT HAS BEEN WIPED OUT. HIS ASSISTANT TRIES TO BE UBER-HELPFUL AND OFFERS A PLACE TO STAY (LYNCH MAKING ANOTHER COMMENTARY ON THE FILM INDUSTRY), BUT ADAM DOES THE RIGHT THING AND SAYS THAT WOULD BE A BAD IDEA. CYNTHIA THEN INFORMS ADAM THAT THE POWERS-THAT-BE TOLD HER THE ONLY WAY HE CAN FIX THE SITUATION IS BY GOING TO SEE "THE COWBOY" AT, LIKE, AN ACTUAL CORRAL.

ADAM, FINDING THE ENTIRE THING PRETTY HILARIOUS, VISITS THE CORRAL AND MEETS OUR MYSTERIOUS COWBOY. HE'S A LITTLE UNASSUMING GUY WITH A FUNNY VOICE AND A COWBOY HAT. (HE'S ALSO PLAYED BY MONTY MONTGOMERY, FRINGE FILMMAKER AND FRIEND OF MR. LYNCH). ADAM CAN'T STOP SMILING AND TRIES TO FIGURE OUT WHY HE'S THERE. THE COWBOY IMMEDIATELY STARTS CUTTING THROUGH ADAM WITH HIS WORDS. "A MAN'S ATTITUDE GOES SOME WAY." HE WANTS ADAM TO FIX ATTITUDE RIGHT QUICK AND CONSTANTLY TELLS HIM TO FOCUS. TO "QUIT BEING SUCH A SMART ALEC." AFTER SOME PRODDING ADAM IS FINALLY READY TO LISTEN. THE COWBOY GIVES YET THE SAME INSTRUCTION AS BEFORE: TO PICK CAMILLA RHODES FOR THE LEAD. ALL OTHER DECISIONS ARE HIS, BUT WHEN CAMILLA AUDITIONS, ALL HE HAS TO SAY TO THE PRODUCERS IS: "THIS IS THE GIRL." AND IF HE DOES THAT? ALL WILL BE FIXED.

AT THE END OF THIS INSTRUCTION, THE COWBOY SAYS SOMETHING VERY, VERY IMPORTANT: "IF YOU SEE ME ONE MORE TIME, YOU'VE DONE GOOD. IF YOU SEE ME TWO MORE TIMES, YOU'VE DONE BAD."

SO WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS WHOLE SCENE ABOUT? WELL, ON ONE LEVEL IT'S JUST MORE PROPAGATION OF THE "CAMILLA RHODES" BULLSHIT CAREER. BUT WHAT'S WITH THE COWBOY? WELL, LET'S THINK ABOUT IT. COWBOYS ARE OBVIOUSLY ICONIC FIGURES, RIGHT? THEY DON'T TAKE CRAP. THEY ESTABLISH LAW AND GOODNESS IN THEIR OWN WAY. AND IN THIS DREAMSCAPE, THE COWBOY IS MOST APPROPRIATELY REPRESENTING THE DREAM'S SYSTEM OF LAW. HE EMBRACES GOOD ATTITUDE, THINKING, CONSCIOUSNESS, DOING THE RIGHT THING. AND SETS UP A VERY SIMPLE CODIFIER, SOMETHING THAT OPERATES AS A LAW FOR THIS FILM:

SEE HIM ONCE? YOU DONE GOOD. SEE HIM TWICE? YOU DONE BAD... REMEMBER THAT.

J. - "NO YOU'RE NOT"

WHILE ADAM IS ON HIS ADVENTURES WITH THE COWBOY, BETTY AND RITA ARE BACK AT THE APARTMENT. SUDDENLY THERE IS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. A STRANGE OLD WOMAN, SEEMINGLY A GYPSY FIGURE, STARTS TALKING CRAZY AND SAYING "SOMEONE IS IN TROUBLE." BETTY IS CONFUSED, AND SAYS HER AUNT IS GONE AND HER NAME IS BETTY. THE GYPSY RESPONDS "NO YOU'RE NOT." AND KEEPS SAYING "SOMEONE IS IN TROUBLE." EVENTUALLY COCO (EVER THE PROTECTOR) SHOWS UP TO USHER THE CRAZY OLD TENANT AWAY, BUT THE DAMAGE IS SEEMINGLY DONE. THEY'RE UNNERVED AS SHIT. WE'VE HAD ANOTHER INCEPTION-LIKE SUBCONSCIOUS ATTACK. THE MOST EXPLICIT ONE YET REALLY.

AND OF COURSE, THE SOMEONE IN TROUBLE IS THE REAL-DIANE.

ALSO, THIS IS A GOOD POINT TO MENTION THAT EVEN THOUGH ALL THESE CHARACTERS ARE ALL BASED ON DIFFERENT REAL-LIFE PEOPLE, THEY STILL ONLY EXIST IN THE FABRIC OF REAL-DIANE'S DREAM, AND THUS THERE IS A CAPACITY TO WHICH THEY ARE ALL A PART OF DIANE'S PSYCHE. RITA. ADAM. THE COWBOY. THEY'RE ALL PROJECTIONS OF HER ID AND SO WE SOMETIMES CAN GET LOCKED DOWN IN THINKING ABOUT THEM AS EXTENSIONS OF THE OTHER FIGURES, BUT IN THE END THEY ARE JUST DISTILLATIONS PURELY THROUGH DIANE'S VIEW. IT'S AN IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER.

K. - "THE AUDITION SCENE"

SO THE NEXT MORNING BETTY AND RITA PRACTICE THE SCENE BETTY IS AUDITIONING FOR. IN THEIR RUN-THROUGH BETTY COMES OFF AS A BIT OF A HAM AND RITA IS SUCH A WONDERFULLY TERRIBLE ACTRESS THAT IT'S ENDEARING (OF COURSE THE REAL-DIANE WOULD WANT THAT IN HER DREAM, FOR CAMILLA TO BE IN AWE OF HER). AND THE SCENE ITSELF IS SOME OVERBLOWN MELODRAMATIC NONSENSE. BUT EVEN IN LACKING CONFIDENCE, BETTY LAUGHS IT OFF AND RUNS TO HER AUDITION, BUT PROMISES RITA THAT SHE'LL BE BACK IN TIME TO GO TO "DIANE SELWIN'S" APARTMENT.

BETTY ARRIVES AT THE AUDITION AND SHE'S PUT IN A SMALL ROOM WITH THE ELDERLY PRODUCER (WHO IS A FRIEND OF HER AUNT), AND A WHOLE SHIT LOAD OF HOLLYWOOD PEOPLE (THE DIRECTOR, THE CASTING AGENT, HER ASSISTANT). SHE'S DOING THE SCENE OPPOSITE A FAMOUS, YET MUCH OLDER SOAP-OPERA TYPE ACTOR. THEY PREPARE. THE DIRECTOR GIVES A SOMEWHAT NONSENSICAL NOTE (MUCH TO EVERYONE'S CONFUSION). THE ACTOR THEN SAYS HE WANTS TO PLAY THE SCENE CLOSE (PRESUMABLY JUST TO GET CLOSE TO BETTY) ...

HULK WAS DEBATING LINKING TO THE SCENE, BUT IT JUST WORKS SO MUCH BETTER IN CONTEXT OF THE REST OF THE MOVIE... SO HULK WILL DESCRIBE: THEY BEGIN DOING THEIR LINES. THIS TIME IT'S SLOW. THIS TIME BETTY CONNECTS WITH THE ACTOR. THEY HAVE INSTANT CHEMISTRY. THEY'RE CLOSE. FAMILIAR. YOU CAN SENSE THEIR HISTORY. EVERY LINE IS DOWNPLAYED, YET VIBRANT AND SCATHING. THEY KISS AS THEY'RE BARELY ABLE TO GET THE WORDS. EVERY EMOTION FEELS REAL, SEXUAL AND WELL-TIMED. BETTY'S PERFORMANCE IS DOWNRIGHT FUCKING INCREDIBLE.

FINALLY, THE CAMERA PULLS BACK WHEN THEIR SCENE ENDS. THE ROOM IS IN STUNNED SILENCE. EVERYONE IS BARELY CONTAINING THEIR ENTHUSIASM FOR WHAT BETTY PULLED OFF. THEY GIVE THE OBLIGATORY "WE'LL LET YOU KNOW" BUT IT IS BASICALLY IMPLIED THAT SHE NAILED THE FUCKING AUDITION. THE CASTING AGENT EVEN OFFERS TO WALK HER OUT.

AS THEY WALK, BETTY IS GLOWING, BUT ALMOST DOESN'T REALIZE WHAT A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH SHE IS. BUT THE WHOLE GLOW IS SUDDENLY DISQUIETED WHEN THE CASTING AGENT STARTS TALKING SHIT ABOUT THE MOVIE WITH HER ASSISTANT. APPARENTLY THE FILM IS NEVER GOING TO BE MADE AND THE WHOLE THING IS JUST SOME SAD EXERCISE. BETTY IS COMPLETELY TAKEN ABACK. THE CASTING AGENT FINALLY SENSES HOW INCREDIBLY CALLOUS SHE'S BEING AND IS LIKE "OH BUT DON'T WORRY BECAUSE YOU'RE TOTALLY GREAT" AND EVEN THOUGH SHE TALKS SHIT, SHE LOVES THE PRODUCER. THEY'RE JUST "BEING CATTY!" NO BIG DEAL! BETTY IS SLIGHTLY COMFORTED, BUT STILL CLEARLY SAD.

SO...

HULK THINKS THIS ENTIRE SEQUENCE IS ONE OF THE GREATEST SCENES IN MOVIE HISTORY FOR A SHIT LOAD OF REASONS. THE FIRST IS THE WAY LYNCH ORCHESTRATES THE FUCKING THING. WE'RE SO READY FOR SOME SORT OF COMEDIC REHASHING OF BETTY'S HAM PERFORMANCE EARLIER, BUT THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN. WE JUST ENTER THEIR LITTLE SCENE SO BEAUTIFULLY THAT ALL THOSE THOUGHTS DROP FROM OUR MIND. WE JUST FALL INTO THE SCENE THEY'RE DOING. LYNCH NEVER CUTS AWAY, STAYING CLOSE ON THE TWO ACTORS' HEADS, BUT LOOSE ENOUGH FOR IT TO FEEL EASY. LOOSE ENOUGH TO FEEL THEIR PASSION AND QUIET MOVEMENT. EMOTIONALLY WE SEEP RIGHT IN. BUT WE ALSO GET INVOLVED. WE KNOW THE SENSE OF THE STORY. WE FEEL THE CHARACTERS' HISTORY.

WE FORGET EVERYTHING. WE FORGET WHO BETTY IS. WE FORGET WHO THIS GUY IS. WE EVEN FORGET WE'RE IN A FUCKING AUDITION ROOM. AND WHEN IT PULLS BACK WE REMEMBER WHERE WE ARE AND WE FEEL THE SAME EXACT WAY EVERYONE IN THE ROOM DOES... JUST THIS HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.

... AND HULK THINKS IT'S PERFECT CINEMA.

THINK ABOUT IT. CINEMA IS WHERE WE GO TO GET LOST IN STORIES. TO FORGET WHO THESE FAMOUS ACTORS ACTUALLY ARE. TO FORGET THEY'RE JUST DOING LINES IN A ROOM. IT TRANSPORTS US. AND THINK ABOUT THE WAY THAT LYNCH SETS THIS SCENE. WITH THE FUNNY DIRECTORS NOTE. HE SETS IT UP TO BE ONE OF THE MOST ARTIFICIAL FEELING THINGS IN THE WORLD AND THEN MANAGES TO SUCK US IN OVER THE NEXT FEW MINUTES. HE SHOWS US WHAT CINEMA CAN DO IN A SINGLE SCENE.

AND OF COURSE THERE ARE OTHER LAYERS TO IT TOO. FOR OUR DREAM-ANALYSIS WE GOT GOING ON HERE, THE MEANING IS PRETTY CLEAR: BETTY IS OBVIOUSLY DREAMING THAT SHE'S A FUCKING KNOCKOUT ACTRESS (IN REALITY IT'S CLEAR SHE'S NOT). BUT AGAIN THERE'S MORE TO IT.

LYNCH IS MAKING ANOTHER SERIES OF COMMENTS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY:

1) LYNCH IS SLYLY PULLING ONE OVER ON EVERYONE BY SHOWING WHAT A "CRAP SCRIPT" CAN LOOK LIKE WITH TERRIBLE DIRECTION/ACTING OR WITH INCREDIBLE DIRECTION/ACTING. THIS ISN'T TO SAY LYNCH IS CRITICIZING THE VALUE OF A GREAT SCRIPT, BUT CLEARLY HE'S JUST TRYING TO SHOW THAT YOU TAKE EVEN THE HAMMIEST SCRIPTS AND FIND SOMETHING HONEST AND FUCKING REAL. OH, AND IF YOU DON'T THINK LYNCH KNOWS HOW TO DIRECT "NORMAL" EMOTIONAL SCENES THEN GO RENT THE STRAIGHT STORY. OR THE ELEPHANT MAN. IT'S STUFF LIKE THIS THAT MAKES HULK CERTAIN LYNCH COULD BE REAPING UP SPIELBERGIAN OSCARS IF HE WAS INTERESTED IN DOING THAT.... BUT LUCKILY, HE'S NOT.

AND 2) THE SCENE AFTER THE AUDITION PROVIDES A PERFECT DISTILLATION ABOUT INDUSTRY CYNICISM. YEAH, THE TWO CASTING AGENTS ARE PROBABLY 100% RIGHT. THE MOVIE WON'T BE MADE AND IN A LARGER CONTEXT THERE IS PROBABLY SOME SADNESS ABOUT THE STATE OF THEIR CAREERS. BUT SO WHAT? THEIR ENTIRE WILLINGNESS TO MAKE NO BIG DEAL OF BEING "CATTY" ROBS THE INDUSTRY OF THAT SENSE OF TRANSPORTATION. OF THAT OPTIMISM. OF THE THE FACT THAT OUR MISGUIDED PRODUCER BELIEVES IN WHAT HE'S DOING. LYNCH CLEARLY FINDS NOTHING REFRESHING OR REAL ABOUT THEIR CYNICISM. HE FINDS IT ODDLY DISGUSTING. AND HE PUTS IT DIRECTLY AFTER THAT AMAZING SCENE TO SHOW YOU HOW AWFUL THIS KIND OF HOLLYWOOD PRAGMATIC ATTITUDE CAN BE. IT WORKS PRECISELY LIKE A FUCKING GUT SHOT.

SO GIVEN EVERYTHING HULK HAS JUST CONVEYED... WOW... AN AMAZING SCENE. HULK JUST... WOW.

L. - THIS IS THE GIRL

SO NOW WE'RE WITH ADAM WHO IS BACK ON SET DOING HIS THING. IT SEEMS HE'S A GOOD DIRECTOR. (ALSO IT'S A VERY SPECIFIC POINT THAT HE LOOKS AND IS STYLED LIKE A YOUNG DAVID LYNCH). HE CHATS WITH ANOTHER ACTRESS DOING HER AUDITION. SHE'S CLEARLY GREAT. HER NAME IS CAROL AND SHE LOOKS NEARLY IDENTICAL TO LAURA HARRING. ADAM POLITELY CHIT-CHATS AND SPURNS HER INSISTENCE THAT SHE GOT THE PART (WHICH SHE PROBABLY DESERVES). NEXT AUDITION IS UP AND IT IS FINALLY "CAMILLA RHODES" (AGAIN SHE'S PLAYED BY THE GIRL WHO REPLACED REAL-DIANE AS REAL-CAMILLA'S LOVER). SHE'S KINDA VACANT AND TERRIBLE IN A NON-OBVIOUS WAY. ADAM WATCHES AS HIS IMPOSING CAPPUCCINO-HATING PRODUCERS SHOW UP. THESE POWERS-THAT-BE LEAN IN MALICIOUSLY. ADAM FINALLY OBLIGES THEM BY SAYING WITHOUT A HINT OF ENTHUSIASM: "THIS IS THE GIRL." THEY ARE HAPPY.

AT THIS POINT, BETTY ENTERS WITH THE CASTING DIRECTOR. THEY START MILLING ABOUT AND BETTY WATCHES THE DIRECTOR. SLOWLY THE DIRECTOR SENSES SOMETHING... HE TURNS AROUND AND SEES HER. THEY LOCK EYES... SOMETHING IS WRONG... BETTY IS DEEPLY UNNERVED.

ANY CLOSER AND THE ILLUSION MIGHT SHATTER.

SO BETTY DOES THE ONLY THING SHE CAN TO PRESERVE THE DREAM: SHE RUNS AWAY.

SECTION III - THE SPIRAL

IN WHICH IT ALL COMES TO A HEAD...

M. - DIANE'S APARTMENT

BETTY PICKS UP RITA AND THEY GO TO DIANE'S APARTMENT. IT SEEMS THERE ARE MORE SECURITY PEOPLE REPRESENTING THE POWERS-THAT-BE (AGAIN, THE ATTACKED SUBCONSCIOUS) ROAMING AROUND. AT THIS POINT THE SIMILARITY TO INCEPTION IS GETTING KIND OF HILARIOUS. THEY ARE THERE TO CATCH BETTY/DIANE AND TELL HER THAT'S SHE'S DREAMING AND TO WAKE UP. SO BETTY AVOIDS THAT DANGER... ONLY TO KEEP HEAD-LONG DIVING INTO THE QUESTION OF HER OWN IDENTITY ANYWAY. IT'S JUST INEVITABLE, ISN'T IT?

GETTING TO DIANE IS EVEN HARDER THAN THEY THOUGHT. IT SEEMS SHE HAS SWITCHED APARTMENTS. THEY FIND THIS OUT WHEN THEY KNOCK ON THE DOOR AND ANOTHER WOMAN ANSWERS. SHE IS THE SAME WOMAN WHO PLAYED REAL-DIANE'S REBOUND GIRLFRIEND IN THE REALITY. THIS EX-GIRLISHNESS INSINUATES THEY ONCE LIVED TOGETHER BUT BROKE UP. BETTY AND RITA THEN SNEAK INTO DREAM-DIANE'S APARTMENT. IT IS THE SAME APARTMENT DIANE OCCUPIES IN REALITY. THE LIGHTS ARE OFF. THERE IS A SEEMING STENCH. BETTY AND RITA COVER THEIR NOSES AS THE MUSIC SWELLS. THEY GO INTO A BEDROOM AND FIND A WOMAN'S BODY (DIANE'S) LAYING IN A VERY PARTICULAR POSITION. SHE HAS BEEN DEAD FOR DAYS. IT IS TERRIFYING AND MORBID. THERE IS A LOUD KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

THEY RUN OUT THE DOOR (THE KNOCK SEEMED TO BE NO ONE) AND SCREAM.

THE FABRIC OF THE FILM STARTS TO WIG OUT AND VIBRATE.

IT'S ALL FALLING APART...

N. - THE BLONDE WIG

BETTY AND RITA  ARE TRULY FREAKED OUT. SENSING THAT RITA'S LIFE MAY BE IN DANGER (SUBCONSCIOUSLY MEANING THE DREAM, WHICH IS THE ONLY PLACE "RITA" EXISTS, IS IN DANGER) THEY HIDE HER IDENTITY EVEN MORE. BETTY CUTS RITA'S HAIR AND PUTS HER IN A  BLONDE WIG. AGAIN, WE'RE GETTING INTO LYNCH'S FAMOUS BLONDE/BRUNETTE TERRITORY. IT IS AN ACT OF PURE DISPLACEMENT. BETTY TELLS RITA "YOU LOOK LIKE SOMEONE ELSE!" - ONLY IN THIS CASE BETTY IS TRYING TO MAKE RITA LOOK EVEN MORE LIKE HER. IT IS AT THIS POINT THAT REAL-DIANE IS WANTING TO USE HER DREAM TO TRY TO BLEND IDENTITIES.

BUT THE IDENTITY FUSION DOES NOT STOP AT HAIR-COLOR.

THAT NIGHT WHILE BETTY LAYS IN BED, RITA EMERGES WEARING A RED TOWEL (OH RED, EVER THE COLOR OF PASSION). BETTY TELLS RITA THAT SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO SLEEP ON THAT COUCH AGAIN. SHE INVITES RITA INTO BED. RITA AGREES AND COMES AROUND TO THE SIDE. SHE TAKES OFF THE TOWEL. THERE IS JUST AN AIR OF INEVITABILITY ABOUT THEIR CONSUMMATION. THEY LAY IN BED AND GET CLOSE...

"THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING." THEY KISS. "HAVE YOU DONE THIS BEFORE?" THEY START DOING IT. "I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU." AND THEY FALL ASLEEP...

O. - SILENCIO

BETTY AND RITA LIE ASLEEP. ONLY RITA'S EYES ARE WIDE OPEN. SHE STARTS SPEAKING IN SPANISH. IT'S FREAKY AS SHIT. BETTY DOESN'T WAKE FOR WAY TOO LONG AND THE AUDIENCE CAN BARELY TAKE HOW FUCKED UP IT IS. BETTY FINALLY WAKES HER. SOMETHING IS WRONG. RITA KNOWS WHERE THEY HAVE TO GO...

THEY GET DRESSED. THEY ARE THEN IN A CAR. THEY ARRIVE AT A CLUB CALLED "SILENCIO."

THEY SIT IN A BEAUTIFUL RED THEATER AND STAR TO WATCH A SHOW.

MUSIC PLAYS. A MAN COMES OUT AND SPEAKS INTO A MICROPHONE. HE YELLS: "NO HAY BANDA! THERE IS NO BAND! THIS IS ALL A TAPE RECORDING! NO HAY BANDA... AND YET, WE HEAR A BAND. IF WE WANT TO HEAR A CLARINET. LISTEN!"

AND THEN A CLARINET PLAYS AND IT'S THE SAME MOTHAFUCKIN MUSIC FROM CHUNGKING EXPRESS! (HOW'S THAT FOR A REFERENCE!). THEN THE MAN INTRODUCES A TRUMPET PLAYER WHO COMES OUT AND STARTS PLAYING. HE'S AN AMAZING PLAYER. AND RIGHT AT THE END OF PLAYING HE SUDDENLY STOPS... BUT THE MUSIC KEEPS GOING. WE WERE WARNED: "IT'S ALL RECORDED. NO HAY BANDA. IT IS ALL A TAPE! IT. IS. AN ILLUSION. LISTEN!"

BLUE LIGHTS FLASH. BETTY STARTS TO SHAKE VIOLENTLY. THE FABRIC OF THE DREAM IS BREAKING ONCE AGAIN. IT IS AT THIS POINT THE MAN FADES AWAY, SMILING IN A PUFF OF BLUE SMOKE. THE BLUE LIGHT FLASHES EVERYWHERE.

MEANWHILE, A WOMAN WITH ORNATE HAIR SITS IN THE BALCONY.

AND THEN ANOTHER MAN COMES OUT TO PRESENT A SINGER. HER NAME IS REBEKAH DEL RIO. SHE BEGINS TO SING. HER VOICE IS INCREDIBLE. THE SONG IS POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL. HEARTBREAKING. THEY BOTH START TO CRY AND GRASP THEIR HANDS TIGHT. YOU KNOW WHAT? THE PERFORMANCE SO AMAZING THAT HULK JUST HAVE TO LINK TO IT. SERIOUSLY, EVEN IF YOU'VE SEEN IT JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO WATCH:

AND OF COURSE... SHE WASN'T EVEN SINGING.

IT IS THE CRUELEST TRICK IN THE UNIVERSE. HULK MEAN, WE KNEW THERE WAS NO BAND. THEY HAD FAKED US OUT TWICE BEFORE. BUT THIS SONG? IT WAS JUST TOO BEAUTIFUL, RIGHT? THERE'S NO WAY IT COULD BE FAKE. IT WAS TOO ALLURING AND INVOLVING... BUT IT WAS JUST A TAPE RECORDING TOO. AND THE MOMENT BETTY AND RITA BOTH REALIZE IT IS HEARTBREAKING. THEY WANTED TO BELIEVE SO BAD. SO BETTY TURNS TO HER PURSE, WHERE SHE NOW FINDS A BLUE BOX... ONE WHICH IS A PERFECT FIT FOR A BLUE KEY.

AND SO WE HAVE ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR GREATEST SCENE IN MOVIE HISTORY.

THE ENTIRE THING IS A METAPHOR FOR WHAT IS HAPPENING ON JUST ABOUT EVERY LEVEL. THE CLUB IS EFFECTIVELY TELLING BETTY AND RITA THAT THE WORLD THEY ARE IN IS AN ILLUSION. THERE IS NO MUSIC. IT'S ALL A RECORDING. BUT STILL THEY WANT TO BELIEVE IN THE DREAM SO BADLY. THEY WANT THIS BEAUTIFUL WORLD THEY BUILT FOR THEMSELVES, EVEN IF THE KNOW THE FABRIC IS BREAKING ALL AROUND THEM. THE REAL-DIANE JUST WANTS IT SO BADLY. JUST LOOK AT THE LYRICS OF THE ORIGINAL SONG BY ROY ORBISON REBEKAH IS SINGING:

I was all right for a while,

I could smile for a while

But I saw you last night

you held my hand so tight

As you stopped to say hello

Oh, you wished me well, you couldn't tell

That I've been crying over you, crying over you

And you said, so long

Left me standing all alone

Alone and crying, crying, crying, crying

It's hard to understand

but the touch of your hand

Can start me crying

I thought that I was over you

But it's true, so true

I love you even more than I did before

But darling, what can I do

For you don't love me and I'll always be

Crying over you, crying over you

Yes, now you're gone and from this moment on

I'll be crying, crying, crying, crying

Crying, crying over you.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE REAL-DIANE'S BREAK UP WITH REAL-CAMILLA. IT'S ABOUT THE HEARTBREAK PLAYING OUT. AND DIANE CAN'T HAVE IT ANYMORE. AND THE MOMENT IT ALL BECOMES CLEAR, THE MOMENT IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT THIS SONG ISN'T REAL, IS ALSO THE MOMENT BOTH BETTY AND RITA KNOW IMPLICITLY THAT THE WHOLE WORLD THEY LIVE IN IS SOMETHING THEY CAN'T HAVE ANYMORE. SO THEY FIND THE BLUE BOX. THE BLUE LIGHTS HAVE BEEN GUIDING THEM THERE SINCE THE BEGINNING. THIS IS WHERE WE HAVE THE BORDERS OF TIME. THE BLUE LIGHT IN THE THEATER. IT'S JUST LIKE BLUE VELVET; IT'S AN INDICATOR OF TRANSFERENCE. AND THUS, IT'S TIME TO LEAVE.

BUT ON ANOTHER LEVEL THIS IS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE LYNCHIAN ILLUSIONS IN THE FILM THAT COMMENTS ON THE POWER OF MOVIES. THE SCENE IS JUST LIKE THE AUDITION SCENE. YOU COMPLETELY FORGET WHERE YOU ARE. YOU FORGET THE RULES. YOU GET LOST IN THE SCENE. YOU FORGET "THERE IS NO BAND." THE ILLUSION IS JUST SO STRONG. THIS IS HOW CINEMA WORKS. WE GET LOST IN MOVIES. WE FORGET WHAT'S REAL. WE FORGET THEY ARE ACTORS. WE FORGET IT'S JUST A TAPE RECORDING.

AFTER ALL, MOVIES ARE DREAMS... AND NO ONE CAN PROVE IT MORE THAN LYNCH.

P. - THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

THEY COME HOME.

RITA REACHES UP TO FIND THE PURSE THEY BURIED IN THE BOX ALONG WITH THE BLUE KEY.

BETTY PUTS HER PURSE ON THE BED AND WALKS OFF FRAME.

RITA TURNS AND BETTY IS GONE. SHE CALLS OUT AND NO ONE ANSWERS. "BETTY" IS TRULY GONE.

RITA PICKS UP THE BLUE BOX. SHE LOOKS AT HER BLUE KEY, PUTS IT INSIDE AND TURNS.

SHE OPENS THE BLUE BOX AND LOOKS INSIDE.

THE CAMERA FALLS RIGHT INTO THE BLUE BOX.

PART 4- BACK TO REALITY

THE BOX DROPS. THE DREAM IS OVER.

WE ARE IN THE SAME ROOM. AUNT ROSE'S REAL APARTMENT. AUNT ROSE WALKS IN THINKING SHE HEARD A NOISE. THERE IS NOTHING. THE BOX IS GONE. SHE SHAKES HER HEAD AND WALKS AWAY. IT'S A LYNCHIAN COMMENT ON THE NATURE OF DEJA VU OR THE FABRIC OF REALITY CLOSING AND OPENING... OR FUCK IT, MAYBE EVEN A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX. THE POINT IS WE'VE GONE THROUGH THE DOORWAY HERE.

WE ARE NOW IN A WOMAN'S APARTMENT. IT IS DIANE SELWIN'S APARTMENT FROM THE DREAM, BUT IT IS ALSO THE REAL DIANE'S APARTMENT. AND THE REAL DIANE IS IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION AS THE DEAD DIANE IN THE DREAM. THERE'S NO MORE "BETTY" OR "RITA." SHE IS JUST DIANE.

THE COWBOY APPEARS (FIRST TIME SINCE HIS LAST APPEARANCE) AND WHAT DOES HE SAY? "HEY PRETTY GIRL. TIME FOR YOU TO WAKE UP." OKAY... THERE IS NO CLEARER WAY TO SAY THE DREAM IS OVER. AND REMEMBER HOW THIS ALL STARTED? WHERE SHE PUT HER HEAD INTO THE PILLOW AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVIE? YEAH, THE MOVIE IS BEING PRETTY HONEST ABOUT WHERE THE DREAM BOOKENDS WITH THIS SUCKER SO LET'S NOT GO THINKING OTHERWISE. AT THIS POINT LET'S JUST CONSIDER IT TEXTUAL CANON.

THEN THERE'S A KNOCK ON THE DOOR.

DIANE GETS UP TO ANSWER IT. WE ARE NOW IN THE PRESENT. DIANE OPENS THE DOOR AND IT'S THE WOMAN WHO PLAYED DIANE'S NEIGHBOR IN THE DREAM. IN REALITY, SHE IS REAL-DIANE'S REBOUND EX-GIRLFRIEND AND SHE JUST WANTS HER STUFF BACK.  SHE THEN MENTIONS THOSE TWO COPS CAME LOOKING FOR HER.

OH HEY, REMEMBER THE COPS? YEAH, THERE'S A REASON THEY UTTERLY DISAPPEAR FROM THE STORY AFTER BEING INTRODUCED AS A LAME SERIES OF IDIOTS. IN DIANE'S DREAM WORLD SHE'S NOT BEING PURSUED BY THE COPS. SHE GETS AWAY SCOTT FREE. REAL LIFE MAY NOT BE SO KIND... ANWYHO, DIANE IS MEAN AND DISMISSIVE TO HER REBOUND EX AND SENDS HER ON HER WAY. DIANE THEN LOOKS AT HER COFFEE TABLE AND SEES A NORMAL BLUE KEY.

AS WE WILL LEARN IN A MOMENT, IT MEANS THE HIT HAS BEEN MADE. CAMILLA IS DEAD.

SO WHEN DIANE SEES THE KEY AND REALIZES THIS, IT SETS IN MOTION A SERIES OF PROJECTIONS AND MEMORIES:

FIRST DIANE IS IMAGINING HERSELF MAKING COFFEE. SUDDENLY CAMILLA SHOWS UP. DIANE SEEMS COMPLETELY UNHINGED "YOU CAME BACK." THIS IS A DOUBLE PLAY ON WHAT'S HAPPENED. IT MEANS BOTH THAT SHE'S IMAGINING CAMILLA "HAS RETURNED TO HER" (SHE'S CERTAINLY SEXED UP IN RED FOR IT) AND ALSO THAT SHE'S COME BACK FROM THE DEAD. SO DIANE'S FIRST THOUGHT AFTER KILLING CAMILLA IS THAT SHE ACTUALLY WANTS HER BACK (ESPECIALLY AFTER THAT CRAZY OLE DREAM SHE JUST HAD).

THIS SEQUEWAYS INTO A MEMORY OF DIANE'S WHERE SHE IS HAVING SEX WITH CAMILLA ON THE COUCH. IT'S NOT NEARLY AS ROMANTIC AS IN HER DREAM. IT'S IN-YOUR-FACE AND UNHINGED. CAMILLA SAYS "WE SHOULDN'T DO THIS ANYMORE." CAMILLA STARTS BREAKING UP WITH HER. DIANE GETS ANGRY AND STARTS FORCING AN ANGRY SEXUAL ACT. CAMILLA STOPS HER, SURPRISED BY HER BRUTALITY. DIANE ASKS: "IT'S HIM ISN'T IT?"

SEQUEWAY TO AN EVEN OLDER MEMORY. CAMILLA IS STARRING IN A 60'S-ESQUE MOVIE (THE MOVIE THEY WERE MAKING IN THE DREAM). ADAM KESHER, THE FAMOUS DIRECTOR, IS DIRECTING CAMILLA AND THE MAIN ACTOR. DIANE WATCHES FROM THE SIDE. SHE'S JUST AN EXTRA. ADAM BEGINS TO SHOW THE ACTOR HOW TO PERFORM THE FILM'S KISS ON CAMILLA. IT APPEARS THAT ADAM IS A VERY GOOD DIRECTOR. HE SAYS THE RIGHT THINGS (ASKING IF HE CAN SHOW IS A BIG ONE. HEY ASPIRING DIRECTORS OUT THERE! DON'T SHOW ACTORS HOW TO PERFORM A GESTURE WITHOUT ASKING FIRST! IT'S A BIG DEAL!). NEXT ADAM IS OUTRIGHT KISSING CAMILLA AND SAYS TO KILL THE LIGHTS. DIANE SEETHES WITH JEALOUSY.

DIANE'S STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS CONTINUES. DIANE IS NOW WRESTLING WITH CAMILLA IN THE DOORWAY. CAMILLA PLEADS BUT DIANE SCREAMS: "YOU WANT ME TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU? WELL IT'S NOT FUCKING GOING TO BE. IT'S NOT EASY FOR ME!" AND SLAMS THE DOOR.

NOW DIANE LIES ON THE COUCH, IN ONE OF THE SADDEST CRYING MASTURBATION SCENES IN HISTORY. THE PHONE RINGS.

JUMPS TO A NEWER MEMORY. THE PHONE IS RINGING IN HER ROOM. DIANE EMERGES ALL DRESSED UP AND ANSWERS IT. IT IS CAMILLA CALLING AND WONDERING WHY SHE HASN'T COME DOWN TO THE LIMO THAT THEY ORDERED FOR HER. AFTER SOME CONVINCING DIANE AGREES TO COME.

SHE IS NOW TRAVELING IN THE LIMO UP MULHOLLAND DRIVE. IT IS REPEATING THE OPENING OF THE DREAM. THE CAR PULLS OFF TO THE SIDE. DIANE SAYS THE SAME THING RITA SAYS IN THE DREAM: "WE DON'T STOP HERE." WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THIS "ASSASSINATION SPOT" IS IMPORTANT PSYCHOLOGICALLY BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT TO BECOME THE SPOT OF DIANE'S REAL-LIFE EMOTIONAL ASSASSINATION.

CAMILLA ARRIVES LOOKING SIMPLY ANGELIC. SHE TAKES DIANE UP A SECRET PATH UP TO THE PARTY. IT'S MAGICAL AND MAKES DIANE FEEL LIKE THE TWO OF THEM SHARE SOMETHING SPECIAL AGAIN... BUT IT'S NOT FOR LONG. ADAM ARRIVES AND BRINGS THEM BOTH CHAMPAGNE AND KISSES CAMILLA. HE'S RATHER NICE TO DIANE. HE SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION. BUT HE'S STILL THE ONE WHO HAS STOLEN CAMILLA FROM HER. ADAM TOASTS TO LOVE. COCO ARRIVES AND, AGAIN, SHE'S ADAMS MOTHER. SHE'S KIND AND FRIENDLY AND YET TOTALLY AWARE. SHE SEEMS TO DISAPPROVE IN SOME WAY OF ADAM AND CAMILLA'S RELATIONSHIP.

THEY ALL SIT DOWN FOR A LARGE DINNER PARTY. PEOPLE ARE FAWNING OVER CAMILLA AND ADAM. MEANWHILE, ONLY COCO IS TALKING TO DIANE. COCO ASKS ABOUT HER LIFE. IT SEEMS DIANE'S AUNT DIED LEAVING HER A LITTLE MONEY. DIANE CAME HERE TO MAKE IT AS AN ACTRESS (IT'S A MUCH SADDER STORY THAN THE "BIG DREAMS COME TRUE" VERSION IN HER DREAM, ISN'T IT?). EVERYONE STARTS TALKING IN SPANISH FOR SOME REASON AND IT'S UTTERLY GRATING TO DIANE (SPANISH IS USED IN HER DREAM AS ANOTHER ROADBLOCK TO PREVENT HER FROM REACHING "THE TRUTH"). COCO KEEPS HER QUESTION FOCUSED ON DIANE, WHO EXPLAINS HOW CAMILLA HELPS HER OUT WITH BIT PARTS AND SMALL THINGS. SHE REGALES HER WITH A STORY ABOUT HOW A DIRECTOR LOVED CAMILLA BUT "DIDN'T THINK SO MUCH OF ME." SENSING THE IMPLICATION FROM THESE DETAILS AND FROM THE TENSION IN THE ROOM, COCO LOOKS AT DIANE AND SIMPLY SAYS: "I SEE." COCO CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH WHAT IS HAPPENING AND SEE RIGHT INTO WHO DIANE IS... SHE'S A NOBODY WHO CAN'T MAKE IT, AND A HANGER ON TO CAMILLA. AND COCO CAN NOW SEE THAT SHE MIGHT EVEN BE LOSING THAT. COCO PITIES HER AND PATS HER ON THE HAND. DIANE FEELS SO INCREDIBLY SMALL.

ADAM STARTS TALKING LOUDLY. "I GOT THE POOL... SHE GOT THE POOL MAN! [HE STARES AT CAMILLA] SOMETIMES GOOD THINGS HAPPEN." NOTICE HOW DIANE PLAYS WITH THIS STORY IN THE DREAM? HOW THE POOL MAN UNNERVES HER AND ADAM GETS KICKED OUT OF HIS OWN HOUSE? NOTICE HOW ONLY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO HIM? THE REALITY IS FAR DIFFERENT. AND WITH THAT ADAM AND CAMILLA ANNOUNCE TO THE ROOM, VERY SLOWLY AND INDULGENTLY, THAT THEY'RE GETTING MARRIED. DIANE IS SO UPSET. HEARTBROKEN. BUT EVEN THAT MAY BE SOMETHING SHE CAN TAKE... BUT WHAT SHE SEES NEXT? NOT SO MUCH.

IN WALKS THE GIRL WHO IS "CAMILLA RHODES" IN THE DREAM. THIS PERSON IS THE OBJECT OF ALL THE THINGS DIANE HATES ABOUT CAMILLA. AND WHAT DOES SHE DO TO DESERVE THAT HATRED? SHE STARTS KISSING CAMILLA RIGHT IN FRONT OF DIANE.

DIANE SEETHES. LOSING HER TO SOME FAMOUS DIRECTOR SHE CAN HANDLE. THAT'S UNDERSTANDABLE AT LEAST. BUT BEING REPLACED BY SOME OTHER GIRL ON THE SIDE? THAT'S SOME SHE CAN'T TAKE. SO SHE MAKES A DECISION.

SHE MAKES A DECISION IN HER MIND TO DO BAD.

AND JUST AT THE AT MOMENT... THE COWBOY WALKS BY (BEING SEEN FOR A SECOND TIME)... YUP, SHE DID BAD.

SEQUEWAY TO THE NEXT MEMORY: DIANE IS IN WINKY'S DINER. SHE'S WITH THE HITMAN (YOU KNOW, JACOB FROM LOST). THEY'RE EATING. A WAITRESS COMES OVER NAMED BETTY. DIANE GLANCES AT HER NAMETAG. SHE WOULD RATHER BE HER. HECK, SHE WOULD RATHER BE ANYBODY AT THIS MOMENT. DIANE HANDS OVER THE PHOTO OF CAMILLA. SHE SAYS "THIS IS THE GIRL." (ANOTHER COMMON SAYING IN THE DREAM). JACOB THINKS SHE'S RIDICULOUS FOR SHOWING THE PICTURE IN PUBLIC, BUT STILL TAKES HER MONEY. HE THEN SAYS WHEN SHE RECEIVES THE BLUE KEY (HOLDS IT UP) SHE'LL KNOW IT'S BEEN DONE. DIANE NAIVELY ASKS "WHAT DOES IT OPEN?" THE HITMAN LAUGHS.

THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUSLY NOTHING, IT JUST MEANS CAMILLA IS DEAD. BUT OBVIOUSLY IT MEANS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. IT OPENS UNTOLD AMOUNTS OF GRIEF AND GUILT. IT OPENS OUR PROVERBIAL PANDORA'S BOX. DIANE LOOKS UP AND SEES THE MAN WHO WILL BE IN HER DREAM. THE ONE WHO DREAMED OF THE HOMELESS MAN. HE IS JUST STANDING AT THE COUNTER LOOKING AT HER AS SHE COMMITS THIS MOST HEINOUS ACT. AND THERE IT ALL IS. THE GREAT SIGNIFIER OF GUILT. SHE'S ESTABLISHING WINKY'S AS THE CENTER FOR ALL HER DEMONS.

BACK TO PRESENT TIME. DIANE STARES AT THE KEY THAT STARTED THIS STRING OF MEMORIES.

CONCURRENTLY, HER MIND FLASHES TO HER "DEMONS." THE REALITY OF THE FILM STARTS TO GET WONKY HERE, BUT THIS SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION IS STILL VERY REAL SO TO SPEAK. IT'S THE HOMELESS MAN BEHIND THE DUMPSTER IN WINKYS. AT HIS FEET IS A PAPER BAG CONTAINING THE SMALL BLUE BOX. TWO TINY ELDERLY PEOPLE EMERGE. IT'S THE OLD PEOPLE FROM THE PLANE IN HER DREAM AND THE INITIAL GHOSTLY IMAGES AT THE FILM'S BEGINNING. THEY WERE THE ONES WHO WERE CREEPILY SUPPORTIVE ABOUT HER ACHIEVING HER DREAMS. 

IT IS AT THIS POINT WE CAN ASSUME THEY EITHER REALLY EXISTED IN SOME FORM, WERE EVEN POSSIBLY HER PARENTS, OR JUST A REPRESENTATIVE EMBODIMENT OF POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT. THEY ARE REALLY THE FOUNDATION AND SOURCE OF ALL HER MISGUIDED FEELINGS... BUT NOW, BEING TINY, THEY'RE EVEN MORE CREEPY.

DIANE IS TERRORIZED BY THESE DEMONS (THE HOMELESS MAN/ELDERLY COUPLE. THE POLICE KNOCK AND SHOUT FROM THE DOOR. DIANE IS TERRIFIED. THE TWO LITTLE CREEPY ELDERLY DEMONS SNEAK IN THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF THE DOOR. DIANE SCREAMS. SUDDENLY, THE ELDERLY PEOPLE ARE NORMAL-SIZED AND COME AT HER AS BLUE LIGHT FLASHES. THEY ARE SMILING AND TERRIFYING, SEEMINGLY TRYING TO HUG HER. THEY ARE THE MANIFESTATION OF ALL HER POSITIVE DREAMS THAT NEVER CAME CLOSE TO BEING TRUE. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO PROPAGATE "THE GREAT LIE" OF BEING ABLE TO MAKE IT HOLLYWOOD. THEY ARE JUST AS MUCH A PART OF HER DEMONS AS THE HOMELESS MAN WHO REPRESENTS THE AWFUL MURDER SHE COMMITTED.

THEY CHASE HER INTO THE BEDROOM. DIANE REACHES FOR THE BEDSIDE TABLE DRAWER.

SHE GRABS A GUN AND SHOOTS HERSELF IN THE HEAD.

SHE DISSOLVES INTO A PUFF OF SMOKE.

THE CITY LIGHTS OF HOLLYWOOD APPEAR. WE THEN SEE AN IMAGE OF DIANE JUST AS WE DID IN THE BEGINNING. ONLY INSTEAD OF BEING WITH THE ELDERLY COUPLE SHE IS NOW WITH THE BLONDE-WIGGED "RITA." THEY ARE GHOSTLY IMAGES, SMILING IN THE FLASHBULBS... DIANE IS FINALLY AT PEACE.

AND THEN THE MOVIE RETURNS TO THE EMPTY STAGE OF CLUB SILENCIO.

THE ORNATELY DRESSED WOMAN SITS AND SPEAKS ONE FINAL WORD...

"SILENCIO."

... THE SHOW IS OVER... INCLUDING THE VERY LAST LAYER OF ALL OF THIS...

... THE ONE WHERE WE ARE WATCHING A MOVIE.

PART 5 - SYMBIOSIS

NOW THAT'S ABOUT 11000 WORDS ON AN INTERPRETATION OF ONE MOVIE.

... HULK ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MAY SEEM A TAD EXCESSIVE.

ONE PERSON ON TWITTER EVEN COMMENTED THAT HAVING TO WRITE A COLUMN AT THAT LENGTH TO JUST UNDERSTAND A MOVIE IS PRECISELY WHY THEY WOULDN'T WANT TO WATCH IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. BUT HULK HOPE YOU MIGHT DISAGREE WITH THAT LINE OF THINKING.

FOR ONE, THE MOVIE IS STILL SO COMPELLING ON A VISCERAL LEVEL THAT YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN IT WITHOUT "GETTING IT." THE FIRST TIME HULK WATCHED THE MOVIE HULK CERTAINLY DIDN'T GET ALL OF IT. IT WASN'T UNTIL A LITTLE REFLECTION AFTERWARD WHERE HULK THOUGHT LONG AND HARD ABOUT THE CAMERA DELVING INTO THE BLUE BOX AND THE DIFFERENCE OF THE LAST 20 MINUTES, THAT THE WHOLE DREAM THING REALLY STARTED TO CLICK. AND THEN? ALL IT REALLY TOOK WAS A SECOND WATCH TO PIECE IT ALL TOGETHER. SO IT'S JUST TWO WATCHES WITHOUT WRITING ANYTHING DOWN. THAT'S IT.

AND FOR TWO, HULK TOTALLY DIDN'T NEED TO WRITE A COLUMN THIS LENGTH. HULK COULD HAVE SIMPLY SAID "THE FIRST TWO HOURS IS A DREAM BASED ON THE WOMAN'S LIFE IN THE LAST 20 MINUTES" AND LET YOU GO ON YOUR WAY. WHAT'S REMARKABLE IS THAT IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO UNDERSTAND IT, BUT THAT IT SIMPLY ALLOWS FOR IT. ISN'T THAT KIND OF INCREDIBLE? HECK, HULK HAD SO MUCH FUN FINALLY WRITING ALL THIS SHIT DOWN. IT JUST LIVED IN HULK'S HEAD AND IN CONVERSATIONS FOR YEARS. THERE'S JUST SO MUCH GREAT STUFF TO MINE. AND EVEN WITH ABOUT 28 PAGES OF NOTES, HULK STILL FELT LIKE HULK MISSED STUFF.

AND ISN'T THAT GREAT? IT'S NOT LIKE HULK IS ARGUING ALL MOVIES HAVE TO BE LIKE MULHOLLAND DRIVE, BUT REALLY, SOCIETY ISN'T ALLOWED TO HAVE A FEW OF THEM LIKE THIS? WHY DOES THEIR EXISTENCE SOMEHOW THREATEN THE FABRIC OF THE UNIVERSE? PLEASE. THIS FILM IS A JOY TO HAVE IN OUR LIVES. AND EVEN THEN IT'S NOT LIKE HULK WATCHES IT THESE DAYS TO MINE FOR DATA (HULK THINK THIS WAS HULK'S 11TH TIME WATCHING IT?) USUALLY HULK JUST ENJOYS THE VISCERAL QUALITY ON DISPLAY, BECAUSE IT'S PROBABLY THE FILM'S BEST ASPECT. IT'S SO UNNERVING AND EMOTIONAL. IT'S THE REASON 11,000 WORDS ON SYMBOLOGY ACTUALLY FREAKING WORK!

HULK LAUGH... BUT IF YOU DID STICK AROUND FOR ALL 11000+ WORDS, THEN HULK COMMEND YOU. DOESN'T IT ALL COME TOGETHER TO PAINT AN INCREDIBLE PICTURE OF THE PSYCHE OF GUILT AND DISPLACEMENT? THE IDEAS OF WHAT WE WANT FROM PEOPLE AND WHAT WE DON'T WANT? THE TRUTHS WE FACE ABOUT OURSELVES AND THE FEELINGS WE BURY? HULK CHALLENGE YOU TO NAME ONE CHARACTER YOU FEEL YOU "KNOW" BETTER THAN DIANE SELWIN? WE'VE GOTTEN TO SEE EVERY CREVICE OF HER MIND.

BUT HULK ALSO REALIZE THAT IT IS WHOLLY NAIVE OF HULK, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE PRINCIPALS OF SEMIOTICS, TO SAY THAT HULK HAS "CRACKED IT." HULK JUST FEEL RATHER CONFIDENT ABOUT THE IDEAS PUT FORTH WITH THIS FILM.

IT'S ABOUT STORIES, MOVIES AND DREAMS AND HOW REALLY THEY ARE ALL THE SAME THING. LOOK HOW OFTEN THEY SERVE THE SAME EXACT FUNCTION. WE ALWAYS SEEM TO GET LOST IN THEM. THEY CAN OPERATE AS FANTASY AND DISPLACEMENT. THEY CAN REFLECT OUR WANTS, NEEDS, AND DESIRES. BUT THEY CAN ALSO PROVIDE US WITH CATHARSIS AND ARTICULATION. EVEN WITH ITS TRAGIC ELEMENTS, ULTIMATELY IT'S A BEAUTIFUL FILM WITH A BEAUTIFUL MESSAGE ABOUT HOW WE RELATE TO THE WORLD.

BUT BELIEVE IT OR NOT THE PURPOSE OF WRITING THIS COLUMN IS NOT ABOUT MERELY CRACKING MULHOLLAND DRIVE. OR EVEN SLOBBERING ALL OVER ITS GENIUS.

HULK THINK THIS COLUMN IS ABOUT HOW WE WATCH MOVIES AS A CULTURE.

IF THERE IS ANY LARGER THING THAT HULK WANTS YOU TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE DETAILS IN THIS INTERPRETATION IT'S THIS: WE SHOULD DO THIS WITH EVERY SINGLE MOVIE.

HULK NOT KIDDING. HULK WATCHES ALL KINDS OF FILMS WITH THE SAME LEVEL OF ATTENTION. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH "DIFFICULTY" OR SOME MOVIES BEING MIND-FUCKS. OR HAVING COMPLICATED PLOTS. AGAIN, HULK USUALLY NEEDS A SECOND WATCH WITH THOSE JUST AS MUCH AS YOU.

NO, WHAT HULK IS TALKING ABOUT HERE IS A CONSTANT STATE OF AWARENESS. A STATE OF QUESTIONING WHAT YOU ARE SEEING. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT GENRE OR AUDIENCE, JUST ASK THE MOST SIMPLE QUESTIONS: WHY IS THIS CHARACTER DOING THIS? WHAT DO THEY WANT? WHAT DO THEY NEED? WHAT IS THEIR PSYCHE? HOW DO THESE PEOPLE RELATE TO EACH OTHER? IS THAT SOMETHING THAT PERSON WOULD DO? IS THAT NOT SOMETHING THEY WOULD DO? IF THEY'RE DOING IT, WHY? HOW DOES THIS ALL MAKES SENSE? WHAT DOES THE MOVIE ITSELF THINK ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS?

BECAUSE GOOD MOVIES ASK AND THEN ARTICULATE THESE VERY SAME QUESTIONS. REALLY. EVERY. SINGLE. GOOD. MOVIE. THIS IS HOW THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CINEMA OPERATES. IT IS HOW THEY ARE UNDERSTOOD AND BECOME RESONANT. IT IS HOW WE BECOME INVESTED. IT IS HOW WE CARE.

NOW... THERE ARE SOME THAT CLAIM THIS PROCESS OF "BEING AWARE" SOMEHOW RUINS MOVIES. THAT YOU ARE THEREFORE "OVER-THINKING" AND NOT ENJOYING IT.

HULK POLITELY CALLS BULLSHIT.

IT IS NOT OVER-THINKING IT. IT IS JUST DOING BOTH. EVERY SINGLE PUNY HUMAN BEING HAS THE ABILITY TO DUAL-PROCESS WITH AN EMOTION AND A THOUGHT. EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. AND WHEN THOSE TWO LINE UP IN UNISON WE ARE BECOME INVOLVED IN WHAT WE ARE SEEING. WE ARE BEING PRESENT.

EVEN THE MOST GRAND, POPULAR BLOCKBUSTER DOES THIS. MOVIES LIKE JAWS DO THIS. THEY COMBINE CHARACTER MOTIVATION AND TENSION AND ACTION. THEY HAVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THEIR CHARACTERS AND ACTIONS MAKE SENSE, SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO LET OUR BRAINS STOP US. IT SIMPLY MAKES THE VISCERAL EXPERIENCE WORK EVEN BETTER.

THERE IS NO REAL VALIDITY TO "TURNING YOUR BRAIN OFF" ARGUMENT. THAT'S PURELY AN EXCUSE TO GIVE A PASS TO SOMETHING ONE KNOWS IS BAD. AND IT'S AN EVEN BIGGER LIE BECAUSE THE BEST POPCORN MOVIES CAN ACTUALLY TURN YOUR BRAIN ON.

WE ALL TRULY HAVE THE CAPACITY TO THINK AND ENJOY. WE DO IT CONSTANTLY WITHOUT BEING AWARE OF IT. EVERYONE. THE THING WE GET HUNG UP ON IS NOT THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND, BUT SIMPLY THE ABILITY TO ARTICULATE IT.

AND HULK FULLY ADMIT, THE ABILITY TO READ AND ARTICULATE CHARACTER MOTIVATION? YEAH THAT TAKES A LITTLE WORK AND PRACTICE. BUT THINK OF HOW ONE LEARNS A LANGUAGE. FOR SO LONG YOU SPEND TIME PROCESSING HOW YOU HEAR A LANGUAGE, UNTIL AT A CERTAIN POINT, YOU CAN SIMPLY PROCESS IT QUICKLY ENOUGH TO CONVERSE. AND LEARNING TO UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE OF CINEMA IS THE SAME EXACT THING.

AND WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO IT. IF YOU'RE READING THIS WEBSITE THEN THERE'S A GOOD CHANCE YOU DO IT OFTEN. CINEMA LOVERS LEARN THAT THERE IS NOTHING MORE PERFECT IN THIS WORLD THAT WATCH TO WATCH A FILM WITH MIND, BODY AND SOUL IN UNISON.

AND THAT'S WHY A FILM LIKE MULHOLLAND DRIVE MATTERS. IT IS SIMPLY ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING, THEMATICALLY-RICH, CEREBRALLY-CHALLENGING, YET STILL EMOTIONAL AND VISCERAL MOVIES EVER MADE.

IT'S A TRUE GIFT OF CINEMA.

<3 HULK

HULK ART BY THE WONDERFUL DANIEL WILKES! FIND HIS STUFF HERE!

RANDOM ENDNOTE:

-THERE IS SOME DEBATE OVER WHETHER "THE DREAM" ACTUALLY BEGINS WHEN SHE SHOOTS HERSELF, AND THE WHOLE DREAM IS SOME KIND OF HEAVEN MOTIF.  HULK INTENSELY DISAGREE WITH LOGIC OF THIS, AS HULK THINK IT'S MADE VERY CLEAR THAT SHE BOTH GOES TO BED AND WAKES BEFORE ALL THAT. AND THEN THERE'S THE FACT THAT DOESN'T FIT WITH ALL THE IMAGERY AND OCCURRENCES AND MEANING IN THE ACTUAL DREAM ITSELF... BUT HEY, PEOPLE STILL ARGUE FOR HEAVEN ANYWAY. THE FUNNIEST PART IS EITHER WAY IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY MATTER. THEY BOTH SAY THE SAME THING THEMATICALLY... SO WHO CARES?

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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