A Beginner’s Guide to David Lynch

Famed Hollywood writer and director, David Lynch, announced last week that his 1990’s crime drama Twin Peaks would be making a reappearance on the Showtime network in 2016. Lynch tweeted to his followers: “Dear Twitter friends… it is happening again #damngoodcoffee”.

For those of you who have not seen Twin Peaks, you may not be able to appreciate that great hashtag. But I strongly recommend that you drop everything you are doing and go watch the series right now so that you will be prepared for the return of Special Agent Dale Cooper in all his glory.

In fact, I recommend you sit down and watch everything David Lynch has ever created. You could start with Twin Peaks, or you could watch one of the many great films he has created during his career.

With the risk of sounding a bit weird, I would say I consider myself a fan of David Lynch films. Sure, many of his pictures have dark, incestuous themes with lot of violence and abuse in them. Many of his films make absolutely no sense whatsoever (ahem, Eraserhead). Many of his films make me so upset and confused I want to throw something at the screen. But that’s what makes David Lynch so great. He’s not afraid to be strange; he isn’t afraid to make sacrifices for artistic value.

However, his films are certainly not for the faint of heart. You can’t sit down with your family on a Sunday night, put on Blue Velvet, and expect to have a good time. His are the types of films you watch alone, or with someone you are very, very close to, in order to avoid the awkward tension that will arise when one of the characters goes berserk when Bobby Vinton comes on the radio and forces himself onto a woman.

You also may need a good 10-20 minutes after viewing one of his movies to figure out what the hell you just watched. Sometimes you may think the plot of the movie is going one way, but then realize about halfway through that the plot has gone in a completely different direction and you are left utterly lost and confused. Take Mulholland Drive for example. Released in 2001, this film is supposedly about a young woman who moves to Los Angeles with the intention of becoming an actress. Her plans are put on hold when she meets a strange, beautiful woman who has lost her memory due to a car crash, and the two must work together to figure out who she is. Right? Wrong. It isn’t until about half way through the movie that Lynch pulls a fast one over his viewers, and completely changes the storyline. I won’t go in to details because I don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie. But you get the idea.

Now I realize that what I’ve told you may put you off watching David Lynch films forever. But before you swear him off for good, let me explain why his work is truly great: his are the types of films you love to hate; they frustrate you and make you uncomfortable, but in the end you feel accomplished for having made it through to see the end. And in hindsight, you realize that you actually had a pretty good time watching. All of his movies have similar characteristics that make them unique to David Lynch; they contain dark twists, suspenseful scenes, and usually a little comedic relief. It is these characteristics that keep fans and viewers entertained and coming back for more.

If you have made it this far and want to start watching, but are wary to dive straight in to the weirdest stuff, I recommend first watching Mulholland Drive, then Twin Peaks, and then the prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Feel free to watch anything you like, I don’t control your viewership; however I felt Mulholland Drive to be a bit more accessible than some of his other works, which is why I recommend watching it first.

Good luck. “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”