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October 01, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Michigan Daily Wednesday, October 1, 1986 Page 7


Velvet': rough, shoddy, confused

By Geoffrey Riklin
Blue Velvet is a film that
manages to self-destruct in
virtually every way.
4Our protagoninst, Jeff, comes
home from college for a few days
to visit his ailing father. While
walking through a field one day,
he discovers a human ear, which
he takes to the police, and which
causes him to involve himself in
a mystery. The essentials of the
story are that Sandy, a daughter of
a police detective, leads Jeff to an
odd nightclub singer, Dorothy
Vallens, who in turn is involved
with a local gangster, Frank.
Suffice it to say that the plot is
thoroughly conventional.
Many serious problems plague
Blue Velvet. To make Blue Velvet
a movie worth seeing, the
performances must be inspired.
Kyle MacLachlan as Jeff turns in
a performance that might be
passable in a television movie, but
not in the cinema. There is
nothing interesting to begin with
in his character, and
nothing to change that. Laura
Dern as Sandy is nice, but her
role doesn't amount to a great

deal. Isabella Rossellini as Dor-
othy Vallens is utterly
misdirected. Rossellini plays a
woman who is abused in a variety
of ways by Frank, the gangster.
Rossellini's character is a bit off
to begin with, and her trauma
causes her to become downright
neurotic. But for her to do the
things she does, she would have to
be insane in a completely
unimaginable way. In short,
her character is not convincing.
Rossellini does the best she can
and she does well within the
limits of the character; the
director, David Lynch, bears the
responsibility for the failure of the
part. Finally, Dennis Hopper,
playing the deranged gangster
Frank, does a pretty good job with
a cartoonish character.
David Lynch wrote and
directed Blue Velvet, and the
reason it fails is him. The point
of his film is that underneath the
placid surface of the small town of
Lumberton insane things are
taking place. The you-can't-,
judge-a-book-by-its-cover theme
is not exactly new, but in capable
hands it can work (in capable
hands, anything can work).
There are so many flaws that the
few good points are destroyed.

The character of Jeff is really a
cipher. Sandy is all right though
limited. And both Dorothy
Vallens and Frank are generally
ridiculous. There are several
idiotic scenes, the worst of which
consists of a drug pusher/pimp
delivering a surrealistic
rendition of a Roy Orbison tune.
In the scene that follows, Frank
beats up Jeff, once again to the
Orbison song. During the beating
a hooker, who was brought along
by Frank's gang, starts to dance
on the roof of a car, oblivious to the
violence. How stupid. One would
expect that any prostitute in her
right mind would be worried at
least by the violence since
prostitiutes themselve are so often
the victim. In other words, she
could be next.
The flashes of surrealism are
completely misplaced. Lynch
should have decided whether he
wanted to make a surrealistic
film or a realistic one. The few
surrealistic scenes simply do not
fit in. The two styles are not
necessarily mutually exclusive,
but Lynch cannot successfully
combine them.
All of which leaves us with an
eminently forgettable film.

Isabella Rossellini meanaces Kyle MacLachlan in David Lynch's new release Blue Velvet.

J UFOria'

ends up


only itself

.y Lynn Gettleman
Church revival is the theme of
Melvin Simon's 1981 film
VFOria, but why anyone would
want to revive this film is beyond
UFOria, starring Cindy Wil-
liams, Harry Dean Stanton, and
.Fred Ward, is a combination of
bid plot, bad acting, and even
worse dialogue. The purpose of
this fim is to mock and scorn
evangelists and church revival;
Arts & Pr
This Week at the M'
Monday, Sep
Friday, Octo
" ~Rock Poster S
10am-S pm
Ground Floor
. Room 1209



the result is a movie that mocks
Th" plot is relatively simple.
Two lonely people, Sheldon Bart
(Ward) and Arlene (Williams).
meet out in the boonies of
California. He's a drifter/con
artist, she's a checker at the local
supermarket and a born-again
Christian. Sheldon is currently
making money by being
"healed" at the revival meetings
by a fellow con artist/stolen car
dealer, the evangelist Brother
Bud (Stanton). Meanwhile,
chigan Union.....
ember 29 -
er 3

Arlene believes that God is
sending a UFO down to save her a
la Noah's Ark. Bud wants to use
her for profit during his revival
meetings, and poor Sheldon is
caught in the middle -- what a
The acting in this movie is the
absolute worst. Ward expresses
emotion with a predictable

grimace, Stanton pauses for ten
seconds between every
"meaningful line," and when
comparing William's wide-eyed
looks and whine to her previous
acting experience, Laverne and
Shirley deserves an Emmy.
Dialogue and predictability is
where this movie is best. When
Arlene tells Sheldon about the



UFO, he says, "Baby, I'll take you
to space without a rocket." Since
Arlene believes with all of her
heart that a UFO is coming to get
her, can you guess what actually
happens? You can, but it isn't
worth four dollars.

The point this movie attempts to
make is that everyone has to
believe in something. The actual
outcome of UFOria, however, is
that you can't believe you wasted
almost two hours and four dollars
watching it.

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Occupational Transformations:
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A Brown-Bag Lecture by
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12 noon
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