For the past few weeks, I've been relentlessly reminded of one fact:
Mulholland Drive sucked.
Yes, the movie that seems to be near the top of everyone's "Best of the 2000's" list sucks. It's awful, and it boggles my mind that people, let alone respected movie critics, disagree.
First off, it didn't help that I watched Mulholland Drive right after viewing modern classics like Se7en, Memento and The Usual Suspects. I was counseled by fellow movie buffs and the Internet that David Lynch's "masterpiece" was very similar. This was aided by the DVD's inner sleeve, which contained a list that promised to "help unlock the secrets of Mulholland Drive."
"Oooh, secrets," I thought, "that sounds great." Well, it turns out that you don't need a step-by-step guide to unlocking the movie's secrets. The first 60 minutes or so turn out to be just an illusion in a character's head. It's like that movie Identity, except people thought that movie was idiotic. For some reason, that feeling is not also associated with Mulholland Drive.
Second off, it was supposed to be a television pilot. That's why characters like "the guy played by Robert Forster"and "the guy played by Justin Theroux" don't serve a purpose -- they're incomplete, presumably conceived by Lynch to receive an entire season of character development, not a two-hour movie's worth.
Wikipedia states that "a large portion of the film was shot with Lynch's plan to keep it open-ended for a potential series" and that Lynch "left the general meaning of the movie's events open to interpretation." Some might find this mysterious or intriguing, but much like the finale of David Chase's "The Sopranos", I find it disgustingly lazy.
As I've stated before, I'm a huge fan of Blue Velvet, but that's because it combines Lynch's inherent weirdness with a cohesive plot and dynamic characters. I've never doubted Lynch's creativity, but when it comes to Mulholland Drive, I can't help but thinking he's using his audience in a negative way. They're reading into things that aren't there, making unwarranted suppositions and unjustified speculations that lead to an self-invented conclusion.
Lynch is playing upon his reputation as a surrealist, expecting viewers to fill in the blanks he's left. But, like a Mad Lib, you can put anything you fucking want in the blanks. Literally anything. I fail to see how that is creative, much less an aspect of the movie that people enjoy.
But a few top ten lists aren't the only things that reminded me of Mulholland Drive's suckiness. There's also been the final season of "Lost", which I'm currently preparing to watch.
Although I loved Season One, after that I took a bunch of seasons off from the show. I kept track of it from afar, getting periodic updates on the plot's progression. Even though I haven't been watching, I've respected how they're telling the story and how the twists all build on top of each other in a satisfying way. Now that the final season is about to begin, I think I'm ready to give it another try.
I want to see how they finish things off, to see if Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have the balls to give the series a concrete ending. Sure, they might alienate a few people, but you're never going to make everyone happy. If they take the plunge and give everyone a real ending, like the one they've claimed to have in their heads for a while, I'll have a lot of respect for them as writers and showrunners.
This show has a chance to take five seasons of mythology and wrap it up with a bang. They've left many of the same blanks as David Lynch, but they also have a dozen or so episodes to fill them in with a permanent marker, not the pencil that Lynch offered his viewers. They can do what storytellers are supposed to do -- provide a beginning, middle and end.
How "Lost" will wrap up remains to be seen, but there's one thing I know for sure: No matter how Cuse and Lindelof decide to end their run, the secrets they unlock for us can't possibly be as shitty as the so-called secrets of Mulholland Drive.