Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart ★★½

Wild At Heart is few people's favourite Lynch movie or their idea of him at his most accessible, but unless there's some other period that's slipping my mind right now it's the only movie that came out during that brief sliver of time in which Jane and John Normie were excited by the prospect of a new David Lynch movie. I think it's the only one I saw in theatres.

We were, of course, a little baffled, though undeniably stimulated the way only a bunch of teenagers watching a movie like this could be. (well, alternately stimulated, bored and confused. I never claimed not to be John Normie.) It wasn't Twin Peaks that got me there so much as the metal that was playing all over the ads.

We weren't sure what band we were hearing - it sounded like Megadeth, turned out it was Powermad, a short-lived Minneapolis band that got a brief major-label push and evaporated just as fast, for about 25 years anyway. (seeing them in a "22 months later" context here is retroactively pretty funny.)

It was rare because it was real metal; the same year RoboCop 2 promised "maximum thrash" and delivered Babylon AD. So it's cool to hear it here, even as this movie does its damnedest to ruin it - partly through repetition and overuse, partly through context (all 2000's hardcore kid kung fu dancing), and partly in the live show where the band stops it on a dime on command from Sailor, and instead plays a 50's Elvis ballad for him to sing on by request.

Sailor's basically like that, an R-rated Fonzie who's this expectedly Lynchian burlesque of an ideal of "cool". Seeing him sold so hard, everybody trying so much to put him over as the coolest guy in the movie, is kinda painful. But it's that kind of pain that Lynch fans love.

And you wouldn't expect a straightforward neo-noir from him either. Lula's mom wants Sailor dead so bad she not only gets a private eye to track them down, but she gets a goon on his tail too. And the goon calls in a crime boss. And the crime boss calls in a crazy woman with a bum leg (natch). And they both call in a guy named Dropshadow. Then the crime boss calls in some other guy. Later the mom wants to straighten this out, and she too elects to not do so directly on the phone, as it would be insufficiently complicated. This is like, 1/3 of the way through the movie.

As with his characters, Lynch's plots are burlesques, not anything recognizably human. Cult director's gonna cult, but there's only so much I can get out of it, even though at first glance Lynch's aesthetic might seem to match the larger-than-life quality of metal which I love so much. But Lynch's jam isn't larger than life, it's just weirder than life. He's more like jazz fusion. People have been trying to convince me on both for decades; if I'm not a fan by now, I'm probably never going to be.

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