BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #52: Blue Velvet, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.
I don’t have a lot to say about Blue Velvet. David Lynch’s brand of weird is not a weird that I respond positively too. There is no doubt that he is a talented film maker who if good at his craft, but the stories he tells and the way he tells them, in a lot of ways, repel me.
I always like to find positive things to say about the films I watch for this challenge; with Blue Velvet, it is the performances. Laura Dern is always a delight to see on screen and she did her best here. She was very young but she brought some depth and commitment to her role. She captures the shallow emotional range that you have when you are eighteen or so. You love and hate with one hundred percent of your emotions and you are not yet mature enough to separate love, lust, and intrigue yet. Dennis Hopper also gives a fully committed performance. He character was abhorrent, but his performance was deeply rooted in his character’s truth.
I grew up in the suburbs and I find it irritating when small towns are portrayed as one of two things: first, a perfect place where people are all naïve and simple, or second, as a thin veil covering a seedy underbelly of lies and perversion. Small towns and suburbs are made up of people and people are complicated. There are secrets and sadness as well as happiness and joy. To paint them as an easily definable thing is frustrating to me in films like Blue Velvet. I understand that it serves to move the story forward, but it pushes a specific button for me.
Blue Velvet is not a movie that worked for me on any level. That being said, I think it good to watch movies that are challenging or that are not directly up your alley. Blue Velvet was weird and often uncomfortable to watch, but it forced me to think about why I didn’t like it and why it was challenging for me. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 movie challenge has been an interesting way for me to learn about my own taste in film and refine my opinions both good and bad.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
Blue Velvet ranking: Destroyer