Monday, July 15, 2013

Blue Velvet (1986)

This movie reminds me of Twin Peaks, because they both show a hidden underside of darkness within small town American life, and they both star Kyle MacLachlan.  This time, Kyle MachLachlan plays Jeffrey, who is home from college to take care of things after his father's stroke.  One day he discovers a severed human ear in a field.  The police are not super helpful, so Jeffrey, along with a police detective's daughter, do some investigating of their own.  This starts a chain reaction that opens up the dark side of town to Jeffrey and endangers his life.

 I feel like the movie is set in the early 1970's, mainly because of the costumes they wore (especially the men's shirts).  The town where it is set has the typical small town atmosphere of a '50s sitcom, yet as time goes on, we see parts of it decaying by drug use and crime.  However, this side is hidden very well under its old fashioned charm.  The main song playing throughout is "Blue Velvet" by Bobby Vinton, which was released in 1963.  Frank plays this on a cassette tape, which became popular after 1968.
 There are some references to Lincoln's assassination in this film.  For example, Dorothy's apartment is on Lincoln St and the bad guy's name is Frank Booth (John Wilkes Booth).  Jeffrey shoots him in the head with a little gun.  I don't know why these references are here though.

I did like seeing how the atmosphere changed from the cheesy happy small town to a more realistic town with dangers.  Jeffrey has no idea what's hes getting into when he mixes with crazy people.  Also, all the crime is centered by the drug trade.  Illegal drugs would never have found their way into such a happy place, would it?  There are subtle warnings about the dark underside of the town, such as the roses changing from yellow to red in the same scene.

Overall, I wasn't impressed by this movie. It was mainly an amateur detective story, like Scooby Doo, with lots of softcore porn.  But it was good for a soap opera-type drama. I will give this film an 8/10.  I enjoyed Dennis Hopper's performance as the perpetually enraged Frank Booth.  My favorite line was:

"Heineken? Fuck that Shit!  Pabst Blue Ribbon!!"

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