Three-part mini-series set during three different eras in a single room of an odd hotel where employees never age. Every story has a slight twist to it, but the stories are mostly dialogue-heavy psychological or relationship dramas.
The performer of Twin Peaks theme Julee Cruise's experimental concert film, which opens with a short intro where a man breaks up with his girl over the phone, which devastates her. The concert is set in her nightmarish subconscious mind.
A series of 5-minute line animations (drawn in the rough style and with the minimalist plots of David Lynch's The Angriest Dog in the World comic strip) featuring an angry and violent Neanderthal, and his family and neighbors.
The lives of several people spanning from 1936 to 1993 are chronicled during their overnight stay at a New York City hotel room. The hotel room undergoes minor changes through the century, but the employees of the hotel remain unchanged, never aging. Written by
three filmed plays with equal amounts of character insight, good acting, and run-of-the-mill moments
Three half-hour episodes were produced, two from David Lynch as director and Barry Gifford as writer, one from some random guy, James Signorelli, I never heard of (though, according to IMDb, directed an Elvira movie, and surprisingly helmed Easy Money), each set in a hotel room in a particular year in time:
The first segment, Tricks, set in 1969, is a story of a man (Harry Dean Stanton) right about to get some from a stoned prostitute, who gets visited at that moment by an old white-bearded friend with some dark past history. The acting is good all around, particularly from Stanton during a monologue about his first sexual encounter. But it also doesn't really lead much anywhere, even through touches of Lynch's usual twists (the appearance of the 'friend', the final twist that does cleverly wrap around old relationship ties). It also tries to be funny, and it isn't, which makes it a little awkward when the subtle wit doesn't work. (7/10)
The second segment, Getting Rid of Robby, set in 1992, is like some slightly sleazier, less witty episode of Sex and the City (if you can imagine that), with very lame would-be-clever dialog, and the only redeeming aspect being Griffin Dunne playing a man who's breaking up with a woman who usually 'takes care' of him when he comes by during business trips. Not sure why it was here, even if Badalamenti puts in a groovy jazz song over material that isn't worth it; it's not necessarily a horrible short, but it has no real entertainment value except for people who can't distinguish fake-feminist-trash from quality product, and it is a significant drop in comparison to the other two shorts. (5/10)
Blackout, 1937- Probably the closest that Lynch has come to doing full-on Bergman, via Gifford's script, by ding very simply shot but emotionally complex character studying. Crispin Glover plays a small-town guy who stays in the same hotel room from the other two shorts with his love, played by Alicia Witt, who's sort of slow and affected mind-wise, but has a lot to say about Chinese fish and seeing things like their future children. Witt has a look like the classic Bergman actresses, and the dialog even goes further than Bergman, maybe back to Ibsen, in capturing the tense but always powerfully human tradition of characters who are disconnected from one another, but wanting to be close as possible, through revelations in behavior and stark details. Glover, in a rare instance, plays a guy who is the straight character (straight as possible anyway). In the Barry Lyndon-esquire candle-lit lighting, Lynch makes this all so spare that it seems like the farthest thing removed from an quagmire like Inland Empire. But in its own way, Lynch is experimenting just as much in getting inside the nature of a character's psychology, and it's refreshing to see him let the actors find their own beats in the performances. (9/10)
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