Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Wild at Heart (1990) - Cropped 1.33:1 SDTV Aspect Ratio
Wild at Heart (1990) - Cropped 1.78:1 HDTV Aspect Ratio
Wild at Heart (1990) - Original 2.35:1 Theatrical Aspect Ratio
Last year we recommended you avoid using Netflix Instant Watching to view the David Lynch films Dune (1984) and Wild at Heart (1990) once we discovered they were presenting the movies in a different aspect ratio than their original theatrical presentations. We recently found a useful educational video below produced by cable station Turner Classic Movies (TCM). The video features several distinguished filmmakers explaining the importance of getting the technical detail of letterboxing right in our home video presentations. After reading our article and viewing the many examples we collected, you will better understand why every film should be seen as their directors originally intended.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


On the thirty-first and final Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Ingmar Bergman's semi-autobiographical family drama Fanny and Alexander (1982). We saved the best for last. Christmas films do not get more powerful or Lynchian than Bergman's last feature film and final masterpiece. Choosing to go out on the strongest note he could, Bergman planned his retirement from feature film direction at the height of his cinematic power and ended on what is arguably his best film. Although Bergman would make a number of simple-to-shoot TV movies in his latter years, Fanny and Alexander is Bergman's cinematic swan song.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


"28 Days... 6 Hours... 42 Minutes... 12 Seconds... That is
When the World Will End..."–Donnie Darko (2001)
On the thirtieth and penultimate Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Bob Clark's classic family comedy A Christmas Story (1983). Depicting a typical American small town during the 1940's, A Christmas Story follows young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) who desperately wants a "Red Ryder carbine-action 200 shot range model air rifle" for Christmas. The film is Lynchian in subjectively showing Ralphie's frame of mind as he daydreams through life, constructing entertaining fantasies about gaining the admiration and respect he deserves.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SCROOGE (1970)

On the twenty-ninth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present the only Academy Award nominated live-action adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic novella A Christmas Carol (1843), Ronald Neame's spectacular musical Scrooge (1970). Most Lynchian things about this story were already mentioned in our twelfth day article, Robert Zemeckis's A Christmas Carol (2009). David Lynch's The Elephant Man (1980) shows a strong Dickensian bent to Lynch's sensibilities, particularly in navigating a story between lighthearted yet inspiring melodrama on one hand, and bleak and horrifying human villainy on the other.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


On the twenty-eighth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Frank Capra's classic Christmas drama It's a Wonderful Life (1946). One of the most watched and beloved movies of all time, It's a Wonderful Life presents an angel's eye view of the life of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) who considers suicide after a particularly bad Christmas Eve brings him to the point of inevitable arrest and ruin. The film takes a powerful Lynchian turn into the bizarre when Angel 2nd Class Clarence (Henry Travers) attempts to help George regain the will to live. Clarence gives George a glimpse of what life would be like for his friends, family, and community had George never been born.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It Might Have Been a More Wonderful Life...
On the twenty-seventh Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Brett Ratner's Christmas drama The Family Man (2000). David Lynch frequently focuses his camera's lens on a young man's transitional period from youth into adulthood, particularly when first confronting parenthood. In fact, ten years previous to starring in The Family Man, Nicolas Cage starred as Lynch's struggling ex-con "manslaughterer without parental guidance" Sailor Ripley in Wild at Heart (1990). In the course of the film, Sailor discovers he impregnated his girlfriend Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) and struggles to grow into his new role as a protector and provider for his new family.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


On the twenty-sixth Lynchian day of Christmas we present Tim Burton's fantastically weird yet emotionally stirring fairy tale set during Christmas in 1960's American suburbia Edward Scissorhands (1990). Tim Burton clearly shares David Lynch's proclivity for the bizarre in his films, and also revels in creating strange new symbolic cinematic worlds that push audiences past the edge of what mainstream movies normally deliver to them. And from Beetlejuice (1988) to Alice in Wonderland (2010), Tim Burton has excelled at creating dark cinematic fairy tales for the modern world.

Monday, December 19, 2011


On the twenty-fifth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Orson Welles's groundbreaking film on the meteoric rise and catastrophic descent of Citizen Kane (1941). Kane possesses an enduring love for his childhood Winters before his parents came into money and assigned him to the care of a prominent banker to give him a mannered education. A humorous yet brief Christmas scene between Kane and the banker helps establish early on one of the film's most important themes: money cannot buy you everything. David Lynch has long expressed an admiration for the films of Orson Welles, a man who took the entertainment industry by storm in his youth, helped reinvent live theater, and always seemed several steps ahead of everyone else when working with the relatively new mediums of radio and film.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Angela Lansbury was Nominated for Best Supporting Actress
as the Cunning and Ruthless Mrs. Eleanor Shaw-Iselin
On the twenty-fourth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present John Frankenheimer's mind-bending cold war thriller The Manchurian Candidate (1962). A remarkably sophisticated film, The Manchurian Candidate paved the way for later filmmakers to include more psychologically rich abstractions in mainstream movies. In the film we follow Raymond Shaw (Lawrence Harvey) and Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) who have returned from the Korean War changed men. Shaw and Marco's squad were captured by their communist enemies, held prisoner, and brainwashed before being released.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

STALAG 17 (1953)

On the twenty-third Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Billy Wilder's World War II P.O.W. comedy Stalag 17 (1953). The second Wilder film to make this list—the first being The Apartment (1960)—Stalag 17 centers around a group of American G.I.s being held in a Nazi prison camp in the days leading up to Christmas. When two Americans are killed by prison guards immediately upon exiting a secret tunnel constructed for the small scale escape attempt, the Americans begin to suspect a German infiltrator is in their midst feeding information to the Nazis. Everyone's suspicions become drawn to each other as a second escape attempt is planned.

Friday, December 16, 2011

BRAZIL (1985)

We're All in it Together...
On the twenty-second Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Terry Gilliam's mind-bending Christmas movie set in a 1984-esque Orwellian nightmare Brazil (1985). The second Gilliam film to make our list—the first being 12 Monkeys (1995)—Brazil is a magnificently insane ride into a dystopian nightmare in which a clerical error can brand someone a terrorist and destroy that person's life. Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is bureaucrat who catches one such mistake and attempts to correct it, only to find himself branded an enemy of the state, too, for his troubles. Everyone abandons him to his fate, even his best friend (Michael Palin) and plastic surgery obsessed mother (Katherine Helmond).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

DIE HARD (1988)

On the twenty-first Lynchian day of Christmas, we present John McTiernan's classic Christmas action movie Die Hard (1988). NYPD Officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) has a troubled marriage after he decides to stay in New York when his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) leaves with their children to Los Angeles where she pursues a career as an executive with the Nakatomi Corpoaration. John hides behind the veneer of his job for not following Holly to L.A., but seems secretly resentful and displaced when she becomes the more successful breadwinner of the family. Holly invites John to her company's celebration on Christmas Eve, where she hopes to reconcile with her husband, or at worst find closure. But a group of terrorists crash the party, led by the fastidious Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), who hold everyone hostage. John and Holly are forced reexamine their relationship while fighting for survival.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Pictured: Val Kilmer and Robert Downey, Jr. Wishing Some L.A. Mobsters
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
On the twentieth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Shane Black's black comedy and mystery-thriller-Christmas-noir Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). One of the most darkly funny movies of the last decade, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has a Lynchian sense of bizarre genre blending that makes it stand out as one of the weirdest Christmas movies ever made. Shane Black first made a name for himself as the screenwriter of several comedy-action hybrids in the 80's and 90's, like Lethal Weapon (1987) and Last Action Hero (1993), but transitioned into the director's chair for the first time on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). Black's success on this picture helped land him the writing and directing job on Iron Man 3 (2013).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


A New Generation Carries on an Old Tradition
On the nineteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Martin Scorsese's innovative mafia movie Goodfellas (1990). A significant Christmas party after the Lufthansa Heist contrasts sharply with the greedy murders of most the teammates. Although he is a filmmaker of diverse tastes, Scorsese frequently adds Lynchian layers of abstraction to his films, particularly his Dalai Lama biopic Kundun (1997). But Goodfellas penetrates deeply into the light and dark sides of the criminal underworld, demonstrating what attracts otherwise normal people into its alluring snare. And like Lynch, Scorsese does not shy away from showing the self-destructive flip side to this dark coin that shatters many dreams and lives in its wake.

Monday, December 12, 2011


On the eighteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Francis Ford Coppola's epic mafia picture and classic family drama The Godfather (1972). Several murders in the film take place around Christmas of 1945, and the film is listed as the all-time favorite of one of David Lynch's most significant cinematic inspirations, director Stanley Kubrick. Even David Lynch paid homage to The Godfather in Mulholland Dr. (2001) regarding mobsters pressuring a director to recast a significant role.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CRONOS (1993)

On the seventeenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro's first feature film Cronos (1993). Set during Christmastime through New Year's Eve, an aging antiques dealer discovers a device that grants its user immortality at a terrible cost. The Lynchian blend of comedy and drama mixed with his own unique blend of fantasy and horror set apart Del Toro's movies from any other. This signature mixture of genres is again seen in his popular Hellboy (2004) franchise and was perfected later in the Academy Award nominated Pan's Labyrinth (2006).

Saturday, December 10, 2011


We've Met Before, Haven't We?
On the sixteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Francis Ford Coppola's thoughtful thriller-character study hybrid The Conversation (1974). Shot during the Christmas season in the mild climate of San Francisco, The Conversation is the most Hitchcockian and Lynchian film in Coppola's body of work. The film centers on Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), a professional eavesdropper who wrestles with guilt and paranoia because of his morally dubious line of work. Caul becomes caught in a lurid web of deceit and guilt, unsure of his employer's motivations when asked to record the conversations of a young couple.

Friday, December 9, 2011


On the fifteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Tony Scott's action thriller Enemy of the State (1998). Although this hyperbolic, big-budget blockbuster shares little in common tonally or stylistically with Lynch's films, its plot about a conspiracy disintegrating a man's reputation, finances, and personal life to coerce him into doing a mysterious villain's bidding is Lynchian. We can see parallels with Will Smith's Robert Dean and the young director Adam Kesher in Mulholland Dr. (2001). Enemy of the State also pays homage to Francis Ford Coppola's even Lynchier film The Conversation (1974).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

PSYCHO (1960)

On the fourteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Psycho (1960). Although not normally thought of as a Christmas movie, Psycho features holiday decorations in the background during an early scene at the bank where Marion works. And since the entire film takes place within a week or so of that scene, we can assume the story takes place around Christmastime. Partly obscuring the film's Winter time frame is its setting in the Southwestern United States—the action taking place between Phoenix and Southern California—where the temperate weather conditions result in a conspicuous lack of snow.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Once in a Lifetime Comes a Motion Picture that Makes You Feel Like
Falling in Love All Over Again.... This is Not that Movie
On the thirteenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Danny DeVito's horrifyingly funny black comedy on marriage and divorce The War of the Roses (1989).  In his strongest directorial feat to date, Danny DeVito humorously channels a Hitchcockian film style to create the ultimate comedy of horrors. And like David Lynch, Danny DeVito seems far more influenced by director Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers set inside the home than by his international spy thrillers for which he was also known. The War of the Roses is one of the most unique films of this genre, being equally disturbing and funny from beginning to end.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


On the twelfth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Robert Zemeckis's big budget 3-D motion capture Disney adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol (2009). David Lynch's contemplative approach to film feels at home with Dickens's style of writing, something hinted at in the Dickensian The Elephant Man (1980). And Dickens's novella A Christmas Carol is probably his most Lynchian work. For instance, the novella plays on Ebenezer Scrooge's uncertainty about whether he is dreaming or in fact receiving angelic visitors that Christmas Eve—like the literal angels at the end of Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992). And like many of Lynch's films, A Christmas Carol centers on a character wrestling with guilt as he confronts his own horrifying reality.

Monday, December 5, 2011


The New Edition of the Book Contains
 a New Forward by Frost and Lynch
Tomorrow a new edition of Jennifer Lynch's The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is being published. At the height of Twin Peaks' popularity at the end of the first season, series creators Mark Frost and David Lynch commissioned Lynch's daughter Jennifer to write a media tie-in novel The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (1990). Laura's secret diary would be introduced early in the show's second season with the arrival of Harold Smith—Laura's reclusive shut-in friend and confidant, who Donna Hayward would later find while exploring Laura's old Meals on Wheels route.


At Hudsucker Industries There's a Fast Way to the Top...
And an Even Faster Way Down
On the eleventh Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Joel and Ethan Coen's send-up to 30's, 40's, and 50's screwball comedies The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). Set in December of 1958, no sooner does Hudsucker Industries achieve the pinnacle of success when its CEO inexplicably throws himself out the window in the middle of a board meeting. The board of directors, led by classic actor Paul Newman, search for a puppet CEO to place in charge of the company. They ultimately choose a young business school graduate played by Tim Robbins, who turns out to be a smarter, more talented and independent than the board originally thought. With some parallels to today's social conflicts over the role of corporations, the movie follows this Christmastime power struggle to its ultimate and zany conclusion.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Every Sin Leaves a Mark
On the tenth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present David Cronenberg's thrilling mafia drama Eastern Promises (2007). Set during Christmastime in modern-day London, Eastern Promises follows a midwife (Naomi Watts) investigating a Russian teen immigrant who died in childbirth. As the midwife unlocks the young woman's identity and a way to contact her family in Russia, the midwife becomes acquainted with a helpful Russian restaurant owner (Armin Mueller Stahl) and his driver (Viggo Mortensen). She soon finds herself getting pulled deeper and deeper into the dangerous mysteries surrounding the young woman's pregnancy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


A Dream of Dark and Troubling Things... In Winter
On the ninth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Stanley Kubrick's perfect winter horror film The Shining (1980). Routinely listed as the best and scariest film ever made, The Shining was meticulously crafted by the ultimate film perfectionist, Kubrick. And as we mention in greater detail in our article for Eraserhead (1977), Kubrick actually screened David Lynch's first feature film for the cast of The Shining to help the actors establish the proper mood and tone.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Family is Not a Word... It's a Sentence
On the eighth Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Wes Anderson's absurdly funny family dramedy The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Set during Winter in a New York created specifically for the film from Anderson's childhood perceptions, we follow the long-term exploits of the Tenenbaum family. The Royal Tenenbaums expresses Lynch's comedic style and possesses subtle Lynchian allusions. For instance, the family's name is a derivation of the word tananbaum, which is German for "Fir Tree" or "Christmas Tree."

Thursday, December 1, 2011


There is No Such Thing as a Bad Coincidence...
On the seventh Lynchian day of Christmas, we present Billy Wilder's somber romantic drama The Apartment (1960). The film takes place mostly between Christmas and New Year's Eve, and is frequently listed as one of David Lynch's favorite films. The Apartment also has the distinction of being the last of Lynch's seven film selections to screen at his Parisian nightclub Club Silencio its opening week, which you can learn more about here. Interestingly, Lynch bookended his week-long festivities with two Billy Wilder films, having screened Sunset Blvd. (1950) the opening night.