Blue Velvet

The robin in the opening credits of Twin Peaks? It’s apparently supposed to symbolize love.

Also, watching Blue Velvet will help you win a lot more rounds of the Kevin Bacon game.

Blue Velvet is a David Lynch murder mystery that came out in 1986. It’s set in a small 50s town, where Agent Cooper and Laura Dern get mixed up with a weird drug dealer/kidnapper/psycho (a la Bob of Twin Peaks).

This wasn’t a great movie. In fact, it was kind of boring, mainly because I could never figure the main character’s motivation out. Agent Cooper is looking slightly younger and just as pretty, but he’s not Agent Cooper, just a small town boy whose motivations, again, are just… impossible to figure out. He comes home from college after his father suffers from some weird heart attack/bug bite/neck injury and proceeds to sort of woo Laura Dern (who I just can’t stand in any movie. She’s incredibly annoying, and she doesn’t work this role at all either, even with the little she’s given).

Now, truth be told, I ended up with a terrible crush on Agent Cooper while watching Twin Peaks, but in Blue Velvet, he lost a lot of his niceness and intelligence, leaving not much for wanting but a couple of great ass shots and pleasant but brief full frontal. Neither of which were all that exciting, as, again, I couldn’t connect with his character in any way (if there was ever a doubt that it’s largely a guy’s inherent “niceness” that’s one of the big factors in my attraction, this was a good example of that. I was terribly keen on Cooper, but when the actor switches roles, I had trouble sustaining interest. This is my big problem with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I was first introduced to him in Bend it Like Beckham, in which he plays the good guy girls’ soccer coach. I literally could not sit still in my seat I was so hot over him. In every other thing I’ve seem him in, he’s played a totally creepy, whiny, asshole, and I’ve just never been able to get all that excited about him again).

In any case, my interest in the hero aside, the dialogue is pretty poor, there’s that stunning lack of character motivation, the ending is syrupy sweet in a totally inexplicable way, and most of the movie’s weirdness consists of a single bizarre sex scene.

I’d recommend the movie mainly to Twin Peaks fans interested in some of David Lynch’s themes and imagery. You can see his interest in small towns, diners, logging towns, red curtains, and that incredible fake looking robin that, in this movie, symbolizes love (which did make that robin in the Twin Peaks credits far more interesting in its fakeness). You see the beginnings of the Agent Cooper character, Bob, and there’s even a cameo by another Twin Peaks actor.

Annoyingly, there’s also that damsel-in-distress thing going on in this movie, much as it was in Twin Peaks. And there’s the black-haired temptress/crazy woman vs. the good/blond woman (and Cooper goes around sleeping with the temptress and the then the blond totally forgives him because really, why not, we couldn’t have a happy ending otherwise! And hey, she was technically still dating that Mike guy while romancing Cooper, so all’s well that ends well. Hey, it’s like that foursome in Twin Peaks – Nadine, Ed, Norma, and Hank!). I’m not sure what the whole madonna/whore thing is about, except maybe it’s the only way he can think to give women the same monster/hero battle that he plays up between men. It’s annoying and lazy.

It’s an interesting artifact movie, but if you’re looking for neat, brain-twisting David Lynch weirdness like Mulholland Drive, well, skip this and just go watch Mulholland Drive again.

Have I mentioned that I find Laura Dern totally annoying (maybe it’s just that she ruined Inland Empire for me? She comes across as so completely flat and fake and devoid of… anything)?

Ok, I’ll stop now.

The Latest

Future Artifacts

Brutal. Devastating. Dangerous. Join an investigation into a cruel and heartless leader … crawl through filth and mud to escape biological warfare … team up with time-traveling soldiers faced with potentially life-altering instructions. Kameron Hurley, award-winning author and expert in the future of war and resistance movements, has created eighteen exhilarating tales giving glimpses into […]

Support Kameron

If you’ve read and enjoyed my work for free – whether that’s the musings here on the blog, guest posts elsewhere, or through various free fiction sites, it’s now easier than ever to donate to support this work, either with a one-time contribution via PayPal, or via a monthly Patreon contribution:

Scroll to Top