Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Quiet Wisdom of Billy Ray Cyrus

Is Billy Ray Cyrus the moral center of the David Lynch movie MULHOLLAND DR.? Ha ha ha, of course not, what are you, stupid or something? But I don't know. So we were going to watch SON OF DRACULA. During last year's Halloween film festival we watched DRACULA'S DAUGHTER with Megan Abbott, so it seemed like the right thing to do. But we couldn't find our Dracula box set anywhere! Can it be that we left it at Megan's temporary apartment from when she temporarily lived here? I GUESS WE'LL NEVER KNOW. As we were trying to think of a substitute, my eye fell on MULHOLLAND DR. and, perhaps influenced by Megan Abbott's and Bill Boyle's recent twittering of tweets on the subject, I asked Dr. Theresa whether it might be ruled an appropriate Halloween movie. After some balking, she acquiesced. So Billy Ray Cyrus is discovered in bed with Justin Theroux's wife and he (Billy Ray Cyrus) says three things (I may be paraphrasing): "Just forget you ever saw it; it's better that way." Gnomic! "He's probably upset, Lorraine." Compassionate! "That ain't no way to treat your wife, no matter what she's done." Chivalric! Then he ruins my theory by popping up in another scene and running his mouth again. That's the problem with theories. But hey! That Bill Boyle. The other day there was some kind of special ice cream truck in town and everybody in town was lined up to get the special ice cream. I was fuming at the sight of a (let me stereotype for a moment) "cool grandma" "aging Vermont hippie" type whose t-shirt LITERALLY HAD THE WORDS "LEADERSHIP" AND "EMPOWERMENT" ON IT just blithely breaking in line ahead of me. And then this fully grown man, fully possessed of all his adult faculties, but HOLDING A BALLOON, blundered out of somewhere yelling, "Mama! Mama!" and he was yelling at her. And then he ordered her to call him on his telephone when she was up near the front of the line and he would come back and join her for a cool delicious ice cream treat! And he just strolled away with his balloon to do whatever the hell he wanted to do besides stand in line. About this time Bill Boyle showed up holding his wonderful little son. And we chatted for a minute and by various winks and nods I was trying to make it clear that Bill and his boy could break in line if they wanted to. I was being the worst kind of hypocrite! But Bill said to his son, "Come on, let's go to the back." And there they went to the back of the line! Bill is teaching that boy right. So anyway I got him some ice cream as a surprise. The son, I mean, though Bill may have taken a couple of bites. Now! Watching MULHOLLAND DR. this time I noticed another way that David Lynch and Jerry Lewis are alike. MULHOLLAND DR. has the most inauthentic "Hollywood audition scene" of any movie outside THE ERRAND BOY and THE PATSY: just some lip-syncing (Jerry's first act!) presented in a ridiculously stylized way in which (using another favorite Jerry ploy) the camera pulls back to reveal that "reality" is a movie set. And I realized that both Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lynch represent a complete rejection, or anarchic subversion, or faux-naïf evisceration of business realities that they perfectly know and loathe.