To get it out of the way:
Coming back is so weird, I miss summer, I am insecure about my time here at Yale, I’m halfway done, what an incredible turning point in my life, I feel so mature, a metaphor about growing up that is funny yet poignant, self-deprecation, what classes am I gonna shop, never took Scully’s class, I live on Old Campus again, a full-circle moment, themes of repetition and change yet staying the same, ETC. AD NASEUM INTO INFINITY.
This weekend I saw the movie “Eraserhead.” What a fucking trip, man.
(I don’t like using the word “fucking” in columns. I feel dirty or just plain not cool enough to write it without sounding awkward, an armless man trying to juggle. But here, only here, will I unabashedly employ its deviousness because I DON’T KNOW WHAT OTHER FUCKING WORD CAN DESCRIBE WHAT FUCKING HAPPENED IN THAT FUCKING MOVIE.)
Plot description is as follows: There isn’t one.
Some random things that happen in the film are as follows: Man’s head floats in front of moon-shaped object. Man lives alone in small room with a vaudeville theater in his wall heater. Man talks to woman he has apparently impregnated, because she gives birth to a baby that looks like a diseased, featherless, wingless bird mixed with a freeze-dried, overgrown sperm. Man’s head falls off. Boy picks up said head and gives it to a man who takes out portions of said head to turn into an eraser. Fade to black (only after slicing open the bloated sperm-baby, which causes it to vomit from its organs).
It is the weirdest fucking thing. Ever. I’m not even going to insert some fun, peppy pop cultural reference because this movie is so fucking weird.
Why the heck is this movie so famous? OK, it’s not “Beauty and the Beast” famous (“LOOK THERE SHE GOES, THE GIRL WHO’S QUITE/ PECULIAR”) but it’s still more well-known than my 1997 hit film “April Fool’s Day,” which was a fifth-grader’s satirical review of the number seven, loosely based on the plot of “Independence Day.” But in the end, that film and David Lynch’s film are very similar. They both feature shitty, if any, plots. They both have low production value. And they both look like they were made by a fifth-grader.
So how did “Eraserhead” make it? Heck if I know. But it’s more than possible that I am just not smart enough for this film. Perhaps there is some grand, higher meaning to this collection of random moments. MAYBE EVEN that is the point, to break away from normal art, to scratch the surface of the subconscious, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah —
DAVID LYNCH IS FUCKING NUTZ. It is that simple. So be it — the art he creates might spark something in some people. But the guy is absolutely insane. No question. Please YouTube him right now. There are a mazillion videos of him saying the weirdest things — from his views on watching movies on the iPhone (“if you play the film on your [pause] fucking telephone [longer pause] get real”), to his daily weather report of LA (which he makes up without consulting the actual weather whatsoever and sometimes delivers in various animal masks and sometimes he doesn’t even say anything but just puts up a cardboard cutout of a sun and reads Maxim magazine for a full minute). And dear God, the topper of all toppers:
In 2006, Lynch wanted Laura Dern to be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in his film “Inland Empire.” To promote this firm belief, he put up a large sign on a busy corner and sat next to it, shouting at passersby to think like he did. But it wasn’t only Lynch’s staggering skills of persuasion that were employed to convince people: He also brought a live cow. A live cow. Which he held on a leash. The only visual explanation for the bovine was on a sign next to the cow that said: “Without cheese there wouldn’t be an Inland Empire.” A YouTube video features a man walking up to Lynch to ask for further clarification on the cow. Lynch calmly replies, carefully emphasizing his words: “Cheese is made from milk. Cheese is made from milk.”
WHO THE FUCK IS THIS MAN?
Whoever he is, he is famous, and probably more famous than I’ll ever be. Because he has convinced people that the stuff he does is unique, but not in the stupid way, as my film “April Fool’s Day” is perceived (for now! FOR NOW!). He lives in this bubble where people just don’t question what he does, they just hand him money and he makes whatever he wants.
Which makes me jealous. Perhaps that is why I didn’t like “Eraserhead.” It’s not fair; people put complete trust in this nutzo and I get nothing. “Oh, it’s David Lynch, even if you don’t get it, there is something there, you know?” No, I don’t know. I didn’t get one f-ing thing from the entire movie. But I concede that it does take huge balls to make a film without a plot on a shoestring budget for five years that could end up costing a marriage (it does). So he deserves some credit for not giving a flip about other people’s opinions. What could be his downfall (being insane) is his strength, because his insanity allows him to trick himself into thinking he isn’t insane.
If only I was crazy enough to be unique and at the same time didn’t know it.
On a side note, now I’ll never be able to erase anything I write ever again without thinking about vomiting, cut-open, dried-sperm babies.