David Lynch and The Cow

Last night I attended a screening of David Lynch’s 1990 film, Wild at Heart, with the author of the book, Barry Gifford, in attendance. Being a devoted Lynch fan, I typically tell people it’s my favorite film of his. The over-the-top performances, the brightness, the landscape- I appreciated more than any other Lynch film. However, after a many a year gap in between the last time I saw it, I was slightly disappointed this time around. Though the performances and aesthetic still work for me, many other aspects of the film- more specifically the sound design and dialogue- didn’t. In fact, thought I love the setting, it’s the story that really doesn’t jibe with me, and that maybe explains why I’ve never been able to finish the book. For such shining characters, their story was often dull.
Nonetheless, watching Nic Cage in his snakeskin jacket and Laura Dern in her skin tight velour bodysuit cruise down the open road in a convertible with Chris Isaak as their soundtrack, I was reminded of how much I love Lynch’s eye for the visually pleasing.
And the weirdness.
Oh Lordy, is that man weird.
So weird in fact that I will tell you a little story about David Lynch and The Cow.
It was 2007. I was sitting at my desk reading the Los Angeles gossip site, Defamer, when I noticed something of interest.

“David Lynch is sitting on the corner of Hollywood and La Brea with a cow at this very moment,” I read across the computer screen.

Somehow that sentence just seemed to flow naturally.
I turned to my fellow assistants and announced, “So David Lynch is in Hollywood with a farm animal right now. Wanna go take a look?” A Hollywood assistant will use any excuse to get up from the desk that they are chained to for ten plus hours a day- especially if it involves enigmatic directors and mammals- so we jumped into my car and headed off to Lynch Land.

Upon walking up to David Lynch and the cow, I made two mental notes: 1.) That David Lynch has a beautiful shield of gray bouffant; so thick is his hair that I pictured tiny warriors taking refuge behind the defensive structure and 2.) His teeth are as yellow as the Morton Salt Girl’s dress.

Unfortunately, I wish I had an epic story to go along with this potentially life-altering moment, but the meeting was pretty anti-climatic. I should insinuate that Lynch obsessively huffed from an oxygen mask or that there were naked over-weight middle-aged ladies dancing behind us during our meeting, but alas…

These are the facts I remember: Very few people believed that that was David Lynch sitting on a corner in Hollywood with a cow, so there were very few people there. David Lynch is very nice. I can’t take spontaneous photos very well.
Oh, I should also explain why Lynch was there. He was a one-man Oscar campaign for Laura Dern and her performance in his latest movie, Inland Empire.
Due to the lackluster turn out, Lynch appeared the next day in front of the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard. At this point, much buzz had been circulated about his previous sedentary example. I didn’t go to see him again. I’m sure one time with Lynch and cow is enough for me.
My only other Lynch story involves actor/acquitted murderer Robert Blake. I was “friends” with Blake for a short period of time. The quotations are not to allude that we were more than just friends, but that I discovered Mr. Blake ultimately wanted to get into my pants. Why he thought a most likely guilty murderer who was exactly 50 years older than me would perk my sexual interest is beyond me. Blake asked me how I thought he could get back into show business. I honestly told him that most people would not touch him with a ten foot pole. Except for the more provocative directors like Tarantino or Lynch. Recalling that he had been in Lynch’s Lost Highway, I asked him if he could give the director a call.
“Lynch and I aren’t friends,” Blake said to me.
Not surprising since Blake didn’t have any friends. Everyone hated him and he hated everyone.

“I was doing an acquaintance a favor,” he recalled. “Lynch really wanted me for the part and told me I could do whatever I wanted. So I came to set one day wearing kabuki make-up and the DP nearly had a stroke, because of all that white balance shit. Lynch didn’t like it either, but he let me keep the make-up and who ended up being the most memorable part of that movie?! Me! Whose face did they put on posters?! Me!”

Through his extreme egotism, he had a point. He was the most memorable part of that movie. That movie was aesthetically dark as crap and Blake’s glaring face offered the only solace.

So those are my stories about David Lynch.
Maybe if I got hardcore into transcendental meditation, I’d have some more.
However, until then, I’ll just make up my own Lynchian story about meeting Lynch in my head.
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  • Reply Benny October 13, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I feel like other Lynch movies are surreal in a dark and confusing way that makes people think there's SO much more to him than meets the eye. With Wild at Heart, I feel like it's obvious there's not much more to it than cool credits, Nic Cage killing people, and Nic Cage singing Elvis songs. And I love it that way!

    Nice picture that you got of him… too bad you didn't get to see him do a live weather report!

  • Reply Meghan October 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm


    I'll never forget the first time I watched Eraserhead. I downloaded it illegally (full disclosure) my freshman year of college and I couldn't finish watching it.

    But that doesn't mean I didn't love it. And his interview series is fucking. amazing.

    Ugh. love him so much.

  • Reply -Your Friendly Neighborhood Dentonista October 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I enjoy your blog, and figure you'd be open to an editorial comment – the word you want is 'jibe' not 'jive'.
    Keep up the writing!

  • Reply Hipstercrite October 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    @Benny- I completely agree with you. That's why I liked it before. It's not overly dark and brooding. Doesn't appear to take itself too seriously. Though the others don't as well, you're right, most people read waaaaay too into the rest. I think Lynch even laughed at that.

    @Meghan- Ha! I'll never forget scavenging the Earth looking for that movie on VHS. Finally, lynch released it on his website in 2000. I still have that DVD somewhere…

    @Dentonista- Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I know my posts are probably fillllled with typos and I wish more people would say something and save me from major embarrassment!

  • Reply theTsaritsa October 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    It's a well-known fact that I am *not* a fan of David Lynch, but I like Wild at Heart, at least for the Crispin Glover cameo (I love Crispin Glover).

  • Reply Hipstercrite October 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    @Tsaritsa- That is one of my FAVORITE scenes in the movie, and from the reaction of the audience yesterday, I guess it's everybody else's favorite too. Anything Crispin does is magical. It doesn't matter if it's the tiniest part in a shitty studio movie- he's awesome in it. He was hysterical in that crappy movie Hot Tub Time Machine.

    "I'm making my lunch!"

  • Reply theTsaritsa October 13, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    YES, I LOVED him in Hot Tub Time Machine. He was also great in Charlie's Angels– he takes on the weirdest roles in some of the most unlikely movies. My favorite Crispin film is probably still Rivers Edge.

  • Reply Jimmy October 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I'm jealous. I love David Lynch. I've lived in LA for 10 years and haven't run into him. I need better friends to tell me when he's somewhere with a cow so I can stalk him.

    I thought his most straightforward film was "The Straight Story." Fitting title, I know.

  • Reply steff October 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    i've never found any solid proof to substantiate this (or disprove it for that matter) but i SWEAR that 7 or so years ago i was driving down 5th street in Philadelphia late at night, about to cross over Market street (near the liberty bell) and i SWEAR i saw the man, HIMSELF, walking aimlessly down the street wearing what seemed to be a homemade t-shirt emblazoned with a full-sized likeness of his own head.
    now, i WAS driving and it was dark and im a HUGE DL fan to begin with but i ALSO have amazing celeb-radar so, regardless, i will always remember that night that i didn't really meet, but very probably saw David Lynch (or at least a damn-good substitute).

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