Every David Lynch Film Ranked From Worst To Best

"Dune? F*ck that sh*t! Pabst Blue Ribbon!"

Mulholland Drive
Universal

The respected Sight & Sound set forth a maelstrom of debate by including David Lynch's inerasable existential nightmare Twin Peaks: The Return in its list of 2017's best feature films.

Buttressed by Lynch's own assertion that The Return was an "eighteen hour feature", the debate was almost fitting for a work exploring duality. Though the limited event series adopted several TV tropes - Dale Cooper electrified himself in Part 15's electrifying cliffhanger, the identity of Dale Cooper's own investigator was similarly withheld from Part 4 to tease the dramatic tension, its labyrinthine plot was literally staggered on an episodic, week-to-week basis - it bore many artistic and practical hallmarks of cinema.

Overseen with full auteur control by Lynch himself, The Return was filmed with the production schedule of a motion picture. Filming mostly took place on location. There was no writer's room, but rather a pre-written script lead actor Kyle MacLachlan compared to a telephone book. Ultimately, like the Giant and the Little Man From Another Place in the original series, The Return was "one and the same"; an epic multi-genre cinematic odyssey in defiance of and in keeping with its televised tradition. If it were, without doubt, a feature, it would occupy slot #1 for its astonishing and somehow complementary tonal range, from the warm resolution of a lifelong love affair to the devastating deconstruction of its heroic archetype.

Since its classification is yet another Lynchian mystery...

10. Dune

Mulholland Drive
Universal

In a funny way, the major studio sci-fi blockbuster Dune (1984) is the weirdest thing David Lynch ever did - and this is a man who reimagined tragic small town teen Laura Palmer as messianic figure dreamt into existence, in the form of a golden orb, by a levitating Giant renamed the Fireman.

Directed early in his career without final cut, showing something of a mercenary streak he defined his latter career by abandoning, Dune is almost monumentally silly despite or because of its earnest, by turns whispery and shouty dialogue, camp costuming, and naff special effects - all of which converge to smother the major plot stakes in hysterical cheese. Mired in development hell, where it should have stayed, this was a hellish experience for Lynch, who almost immediately distanced himself from the work. Given the extent to which Lynch did so, this is arguably Lynch's most important film. Inarguably, it is his worst.

Lynch later rose to (or reclaimed his) arthouse credibility by filming the un-film-able, literally dreaming up sights and sounds only his ingenious mind could devise and transpose to the screen.

This was Lynch filming the un-film-able, a ludicrously dense tome condensed into an incoherent mess, in the worst possible way.

Contributor
Contributor

Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!