Who's in It:
Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Jeremy Irons, Harry Dean Stanton
The Basics: Dern is two women, maybe three, or maybe all the same woman experiencing parallel consciousnesses. It's kind of hard to tell. She's an actress, she's also in an abusive relationship, and she may be homeless, too. Either way, she is, according to this movie's poster, "a woman in trouble." There's no doubt about that, even if everything else here is up in the air, spinning around in a whirling monsoon of amazingly awesome craziness.
What's the Deal? You either think director David Lynch is a genius who should be allowed to indulge his most nightmarishly bizarre scenarios without any road bumps in his way, or you can't stand him because he never seems to make sense. I fall into the first camp and will say that even if you go see this 179-minute movie and can't make narrative sense out of it, you won't leave feeling nothing. Emotionally, at least, his stuff never fails to communicate. As long as he and everyone else on the planet keeps having bad dreams, he'll always have a job exploring them.
My Favorite Parts: Involve a family of giant rabbits (one of whom is voiced by Naomi Watts) who live in a TV sitcom but whose lives get more and more frightening and isolated. Then there's the gang of prostitutes who do a kind of Girl Scout hand-jive line dance to "The Locomotion." Because, you know, why not?
The Way It Would Go Down in a Perfect World: Dern's performance would be recognized as incredible. Because she goes all the way out there for this movie. But all the critics' polls are in by now, and I've heard a lot of Not Much about her from them. Dumb critics.
Other People Who Show Up, Say a Few Things and Then Disappear, Not Counting Harry Dean Stanton as the Guy Who Keeps Asking Everyone for Money: Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks), Diane Ladd (Dern's real-life mom), Julia Ormond, Amanda Foreman (Felicity), Jerry Stahl, William H. Macy, Lynch's son Austin Lynch, Laura Harring (Mulholland Drive), Nastassja Kinski and Mary Steenburgen.