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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.59%
Worth A Look: 29.41%
Average: 8.82%
Pretty Bad: 10.29%
Total Crap30.88%

4 reviews, 44 user ratings

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Wild at Heart
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by Chris Parry

"If I put a kaftan on a midget and have him sing falsetto - am I an artist?"
1 stars

So okay, maybe I just don’t get David Lynch. No, fuck it, I get him. I understand his racket completely. Take two characters, add a third that makes the first two miserable, put the women through hell, make the men bizarre caricatures of reality, fill the background with oddballs and freaks and overexpose every scene that doesn’t involve a rolling stretch of highway. Then you guys are supposed to eat it up and praise Lynch for doing something so avant garde and brave.

Granted, I won’t be holding any David Lynch appreciation nights in my garage in the near future, but that’s not to say I don’t think the guys has talent. Twin Peaks was groundbreaking stuff, The Straight Story was brilliant storytelling, The Elephant Man won Oscars hand over fist and I can dig Blue Velvet’s surreal ferocity. Hell, Eraserhead is such a mind-fuck that I still can’t sit through it. But then there’s crap like Lost Highway, Dune and Wild at Heart, which just make me scratch my head and wonder if anyone is really at the wheel.

Wild at Heart involves a young lady by the name of Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) and her just-out-of-prison boyfriend, Sailor Ripley (Nic Cage). This porno-sounding couple are taking a nice little sojourn across the country when Lula’s psycho mother (Dianne Ladd) decides to have them followed by a detective (Harry Dean Stanton) – then followed by a killer (J.E. Freeman) – then follows them herself. Along the journey they meet all manner of weirdos and circus geeks, all of which are either insane, malformed or a mixture of both. What’s the point? There doesn’t seem to be one – this is an amusement park ride designed by David Lynch, created with the sole intention of seeing you say ‘ugh’, ‘ooh’ and ‘huh?’

It isn’t only audiences that fall for Lynch’s schtick. Clearly the white-haired artiste has entranced Cage and Dern, both of whom offer up close to the worst performances of their careers in this hammy, overacted, over-arty mess. Dern barely utters a believable line throughout the entire film. Cage’s Elvis-inspired Sailor Ripley is not so much Elvis as he is Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Diane Ladd is put through the sort of scenes that only a very trusting actress would dare go through willingly and the result is far from pretty, though she did get an Oscar nomination for her troubles. Lynch seems to take great delight in torturing his female cast (see what Isabella Rossellini endures in Blue Velvet if you need proof of that) and there rarely seems much point in it all. In Wild at Heart, Laura Dern has more nude scenes than your average Cinemax softcore porno co-star. Though they’re all fun to watch (if 6’2” women who weigh 98lbs are your thing), none of them sell the story or serve as anything more as reason not to leave the cinema early.

Lynch has a lot of trademark moves that compelled audiences the first time they saw them but don’t have the same effect today. The segues consisting of a passing highway have been done to death – the weirdo criminal with physical deformities is passe and the midgets that talk like they suck helium for breakfast just don’t do it after you’ve watched Twin Peaks a time or twenty. The reappearance of Lynch mainstays like Rossellini, Sherilyn Fenn, Harry Dean Stanton, Jack Vance, etc are all there, but in the end its much ado about bugger all.

This film was greeted with boos when it picked up the Golden Palm at Cannes and I concur with that point of view. But for some gratuitous nudity, I can’t say I was once moved to think, emote or even care about what was happening on the screen. It's just all so insincere.

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originally posted: 10/22/02 13:40:57
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User Comments

7/31/19 Anne I lasted 1/2 hr; boring 1 stars
3/14/18 R.A.M. Elephant Man won 0 Oscars out of 8 nominations. Accuracy in your reviews is important. 3 stars
1/31/17 Louise Gratuitously violent, self-indulgent rubbish. Left the cinema after 20 mins. 1 stars
8/04/14 D. The R. Like Michael Cimino, Lynch implodes when given free reign. A repulsive mess of a movie. 1 stars
11/17/11 Terence A. Martell Flies on Cage's shit make better film. You can smell Cage from screen. Lynch's folly. 1 stars
11/16/11 the truth mmm laura dern uuuh nic cage 3 stars
6/11/11 Jack Lantern Lynch's worst by far. Watch the rest. Skip this. 2 stars
5/27/10 Brady Frightening, Surreal, Dreamy 5 stars
12/24/09 Jeff Wilder A step down from Blue Velvet. But still worth seeing if you can handle Lynch. 4 stars
11/16/08 brian The emperor has no clothes. 2 stars
7/18/07 John Kaczynski Full of cliched dialogue, one dimensional characters, and a script that drags on forever 2 stars
7/11/07 fools♫gold A favorite, witty reference-y love film. 5 stars
6/10/07 Bob "A rockin' good time". Back before Cage started accepting *all* scripts too! 5 stars
12/31/06 mr.mike didn't thrill me , not one of lynch's best 3 stars
10/27/06 Isaac Baranoff Cool. Unique. If it's Lynch, it's good. 5 stars
8/22/06 Sepi53 interesting, weird, different but OK 4 stars
7/12/05 Tom Benton Gritty, weird, and wacky fun from the great David Lynch. 4 stars
6/05/04 MyGreenBed A deeply flawed mess with some interesting scenes, but compared to post-Wild it's great. 3 stars
6/03/04 Graham Curtis Lynch is God 5 stars
2/27/04 Ninke bizzare and funny 5 stars
2/18/04 john interessting in parts but unengaging and ultimately pointless 2 stars
1/31/04 jmsynth Hard to watch at times, but this flick influenced some of the best flicks of the 90s 4 stars
7/29/03 R.W. Welch Has a flaky flair that just manages to hold you til the kicky finale. 4 stars
6/29/03 Jon Lyrik I wasn't sure to laugh or go "Huh?". Some cool scenes but pretty subpar film. 3 stars
5/23/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back, Mo'Fos!) @ 1st, I thought it was spoofing itself, but then it just got too fucked up in the head. 2 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby Obscene just for obscenity's sake. A real cinematic shit stain. 1 stars
10/22/02 Charles Tatum Seriously bad 1 stars
8/08/02 I Can't Swim Egregious bag of snot courtesy of the most annoying actors alive, Cage & Dern 1 stars
3/21/02 The Man One of a kind. Most bizarre film I've seen. Don't watch with mommy 5 stars
2/19/02 Edwin Wendy, wanna a sweet, suck yer feet 5 stars
1/26/02 Wendy Jane Torrance Laura Dern, gutsy actress willing to take chances, gambled and lost this time. Yucky movie 1 stars
11/27/01 Ian Barr Cool, but not Lynch's best. Love the bank robbery scene! 5 stars
11/04/01 E-Funk Interesting Lynch film. Cage and Dern fuck like bunnies and....yeah 4 stars
8/20/01 hemmingway_bg Twin Peaks Lite 2 stars
5/31/01 Walter Provo Badly overrated and quite hypocritical film 2 stars
3/16/01 Elvisfan I loved "Blue Velvet" but this one is off the charts, even for Lynch 1 stars
3/07/01 Mike Lynch is God! 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Outrageous, hilarious. 5 stars
12/14/00 TEKNO TODD Cage, Lynch, Sex, Violence...YES!!! 4 stars
11/08/00 Jon Axt perfect 5 stars
11/03/00 perverted pixie In that torture scene I had my hands over my eyes- and I've seen Reservior Dogs! 5 stars
7/11/00 Jami Not one of my favorite Lynch films, but still quite good 3 stars
11/08/99 Chef ADogg Cage's last good films; Lynch's only one. 4 stars
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  02-Aug-1990 (R)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2004



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