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David Lynch: Walk with Me

In August of 1992, shortly after my 17th birthday, I attended the first annual “Twin Peaks Fest” in Snoqualmie, Washington. Like many David Lynch aficionados, I was fairly devastated when Twin Peaks, the television show, had been cancelled the previous year and was likewise ecstatic when I learned that Lynch immediately planned to make a feature film prequel to the groundbreaking series.

The film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, received its U.S. premiere during that first Twin Peaks Fest and the above photograph is of me and Mr. Lynch strolling and chatting after I ran into him by chance outside of the hotel where we both happened to be staying. I told Lynch that I didn’t want to bother him but that I was glad he had decided to “bring Twin Peaks back” and that his movies had given me a lot of pleasure over the years. He thanked me and then said in his loud and very distinctive nasal voice, “Take care of yourself, man.”

This encounter took place at probably the lowest point in Lynch’s professional career. Although the first season of Twin Peaks had been a hit, the second season was ignominiously cancelled and Fire Walk with Me received the worst reviews of Lynch’s entire career. (Dune had been a critical disappointment too but that wasn’t really considered a “Lynch film.”)

I didn’t listen to the critics and managed to see the movie five more times in the theater during its brief run. I was and still am impressed by the simultaneously darker and goofier direction in which he took the movie. I loved the hilarious interactions between Chris Isaak’s FBI man and the local-yokel small town sheriff played by Gary Bullock. I loved the full-blown surrealism of the brief scene involving David Bowie. And most of all, I loved how personal it all felt; Lynch’s bitterness over the show’s cancellation was palpable and could be immediately felt in the opening image of an ax destroying a television set.

Upon returning home I wrote a letter to my local paper, the Charlotte Observer, offering to provide them photographs and anecdotes from the Fest in anticipation of the film’s local release. The Observer‘s film critic wrote me back to suggest I try a horror fanzine like Fangoria(!) instead.

18 years later, David Lynch is considered by many to be America’s greatest living filmmaker. His 2001 masterpiece, Mulholland Drive, recently topped many critics polls of the best films of the decade, including prestigious polls in France’s Cahiers du Cinema and Film Comment in the U.S. Fortunately, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, has also undergone a critical re-evaluation; it is now considered a cult classic and has been cited by none other than Greil Marcus as one of the best American films of the 1990s.

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About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

5 responses to “David Lynch: Walk with Me

  • Kayla

    Did you get to meet anyone else from the show? Agent Cooper holds my heart.

    • michaelgloversmith

      Yes. I met Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Catherine Coulson (the Log Lady), Al Strobel (the One-Armed Man) and, from the movie, Moira Kelly (Donna). Unfortunately, Kyle MacLachlan was not there. Nontheless, it was a very memorable weekend! (Please forgive my early ’90s “grunge” look. This photo was taken less than a year after the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind.)

  • Kayla

    Haha, no worries. Grunge is a very persistent trend.

    Ray Wise is so good as Leland. I have a t-shirt with a picture of his face and the words “little lambs eat ivy.” A pretty awesome ebay find.

    Do you think Lynch will come out with something new anytime soon?

  • michaelgloversmith

    Unfortunately, I think he is more interested in Transcendental Meditation than filmmaking these days but you never know; he was actually shooting INLAND EMPIRE clandestinely for years before anyone knew it existed.

  • Scott

    Mike,

    Thanks for sharing. I have seen a short video on Youtube regarding this New Line Cinema Fan Fest, and thats so awesome that I came across this post in my Internet travels. It must have been magical to meet David, even if for a brief second. I went to my first Fest this past year. Its amazing that the legacy still carries on after all this time.

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