Synopsis - Recently un-jailed Sailor (Nicolas Cage), a criminal trying to reform, goes on the run with his girlfriend Lula (Laura Dern) when Lula's mother puts a hit out on him.
Music - Totally corny and melodramatic.
Acting - This film was nothing more than an insult to its audience. While I'm not surprised at the presence of the typical Lynch Regulars (Stanton, Fenn, Dern, Rossellini, et al), it surprises me that Nicolas Cage would sign onto something this stupid, even though at the time when this was made, he had not yet worked his way onto the A list. Laura Dern (whose mother, Diane Ladd, also stars in the film) is someone I always kept at a distance, seeming to be a Meryl Streep wannabe, but the two of them played a relatively believable couple. The problem was that there was no chemistry, as the film was pretty much plot-driven and gave very little attention to its characters. However, while the plot may have looked okay in the treatment, it was definitely not okay in the execution. It was chopped up chronologically almost beyond recognition, to the point where you almost had to take notes. Random characters appear and disappear, and the heist at the end, which is supposed to be the dramatic denouement, is too ridiculously brief to be an asset to the film. Any semblance of a plot is nothing but a excuse for more weirdness. Also, a hint: Close your eyes as Willem Dafoe exits the bank.
Willem Dafoe also deserves a mention. He is, with the one exception of John Waters (the sicko who is responsible for Pink Flamingoes), the ugliest human being ever to live. He may be an extraordinarily gifted actor, but he is for sure a thing borne of nightmares who, with one toothy, skeletal grin, could make grown men cry. I didn’t think he could be any uglier. But alas, David Lynch upped the ante and gave him a wardrobe, hairdo, accent, and set of false teeth that made me have to take a breather every ten minutes to settle my stomach.
Nicolas Cage managed to remain an endearing character, a southern gentleman with a soft spot for armed robbery. It seemed to me that he reprised the same basic character years later in Raising Arizona, the unfortunately overlooked Coen Brothers movie about a similar, although markedly more affable type of individual.
Basically, don’t even think about watching this unless you’ve seen pretty much everything else David Lynch has to offer. By the time I paid three dollars for this movie used on VHS, I had viewed almost his entire resume, and still felt cheated out of my three dollars and two hours. If you want good Lynch, watch Twin Peaks. Then move on to Blue Velvet. If you can handle Dennis Hopper in Velvet, it’s conceivable that you might be ready for Wild At Heart, but only if you’re one of those bizarre fetishists who thinks that Willem Dafoe is attractive.
Other movies featuring these actors
Nicolas Cage - Raising Arizona, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Gone in 60 Seconds, Matchstick Men, Adaptation
Laura Dern - I Am Sam, Novocaine, October Sky, Jurassic Park, Blue Velvet
Isabella Rossellini - Roger Dodger, Immortal Beloved, Blue Velvet
Willem Dafoe - Spiderman 2, Once Upon a Time In Mexico, American Psycho, The Boondock Saints, The English Patient, Platoon