"Mulholland Drive" and Puzzle Stories

I just watched the movie Mulholland Drive for my English class and I have some possibly interesting thoughts on it.

For starters, when I looked up stuff about the movie, it was talked up as “the best movie of the 21st century” in some very recent articles. After seeing it, I can give it credit for one particular thing: it’s the hardest to describe movie I’ve ever seen. Whenever I watch a movie, I read about it on Wikipedia or TV Tropes afterwards; the TV Tropes page on Mulholland Drive has a lot of stuff on it that sounds to me like crackpot theories, like the weird cowboy dude being a reality warper (what the hell?) or everything up to that one lady opening the box being a dream (how and why would that make sense?). Those theories are so bizarre that they make the movie even more confusing, which I am convinced is the point. It purports to be a mystery film of sorts with murder stories, but what’s confusing is, a lot of time is spent on one of the main characters trying her hand at being an actor, which seems to be a pointless interlude to me, but I’m almost definitely missing something. Not to mention that the murder scenes themselves also don’t clearly tie in to whatever semblance of a plot the movie has. Long story short: this is a confusing bizarre movie among confusing bizarre movies.

I believe Mulholland Drive is meant as a story that’s also a puzzle for viewers to decipher on their own. My solution to the puzzle is presently a flat and simple “I don’t fucking know”, which is only compounded by the fact that I’ve never been very good at understanding movies. Maybe that’ll change when I talk about it in class tomorrow? But for now that’s all I can say about this strange movie.

However, I’ll also say this: the “story that is also a puzzle” idea is a common interpretation of what Homestuck is. The present ending of the comic (which I’m not really a fan of) may especially have such a puzzle interpretation, with a lot of cryptic ambiguous events whose true meaning one can only deduce. There’s an “obvious” happy ending interpretation of those events, but that relies largely on a large number of leaps of logic, not to mention disregarding other story points (like the deal with the events of the claymation section); meanwhile, the less obvious interpretations, which I largely buy into, makes more logical sense but also makes the ending even less satisfying.

This may be an alright thing for the comic to do if not for the fact that as confusing as it can get at times, Homestuck still makes a clear effort to be comprehensible to readers most of the time; for instance, many animations or otherwise confusing events are followed by a character recapping what went down. So in this case, the ending as it stands could be thought of as an especially bizarre way to suddenly incorporate the Mulholland Drive puzzle story principle. The weird thing is, not only the events of Homestuck’s current finale themselves have a variety of interpretations, but why it’s the way it is also can be interpreted a number of ways. That’s something I’ll talk about another time but I’ve already discussed this sort of thing throughout my Homestuck posts.

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