The 7 Greatest David Lynch Movies Not Directed By David



David Lynch is a director so distinctive that his style has been given his own term: “Lynchian.” Urban dictionary has the word defined as “having the same balance between the macabre and the mundane,” but it could also be used to describe a film that’s surreal or dreamlike. And while no one makes movies quite like Lynch, there are a few that bear a striking resemblance.

Audiences might feel a little Lynched out at the moment with Twin Peaks gleefully hitting our screens again every week, but when that’s over you know you’re going to need something bizarre to keep you sane. Below you’ll find seven films that all resemble a Lynch movie in different ways.

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Ranking Stanley Kubrick’s Films [The Yellow Kubrick Road]



We’ve finally finished my Stanley Kubrick odyssey, or should we say that we’ve reached the end of the yellow (Ku)brick road and it has been a rather lovely journey. It’s easy to see why he’s lauded with the title of the greatest filmmaker. There has been no other film director with such an obsessive eye for detail and ambition. Particularly towards the end of his career, he always aimed to make the very best film. He always made the definitive genre film whether it be sci-fi, period, war, horror or soft porn! Below is my personal ranking so you’ll probably very much disagree but if you don’t like it do your own bloody list! I’ve also left out Fear and Desire and Spartacus as Stanley basically disowned both films and so I’ll honour his wishes.

11. Killers Kiss


This is the only Stanley film I disliked. It’s the last original film he came up with as the rest of his films are based on other source material. At only 60 minutes long it still manages to bore with its dull and conventional story. It is beautifully shot, especially considering the teeny budget, but the screenplay leaves a lot to be desired. Overall it’s very forgettable and definitely the black sheep of the Stanley filmography!

My rating: 4/10

10. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb


Yes, yes, yes I know it’s iconic and a reflection of the times etc. but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as his other offerings. I’m not a fan of political comedies or politics in general and so I was actually expecting to dislike the film, but to my surprise I quite enjoyed it. A lot of it is funny and Peter Sellers is excellent at doing an Eddie Murphy and playing three different characters at once. Unfortunately though, due to the lack of locations and strong characters it does go through some slow and unengaging patches.

My rating: 6/10

9. The Killing


The Killing is like the ultimate heist film. It has had clear influences on the crime films of today with its tight and multi-angled plotting. Quentin Tarantino has confessed to the film influencing his output and it’s clear to see how. It’s a clever, entertaining film with a wonderfully ironic ending. Also, a big shout out to the hilarious acid-tongued mobster wife.

My rating: 7/10

8. Lolita


Most folk find this a weak entry into Stanley’s canon but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s beautifully made, controversial and thoroughly engaging. It’s also very funny, although I did find Peter Seller’s character a little grating. Sue Lyons is perfect as the flirty Lolly though.

My rating: 8/10

7. Full Metal Jacket


A film often described as one of two halves. The first training half is perhaps one of the greatest bits of film Stanley has ever done, which is why the second (longer) part suffers in comparison. You’ll go away remembering the dark destruction of Private Pyle and R Lee Ermey’s darkly comic performance rather than Private Jokers wandering around in Vietnam. The sniper finale is superb though.

My rating: 8/10

6. Paths of Glory


Stanley’s first war film is often described as the greatest ever. It’s a supremely powerful and moving anti-war film about three soldiers being unjustly executed for cowardice. The whole film will make your blood boil and destroy your faith in humanity. It’s beautifully made and extremely well written with a haunting final scene.

My rating: 8/10

5. Barry Lyndon


A three hour period drama starring Ryan O Neal? It doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of a good night out (unless you’re in your fifties and slightly menopausal) but somehow it’s really enjoyable. It features the best cinematography you could possibly get on an impressive scale. The film moves fairly slowly but it doesn’t bore for a second. I particularly enjoyed the second half which follows Barry’s dysfunctional family living it up in all their riches.

My rating: 8/10

4. Eyes Wide Shut


A satisfying end to a glittering career. Stanley’s scary sex epic is possibly the most enigmatic and mysterious film he’s ever done. Is it trying to expose the illuminati? Or is it just trying to expose? Whatever he’s trying to say there’s no denying how well made Eyes Wide Shut is. The directing is phenomenal and the atmosphere is grippingly dark with the pivotal party scene being one of the highlights of Stanley’s directing career. It’s a dreamlike and hypnotic film with an unreal amount of attention to detail.

My rating: 9/10

3. A Clockwork Orange


Controversy smothered this film when it was released thanks to the explicit material, irredeemable main character and somewhat playful atmosphere. After forty years now the shock value has rubbed off so that we can see it as the masterpiece it really is. Malcolm Mcdowell is electrifying as the despicable Alex De Large who revels in power, rape and ultraviolence. It’s one of the best character arcs in the history of cinema and features and endless array of iconic moments. It’s a masterclass.

My rating: 10/10

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey


Don’t shoot me! I’ve been wrestling with putting this at the number one spot and I’m still not entirely sure if it should. I saw the film for the first time a few months ago and was suitably bowled over. Perhaps I will consider it the greatest Stanley film after a few more re-watches, but for now it’s my runner-up. It’s a spectacular cinematic experience full of sights and sounds which will pin you to your seat. The film is set at a glacial pace and has a very thin plot, yet something keeps you totally mesmerised. The final wordless half hour is truly magical.

My rating: 10/10

1.The Shining


It’s a film I’ve lost count in the number of times of seeing it so I may be biased. I’m also a self-confessed horror addict so I am definitely biased towards The Shining. Everything about it is perfection from Jack Nicholson’s intense performance to the cold isolated atmosphere. Whether you’re into horror or not, The Shining is a terrifying and deeply mysterious masterpiece. Who in the world has not heard of the phrase “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!” or recognised the image of the twins standing in the hallway? No one! I can’t sing its praises enough.

My rating: 10/10

There’s my list like it or not. Please tell me why you don’t in the comments below.

Full Metal Jacket (1987) [The Yellow Kubrick Road]



Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D’Onofrio

This ain’t no Mickey Mouse s@#!

I remember when I saw Full Metal Jacket for the first time. I must’ve been about fourteen or fifteen years old and decided to watch it when it was on late at night of a weekend. I remember being compelled by the first 40 minutes (although finding it slightly repetitive) and finding the rest of it completely boring and aimless. Fast forward five years later to present day and you’ll find me currently going through the whole of Stanley Kubrick’s filmography and sticking on Full Metal Jacket for a second time. Have my opinions changed? Yes they have.

Full Metal Jacket 2

I no longer find the first 40 minutes repetitive. In fact, I think the first 40 minutes of Full Metal Jacket is one of the best things Stanley has ever created. The first 40 minutes are so strong that the rest of the film is unfortunately left in its shadow, but more on that in a bit. This half perfectly illustrates the conversion of human beings into cold, emotionless killers. Right from the off the recruits are stripped of their names and instead given labels. They’re all made to have the same hairstyle (or lack of), same clothes and shout only when shouted to. All of them even act like robots when training in unison. All except Private Pyle.

The story of Private Pyle’s descent into madness is one of the most memorable put on film. At first we find his physical and mental inabilities amusing with the electrifying Lee Ermey shouting hilarious insults at him and Pyle failing miserably at obstacle courses. However, as it progresses the constant bullying becomes incredibly disturbing. There’s a fantastically dark moment where all the private’s team together to beat Pyle late at night with some soap. In the end you can’t help but feel sympathy for him.


It all accumulates to the most powerful moment in the film where Pyle goes totally insane in the toilet. Everything in this scene is flawless. The brooding music, Vincent D’Onofrio’s haunting performance, the lighting, and the directing. All of this makes for an incredibly atmospheric and frightening scene with a chilling pay-off which is both surprising and unforgettable. The trouble is, how can you follow this scene? The answer is, you can’t. So far the centre of the film has been the relationship between Vincent D’Onofrio and R Lee Ermey, thus with these characters gone a new film begins.

We’re plunged without warning into Vietnam, however unlike my fifteen year-old self, I actually didn’t find these parts boring. I just get frustrated because I’m not entirely sure what Stanley is trying to say. We sort of get little snapshots of life in Vietnam with Private Joker bobbing about and meeting folk. The film doesn’t really go anywhere, yet it still remains largely interesting, just nowhere near as interesting as the mesmerising first half. I did like the prostitute encounters though and thought they had a lot of interesting things to say about humanity.


The film suddenly gets really good again when the team encounter a sniper. For Stanley Kubrick, it’s actually a fairly conventional war scene, albeit brilliantly done. It’s full of tension, remains gripping and feels very real. It’s incredible to think that the whole Vietnam sequences were filmed in London! Stanley then turns to his unusual self when the group encounter who the sniper is. It’s a very uncomfortable and haunting moment which results in the famous Mickey Mouse chant at the very end.

I’m not entirely sure what Full Metal Jacket is trying to say, but I’m sure that Stanley has popped in a load of horrendously clever hidden metaphors which still haven’t fully been worked out yet. The whole film is of course a visual feast with superb directing from Stanley. However, content-wise I don’t think it’s as strong as his previous Paths of Glory. Full Metal Jacket may be much better in the technical department, but it feels uneven. Joker is nowhere near as interesting as Pyle and so the film begins to sag in comparison. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the film far more than when I first layed eyes upon it and will certainly be giving it some more watches!


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The Shining (1980) [The Yellow Kubrick Road]



Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Best horror film ever?

“The Shining” is one of the best horror films ever made. It’s a classic and will remain timeless. In fact, The Shining is one of the very first proper horror films I saw. I must’ve been about 13 years-old when my mother picked up the DVD from Tesco. Me and my sister popped it on whilst we were babysitting a menopausal old dog called Sally. We kept having to pop out to help her up a step, but even with that distraction I remained transfixed. It was so slow, strange and unlike anything I’d seen before. My sister found it boring, and perhaps I did a little bit too but something about it fascinated me. There is something bubbling under the surface of the film more complex than the endless corridor of The Overlook hotel.


I was so fascinated by the film that I ended up watching it almost every single week! I now know the film inside out. I know every movement, every line and every piece of music. Somehow though I still can’t get enough! I still have to watch the film at least once a year and I still remained completely glued to the screen. There aren’t many films you can watch over twenty times and not get bored by them. The only ones I can think of for me are: Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Doubtfire, Sister Act and Mean Girls, however most of those I have a close personal connection too through childhood.

One of the best aspects (there are many) about this film is the directing by Stanley. He manages to build up a chilling atmosphere to a masterful affect. He makes us as the viewer seem as isolated as the characters through the ominous tracking shots of the long isolated hallways, the large echoes in the halls and the sublime mountain landscape which almost seems to be devouring the characters up. It is a masterclass in how to direct a horror film. Is there a genre Stanley couldn’t master? As usual, the cinematography is often breath-taking. Just look at the infamous opening which features a perfectly smooth helicopter shot sweeping the landscape. It’s almost a Barry Lyndon level of beauty!


Arguably the best aspect is the performance by Jack Nicholson. How was he snubbed by the Academy? It’s a bloody travesty! This will remain as one of the unanswered wonders of the world. He becomes Jack Torrance in a similar way to Daniel Day Lewis becoming Daniel Plainview. He’s completely unhinged and unpredictable. It’s no surprise really considering that Stanley shot most scenes over twenty times so that the actors themselves would turn crazy. It’s a shame that Shelley Duvall’s performance is so hysterical, but Jack more than makes up for it.

Stanley completely reinvents Stephen King’s original novel. He poses more questions and leaves more unanswered which makes the film play on your mind long after the credits have rolled. There’s even a feature length documentary (Room 237) dedicated to obsessive and slightly delusional fans who try to decode the film. Whilst many theories are overreaching and just plain bizarre, there is undoubtedly more to the film than meets the eye. There are also some genuinely unsettling moments. Most notably the bathroom scene and the man dressed up as a teddy bear from Teddy Bear Train.


We need to talk about the music too! The music is almost like another character. It’s so intrusive, atonal and unsettling. Whether it’s piercing your ears or creating sinister chants, it always creates a mood. The film is all about mood and atmosphere really. It feels like a David Lynch dreamscape which is high praise indeed. Having seen all of Stanley Kubrick’s films it would be a tossup between this and 2001: A Space Odyssey to take the crown as “the best” for me. Although it’s difficult for me to make a balanced argument as I’ve seen The Shining countless times and 2001 just once! Both are masterpieces though and The Shining is contender for the greatest horror film of all time.


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A Clockwork Orange (1971) [The Yellow Kubrick Road]



Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Malcolm Mcdowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates

A real horrorshow

A Clockwork Orange is hands down, one of the best films I have ever seen. It blew me the away the first time I saw it and then it just started to grow on me, it probably hypnotises you somewhere amongst the sublime, surreal, psychedelic and genius film-making. Each time you watch it you gain something new and you find yourself appreciating more of it. This really is what all good films should be about.


The first 40 minutes defines the reason for its banning. It’s ultraviolent and disturbing even for today’s standards and also quite unsettling the way such awful acts are being committed with a surreal flair and sense of humour! The most controversial and famed part obviously being the iconic singing of “Singin’ in the Rain” whilst committing rape. You don’t know whether to laugh or gasp in shock, however in the end you find yourself doing a bit of both! The directing is so alive and full of unusual techniques and it comes together so beautifully.

Kubrick is obviously known for his exceptional films such as The Shining which is another horror masterpiece I adore. Here I think he gives his best example of directing. The cinematography is pretty much perfect! And there is no doubt about it, right down to the lighting it is just utterly beautiful to look at. The shadows of the four youths in front of the infamous tramp beating is possibly the best example of the genius cinematography. Even the fight scenes have a kind of beauty to them due to their balletic nature.


I know that some people will simply not quite “get” the weirdness but that’s because this sort of thing is unusual. This is an original approach to film-making and makes it what it is. The screenplay is nothing short of genius, even though you can hardly understand it with the futuristic speak like, “yarbles” and “viddy” yet you know what they’re saying! The plot is brilliant, we’re liking this truly awful character but because of the great writing and Malcolm Mcdowell’s exceptional performance. We get to sort of admire Alex. Malcolm carries such presence and charm to the film, which also makes it what it is! There is a great contrast between the psychedelic life of committing ultraviolent acts and the stillness of prison-life.


In the end we are given a flawless film. It shows a genius direction and writing along with characters who we can care about. This is nothing short of a masterpiece and one of the best films you will ever see. You might not take to it on the first viewing, but it’ll more than likely grown on you. 2001: A Space Odyssey was always going to a difficult one to top, but A Clockwork Orange isn’t too far behind.


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Killer’s Kiss (1955) [The Yellow Kubrick Road]



Before Stanley went on making 150-180 minute epics, he started out with this little noir thriller about a boxer protecting the girl next door. At just over one hour this is his shortest ever film and only his only film to have an entirely original screenplay written by him. It’s easy to see why Stanley later looked to adapt stories by others, as Killer’s Kiss unfortunately isn’t up to much at all.


Considering that the film was made on a teeny weeny budget of $40,000 raised by friends and relatives (kind of like Darren Aronofsky’s Pi) it’s actually not too bad. It was also made during the pre-Spartacus era where the studios didn’t give Stanley final cut on his films and so his original ending was changed to a happier one. I think a solemn ending would’ve helped the film be slightly more memorable though.

The film is brilliantly shot and I couldn’t help but marvel at the use of lighting. Towards the end of the film, the lighting almost becomes another character and adds to the film’s incredibly stylish mood. It has the look of a classic noir however, it doesn’t have a story to match.


It all feels rather too conventional and fairly dull. There’s a boxing sequence which the back of the DVD compared to Raging Bull, but it’s nothing like and adds little to the story. There’s a good fight scene at the end, but by the time it’s all over I was left wondering what the point of it was.

It’s a brief film which features bland characters and a boring story. It is very stylish and lovely to look at but it doesn’t have much depth to it. You can tell that it’s directed by a man who knows his wizardry, however he clearly hadn’t fully learnt his craft yet. Let’s hope that the more lauded, The Killing has more to offer in the way of plot and thrills!


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