Naked Lunch (1991)
March 27, 2017 10:10 PM - Subscribe

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, writer and exterminator Bill Lee (Peter Weller) accidentally murders his wife (Judy Davis) and becomes involved in a secret government plot in the Interzone, a port town in North Africa. Or, perhaps, he’s wandering the streets in a drugged haze. Or both. Per the MPAA, “Rated R for heavy drug content, bizarre eroticism, and language”
posted by Going To Maine (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Just wanted to make a post about Naked Lunch because it’s one of those films that has really wormed its way into the back of my brain. Not in the sense that it was an obvious “I love everything about this” movie, but rather that it rubs against my synapses like an irretrievable nugget of grit, a kind of mental itch that gets periodically worse and and makes me want to scratch. This sensation is perhaps enhanced by the movie’s absence from all streaming platforms, which makes the nagging even worse.

By now, I’ve come to think of that kind of nagging as a sign that I really like something, even if it isn’t a straightforward kind of pleasure. Cronenberg really did something here, a compelling adaptation of a book that I generally found impenetrable, gross, and unenjoyable.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:18 PM on March 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

even if it isn’t a straightforward kind of pleasure

I guess I feel something similar towards the film; it's sometimes difficult to watch but it does creep under your skin and demands a response. Perhaps not even an intellectual, but a physical one. It's much easier to feel than to think watching Naked Lunch; and by easier I of course mean more uncomfortable. It is a very corporeal film, making me, at least, feel like the man with a talking asshole, in that thought and digestion is no longer separable. So, yes, an uncomfortable pleasure; a jouissance perhaps, to use Barthes's term.
posted by sapagan at 10:53 PM on March 27, 2017

Naked Lunch and Barton Fink came out in the same year, and forever typecast Judy Davis in my mind as a player of a writer's wife or muse fatale or whatever.
posted by fleacircus at 1:12 AM on March 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Naked Lunch - a frozen moment when everyone sees whats on the end of every fork.

I feel like the US is having one of those atm.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2017

The Siskel & Ebert discussion kind of captures the vibe.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:06 PM on March 28, 2017

The novel is highly evocative, but almost the essence of unfilmable (if he didn't go on to write the cut-up trilogy). Cronenberg is the best possible director—who else could, Jodorowsky?
posted by snofoam at 8:40 PM on March 28, 2017

I also thought the book was unfilmable, but Cronenberg did a hell of a job nailing the ambiance and getting some of the freakishness to come through while still managing a film that mostly manages a narrative structure.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:04 PM on March 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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