The Films of David Lynch: Thank You Judge - Blue Bob (1999)

Thank You Judge – BlueBob (1999)
Directed by:David Lynch.

BlueBob was a short lived musical collaboration between David Lynch and John Neff – who has worked on three Lynch films in the sound department. This album appeared in 2000, and the following year, the one and only video from the album – Thank You Judge came out. Ironically, on it still says that “Three videos are planned from the album”. 15 years later, I think we can assume that there will be no second or third video. And judging based on Thank You Judge, I think that’s okay.

Thank You Judge is not a horrible song, nor a horrible video. It’s just strange – and not in the memorable, Lynch-ian way, but in a way generically strange way that you forget soon after you hear the song and watch the video. Back on Lynchnet, Lynch himself describes BlueBob this way: “Blue Bob is a music idea based on the pounding machinery of the smokestack industry and the raw amplified birth of rock and roll. The music is inspired by machines, fire, smoke and electricity. By submerging itself in the ever reverberating golden past, Blue Bob is trying to poke forward.” I wish there was more of the “pounding machinery of the smokestack industry” – because Thank You Judge just sounds to me like straight ahead, guitar driven rock with a little bit of a strange edge. But it doesn’t sound like anything that unique.

The song itself seems to be written from the point of view of a Men’s Rights Activist – as the whole thing is about how horrible the guy’s ex-wife was, and how the judge sided with her on everything. The song has a little bit of a hook, but not much.

The video is about as low tech as humanly possible. It stars Naomi Watts and Eli Roth (before either were famous) as a woman and her new boyfriend, and Neff is the singer of the song being tormented, and Watts’ ex, who is being screwed over. The website lists Lynch as playing “Billy Groper” – which I assume means he’s playing the strange dude in the mask.

The video is a very literal translation of the song. It tries very hard to be weird on no budget. What it actually reminded me of is not so much Lynch, but a Lynch fan – Harmony Korine. And not great Korine, like Spring Breakers, but Korine being weird for weird sakes, like Mister Lonely or Trash Humpers. I usually don’t like stuff like this – stuff this self-consciously strange, which is doesn’t really have anything to say, but wants to say it strangely. But, at only 6 minutes, the video is hardly painful to sit through. I am, however, kind of happy that the other two videos never got made. One was enough.

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