DAVID LYNCH'S HBO TRILOGY
By Terry Kelleher, Staff Writer, Newsday, January 8, 1993
Three Vacancies For 'Hotel Room'
DAVID LYNCH called his new HBO drama special "Hotel Room," but he should
have lifted the title of a 20-year-old Bob Hope bomb - "Cancel My
Even if you're a diehard "Twin Peaks" freak who's incorrigibly wild
at heart, you'll be itching to check out of this 90-minute trilogy
(premiering tonight at 11) long before the door finally closes on the
tedious doings in Room 603 of the Railroad Hotel in New York City. They
could find Laura Palmer's corpse in the closet and you wouldn't care a
With Monty Montgomery, Lynch is the co-creator and co-executive
producer of "Hotel Room." He directed two episodes, both written by
Barry Gifford, author of the novel on which Lynch's movie "Wild at
Heart" was based. Credit for the third script goes to Jay McInerney, of
"Bright Lights, Big City" fame.
On the plus side, their efforts yielded one memorable bit of black
comedy - the ending of McInerney's "Getting Rid of Robert." On the
minus side, there's everything else.
The opening visuals and voice-over are so pretentious ("For a
millennium, the space for the hotel room existed, undefined . . .") that
you figure Lynch must be onto himself this time. Perhaps self-indulgence
will blossom into witting self-parody. But the first episode, "Tricks,"
quickly dashes our hopes. And that's about all it does quickly.
Glenne Headley plays a hooker and Harry Dean Stanton is her
ill-at-ease john. When Stanton at last is ready to partake of Headley's
favors, they're interrupted by a gross mystery man (Freddie Jones) who
swills bourbon, makes cryptic references to his past dealings with
Stanton and eventually has his way with Headley - while Stanton
miserably begs him to desist.
The twist ending is obviously intended to fool us into thinking
we've just sat through something other than a half-hour of utter
At least the ending of "Getting Rid of Robert" - not to be
revealed here - somewhat redeems the sloppy direction by James
Signorelli, the strained bitchiness of the dialogue and the lackluster
acting of Deborah Unger, as a woman awaiting an assignation with her
arrogant lover, and Chelsea Field and Mariska Hargitay, as the female
friends who keep her company 'til the heel (Griffin Dunne) shows up.
When Dunne spells out Unger's flaws, the cruel words might have more
impact if her hair weren't blocking our view of his face.
Apparently concerned that "Tricks" made too many concessions to
conventional dramaturgy, Lynch and Gifford allowed absolutely nothing of
interest to happen in the concluding episode, "Blackout." A power
failure forces a man (Crispin Glover) and his wife (Alicia Witt) to
huddle by candlelight in Room 603 as they talk around and around the
subject of their small boy's accidental death. The only surprise is that
Glover plays the saner one.
The episodes are set in 1969, 1992 and 1936, respectively, but the
same ageless bellboy and maid are on duty in all three. For a
millennium, they wished the guests in 603 would put out the "Do Not
Disturb" sign . . .
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