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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Reflection of Life's Absurdities

9/10
Author: farrrkas from Nagyvarad
17 January 2007

I consider myself a great admirer of David Lynch's works, for he provides the viewers with absolutely unique motion pictures with typical "Lynch-elements." Having seen most of his works, I naively thought I could predict Lynch's next step. I was dead wrong. Dumbland is something I could have never imagined under the name of David Lynch. Still, after my recovery from the first shock, I started to contemplate about this extremely primitive main character, and I drew the conclusion that all the absurdities, cruelty, brutality and disgust presented here are mirroring bits from reality, being emphasized by distorting it. There are things in our lives we hardly ever emphasize, for they are either disgusting or horrible, however, they are surrounding us, so I take the courage to say, Dumbland focuses on these bits and pieces. This is not a movie to enjoy, though you'll sometimes laugh out of a strange, perverted sense of humor, this is an animated reflection of all things we rather reject to observe, with its simplicity, morbidity and absurdity. Take it as it is, you don't have to like it. It just exists. And finally, if you're attentive enough, you'll find elements typical to Lynch as well. I recommend it for tolerant people!!!

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

awesome.

7/10
Author: WretchedSmith from United States
1 November 2006

I'm gonna tip the scales here a bit and say I enjoyed this. However, the cartoon is really only going to appeal to those who have very absurdist tendencies. It's definitely something that most people will not get, as is the nature of absurdism.

the animation is horrible, but yes, that's the point. The main character is foul mouthed, violent, and stupid. no redeeming qualities whatsoever. his wife shrieks and wails, apparently just barely capable of the most basic communication skills. most of these stories completely lack any kind of point.

but again, that's the point ;)

If non sequiters, foul language, and complete and utter randomness are your thing, you're going to love this.

It is really short, so I would probably rent instead of buying.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

As is typical of Lynch, you'll (sort of) like it, even as you're hating it

5/10
Author: Jonny_Numb from Hellfudge, Pennsylvania
23 July 2007

I picked up the "Dumbland" DVD around this time last year, despite the poor marks other sites had given it. I consider myself a David Lynch fan, even though his output has been erratic (in terms of both quality and content) over the past three decades. The first time I watched "Dumbland," I was dumb-founded and more than a little angry at the end of its 33 minutes--the animated series of 8 short episodes, previously available only to paying members of Lynch's website, was a total wash...awful sound, awful stories, and probably the worst animation known to man (at least a child's flipbook of drawings wouldn't cause a migraine). Near the end, I was semi-entranced by the dancing ants who sing a taunting song at our obnoxious, white-trash 'hero,' thinking a little of Lynch's bizarro craft was clawing at the surface. Foregoing a review then, I decided to watch the DVD a second time before giving an opinion. (I know Lynch well enough to realize his films often play better upon repeated viewings.) Well, the time has come. One year later, "Dumbland" is...still not that great, but a little better than my initial viewing. I don't care what pretentious justifications you have for this fitting into the Lynch Pantheon of Strange, its (clearly deliberate) efforts to be a subversive, "anti-entertainment" come across as obnoxious all the same: not only is the animation horrible, it is incredibly abrasive on the 'ol eyes (the white is so bright, in fact, that it is like watching black squiggles dance on a fluorescent lightbulb); and the sound mix is also poor, with the 'hero's screams louder than any other character. Again, I have no doubt that Lynch intended ALL of this, but if this is his new tactic of alienating audiences, it's pretty lame to stoop to aural/visual abrasion for its own sake.

That being said, the first 2-3 episodes have a certain quirky humor that is not apparent upon an initial viewing--trouble is, the gags (along with that damned animation) become VERY repetitive after that. Lynch's imagery of suburbia is crude and bizarre, including a panicked, scarecrow-haired wife; an androgynous embryo of a child; a blood-vomiting uncle; duck-f*cking neighbors; ants with attitudes; smiling flies; and tanks driving down the street, among other strange happenings. All of this is pure Lynch, and while "Dumbland"'s crudity doesn't merit "Eraserhead"-style analysis and debate, it ultimately makes for a low-budget, low-class, low-expectation, and low-level hypnotic experience (though that could just be attributable to the spiral that starts each episode).

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The absurd animated comedy...

7/10
Author: MisuBisu from Melbourne, Australia
30 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dumland focuses on the lives of one (American?) family... The father; a violent and obscene person who loves to fart and use profanity and who has no redeeming qualities. The mother; who appears to be a paranoid psychotic, never really says much. The son; an obscure annoying repetitive little fellow. The animation is simple and crude, but does suite the stories and the characters. The episodes were originally only available from the davidlynch.com website, but have now been released on DVD. There are 8 episodes on the DVD and a brief synopsis follows:

1- The Neighbor: We meet the next door neighbor, and find out three things about him... he has a really nice shed, he only has one arm and he likes to do naughty things with ducks.

2- The Treadmill: We find out that the wife has an affinity for exercise, but the husband doesn't really think it's a good idea. In the end, the exercise treadmill is victorious.

3- The Doctor: The father has an unfortunate accident with an exposed live wire... the doctor's examination is quite thorough (if not unconventional) but the diagnosis is "you are perfectly normal" (but we knew that).

4- A Friend Visits: After an altercation with the new clothes hoist, a friend comes to visit (Believe it or not, he has one! but after we meet him we can understand why), no surprises when he tells us what his hobbies are.

5- Get The Stick: We meet another neighbor, he has a stick stuck in his mouth (although we never find out how it got there). Unfortunately, removing the stick from his neighbor's mouth ends up being harder (and more violent) than expected... but he is victorious in the end... Jesus some people can be ungrateful!!!

6- My Teeth Are Bleeding: This was my favorite episode... and was also the most mind- numbingly repetitive and annoying (hmm, what does that say about me??). Not sure why the son's teeth started bleeding, but believe me when I say it was minimal to the plot of the story. Which is an oxymoron, as the story had no plot. But did have a funny ending (involving a fly)!!

7- Uncle Bob: After meeting Uncle Bob, and Uncle bob's wife, we get a distinct feeling that the Dumbland gene-pool is very shallow. Uncle Bob is a sickly fellow (I shan't elaborate, lest I spoil it for you). Uncle Bob's wife definitely wears the pants in his family... and the father definitely ends up on the wrong side of her ample fist (and spends the rest of their visit cowering in a tree in the back yard).

8- Ants: After the home gets infiltrated with ants, and a misbegotten attempt to bug-spray them goes awry... he ends up spraying himself in the face with the bug-spray and starts hallucinating. The ants put on a fabulous song and dance show... he goes berserk trying to kill them, winds up in a full body plaster... and lets just say, the ants get their vengeance in the end.

As bad as these stories are, there is something that kept compelling me to watch them. They do give another insight into the mind of one of my favorite directors. David Lynch. Maybe they were an outlet for him, to get rid of some of his violent thoughts?? I did actually laugh out loud at many points within the episodes. Many aspects are absurdly funny!!

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Crude, odd, and sometimes funny...

7/10
Author: gokugreen from Florida
21 June 2006

This is a short, crudely animated series by David Lynch (as it says in the beginning), and it follows the misadventures of a backwoods, overall-wearing large man, with a wife who has a stress disorder and an annoying son. Both of those elements are harped upon repeatedly in the short episodes, and there's no real plot to be seen. It's easier if you think of this as an exceptionally odd, slightly macabre Looney Tunes- with far more gore, profanity, bloody violence, and occasional moments of hilarity.

I bought the DVD along with Eraserhead, having previously seen Eraserhead. Don't look to this series if you want an artistic masterpiece- this is anything but. In fact, it seems to almost be a statement against such things, as its rough style spits in the face of any sort of animation convention you may see. As Lynch says, "If this is funny, it is only funny because we see the absurdity of it all."

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Dumbland rhythms

7/10
Author: Eric Cartier from Chicago, United States
7 March 2007

Since September of last year, I have been borrowing four to six films each week from the Harold Washington Library, which boasts an impressive DVD collection. (The HWL truly is a circulating library: three-quarters of its films are out at any given time!) Recently, I was thrilled to find The Short Films of David Lynch. Yesterday, knowing little about the animated series, I picked up Dumbland. I'm here to report that, for David Lynch fans, watching the eight episodes is half an hour well-spent.

The most remarkable feature of these brief pieces are their soundtracks. Each episode has its own rhythm. Respiratory and digestive systems provide percussion. Outrageous voices accent pauses' ends. Physical violence supplies the beats. Chirping birds and buzzing sockets brush along the edges. Many other elements fill out the orchestra. The pacing of the crude animation often keeps in sync with the sound, but the soundtrack itself struck me as Lynch's primary interest in creating and disseminating this work. In a way, these eight shorts are unique Lynchian rhythms.

That said, the situations are odd, ugly, profound, dumb and funny as hell. And there's enough space within them to reflect on how absurd we humans can be. I can't say that I'll watch the collection again, but for anyone who revelled in the movements that is the suite Inland Empire, Dumbland is worth half an hour of your time.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

awesome.

7/10
Author: WretchedSmith from United States
1 November 2006

I'm gonna tip the scales here a bit and say I enjoyed this. However, the cartoon is really only going to appeal to those who have very absurdist tendencies. It's definitely something that most people will not get, as is the nature of absurdism.

the animation is horrible, but yes, that's the point. The main character is foul mouthed, violent, and stupid. no redeeming qualities whatsoever. his wife shrieks and wails, apparently just barely capable of the most basic communication skills. most of these stories completely lack any kind of point.

but again, that's the point ;)

If non sequiters, foul language, and complete and utter randomness are your thing, you're going to love this.

It is really short, so I would probably rent instead of buying.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Lynch Does South Park

4/10
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
25 August 2008

David Lynch's crude and crudely drawn take on South Park presents us with a nightmare of disturbing clichés about suburban middle class families. The father is a hideous monster with three teeth and a disproportionately large circular mouth-hole from which are uttered the most horrendous guttural noises, the son and mother are permanently horrified, incoherent creatures for whom terror is a way of life. A number of equally absurd characters are introduced throughout the series.

Lynch is not famous for his comedies (i.e. On the Air, aspects of Wild at Heart), and I am not particularly fond of comedies in general. However, there were a couple of scenes in Dumbland which made me laugh out loud. There are some clever bits of animated cinematography - where Lynch conveys wide ranges of reaction in his characters through a syntactical arrangement of shots as opposed to facial expressions (which never really vary in Dumbland).

I believe Lynch was really trying to give his audience a straight-forward, if disturbing, animated comedy here. Interestingly, he chose to follow in the footsteps of the recent wave of ultra-low-brow humor (i.e. most Will Farrell films) while adding elements of vicious social critique and classic cartoon violence and gross-out humor. While the blend doesn't really work very well here, it is nothing if not Lynchian.

Worth seeing by Lynch fans.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"Get the stick, get the stick!"; whacked out and usually a riot

7/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
11 May 2007

It is said that David Lynch's films and shorts won't appeal to everyone. Neither will Dumbland, maybe more than ever. I have a feeling that Dumbland, as people come across it, will be a true mark of 'I get it' or 'what the hell'. It's not surrealism exactly, but absurd to the point of no return. It's also very, very, very stupid. But in this stupidity can be a sort of ironic intelligence to it, that the maker knows so well how childish and repugnant this is, and this self-consciousness is a plus, not a detraction.

It's just a bunch of crudely drawn shorts- the kind that might not even make it on Hertzfeldt and Judge's Animation show (which, I might add, Lynch here has a lot in common with both directors in their work- centered on a lummox with an IQ of 20 who has a constantly quivering-with-fear wife, and a child who looks like a cross between the gingerbread man and/or an alien. The episodes include little situations like a faulty treadmill, a salesman who can recite the Gettysburg address, watching over a sick brother in law, ant hallucinations, and just wallowing on the couch with noise all around. All the while, Lynch is still experimenting, as he was constantly for better or worse during the period of five years he made on and off Inland Empire.

For one thing, he's going back to the roots of his very first short, Six Figures Getting Sick Six Times, in the usage of repetition as a means to an end. This sometimes works excruciatingly well, and sometimes not. Sometimes, like with the episode with the sitting around the house doing nothing as teeth are bleeding and a fly buzzes around, the absurdism sort of waxes and wanes without much of a good effect. And even an episode like with the guy's friend coming over is funny more-so for the Beavis & Butt-head comparison (both laugh like idiots, and are equally engrossed by killing things like fish and sheep). What ends up working is how Lynch shows up front delirious abstractions, in the crudest ways imaginable, and excessive violence.

In what comes closest to surrealism in "ants", the guy mistakenly sprays bug-spray (just called "Kill", one of Lynch's very cheap but fun pokes at societal conventions) on himself, and envisions ants in a musical chorus line, solos included. And one of the most harrowingly funny things I've ever seen from the filmmaker is "get the stick", where we just see the guy, cheered on by his son, getting a stick lodged in his mouth. Soon the neck breaks, eyes pop out, and once said stick is removed he doesn't watch out for traffic waddling like a manhole cover. Other moments pop up like this in unexpected crevices, and it's drawn as if on cheap paper with an impetus to shock with foul-mouthed language (mostly from the man, as well as from the 'grandmother', who in one of Lynch's voices for the characters is the deepest of all), and a shaky quality that's reminiscent of the cream of the crop from (early) Hertzfeldt.

All the same I'm still not sure if Dumbland is something I would put into someone's hands if they haven't seen much of Lynch yet let alone anything by him. There are some little points on society made via complete exaggerations that may or may not be in Lynch's mind closer than we usually think to those in real life. However in general there's not a whole lot that should be read into it, which is why I'd say more than half who see it will hate it with a passion. Those who dig the bottom-less pits of animated comedy, be prepared have a blast.

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23 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

awful for the sake of awful is still ... awful

1/10
Author: kvaughan-6 from United States
6 December 2007

Let's be honest here: the only reason anyone bought this, the only reason anyone reviewed this, and the only reason anyone could possibly claim to enjoy this is because David Lynch made it and because you want to have David Lynch's children. But guess what? Even David Lynch can produce a piece of crap.

Maybe Lynch wanted you to transcend normality and experience absurdity in-itself as a pure subject-of-knowing. Maybe the atrocious, cacophonist sounds, and chicken-scratch visuals are supposed to imply something about humanity's place in the world, about our relation to the Real, about the absurdity of it all.

Instead, it just says one thing to me: I just lost $20.

If I wanted offensive for the sake of offensive, I could crank Hansen on high and let me ears bleed. If I wanted absurd for the sake of absurd, I could just take a dump on a plate and watch that for 33 minutes.

There is a single redeeming quality to Dumbland -- it is meta, meta funny. That is, it is so bad that it isn't even funny because it's so bad. This fact, however, is a little funny.

If you hate yourself and hate your money, then buy Dumbland. If not, spare yourself the agony.

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