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The Winkie’s Diner Scene is the Key to ‘Mulholland Drive’

Here’s a video essay on why the Winkie’s Diner scene is the key to understanding ‘Mulholland Drive.’
Mulholland Drive Winkies Diner
Universal Pictures
By  · Published on August 3rd, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores the Mulholland Drive diner scene.


The line between dreams and reality is always a bit foggy in a David Lynch film.

Language falls apart. Surreal images abound. The macabre and the mundane muddle together. It’s a paradox: you can always tell when something is Lynchian, but it’s difficult to put into words.

Mulholland Drive is typically Lynchian: a cautionary tale of Hollywood superficiality that reads like a war between reality and nightmares. Speaking of nightmares, early in the film there is a scene in which two men, Dan and Herb, meet in Winkie’s Diner. Dan tells Herb about a nightmare he had, which took place at Winkie’s. As the scene progresses, Dan’s nightmare becomes a reality: the creature that terrified him in his dreams invades his breakfast date.

It is a typically Lynchian occurrence. And, to boot, it’s the key to understanding how the rest of the film works. Understand the Winkie’s Diner scene and you understand Mulholland Drive. After all, if we can’t trust the reality of Dan’s brunch…what can we trust?

Watch “The Winkie’s Diner Scene in Mulholland Dr.“:


Who made this?

Anna Catley is an editor and occasional video essayist based in Toronto. You can check out her portfolio on her website here. You can check out Catley’s video essays on her YouTube account here. She has not uploaded in three years, but here’s hoping one day she will return.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).