Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Filmed on Location

I once went to a rooftop theater in Athens, the acropolis lit up on the hill to my left, and saw the street where I learned to parallel park, a few blocks from my elementary school. In South Korea I went to a matinee and watched the Santa Barbara mountains as I sat in front of four Buddhist monks. It is, I had come to think, the birthright of Californians to travel the world and yet always have the movies ready to take them home.

This lasted until I'd lived in Chicago long enough to recognize it when it showed up on screen. There was Spider-man web-slinging from El car to El car in the Loop, Will Ferrell laid up in a hospital room in the Wrigley Building, the Dark Knight speeding through a chase scene on Lower Wacker Drive. Ferris Bueller' Day Off, it turned out, was a love letter to the city, had been the whole time though I'd never stopped to notice. 

Before I left for Iowa, I was visiting my parents, and they called three different video stores before they found one that had State Fair. This movie was what they knew about Iowa, and they had decided it was essential preparation for me. It was. And no sooner did I have an Iowa City library card than I was checking out Field of Dreams and The Bridges of Madison County.

Which brings us to Texas. A friend recently offered to watch with me every episode of Walker, Texas Ranger we can find on YouTube. It's worth noting that the Dallas Museum of Art is offering a series of movie nights this summer in the same spirit. Obviously I need to catch up with the new Dallas. Heck, I need to catch up on the old Dallasboth the 1980s television series and the 1950 Gary Cooper film. 

But before we all get our Benji-Robocop-Logan's Run on, let me thank, retroactively, the good people at Tween Studies for our recent screening of Slap Her... She's French, Kate Murphy for first introducing me to Office Space out at the farm, and Dr. Robert Archambeau's bowling film festival for including Bottle Rocket. And, especially, let me thank my parents who didn't stop my State Fair education with the 1945 version set at the Iowa State Fair, but made sure I saw some car racing before we turned off the 1962 Pat Boone/Bobby Darrin/Ann-Margaret State Fair, which of course is set, where else, in Dallas.

1 comment:

Club Narwhal said...

I recently found out that The 5 Year Engagement was filed here in Ann Arbor. I need to start a Michigan Film Studies night. Bring on the Walker Ranger!