• Mr. W

On The Eve of Eves

The Western secular New Year is about to begin anew, and the world is abuzz. 2020 was a real humdinger of a year, in so many ways. Elections, pandemics, riots, economic contractions ... it had a little something for everyone.

It should be little surprise that as a part of the COVID stay-at-home protocol I have remained at home a great deal, which has had the unintended benefit of allowing me to watch just about every film I've ever wanted. Put some rainy weather on the scene, and I have become a virtual one man moviehouse. The exploration of new films, and the refamiliarization with some classics, has given me a new appreciation for actors, directors, and even whole genres. I've really indulged my inner cinephile, in other words.

Sometimes in seeking a film to put on, I try to find inspiration from the local environment. For instance, if I have seen something about an actor recently, maybe read an article somewhere, I'll pop a film on in with that face. Of course, being that I live in California I can always draw infinite inspiration from the fact that so many films are shot in the state, and there's always something "local" that appears on film. That's a great example of a cinematic through-line, and I love them. A recent cinematic through-line that I thought of was the shotgun blast that kills the guy in Boogie Nights, and the shotgun blast that kills the sheriff in Misery. Yeah, that's a weird pull, but give me enough movies and enough time and I'll connect these dots. In both cases the big gun provides a shocking death that the camera gets a full-on view of. It's an interesting cinematography choice, and it also serves a great narrative purpose.

Today's morning matinee is a classic that I can recall from my youth: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I vividly recall buying this film as a kid with my grandmother in a WalMart in Roswell, New Mexico. In the subsequent years I don't think I've watched the whole thing through, but I am very familiar with the film in chunks. As a guy who works for Caltrans this particular film has a personal connection since it focuses heavily on highway expansion in southern California during the post-war 40s. This plot parallels the real actions of the rubber companies and the death of public transit in Los Angeles. It's been explored a great deal, but I love how this film weaves in the noir detective and cartoon genres with a nice historically relevant plot.

Bob Hoskins is great, and who doesn't love Kathleen Turner's sexy voice? Also, given that it's a period piece, the sets are great and the production value makes this a fun film to watch on a very basic level. It's the appeal of the cartoons ... there's something that makes this film click. How about Christopher Lloyd pulling double-duty?

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