Monday, December 08, 2008

Anywhere But Here

I'd say one of the things I truly enjoy with Wes Anderson's film is their look. Some of them look like they could be filmed anywhere. In the case of Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, they were filmed in Dallas and Houston, respectively, but they don't look like the Dallas or Houston most people see. Maybe that's why I don't always think of those films when I drive around their filming locations.

Now, on the flipside, with a recent viewing of RoboCop (after not seeing it for seventeen years), I couldn't help but think of Dallas whenever there was an exterior shot. Save for the scenes in the saw mill, the exterior shots were shot around downtown Dallas. Dallas City Hall and Reunion Tower are very visible, and I couldn't imagine the story was set in Detroit.

I guess it boils down to the landmarks that are used in a film. Aside from the big Fair Park ferris wheel being visible in a scene in Bottle Rocket, nothing really screams "Dallas!" Same with Rushmore.

Believe or not, but this a major influence on the setting of When We Were the Kids. Town names are mentioned, but they are not supposed to be in one particular place. I want to give an idea of what it was like to live in a suburb in 1990s. Not all suburbs, but a typical suburb like the one I lived in, as well as several of my friends. Setting things in a very identifiable area and talking about very identifiable landmarks can limit things. Since I want to put across universal thoughts and feelings, I think it's good to set things in an area that could be anywhere.

Because this general idea is mentioned on the Rushmore commentary track, it's another example of how a commentary track informs me as a writer. Strange, but it is what it is.

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