Monday, May 08, 2006

Tinseltown Submission: Or How I Learned to Stop Whining and Love the Shiny Tent

You might have seen in the Journal a few days ago a story about a Hollywood film company's plans to build a "large Los Angeles-style soundstage and backlot 'campus' at Mesa del Sol". ($ or long snoooze waiting for interactive ad to finish) Having just finished my once a month trip to the Downtown Sports & Wellness (thus proving that I am "working out" & "in training"), I can report that the entire 'Burque downtown is one giant "large Los Angeles-style soundstage and backlot 'campus'".

Tons of street blocked off. Shiny semi-trucks cabs and party tents everywhere. Shiny to the point you know those trucks and party tents get pampered like movie stars. Fifteen-foot high cyclone fence holding secrets like shiny, vaguely prison-like Wizard of Oz curtains. A mix of the mysterious and capitalistic encasing pretty much everything from the definitely unshiny Greyhound Station to the dormant La Posada.

Some might even call it a big mess, but even the most cynically put-out driver has to admit there's an allure there. What is going on behind that curtain?

And, in fact, I'm not 100% sure it was a movie shoot, having seen no reports or anything, but it probably was, and isn't Hollywood, if any, about a suspension of disbelief?

Now, as an alleged "film teacher", occasionally people ask me what I think about all the hi-fi filmmaking activity around 'Burque. Most of these people know me well enough to cringe when they ask the question, as I am probably the biggest film snob in the city's history. I know...there's a lot of competition there, but I'm pretty obnoxious about it.

I know. That's hard to believe. But I just want it out there.

As a lover of lo-fi cinema, I do admit a mild distaste for the shiny party tent ambiance and big budget cyclone fences. Okay, sometimes a large stomach cramp of distaste. And yes, I rather prefer the underground Primer/Pi type film where the entire production budget would barely equal the cost of a shiny semi-truck cab.

But I still like the fact that these films are being shot all over Albuquerque and New Mexico. Really, I do. Even when they block me going down 2nd Street after doing my once-a-month workout.

My only complaint about these locally shot films so far has been that the films, ur movies, have universally sucked. Or at least it certainly appeared they were going to suck...I have to admit I haven't seen any of them, save for a short segment of the "Wildfire" pilot in which my wife appeared for upwards of 1.2 seconds way in the back, well behind the now-deceased Dennis Weaver. And despite my wife's 1.2 seconds of subtle, yet thought-provoking acting (walking well behind Mr. Weaver's still-living head) "Wildfire" sucked. And not only we film snobs thought so.

Perhaps not strangely, "Wildfire" seems to still be on the cable air (sans Weaver, I guess), and I will have to rely on other, more adventurous viewers, for input on the show's current suckiness. "Wildfire" is only the tip of the sucky...hey, wait, we're film snobs here. "Wildfire" is only the tip of the inferior cinematic product 'Burque/New Mexico has produced. I will spare readers the list as I don't recall many of the productions. That's not unusual....nobody else remembers many of these productions either.

We in ABQ mainly remember these past shoots because of things like: "I saw Adam Sandler at Flying Star" or "that actress in "Tin Cup", the redhead, what's her name? Anyway, I saw her eating vegetarian at Annapurna. Or was it Claire Danes? I need to see more movies, but anyway, it was one of them, or at least a movie star. You could just tell."

These sightings serve to help us 'Burqueans feel better about ourselves in a way that a Forbes' survey or Kiplinger's recommendation on 'Burkyworthiness can't. Damnit, we're cool enough for Claire Danes or that actress in "Tin Cup" to eat here! And I admit it, I'm like everybody else on this score.

Well, like everyone else except for my point that all the movies up to now have suc...ur, been cinematically inferior. Until now. As reported everywhere but 'Burque Babble, the latest ABQ film shoot is a Coen Brothers' film. The Coen Brothers. The same Coen Brothers who make even the most hardened film snob turn into Homer Simpson spotting free doughnuts (mouth agape, drooling while gutturally moaning like a Tuvan throat singer).

It's the friggin' Coen Brothers, man! "We've got spillage, bro!" Like "Raising Arizona" and "Blood Simple" and "Fargo", man! (but not that rancid Billy Bob Thornton thing called "The Man Who Wasn't There", which reeked)

Now we can call our friends out of town and bust out with, "yeah, they're filming a Coen Brothers' movie in town. No, it's not gonna be like "The Man Who Wasn't There". No, nothing like it."

And when's the last time 'Burque was cool enough to make a phone call like that. I'm waiting. Still can't think of the last time, can you?

So displace me from my 2nd street sojourn, o' cyclone fence. Dazzle me with your pearly white shine, o' party tent. We be makin' a Coen Brothers' film here. Right here next to the scuzz and grime of the Greyhound station. OUR Greyhound Station. Our scuzz and grime. I'm proud to drive around your cinematic wonder anytime, Mr. and Mr. Coen. Maybe I'll see you at Flying Star. The Buddha Bowl is on me, my new cinematic legend friends.


P.S.: Again, I am not sure what I saw tonight was a Coen Brothers-related "shoot", or even a movie thing. It could have been a national convention for shiny semi-truck cabs or something. But don't pop my bubble with "information" or "reality" if it doesn't confirm my driving-inconvenienced brush with film greatness.

P.P.S.: And yes, the shoot could have been for an upcoming episode of "Wildfire", which would really depress me. Please don't tell me it was "Wildfire".

1 comment:

Miss Tenacity said...

Can't tell you how much I love to find other people who have:
a) heard of the movie Primer and,
b) have seen it and love it.

Wonder what those guys are up to next...? Guess it's time for some IMDB quality-time.