Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Presage and post-sage

Usually, for the last column of the calendar year I make predictions for the coming year. (Last year I skipped the predictions in order to deliver a pop quiz on the previous year.)

This year I thought it would be only fair to go back through all the predictions I have made in the past and reprint the ones that were pertinent to calendar year 2005. You can judge how well I did:

  • Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt defy the odds and have a very successful Hollywood marriage. This is verified when Aniston gives birth to triplets in August of 2005.

  • Michael Eisner’s position at Disney is solidified when he strengthens the studio’s relationships with such moneymaking partners as Pixar and Miramax. In fact, the partnership with Miramax becomes symbiotic when Eisner makes the Weinstein brothers vice-presidents of Disney.

  • Peter Jackson stuns critics when his next project after the Lord of the Rings trilogy turns out to be a low-budget character study with all of three unknown actors and no special effects.

  • Jane Fonda shocks just about everyone by making a return to acting, taking the title role in a sequel to her iconic film Barbarella. Most of the screen time, however, is devoted to Reese Witherspoon, who plays Barbarella’s daughter Midgerella.

  • George Lucas announces that he is going to make three more Star Wars movies after all, chronicling the events following The Return of the Jedi. The new trilogy is expected to be completed in 2014. Moreover, Lucas announces that he has bought up all copies of the movie More American Graffiti and has destroyed them and that he will be making his own sequel to American Graffiti.

    * * *

    I just want to add here how much I have been gratified by the reactions I have gotten to my own first movie, the corned-beef-and-cabbage-dogma western Straight to Heck, which was presented on this web site four weeks ago. Of course, none of those reactions have actually been emailed to my feedback email address, so I cannot technically publish them here. Virtually all of them have come from friends, who have sent their thoughts to my personal email address. In sending their message to that address, my correspondents have every reasonable right to expect that their opinions would remain private and secure.

    But since this is the season of sharing, I have decided to share these reactions with all my readers anyway. Not only that, but I will also include the full name and home address and social security number of each of the people who wrote the messages. (Just kidding about the social security numbers.) Here are the messages:

  • D from Seattle wrote, “Well, I’ve been following the stories of your vacation in Spain (including the first-ever corned beef and cabbage Dogma western) through your website. I dunno Scott, I think maybe you should stick to reviewing movies!”

  • J from Redmond wrote, “Wow, just….wow! The panning, the zooming, the riveting dialogue (even without the sub-titles); it was like the ‘real thing’. No, wait, I think that was the product placement talking. I’m no film critic, but that has to be the best corned beef and cabbage (with a little Pepsi) western I’ve seen (while not on substances) ever! Dos pulgares!”

  • And M, who recently transplanted himself definitively from Seattle (or, as he tends to spell it, Sea Addle) to Tucson, wrote the most penetrating commentary: “Should I start referring to you as Scott Von Trier now? If you will indulge me some comments on this little gem: Your use of table top as both camera base and framing mechanism is sheer genius—both irresistibly drawing the viewer’s gaze to the riveting human drama unfolding at the bar, while simultaneously reminding him of the lonely, disconnected life of the Old West by subtly suggesting its open, desolate stretches of land. And the disquieting use of a deliberate anachronism (i.e., the soda-pop bottle) in the foreground is a clever foreshadowing of the fact that the way of life depicted in the background was doomed to be destroyed by a rampantly consumerist, post-industrial, multi-national Capitalist culture that ‘commodifies’ and commercializes the flesh-and-blood lives of those rugged individuals who lived and struggled on the frontier. On another film-qua-film level, the bottle could only be a sardonic tip of the hat to the knowledgeable cinephile that—no matter how “real” the events of the movie may seem—‘ceci n’est pas L’Ouest.’ Or, for that matter, a pipe. Encore!”

  • To M’s detailed analysis, I could only respond by thanking him for not labeling my effort an “Andalusian dog.” To which he replied: “Since you’re adhering to strict filming standards, would it be OK if I called your short an Andalusian Dogme?”

    And with that, let me wish all who are using the Gregorian calendar (and even those who are not) a very Happy New Year!

    -S.L., 29 December 2005

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