Thursday, June 14, 2007

Location, Location, Location

Lancaster, California

"This summer I learned at a party that there is a small - but important - difference between peeing in the pool and peeing into the pool. Location, location, location."

-Demetri Martin

As a big fan of road movies, I loved "Breakdown". Kurt Russell is somewhat like our own Sunny Deol - short on acting, have extremely limited expressions so as to not confuse viewers, yet always delivers, provided it's an OK scripted action movie. "Natural Born Killers" is probably the most overrated road movie, especially if you have not seen Brat Pitt's less discussed "Kalifornia". Later two has Juliette Lewis, who would easily have won my vote for best actress for the Oscars in those two years.

"Breakdown" has a somewhat bizarre gang of truckers and wanna-be truckers kidnapping (and possibly killing) random auto drivers (mostly females) from a somewhat deserted freeway that looked like near scenic Moab, Utah. I am taking off for summer holidays to Moab, Utah - following a week spent in a (work related) conference in Las Vegas. So - to prepare, not for the conference - I did what I do best. I made a list of movies made in or around Moab and just finished watching as many as my local video store had in stock!

I also found "Mr Location" who actually takes off for several weeks every year to cover cool movie locations like ones in "Thelma and Louise", "Italian Job" to Spielberg's one and only road movie (but one of his best work ever!) "Duel". Mr. Location also maintains an album - duly organized and captioned - in webshots. Hats off dude! You are my hero.

This man's level of details is evident from the picture that I linked at the top of this post. In the movie "Breakdown" -- Kurt Russel's wife hitches with a trucker, leaving her husband with their new, broken down Jeep, to go to this diner to call a tow-truck. While the road was definitely in Utah, this diner - as Mr Location points out - is in Lancaster, California. Moab to Lancaster would be a painfully monolithic drive of 700+ miles. I am speechless and - at the same time - humbled by such a focussed individual who - as you will see - is an excellent photographer too.

Some other movies shot in or around Moab (famous for Canyonlands and Arches National Park)- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Con Air, Hulk, Mission Impossible (1 and 2), Thelma and Louise (I will actually be visiting the location of the climax! Thanks to Google Maps!!), and also - Austin Powers (Goldmember). Now I just wish I had my own 'Mini Me' to send to places I could not possibly cover within 8 days!

Another recent awe-inspiring movie location was listed in my scrapbook as I was watching the opening scenes of "Arachnophobia" -- shot at Canaima National Park, Venezuela. If you ever get to grab this movie, do not let the first ten minutes pass. Especially the aerial shot of the falls -- as the entomologists helicopter is circling it -- is one true piece of art. Before watching this movie, my favorite waterfall scene -- other than the ones from RK Films -- was from Amitabh Bachchan-Manoj Vajpayee's "Aks", shot somewhere in Hungary.

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