Monday, February 16, 2015

Chapel Hill Shootings, Falling Down, and Los Angeles Plays Itself

It's Oscar season, so perhaps it is time to talk of movies and violence again?

Events do not let us think otherwise. In the end, it is about Falling Down's "I'm going home," and The Wizard of Oz's "There's no place like home," isn't it? And the notion "to protect and serve" what is one's view of "home." It all stems from your homeland, your hometown, your 'hood, your building, your house, your automobile, or even your parking space.

Chapel Hill comes to mind. And L.A. too.


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On February 10, 2015, at 5:15 p.m., Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were killed in their home in Finley Forest Condominiums on Summerwalk Circle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States.

The victims.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, a former car parts salesman, allegedly shot dead the three Muslim university students at point blank range, in their heads, before turning himself into police. Hicks had moved to Chapel Hill in 2005 from Bethalto, Illinois. His motive, allegedly, was not because he is anti-Muslim, but because he was angry because of an ongoing parking space dispute. However, additional information from his first wife notes that Hicks was obsessed with watching "incessantly" the 1993 film Falling Down starring Michael Douglas, about a divorced lawyer who loses his job and embarks on a shooting rampage across Los Angeles.


We've heard of this before.
Before George Hennard crashed his truck into Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, on October 16, 1991 and sprayed it with gunfire, he had watched a documentary video at home about a similar mass murderer, James Huberty, who killed 21 people at a California McDonald's on July 18, 1984. ~ Loren Coleman, The Copycat Effect (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2003).

CNN religion editor Daniel Burke interprets Hicks' response to conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama's religion as "It's OK if we have a Muslim president." Source 1, 2, 3.

(In American English, especially as viewed as slang, the word "hick" is a derogatory term for an unsophisticated provincial person, usually said to be Caucasian, Midwestern- or Southern-raised, racist, and anti-semitic.) 

Looking to analyze films like Falling Down, it opens up an entire area of film study.

Doing this, a reviewer once observed that filmmaker and professor Thom Andersen
...pushes the issue of de-humanization, of symbolic genocide, further. A venture such as the Michael Douglas-fronted Falling Down presents the case of a white-collar, WASP-y male who, abiding no more of an interminable traffic jam, deserts his car and, trekking across Los Angeles, essentially loses his mind, though not his sense of entitlement. ~ Peter Moysaenko ~ 12.7.2009
Synchromystics, Forteans, and twilight language translators watch motion pictures on a different level than most moviegoers. They observe everything. Not just the plot. They look beyond the obvious. They experience the settings, the scene, and the sequences with new eyes. So too, it appears, do architectural students, film buffs, and cityscape fans. A deep, powerful, rarely seen documentary looking at film, analyzes movies on this level.

I've made it no secret for years that the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and films have a special meaning to me and others.


The Ennis House and Vincent Price appeared in House on Haunted Hill.

Michael Douglas' 1989 yakuza movie Black Rain also used the Ennis House. Source.

The Snowden House was built by Lloyd Wright, eldest son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was used as a shooting location to depict the home of Ava Gardner in Martin Scorsese's film The Aviator.


For more discussion of these filmed buildings, please see, "Frank Lloyd Wright and Synchromysticism," "Blade Runner: 30 Years of Synchromysticism," "FLW's Ennis House and Hollywood Movies," and "Frank Lloyd Wright's Synchromysticism Continues."











Director Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) - at 169 minutes - is a genius synchrocinematic visual essay. If you have not viewed and digested it, you should. Here's a sample and some thoughts:


Los Angeles, Thom Andersen’s hometown, has figured, it seems, for most of its existence, as a misunderstood mutant, a territory without definitive identity, despite now serving as residence to nearly four million people. A McDonald’s restaurant in the City of Industry remains forever closed to the public, but functions exclusively as a set for commercials. The Bradbury Building has been cast as a Mandalay locale or as the headquarters of an East Coast newspaper. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House has provided context for such varying visions as that of Blade Runner, The House on Haunted Hill (a cheesy Vincent Price joint), and a Ricky Martin music video. Hollywood refuses to take Los Angeles for what it is, Andersen insists, if the professionals that make up the movie machine have any clue about its essence to begin with. Hollywood denigrates what should represent the pride of Los Angeles’s eclectic architectural scene, casting its Modernist and International style homes as dens of iniquity, the mansions of gangsters and drug lords, rather than centers for evolved living....
We are bidden to watch not as Hollywood expects us to, but with voluntary attention, getting past the expertly dressed leads and zeroing in on the more elemental concern of setting. After all, there’s no story in a vacuum, and as the trumpeted notion of country, the notion of property over country, reminds daily, a life’s nothing without a home. ~ Peter Moysaenko ~ December 7, 2009.

As Andersen notes in his documentary, and I have too, the films containing FLW-trained architect John Lautner's homes are frequent targets of attention too.



The clean bold lines of John Lautner’s famous houses are hard to resist for moviemakers. The most famous houses are the Elrod House, which was Willard Whyte’s crib in Diamonds are Forever, the Chemosphere used in Body Double, the Goldstein House featured in The Big Lebowski, and the Schaffer House, which offers a luxurious repose for A Single Man. Source.
For more on Lautner's Elron House, see "Gemstones Are Forever: Bond, Elrod House, Onassis, Hughes & JFK."

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Personally, I taught a weekly 3 hour long documentary film course, for 23 semesters, from 1983 to 2003, at the University of Southern Maine. Sorry to know Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) appeared after my course ended. I would have loved to screen it for my students.

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Movies in order of appearance in Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003).

(I wish someone would do I similar list, from his documentary, of the names of all the architects and the buildings mentioned in his film.)

The Crimson Kimono (1959)
Pushover (1954)
He Walked by Night (1948)
Nocturne (1946)
Pushover (1954)
The Strip (1951)
Out of Bounds (1986)
Hickey and Boggs (1972)
The Glimmer Man (1996)
They Live (1988)
Out of Bounds (1986)
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Blade (1998)
The New Centurions (1972)
Brother (2001)
52 Pick-Up (1986)
Blade (1998)
The Million Dollar Hotel (2001)
Night on Earth (1991)
Safe (1995)
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
The Glimmer Man (1996)
Boyz N the Hood (1991)
The Takeover (1994)
2001 filming Swordfish
East of Eden (1955)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
The Music Box (1932)
Mr. Blanding Builds His Dreamhouse (1942?)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
The French Connection (1971)
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
The French Connection (1971)
L.A. Bounty (1989)
Rising Sun (1993)
Hollywood Calvalcade (1932)
A Muddy Romance (1913)
Putting Pants on Philip (1928)
What Price Hollywood? (1932)
This Gun for Hire (?)
The Blue Dahlia (1946)
Detour (1945)
Safe (1995)
The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)
Escape from L.A. (1996)
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
Alien from L.A.
L.A. Confidential
L.A. Wars
L.A. Bounty
L.A. Vice
L.A. Crackdown
Fashionably L.A.
L.A. Crackdown II
L.A. Story
Out of Bounds (1986)
Hollywood Boulevard (1976)
Hollywood Confidential
Volcano

The City as Background
A Star Is Born
Nobody Lives Forever
The Damned Don’t Cry
What! No Beer? (1933)
Three Smart Girls (1936)
Dragon Seed (1944)
Babbitt (1934)
The Public Enemy (1931)
The Street With No Name (1948)
China Girl (1943)
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
D.O.A. (1950)
Indestructible Man
Marlowe (1969)
Blade Runner (1982)
Murder in the First (1995)
Wolf (1994)
The Replacement Killers (1998)
The Karate Kid III
Black Rain
Female (1933)
House on Haunted Hill (1958)
Vuelve (1999) music video
Blade Runner (1982)
A Passion to Kill (1994)
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Timestalkers
Black Rain (1989)
Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf
House on Haunted Hill
The Terminal Man
Blade Runner
Timestalkers
Bugsy (1991)
Nick of Time (1995)
To Live and Die in L.A.(1985)
Bugsy (1991)
Mike’s Murder (1984)
The Way We Were (1973)
Under the Rainbow (1981)
Species (1995)
Blade Runner
Union Station
The Replacements Killers
The Morning After (1986)
The Net (1995)
The Morning After (1986)
The Outside Man (1973)
The Rookie (1990)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Miracle Mile
Panic in the City (1968)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
The Net
Night of the Comet
Dead Connection
The Glimmer Man
The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
Heartbreakers (1984)
To Live and Die in L.A.
Dead Homiez (1997)
To Live and Die in L.A.
City of Industry
The Learning Curve (2001)
Nocturne (1946)
Deep Cover (1992)
The Limey (1999)
Heat (1995)
Marlowe (1969)
Cobra (1986)
Kalifornia
Cobra (1986)
Death Wish 4: The Crackdown
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
To Live and Die in L.A.
Jackie Brown
Heat (1995)
Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
To Live and Die in L.A.
The Damned Don’t Cry
The Night Holds Terror (1955)
The Replacement Killers
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (1998)
The Marrying Man (1991)
The First Power (1990)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Twilight (1998)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Body Double (1984)
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
Die Hard (1988)
Rising Sun (1993)
Impulse
L.A. Bounty
Valley Girl
The Terminator
Hollywood Boulevard
Repo Man
Predator 2
Nick of Time
Anywhere But Here
City of Industry
Breathless (1983)
Clueless (1995)
Hickey and Boggs
Two Minute Warning (1976)
Invisible Invaders (1959)
Hollywood Confidential (1997)
Demolition Man
Escape from L.A.
The Great Los Angeles Earthquake
Earthquake (1974)
The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (1990)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Earthquake (1974)
Airport (1970)
Escape from L.A. (1996)
Volcano (1997)
Independence Day (1996)
Armageddon (1998)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Earthquake

The City as Character

Double Indemnity (1944)
L.A. Confidential
Death Wish II
Mildred Pierce (1945)
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Shadow in the Sky
Till the End of Time (1946)
Act of Violence (1949)
The Next Voice You Hear (1950)
Shadow in the Sky (1951)
The Next Voice You Hear
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)
He Walked By Night (1948)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
The State of Things
Targets
Little Caesar (1930)
Hollywood Canteen (1944)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
The Exiles (1958)
Flareup (1969)
Messiah of Evil (1973)
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)
Bachelor in Paradise (1961)
The Disorderly Orderly (1964)
Messiah of Evil (1973)
Armored Car Robbery
The Atomic City (1952)
Johnny Eager
Suspense
Xanadu (1980)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
Into the Night (1985)
Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
Bunker Hill
The Glenn Miller Story
Kiss Me Deadly
Criss Cross (1949)
Shockproof (1949)
The Unfaithful (1947)
Indestructible Man
Kiss Me Deadly
The Exiles
Omega Man (1971)
Night of the Comet (1984)
Virtuosity (1995)
The Outside Man (1973)
110/220 (1994)
Out of Bounds (1986)
110/220 (1994)
Out of Bounds (1986)
Sudden Impact (1983)
The Birds (1963)
Vertigo (1958)
Saboteur
Psycho (1960)
Annie Hall (1977)
Venice/Venice (1992)
The Loved One (1965)
Point Blank (1967)
The Trip (1967)
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort of (1963)
L.A. Plays Itself (1972)
The Outside Man (1973)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
Model Shop (1969)
Flareup (1969)
The Exiles (1958)

The City as Subject

Chinatown (1974)
There Goes My Baby (1990)
Chinatown (1974)
Cutter’s Way (1981)
Chinatown (1974)
Freeway (1996)
The Outside Man (1973)
Midnight Madness (1980)
Breathless (1983)
Sunset Blvd.
Falling Down (1993)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Bachelor in Paradise (1961)
The War of the Worlds (1953)
Sins of the Night
Heartbreakers (1984)
Repo Man (1984)
American Me (1992)
Blade Runner (1982)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Dragnet (1954 movie)
Dragnet (tv series)
Dragnet (1954 movie)
Dragnet (tv series)
Unlawful Entry (1992)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Player (1992)
The Choirboys (1977)
The Black Marble (1980)
The Glitter Dome (1984)
The New Centurions
The Black Marble
The Blue Knight (1975)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Terminator (1984)
Cobra
Tango & Cash
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Internal Affairs
Heat (1995)
Strange Days (1995)
Unlawful Entry
Falling Down
Nails
The Glimmer Man (1996)
Short Cuts (1993)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
L.A. Story (1991)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Love Streams (1984)
Hanging Up (2001)
Grand Canyon
El Norte (1983)
The Exiles
Bush Mama (1975)
Bless Their Little Hearts (1983)
Bush Mama (1975)
Killer of Sheep (1977)
Bless Their Little Hearts (1983)
Source for the list.




My thanks to Douglas Stone for material and links on Andersen's documentary.

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4 comments:

JW said...

Also Mulholland Drive as an LA movie.
The Snowden House is also thought to be the death place of the Black Dahlia, possibly LA's most famous unsolved murder.

Matthew Deagle said...

Don't forget Bill Hicks, the notoriously angry comedian who often spoke of the apocalypse and his profound anger at the mob.

Matthew Deagle said...

The Australian David Hicks was just exonerated for providing aid to terrorism. He spent 5 years on Guantanamo Bay after joining Al-Qaeda and meeting with Osama bin Ladin. This provides an interesting counterpart to the killing of Muslims by Craig Hicks.

Loren Coleman said...

from Red Pill Junkie :

"[...]about a divorced lawyer who loses his job and embarks on a shooting rampage across Los Angeles."

Wasn't he an engineer, who worked for a Defense contractor? I remember that scene in which Robert Duvall goes to see his mom, and she lets her in his room where he finds a slide-ruler, while she proudly says her son's work "kept America safe or something." --he built missiles, apprently, which would account for the short-crew haircut, the stereotype of the engineer in the space-age era.

Ok, I'm done :)