To little or no avail

Gracious settling eases a path through knots of flowers and leaves.
Makeshift love letters rattle softly in a velvet cup -
soft breaths from a heavy heart.

Tied together, bound apart;
discarded daydreams left around the radiator by the window.

Cheap imitation sorrow drives destruction;
change nurtures change.
Blushing charm, bottled & kept upstairs underneath the bed.

Time's alright for now; before is on the top shelf, later is discarded.
An unrequited infatuation with plans is sweetly tiresome and tomorrow is never the same.

A light in the window - someone's awake, dreaming of things: sticky primary colors and shiny silver.

- P



Interesting set design can often make mediocre movies great, and great movies even better. (I can think of a few turkeys that had me coming back just to get another look at furniture placement.)
It's usually meant to set the scene, provide blocking, or further define a character... but who cares about that crap?
These particular dwellings are where we'd wanna hang out - or live - solely for the decor & ambiance, and (mostly) regardless of what transpired there in the fictional realm.

Here's 10, though I'm sure we can think of more...

Allan's apartment - Play It Again, Sam
Intended as a film geek's secret hideout - today it translates as a super chic early 70s bachelor pad: classic movie posters, robust bookshelves, ample plant life, and an enclosed music nook(!)
For my money, it's the most desirable living quarters on this or any other list.

Kenny's room - Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
It only recently occurred to us that it was, in fact, this room that most likely killed the babysitter - thus setting off the entire chain of events that the title promises.
Ignoring the discarded food remnants and overall teenage pothead squalor, it's just about the neatest and most creative PG-13 metalhead bedroom this side of the sub genre.

Mario's Magic Shop - Pee Wee's Big Adventure
I wanted -- no, badly needed a store like this in my childhood shopping plaza: a lethal combination of comic book ads, Fangoria magazine, and the Joker's entire arsenal - all wholesale!
Pee Wee's house & yard may be badass, but that's because he shops here.
And they have gum!

The Puttermans' home - TerrorVision
The setting of this ridiculous romp actually outperforms the movie it occupies.
It's meant to be tasteless and tacky, but so much effort was expended in accumulating such an eclectic array of erotic pop art that it comes across as impressively enviable - and a motif that seems easily attainable.

Lance and Jody's home - Pulp Fiction
A charming single-family ranch in a (usually) quiet neighborhood. Comfortable surroundings - perfect for working from home. Spare room in the back can be used as an office, guest bed, or storage for unpacked boxes, a surplus of Fruit Brute, and little black fuckin' medical books.

Josh's apartment - Big
A spacious loft apartment with hardwood floors and floor-to-celing windows is open to interpretation - and it takes the innocence and the edge of a 13 year-old to really tie the room together: board games, a pinball machine, free soda, and some kinda Gumby lounger. And if you're lucky enough, you can coerce a date into jumping on your industrial size trampoline.

Heidi's apartment - The Lords of Salem
An obvious choice (from a criminally underrated flick). This is the first home in an RZ movie that isn't a house of corpses, a white trash garbage dump, or faux domesticity. This is the home of a middle-aged woman from Salem who fancies herself a bit of a low-income rock star, and her place accurately represents that: gothic art, extensive record collection, and the sleek/bleak color coordination. The demons fit right into the furnishings.

The Clubhouse - The Monster Squad
There's a handful of club & tree houses to choose from, but only one is entirely dedicated to horror cinema. Though like most of the locations on this list, we never really get enough scope to spot all the details, which only prompts repeat viewings in an attempt to catalogue all the posters, magazines, toys, and vintage Halloween paraphernalia.

Lowell's home office - The Insider
Maybe it's the excitement of embarking on a big project, or the coziness of doing it in the early grey hours of your day off in your pajamas - in any case, I've always found it implied the perfect atmosphere for watching the movie: with morning coffee, surrounded by literature and inspirational art & photography, before the day's tortious interference kicks in.

The Chelsea Drugstore - A Clockwork Orange
This movie has no shortage of luscious locales: Alex's room, Mr. Alexander's home, the milk bar... but this was the first to spring to mind -- perhaps because I've fantasized my whole life of record & media shops looking this way, only to find myself in a landscape of Best Buys and Circuit Cities.
The future may've been violent as predicted, but it's certainly not this colorful.



Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas -- The North Star Coffee Lounge

20 years ago this month, the movie adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas drove a hundred miles an hour with the top down into the heart of the American Dream. Critics and audiences alike largely dismissed the film, though this didn't deter me from seeing it four times in its very short theatrical run - skipping school on at least one occasion to squeeze in an extra dose of bad craziness.
It's fair to say that all films benefit from the full movie theater experience, but I certainly have my own exclusive mental list of stuff that just ain't the same on the home video format. Having viewed it both ways, I can confidently declare that the relentlessly colorful, loud hysteria of this savage journey is definitely dulled on even the biggest TV - or the smallest "device." Bluntly put, if you haven't survived it in the cinema, you haven't really taken the ride...
Big talk for a low-budget slapstick comedy. Though light as it is, the interpretation of Hunter Thompson & Ralph Steadman through Johnny Depp & Terry Gilliam (et al., respectively) makes for a more-than-adequately faithful translation of the source material: hilariously disorienting and exquisitely structureless; and so the climax of this 'story' is understandably untraditional and compellingly poignant.
Immediately following one of the more abrasive sequences in a movie full of abrasive sequences, everything - the writing, the directing, the performances, the laughs, the psychedelic songtrack - loosens up and then solidifies into a humid, sinister nightmare: reality. (Gilliam's at his best with these kinds of moods.) After the hysterical hysteria of the first 90 minutes, our two heroes slow down long enough for us to get a good look at them: Duke (Depp as Thompson's alter ego) as the hawk-eyed observer we already knew, and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro's loose portrayal of Oscar Acosta) as the batshit-crazy L.A. attorney whose political beliefs & proclivity for social & racial justice were admirable, but was still a dangerous drug fiend - a 'high-powered mutant' - and a goldmine for literary folklore.
In the scene, del Toro torments a helpless waitress played by Ellen Barkin, and after the events of this particular story, we truly don't know what will happen. But what does happen is why it is truly the punchline to this longwinded joke; the film (as the book did) calls attention to the conceited empire/colossal failure of post-1960s culture. You can draw a straight line between this scene and the final act of Easy Rider: The American Dream is such a ripe punchline for this (or any) point in time, and like any joke, it takes talented and intelligent humorists to emphasize the question mark it's always been - and still is.

- Paul 
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