Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Truth Can Be Adjusted, But Why Bother?

For some reason I can't get over this. You all saw Michael Clayton, right? Terrific picture. A connected woman who watches DVDs with me was able to score that one before its official release date and we checked it out, knowing in advance about its BIG SECRET. Said secret being that parts were shot up in this area two years ago.

At the time it was embarrassing: George Clooney on the front page of the paper for a couple of days, area hausfraus quoted, gushing about getting styled so they'd look pretty while they dropped everything in order to stand outside and catch a glimpse of the chin-cleft and the hair.

But having seen it, I can't get it out of my head. Not just because it presented a rare opportunity for Clooney to unleash powerful emotions and present a less in-control character than he's often asked to, nor for the impeccable acting of the supporting cast (including the Oscar-winning Tilda Swinton, who was as understated and tense as a hidden bridge cable). No, it was mostly because OMG! where his car blows up? That's where I go running!

We're watching those couple of scenes of him driving through the country, both of us narrating, "Ah, he's on Clove...okay, turning onto Otterkill." "Wait, there are no horses there, the horses are on Woodcock Mountain Road." "That's artistic license." "Oh but look, there's the viaduct." "Cool."

I guess what I like, in addition to my connection to and insider knowledge about that specific area -- one of my favorite places anywhere -- is that the filmmakers (former resident Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter & director) created a character from that particular obscure town, then managed to get the thing shot in that town. The authenticity of which is apparent to a relatively small number of non-Hollywood people, so you wonder why. But then, our last house was a bi-level with precisely the same layout as the father's house in the film (down the block from my running buddy's house), and when you recognize that, you know so very much about those characters, understand something about their lives, dreams, pressures.

And when you see Clooney fleeing from his exploded car, running up the Jessup Trail onto Schunnemunck, you're like "Dude, remember when the Lad had to pee that time while we were hiking? That was right there! Watch out George, don't step in it!"


Bill Braine said...

Interestingly, I'd always thought that this film was done by the same area resident who did Copland, but no -- that was directed by James Mangold, another graduate of the same school (who also did 3:10 to Yuma, another great film from last year). Go Washingtonville!

Anonymous said...

This may sound really bizarre, but I feel this same way when I see movies shot in NYC. I literally get choked up when I see, on the big screen, scenes of NY (I should add that I don't go to the movies very often). My hometown! I always think when I see it. I lived in NYC the first 30 years of my life, then moved upstate and never looked back. And I don't visit all that often. But don't things in movies sometimes hit you even more than they would in real life? I think Alex of A Clockwork Orange said something to this effect.

Suzanne said...

With your "Six Degrees to George Clooney", you guys are practically A-listers! That's pretty cool. It would have been really sweet if when George Clooney ran down the road, you were there in the background, beating on your broken lawn mower or something. (By the way, I still haven't seen the movie, but I will... if for no other reason than to see where your kid peed on a hike.)

wcs said...

Come on-a my house, my house a come on. I'm gonna give you candy.

Bill Braine said...

Yes, aunt Rose was there too. (Man, you're lucky Google exists.)