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Good Movies Set in SF; Recent Netflix Movies

I like good movies and I really like ones set in SF. I believe someone on Amazon has a list or two like this. The next two obvious candidates are Bullitt and Vertigo.

Mice and I have both commented that watching old movies set in SF elicits one reaction uniformly:

Look at all that parking!

I started my collection Friday with the special edition of Basic Instinct. You’ll all recall a certain white dress scene, but other than that the movie was smart, sexy, and intense.

This edition features commentary from “Do-me feminism” matriarch Camille Paglia (whom I lament not being on salon.com still) so I think it should be good through multiple viewings.


I also watched Disc one of season 1 of the Sopranos – yes I’m reaching this cultural tidal wave a bit late - but I never have the discipline to watch anything over and over week in and week out (sans TiVo).

Even with TiVo I wind up with 3 episodes or so stacked back to back – for all that I might as well just wait till the DVD comes out. I’ve missed the day-after water-cooler discussion so I might as well wait a few more months to catch the whole thing back-to-back.

I also caught Almodovar’s Talk to Her which was an interesting exploration of obsession and ones memory of the dead – even when the dead are merely comatose.

By the way, any tips on getting a date with one of the stars, Leonor Watling, would be appreciated.

It was nice to see Spain again - even if only on film.

An interesting third movie I caught was an Italian film called Mal?na starring the cripplingly beautiful Monica Bellucci.

Now when I say “crippling beautiful” I say this as a testament to her abilitity to meet the casting director’s strict requirment of ‘cripplingly beautiful woman that women will hate (and/or be suspicious of) and all men will make dogs of themselves for’ - because that is what the rest of the cast proceeds to do through the two hour run of the film.

The film is going over familiar territory (following the myth of dressing-down a goddess): a beautiful woman becomes a beautiful widow as Italians are used by the Nazis as distraction in Northern Africa.

She is virtuous, proud, and beautiful.

Nature abhors the beautiful and the good as the widow, not a native of her husband’s village, suffers catcalls, the ubiquitious air sucking in as she walks, the false politeness elderly gropers…and the women are much worse.

Their hatred of her is from an even more complex part of the psyche. She is slighted at the market, gossip-mongered by the women, and even tried for being an adulteress. This film is such an interesting exploration of the competitive-for-men streak of women. It’s something that I think very few women are willing to admit they have (after all, in modern times, how does a woman need a man? How would it be worth fighting for? ).

The situation reaches an interesting head where with everyone beleiving her to be a prostitute, she ultimately (out of hunger) finds herself forced to comply. Regrettably her compliance was with a few too many retreating Nazis, thus leading to a final dishonoring at the hands of the townswomen.

…and all this is recounted by an innocent adolescent, turning from a boy to a man, and seeing how foul the men are, how cold the women are, finds his sturm und drang rage boiling into blind frustration. This cold and dark part of the movie I described above, is bookended by our narrator’s blind and innocent love for her.

Ultimately, the film was very thought-provoking.

Contrary to Lars von Trier (whose films I absolutely hate), this tale of society’s damaging of virtuous characters came from a warmer place, a place where the characters were not cut-outs set up exclusively to create a grotesque scene whence von Trier could get his thanatotic rocks off by killing / maiming / raping said virtuous characters.