Suburban Life in America as Depicted in Cinema is quite Dystopian.

Some Films to Watch: 

All that Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)

American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999)

Back To The Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)

The ‘Burbs (Joe Dante, 1989)

Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)

The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)

The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)

Happiness (Todd Solndz, 1998)

It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

The Oranges (Julian Farino, 2011)

Pleasantville (Gary Ross, 1998)

The Stepford Wives (Bryan Forbes, 1975)

The Stepford Wives (Frank Oz, 2004)

The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998)

Some Academic Writing to Explain: 

“Hollywood’s anachronistic vision in this regard stands as testament to the profound cultural influence of the suburban landscape in the postwar years: for the development and subsequent massive expansion – particularly in the years and decades following the end of World War II – of ‘suburbia’ entailed the construction of not only a new kind of physical landscape, but new psychic and emotional landscapes as well.”

– Robert Beuka, “’Cue the Sun’: Soundings from Millennial Suburbia,” Iowa Journal of Culture Studies 3 (Fall 2003). Accessed Online. 

“Americans are obsessed with houses – their own and everyone else’s. We judge our selves and our neighbours by where and how we live.” 

– Dell Upton, Architecture in the United States (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 14. 

“The city started out as the culprit. But by the postwar era, the suburbs had elbowed their way into that maligned position – the site of social dysfunction and pathology. Hell, it seemed, moved from the city to the suburbs – like everyone else.” 

– Becky Nicolaides, ‘ How Hell Moved from the City to the Suburbs’ in The New Suburban History, eds. Kevin Kruse and Thomas Sugrue, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 80. 

 

How do you feel about your white picket fence now? 

CalArts and the Legendary Offsprings of room A113 are featured in Vanity Fair.

CalArts and the Legendary Offsprings of room A113 are featured in Vanity Fair.

Well, well, well… anyone who’s watched an animated film in the last 15 years has probably seen the result of this legendary class of Character Animation at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts). Most of PIXAR’s founding members were students of the classic Disney artists in the 70s and 80s. This Vanity Fair article is such a good summary and insight into the cultural climate and history of animation at the time – the lead up to the animation revival of the 1990s/2000s. It is definitely worth a read. (Just click on the photo to go to the article!!)

I get so inspired by this story (and this group of youngsters). But I think the lesson to take away from this is that you must be determined, hard-working, but also courageous to take risks and new opportunities. Today, there is no guarantee that graduating from CalArts will automatically lead you to become an animation director. These directors graduated at a different time in history and I believe that there will be a new wave of animation in the future. The question is, who is willing to create a new path and lead this revolution?

If you could witness any one event from history, which would it be, and why?

If I could witness one event, it would be the most creative lunch in history. In the summer of 1994, the key Pixar creatives (including John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter) had lunch in the Hidden City Café and brainstormed ideas for new films. That one lunch sparked the stories that would eventually become the following films: A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and WALL-EThose four films would eventually earn over one billion dollars of revenue, and it all started with a friendly conversation over French fries. I would choose this specific event because it has an element of myth and an element of inspiration. The story has become a part of the animation legend and a cornerstone moment in Pixar’s history.  True, it might not be as epic as Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream“ speech or the Battle of Waterloo, but it has importance to me personally. And I think there’s a lot to learn about life, storytelling, and business from that one legendary lunch.

And the story was even featured in the teaser trailer for Andrew Stanton‘s WALL-E as a form of marketing. Check it out!

Coca-Cola at the Movies.

Coca-Cola at the Movies.

Some key dates:

1. It’s generally accepted that cinema was invented around 1895 with the first film made for projection: Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory. In the beginning, it is silent and in black-in-white (the first Coca-Cola bottle).

2. The first feature-lenght sound film to be projected was The Jazz Singer in 1929. However, not all studios immediately transitioned and believed that this evolution to talkies is good for the art form of cinema. Nevertheless, sound becomes the industry standard by the 1932-33.

3. The transition to technicolor changed the film industry between 1922-1955. This artistic transition varied the use of colour vs. black-and-white. Examples of this time: His Girl Friday, The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain (and the second Coca-Cola Bottle).

4. Hollywood started experimenting with 3D technology in the 1950s with Cinerama and 3D projectors. However, ultimately the technology was abandoned until it re-appeared in the mid-1980s with IMAX. According to the MPAA report of 2012, 41% of the screens in the US are equip for 3D projection, there were 36 3D films released in the US last year, and 48% of US viewers have watched at least one 3D movie in 2012That brings us to today (and the third Coca-Cola Bottle).

5. The Coca Cola Company was founded in 1886. So funnily enough, it’s history is about as long as cinema.

Oh how far we’ve come! Time to put on my 3D glasses…. or maybe we won’t need them in the future?