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Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Our Top Five Favorite Movie Architects

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Architect seems to be the favorite job for movies to give a certain kind of character. Here’s a look at our top five fake architects, all for various reasons. Please add yours to our list in the comments section. And apologies to Gary Cooper for leaving you out, but I liked the book a lot more than the movie.

photo via Vancouver Lookout

5. Richard Gere in Intersection (1994). Yeah, this movie bombed at the box office, but the building they chose to pretend Gere’s character built was a superior choice. It’s the Musuem of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus, designed by architect Arthur Erickson and built in 1976 (with a stunning landscape designed by Cornelia Oberlander). The fact that the movie pretends this was designed and built in 1994 shows how successful and surprisingly timeless the mix of brutalist concrete and glass and how well it fits into the landscape are.

photo via moviescreenshots.blogspot.com

4. Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day. This tale of one woman trying to have it all is exhausting, and her work situation doesn’t seem all that realistic, but the breaking of the model, well, anyone who has ever dealt with one sure felt that pain. Man though, that is one ugly building, huh? I think the model deserved what it got.

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer (2009). We gotta give this movie props for being ahead of the chalkboard paint wall tipping point, and for using it better than anyone else has to date. I loved the way it fit in with the sketchy architectural graphics used in the movie as well. A broken heart and reassessment cause this sweet lovestruck man to drop out of the greeting card business in the funniest way ever, and rekindle his true passion, architecture. Plus, his love of architecture provides a lot of special moments from his favorite bench that overlooks the city. Kudos.

photo via Twentieth Century Fox

2. Matt Dillon in There’s Something About Mary (1998). Pat Healy is the fakest fake architect around. He claims he’s working on a soccer stadium in Santiago Chili, he skirts his way around answering what the difference between Art Deco and Art Noveau is, and he has a pocket full of Napelese coins. Chompers is an all-time sleazy favorite. And a big part of his sleaziness is that he’s claiming to be an architect when he’s not.

photo via hookedonhouses

1. And our favorite movie architect is … drumroll please … Steve Martin! The problem is, we can’t decide if we find him more appealing as the hapless Newton Davis HouseSitter (1992) or as the self-defeated sensitive guy who is giving Meryl Streep the kitchen of her dreams in It’s Complicated (2009). Well, who would redo that perfect Nancy Meyers movie kitchen anyway?”  Newton Davis reduced me to a puddle, laughing on the floor when he sang “Toorah Loorah Loorah,” so the winner is HouseSitter. We look forward to seeing Martin play another architect soon.

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Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Inspiration from Steve Martin

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I’m reading Steve Martin’s memoir, Born Standing Up. It’s a fun read, and I find myself folding back corners to go back to certain quotes that make me smile. He self-effacingly shares a letter he wrote to a girlfriend back when he was around 20 and just starting to put together about ten minutes worth of an act. Here’s the end of the letter and his commentary on it:

Then I added:

“I have decided my act is going to be avant-garde. It is the only way to do what I want.”

I’m not sure what I meant, but I wanted to use the lingo, and it was seductive to make these pronouncements. Through the years, I have learned there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.

First this made me laugh, thinking about how many people try so hard to be avant-garde without really knowing what the heck they are talking about, covering up bad design/art/performance with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo archispeak that no one is able to follow. But then the cynic in me shut up and I smiled at the lesson  Martin had gleaned from his insecurely pretentious former self. Remember to charge yourself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration!

Martin’s performing notes he jotted down after a magic show he performed as a kid.

Image by Steve Martin, as seen in Born Standing Up.

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