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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

entry arrow10:00 AM | The Film Meme No. 88

[88th of 100]. The film that gets under the skin of my generation -- the slackers and the reluctant yuppies of Generation X -- the most is this 1992 Seattle-set movie from Cameron Crowe. This was when the city -- and the popular culture -- was abuzz with grunge music, and we were all howling existential angst to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Alanis Morissette, and Joan Osborne [until the shock of bubble gum pop crashed our party, for which I still harbor residual misgivings against Britney Spears and all those late-1990s boy bands]. But this film preserves that brief period in amber: the music, the raves, the specific pursuits for love [video dating!] and living [coffee houses!]. For that, it is the utmost perfection of a generational film, structured wittily in chapters, in episodes, and in shifting points-of-view, following around a group of twentysomethings populating an uptown apartment complex. It's a motley crew of fully realized types: a city planner looking to build a luxurious commuter train for the city's workforce while in pursuit of romance, a coffee-bar waitress looking to please her non-committal boyfriend by all means necessary [breast augmentation included], a rock musician/flower delivery boy looking for the elusive acclaim for his music and actively not looking for commitment, an NGO environmentalist looking for ways not to have her heart broken again, and a budding socialite looking desperately for a man to sweep her off her feet even if it means commissioning a tacky dating video that was my generation's equivalent of Tinder. They're all looking for love under the guises of their busy yuppie lives -- and in their conversations, fourth wall-breaking confessions, and encounters, we find ourselves incredibly drawn to their friendships, their notions of romance, their desperations to find meaning in their lives. Above all, there's the Seattle scene -- its locales and its culture [especially the music] -- that provides the glue, the organic matrix, to all these. The film exhibits a sharp use of place, with the city's characteristics embedded deep into the flow of the story, and it won't be farfetched to say this is Crowe's love letter to Seattle, which he renders on screen lovingly, energetically, and idiosyncratically. And all these interweaving narratives! It's truly a magical thing how Crowe balances all these disparate stories to make a cohesive statement about being single in the early 1990s and about belonging to a particular generation whose time for reckoning has come -- these are the oldest members of Generation X, after all, coming to terms with the changing of the generational guards just around the corner. When I do finally decide to write a feature film, I know it will be heavily influenced by this one, with Dumaguete standing in for Seattle. That's how deep in my consciousness this film has rooted itself in. I don't mind. What's the film?

For the introduction to this meme, read here.

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