Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tidbit: Shots of Serendipity

A few nights ago I was in the mood for a good sappy cheesy romance and that's exactly what I got in Serendipity (2001), with John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, and the beautiful Jeremy Piven, pre-Ari Gold. It's about star-crossed lovers who meet at Bloomingdale's in New York City a few days before Christmas, and on a whim (the chemistry was bubblin) go to ice cream at a little parlour named Serendipity (no, no, not cheesy at all). The problem is that both of them are already committed to other people. Beckinsale balks at the idea of directly giving Cusack her number, or even her name, choosing instead to follow her wonky "fate is all" ethos. She writes her name and number in a book she sells to a  second-hand bookshop, while Cusack writes his digits on a $5 bill. The idea is that if one of them comes across the other's info, they are meant to be together and will meet again.

Fast forward a few years later and of course they are both set to marry other people, but both still think about each other maniacally. After a series of ridiculous Shakespearean type slapstick mishaps, they do *SPOILER* of course wind up together, back in Bloomies. I know - just reading the plot description is entirely cringe-inducing, and the plot is completely ludicrous, but somehow the movie winds up loveable. John Cusack is kind of hot despite hitting on Beckinsale within three minutes of meeting her, Jeremy Piven shines as his hilarious best friend and the Watson to his Sherlock, and even wishy-washy Kate is alright. Also, great small-parters for both Eugene Levy as a stuck-up Bloomingdale's salesman and Molly Shannon as Beckinsale's realist best friend. Finally, New York lovers will be happy watching this movie, as the city figures in almost as another character itself: the Waldorf Astoria is a prominent backdrop, as is the Central Park Skating Rink.

The movie itself isn't really what I'm commenting on, though. One shot really caught my attention. It's a shot of the driving range, and it's one of those bald, full-frontal shots you rarely see in conventional films. I appreciate directors like Wes Anderson and Tim Burton for their use of geometric lines and this shot is an exceptional example.

I don't know, maybe it's because it reminds me of a dollhouse, a simultaneous peek into multiple lives and moments. Like something being sliced open, sliced in half, and you're omnipotent, looking in.

Also loved these shots just because it's an artist's gorgeous New York City loft with exposed brick and art everywhere.

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