What has Hollywood done for the Modernist lately?

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What has Hollywood done for the Modernist lately?

Postby N.U.Mod » Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:56 pm

COLD…It’s a word that has been used to describe modern architecture and interiors ad nauseam. Turn on any HGTV show and hear the perky show hosts use that word with the proverbial curl of the lip, and scrunching of the nose. This one single word just erodes the very core of my being. There is such beauty in simplicity and sometimes it just amazes me that people don’t see it. It’s a vulnerability, depth and insightfulness that goes beyond simply a “lookâ€￾ but goes to a lifestyle, a philosophy and core values. But for this concept to be realized by the mainstream, we have to recognize that it’s all about perception. And perception must involve all of our senses plus a sixth sense that is more cerebral….that evokes meaning and purpose in things beyond the visual.

Modern architecture and interiors is well known for the most innovative use of materials. So is it just me or why would a dwelling that uses large expanses of glass to become more a part of nature be “coldâ€￾? Why would the notion of open and airy spaces be considered “coldâ€￾? Why would being environmentally responsible be “coldâ€￾? Concrete is one of the most energy efficient materials and yet the “coldâ€￾ moniker is used here quite frequently. Why is a space that strives to improve indoor air quality “coldâ€￾? Why is a person that wants to focus on the simple more important things in life and not have to deal with the clutter that clouds our focus considered “coldâ€￾?

OK, on a lighter note, as philosophical as that all sounds to most, one industry that could potentially help the evolution of the positive perception of modern design is “Hollywoodâ€￾ or the television and film industry. You see, I consider myself to be a bit of a movie and TV lover of sorts and I am fascinated by the art that is set design; So fascinated in fact, that I keep a list of all the really dynamic modern spaces, that I love, that have been used in movies and television to assist in “telling the story.â€￾ But here again, as much as I revel in these spaces, the telling of the story has begun to sort of haunt my sensibilities. Why do you ask? Well, is it just me or do the inhabitants of the “movie modern homeâ€￾ usually have some semblance of darkness, detachment, psychosis, or all of the above? Gregg Henry in Body Double…Mel Gibson in What Women Want…Stellan Skarsgard in The Glass House…Patrick Bergen in Sleeping with the Enemy…Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List…The Rock in The Game Plan…Diane Keaton in Baby Boom…Kevin Costner in Mr. Brooks…Billy Campbell in Enough…Glenn Close in Damages…Wynona Ryder’s lovely parents in Beetlejuice…just to name a few. If people that “belongâ€￾ in these types of spaces are undesirable, and this is what is presented to the public, and 2 + 2 = 4, then no wonder the lip curl and scrunched noses when people say “modern.â€￾ I caught a great movie recently on cable starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling called Fracture. Hopkins’ home was a stunning modern masterpiece and featured the most amazing Rube Goldbergesque sculptures. He of course was the “murderer.â€￾ At one point Gosling’s character, the ADA, asked one of the officers to describe the style of the home. And the officer’s informed response?? HOMICIDAL MODERN.

I guess the part of it that baffles me is that I reside in the part of the country where it is very hard to find a modern dwelling amongst the abundant center hall colonials. But in California, or where I perceive that production for movies and television starts, it is a style that is much more prevalent. And therein is the source of my confusion. Help us out here Hollywood! I mean Diane Keaton’s character in Baby Boom did not become a desirable person until she moved to her country cottage! I guess we are to assume that the characters that go through their “enlightenment phaseâ€￾ and become wonderful, lovable people move to a country cottage in the sequel. (Unless of course, they were killed by the good guy in part one!) It seems to me that there is indeed a connection between personality and lifestyle that cannot be ignored and is being subliminally expressed to the masses.

There is one movie that is the exception. Do you remember the original Back to the Future flick? Remember when Marty McFly came back to the present at the end of the movie? Remember when he walked into the living room and almost passed out? Remember how his parents’ house looked AFTER his dad mustered up the courage to knock Biff’s block off? They had, in fact, become very cool, confident and contemporary people. Thanks for that one, Hollywood.

Is it just me?

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What has Hollywood done for the Modernist lately?

Postby AJ Fisher » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:31 pm

Seems like Hollywood depicts a lot of modern home interiors in commercials; everything from pharmaceuticals, glass cleaner, fast-food, cell phone plans, and more. They seem very common, perhaps more frequently than the actual occurrence of modern home ownership in the general population?

Of course Hollywood has shown great modern design in some recent movies. In addition to the aforementioned Incredibles, other movies that come to mind are Charlies Angel's which depicted a "Chemosphere-inspired" house. The sequel movie Full Throttle was partially filmed in the Sheats/Goldstein house (designed by architect John Lautner) in Beverly Hills. The Transformers movie had Optimus Prime landing in the swimming pool of modern home. I don't know if it was real or not. Iron Man alterego Tony Stark had a modern home/workshop albeit a digital creation and creative sets. Personally, I really appreciated the Futurist/Space-Age/Googie stylings of the Men in Black movies and their headquarters facility.

I am sure there are many others. I think Hollywood does a decent job of promoting appreciation for modernist spaces. i have seen some "painful" hgtv episodes too however.

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Postby robbhouston » Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:54 am

The Stahl home, Case Study House 22, was in the movie Galaxy Quest. It appeared as the home of Time Allen's character Jason Nesmith.

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Postby Izzy » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:17 pm

Polite and Cordial

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