Which Movie Captures Your Part of the World? Tell Me, and You Might Win a Great Book.

Which Movie Captures Your Part of the World? Tell Me, and You Might Win a Great Book. November 21, 2014

Cinematic States“This is really wonderful stuff. Thoughtful, unique, insightful, and funny. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read.”

That’s what Scott Teems, director of Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey and That Evening Sun, and writer for the hit TV series Rectify, says about Cinematic States, the new book by my friend, the Northern Irish film enthusiast and author Gareth Higgins.

Marc Cousins, the brilliant film scholar who created the best documentary series on cinematic history that I’ve ever seen, The Story of Film, calls this book “a thing of beauty.”

“His combination of movie love, wit, sinsitivity, perception, compassion, and wisdom make Cinematic States a constant joy to read.” So says the great film critic Glenn Kenny.

Me, I have found a kindred spirit. Like me, Gareth Higgins has taught the Image film seminar at The Glen Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Like me, he’s a huge fan of Robert Altman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Terrence Malick. And as with me, one of his role models is Kermit the Frog. He’s a born storyteller, and I could listen to him for hours (in fact, I have listened to him for hours). He seems to have more stories to draw from his personal experience than most human beings twice his age.

I don’t read very many books about movies. That’s because it’s hard to find books about movies that are personal, passionate, and interested in more than just the movies themselves. In Cinematic States, Higgins explores every state in America by considering important films that are set there. And in doing so, he also reveals a personal geography full of compelling stories and poignant observations. It’s a road trip and a film festival. And it can be yours. You don’t have to pay anything — I already paid the full price for this copy just for the privilege of supporting Gareth’s work and the joy of sharing it.

I’d love to give you an autographed copy of this book, which I’ve enjoyed so much. Before I draw a name from this hat, be sure your name is inside! Here’s how:

Send me a paragraph or two about the movie (or movies) that best capture the character, the spirit, the details of your neighborhood, or your city, or your state.

You can submit your entry as a Comment, or you can email it to me at joverstreet@gmail.com.

I’ll accept submissions until Thanksgiving Day, so get going! Time is short.

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4 responses to “Which Movie Captures Your Part of the World? Tell Me, and You Might Win a Great Book.”

  1. Get Low (2009) starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black surprised me with the way it captured life in the South. I don’t remember it being set in Georgia although some scenes were filmed there, but it did depict life in the 1930s as my father, a Georgia native, described it. There were several characters that I “recognized” as family members and friends.

  2. I grew up in southern California, about an hour north of Los Angeles. And as southern Californians tend to do, I’ve ranged over the Greater Los Angeles Area… There are two movies that, storyline aside, really capture the aesthetic of the LA area: Chinatown (1974) and Nightcrawler (2014). Chinatown not only features the architecture and spirit of LA in the 1950s (architecture that we see this day), but also the desert and agricultural expanses of the surrounding valley. Nightcrawler, both in story and in visuals, is intimately tied to LAs roads and freeways, another prominent feature of LA life (one only need to see the SNL parody “The Californians” to see that So Cal residents define themselves by their freeways). Street signs and lights, underpasses, lower class neighborhoods, wealthy mansions, the corner cigarette shop, Venice Beach — all the landmarks that I grew up with in southern California and know so well.

  3. SILVER CITY by John Sayles perfectly captures most of the issues Colorado is still working through–the history of mining and the current problems mining has caused, racism and the poverty/enslavement of migrant workers, drugs and alcoholism, the population explosion of the single and nouveau fit in the Front Range, the squishy line between politics and land development, the commoditization of the land and natural beauty, the clash between die-hard liberals in the city and die-hard conservatives in the mountains…All couched in a great tale of the danger of powerful self-interest, the search for meaning and truth, and how the promise of self-actualization and fulfillment that Colorado offers to the rest of the nation gets twisted by those trying to take it all for themselves. It has a fantastic ensemble cast and it was filmed on location–a rarity for movies set in Colorado. Most people who have seen it have disliked it, but as a 4th generation Denverite, I love it and Roger Ebert’s review is right on the money (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/silver-city-2004).

  4. On 11/28, The Overnighters opens in Phoenix, AZ – it’s a documentary about a pastor set in my formerly small hometown of Williston, ND. So I guess I won’t meet your deadline, but I expect the movie will be amazing.