What is most enjoyable in the movie is the Americana kitsch and the setting, filmed from a foreigner's perspective: the Corkscrew Saloon where the couple speak together, the bright supermarket, the hotel pool area and -- especially -- the landscapes of Death Valley.
For my father especially -- smart, good-looking and adept at playing monopoly and poker, which is what inhabitants of the Junction engaged in during those long desert nights -- life on the frontier was full of romance.
After I saw 22 Jump Street, I noted publicly that, while it was funnier than 21 Jump Street, so was my root canal. (Although the latter did include laughing gas.) Still, the bar wasn't particularly high.
The place, ablaze with lights and crowds, just begs to be turned into an art arena. It's the exact opposite of a serene gallery or museum space. And it absolutely requires a display that reveals this dilemma. How to grab and hold a viewer's attention amid all that hustle?
USC students and spring break have stereotypical incarnations as bacchanalia at places like Cabo San Lucas, but this spring break I had the pleasure of sharing a day with a group of USC students who were spending their week volunteering for the National Park Service in Death Valley.
I once heard the hypothetical that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the face of the earth would have changed. And I wonder, if I had stayed in a trailer high on Telescope Peak in Death Valley, how would the world be different now?