On Sunday afternoon I went to go see the new Oliver Stone film Savages and I haven’t stopped thinking about since. If you ignore the fact that the plot of this unabashedly lurid movie is completely over the top & questionably violent at times, the film has a lot going for it: Homegrown Talent (it stars BC boy Taylor Kitsch who grew up in my Mom’s hometown), strong female characters (Salma Hayek as a ruthless female drug-lord) , Weeds star Demian Bichir (hubba hubba) and Benecio Del Toro as a crazy-eyed villain who’s now been added to my list of “fictional characters I would hate to run into in a dark alley.”
It also brings together a bunch of things I’m into – hot guys, hot girls, violent drug cartels and steamy threesome scenes, served up with a side of shoot-em-up-action. Who doesn’t enjoy a sun & surf -menage-a- trois- meets -drug- running- action- flick in the summertime? However, it’s the imagery of the film captured that has really stuck with me: the sun, the surf, Blake Lively’s boho-chic wardrobe, everyone’s sunkissed skin and the shores of Laguna Beach. When I walked out of the theatre it hit me why I liked the movie and was so excited to see it: It’s about California!
As some of you already know, I’m obsessed with all things California and have been for as long as I remember. As a teenager I’d lie on my bed reading and re-reading Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat series which are set in a magical, sparkle filled version of LA where punk shows and Jayne Mansfield film retrospectives reign supreme, often daydreaming about what it would be like to grab a shake at Oki Dog or a sandwich at Canter’s Deli. When I was working in my corporate office job, I’d come home and watch back to back episodes of Veronica Mars, wishing I could actually go visit the fictional Neptune, California. I’ve also read Armistead Maupin’s San Francisco based series Tales Of The City, at least 8 times. The idea of California as a mythical place took hold early and never let go.
From old Afred Hitchcock films like Vertigo, movies about girl gangs in LA, the show Californication, to my weird obsession with the original 90210 series, I’ll pretty much consume any story-line that takes place in California – even if it’s bordering on terrible. Except Entourage. I refuse to watch any story that involves a character named “Turtle”, unless he’s teenage and mutant. Raise your hands if you’re with me.
I’ve been to Northern California before, however my California obsession really took hold when I visited Los Angeles for the first time in 2010. We stayed at a 1960’s motel near the beach in Santa Monica, ate fish Tacos on the pier, hung out in Venice Beach (Hank Moody’s stomping grounds), and consumed my body weight in cheap Mexican Food. Although I nearly had an asthma attack from the pollution while shopping on Melrose, I still loved every minute of it.
Lately I’ve become obsessed with reading California based blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere, This Time Tomorrow, and my #BiSC buddy Kinsey’s blog. I love California girls, California guys and even faux California guys (oh hi, Taylor Kitsch) My obsession with all things California, has clearly reached ridiculous proportions.
I’ve learned that almost everyone has that place, the one that captures your imagination and owns a piece of your heart. One of my best friends loves and dreams of New York City, another has a love affair with all things Parisian, and one of my friends can’t imagine ever living anywhere other than the Pacific Northwest where she was born and raised. California reminds me a lot of where I grew up, except warmer, brighter and with palm trees. While my friend dreams of Brooklyn brownstones, I imagine my dream home as a chic bungalow with a palm tree out front and a pool in the back.
My obsession with living in California is obviously a fantasy at this point. As I’ve learned, sometimes your fantasy doesn’t live up to reality. However, I’d like to find out for myself someday.
A short trip to California in the near future is definitely in order. Until then, I think I need this print for my bedroom.
Where does your heart live? East Coast? West Coast? Barcelona? Tibet? Please share!