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Well it was kinda cold that night
She stood alone on her balcony
Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441 like waves crashin’ on the beach
American Girl/Tom Petty

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This sign for The Florida Motel is a piece of timeless Florida tourism that I love photographing. It’s located on Highway 441 in Gainesville, Florida not far from the University of Florida campus.

In ten years this sign will probably end up in a Manhatten museum— or a bar in Brooklyn.

Scott W. Smith

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It’s not a hippy hill now—it’s actually a nice bed and breakfast area in Gainesville, Florida. But back in the ’60s and ’70s it got the nickname of the hippy hill because hippies lived in mass quantities in the then run-down Victorian homes on 7th Street.

In the home I photographed above upwards of 30 hippies called this home at one time. Legend has it that Tom Petty lived (crashed?) here for a while in the early days of his musical career when he made his living playing in the college town that’s home to the University of Florida.

Tonight I’m actually staying in a cottage next door that’s part of a different bed and breakfast and that’s where I first heard about Petty’s connection. Two doors down from this B&B is The Magnolia Plantation (photograph below) which before it was restored in 1990 their literature says, “Hippies and college students had inhabited it for 30 years. It was more like Animal House than a Victorian mansion.” They pulled out 20 mattresses and seven couches from this house before the restoration began.

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I don’t know if any former hippies own any of these bed and breakfasts these days, but that would make for a pretty interesting story.

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Related article: Gainesville: Where Tom Petty’s Dreams Began by Marty Jourard

Scott W. Smith

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I took this photo in an alley (complete with trash bins) while in St. Petersburg, Florida this week. There are dozens of large murals on buildings throughout the greater downtown area. This one by Derek Donnelly is located in the Northside Alley in the 500 Block of Central Ave. Here’s an interactive map showing where all of the murals are located and the artists who painted them.

Scott W. Smith

“The only difference between me and a madman is that I’m not mad.”
Salvador Dali

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Quick day trip to St. Petersburg, Florida today where I visited The Dali Museum. Because my mom was a middle school art teacher I grew up looking at Salvador Dali’s work in books. Trust me, looking at his Persistence of Memory as a young child will mess you up.  And if that doesn’t, seeing his film Un Chien Andalou (as I did in film school) will. What I didn’t know until today is Dali had a pre and post-surrealist period body of work.

His work was a mix of philosophy, science, and religion that’s mystified me my entire life. I’ve always said if I ever worked on a Ph.D. dissertation I’d want to do it on the brain and creativity. And I imagine that’s rooted in being exposed to the life and work of Dali and Van Gogh before I was 10-years-old.

P.S. Another thing you can’t get from books is the large size of some of Dali’s paintings.

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Scott W. Smith

“Evelyn is nine months pregnant, because A Quiet Place wasn’t stressful enough with labor and the threat of a screaming newborn.”
Jordan Crucchiola
Let’s Talk About the NAil Scene in A Quiet Place

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I know it’s only May, but Evelyn (Emily Blunt) in A Quiet Place gets my movie character mother of the year vote. If you’ve seen any of the promotional material it’s not really a  spoiler to say that in the photo above Blunt’s character is eight months pregnant,  there’s a monster in the house, and she can’t make a sound or she’ll die. Yeah, movie character mother of the year.

P.S. When people think back to movies in 2018 I wouldn’t be surprised if the iconic image if from the bathtub scene. It’s hard enough to get a movie made, much less get one that both critic like and finds a huge audience—but to toss in something iconic is off the charts amazing.

Scott W. Smith

 

When I first saw A Quiet Place the films Alien, The Birds, and Them came to mind. But later shades of a strange mix of films have also popped into my mind like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (monster in the house) and  Spielberg’s TV movie Duel. But what I didn’t think about was what Michael Phillips and Adam Kempenaar talked about on the Filmspotting podcast. Here’s an abridged version of their 25-minute conversation on A Quiet Place:

Michael Phillips: Why do I keep thinking of Shane and High Noon when I think about this rugged frontier clan fending off the hostiles in A Quiet Place? Is this some sort of bizarre hybrid of a western and a monster movie in a survivalist anthem?

Adam Kempenaar: I didn’t really think about westerns and High Noon. Though, of course, you get this idea in maybe like Rio Bravo where they’re sort of trapped in a certain spot and, yes, you do have the villains on the outside and you’re trying to survive.

Michael: [It is] in a peculiar way a western—with critters in it. It’s a bizarre hybrid of genres, but it seems to be really hitting people’s appetite very well.  And I can see why. 

Adam: It is about this idea of life of going on. The fact that you’ve got this family who are trying to live as relatively a normal life as they can. There is this sense of purpose. They’re still having school, [the mother is] still teaching her son how to divide properly because there’s this hope, there’s this thought that maybe someday math will matter again. And maybe it won’t be in a larger societal context. Maybe it will just be in the context of you trying to stay alive. The fact that they’re teaching them to fish and provide for yourself—depsite the hopelessness and the despair it would also be our instincts as human beings to do what we would normally do. Or try to make it as normal and to survive and have that sense of hope as opposed to letting everything overwhelm you.

Michael: This film for better or for worse is a completely sincere, unironic embrace of family values. And it’s the most family-values friendly horror film— I guess if you want to call it that—how do you characterize this thing?

Adam: I don’t know.

Michael: It’s running two or three genres at once.  I think the reason it was a huge success opening weekend and I suspect will continue to do well is it really is kind of a red state, blue state crossover. 

Note: A Quiet Place, after a month in theaters, continues to do well.  According to Box Office Mojo it came in third last night. And not only in red and blue or purple states—but overseas as well (whatever color that’s supposed to be) crossing the $250 million mark at the worldwide box office. Perhaps part of the crossover genius of A Quiet Place is you take two micro-budget indie filmmakers (Scott Beck and Bryan Woods) with a heart for Hollywood films, mix that with an actor known for his comedic chops on The Office (John Krasinski) and have him do a pass on the script and direct the movie, and then toss in big-budget Hollywood action director  of Armageddon and Transformers (Michael Bay) and have him produce the film and you’re bound to have something interesting.

Scott W. Smith

A Quiet Place has now been out in theaters for a whole month and still came in #3 at the box office this weekend. You could also say it entered full culture iconic status over the weekend when Saturday Night Live spoofed it with their A Kanye Place skit.

And also over the weekend, Scott Myers at Go Into the Story concluded a six-part interview with A Quiet Place screenwriters Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Here’s an excerpt that touches on the great opening of that movie without really spoiling it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

Very early on, the idea that attracted us was opening with a completely idyllic farmscape and what appears to be the perfect family living out the perfect life. Little by little, as this family starts to move about their farmhouse, we start to realize that there are weird things going on.

They’re putting padding on the walls. They’re wearing shoe covers on their feet. They don’t seem to be speaking very much. Everything is really quiet. It all builds up to that Monopoly scene where there’s a noise and we realize, ‘Oh, there’s creatures out there. If they make a noise, then they’re in danger.’

That’s how it started. Then it started to evolve more into this Jaws opening, where we set the stakes up immediately. We would pay full credit to John [Krasinski] for going this dark this early, but we love it.
Screenwriter Bryan Woods
Scott Myers/Go Into The Story  interview with Bryan Woods & Scott Beck

P.S. Congrats to Scott Myers for his excellent blog being named recently to the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers list. This month his blog celebrated its 10th anniversary and I’ve been a fan of his site since way back in 2008.

Scott W. Smith

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