Monday, April 18, 2005
Reading a New York Times article about economic life in Norway, I was suddenly startled, and then realized I was reassured, when the writer dropped a reference to a film that was over 20 years old. Bruce Bawer’s sentence says, “In 2003, when my partner and I took his teenage brother to New York - his first trip outside of Europe - he stared boggle-eyed at the cars in the Newark Airport parking lot, as mesmerized as Robin Williams in a New York grocery store in ‘Moscow on the Hudson.’” Initially, it was startling to think of how long it’s been since the writer has been to a movie, or how odd that his editor didn’t flag this as an outdated (or obsolete) reference point. What I found reassuring, about a heartbeat later, was that it confirmed two of Metaphilm’s chief suspicions: 1.) that online, time is irrelevant and 2.) that a good film, no matter the passage of time, really has become the chief form of cultural shorthand for making a concise rhetorical point—something Walker Percy found to award-winning effect as early as 1961 with The Moviegoer. My third suspicion, and this may just be me, was that many readers probably appreciated Bawer’s sentence despite not having not seen the film in question—and have now added Moscow On The Hudson to their list of DVD’s to rent.