Guilted into it (by me)
This is my first San Pedro Magazine column, published in March 2008, mostly verbatim. I need to re-buy thispedrothing.com, so I'll swap out that link, and I'll put my main email instead of thispedrothing [at] yahoo because I never check that one anyway.
I'm going to bed now, but I'll put up images later when I get up.
Here's the thing: If you live in Pedro (as I do) and you watch movies and TV (guilty) you begin to notice a certain phenomenon. It didn't become really clear to me until I was visiting relatives in Springfield, MO. We were watching TV and in the space of a half-hour I must've seen San Pedro on the screen five or six times! It dawned on me that although this is a common experience for a San Pedran it doesn't happen too often to people in, say, Springfield, MO. I asked if there had ever been a movie filmed in Springfield an got the answer, "Yeah, they filmed one here, once." I know almost everybody in Pedro can name at least two movies filmed here off the top of their heads, and that is what inspired me to start documenting movies shot in Pedro at http://devojane.blogspot.com/, and now here in San Pedro Magazine!
I'll start with one of my favorite Pedro movies, The Big Lebowski. This 1998 Coen Brothers picture starred Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore and Steve Buscemi. It is a fantastic modern-day riff on film noir, inverting many of the cliches and characters of detective fiction. Jeff Bridges plays "The Dude", a pot-smoking bowler who finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue he never asked for. The plot is convoluted (in a good way), but I'm not going to rehash it here; I just want to give away the ending.
The movie closes on a scene shot at a San Pedro landmark: the cliffs of Sunken City are instantly recognizable to locals, but are hard to place for folks from out of town. The Dude (Bridges) and Walter (Goodman) come to Sunken City to dispose of the remains of their friend and bowling team partner, Donny (Buscemi). They bring his ashes in a large coffee can, and after a few words, Walter casts Donny's remains to the winds... which are blowing directly in The Dude's face. He gets angry at the ashes and Walter's needlessly politicized eulogy, but Walter apologizes and calms him down by saying, "Hey, fuck it, man. Let's go bowling." It's a tender moment.
Phillip Ginder is a Longshoreman and film enthusiast who has lived in San Pedro all his life. He can be contacted at devodobbs at the domain yahoo dot you know what.
Labels: The Big Lebowski