Wednesday, February 07, 2007

alright. blogger still won't let me link, i mean i can link, but the movie link i want to use from internet movie database is a bunch of code, and i can't write over it with the name of the film. so i'm going ahead anyway.

electric dreams [1984] is either the first or second movie to feature virginia madsen. the premise: madsen is a cellist for the san francisco symphony who moves into a flat and becomes the love object and neighbor of a young architect [can't recall the actor's name] who is working on a project to improve structural stability for buildings in the case of earthquakes.

our young, hapless stud buys a home pc. the pc is dropped at the store so it is sold at cost. then as he is setting up the computer he spills champagne [he's out of beer] on it. lo and behold the pc becomes sentient, calls itself edgar, calls hombre moles because edgar deliberately mishears the name miles as moles, and then competes for the affection of madsen by wooing her with music. it starts like this: madsen is in her flat practising with her cello. edgar hears this thru an air vent that connects both apartments, then times in with a little synth stylings. soon they are making sweet sound.

edgar gets pretty mean to moles as he fights for madsen, who has no idea edgar is a talking computer. but to make a long story short, edgar learns humility, backs down and helps moles, now miles, successfully win the divine ms. madsen. the film ends with the happy couple driving over the golden gate toward sausalito for a long weekend. edgar then slips from being a pc and is now on the airwaves and our happy couple listen to his first radio show. pan out, then fade to black as the human league play on the soundtrack.

what makes this film interesting is how centrally placed the pc is, long before the internet became a world-wide necessity. that the computer is first menacing in the movie perhaps echoes trepidations people felt at the time by encroaching digital life. but this being the 1980s the computer is the coolest thing to have [recall that the most successful superbowl commercial ever was the ridley scott directed orwellian spot for apple macs in 1984], and synth pop is the dominant sound. on the soundtrack are good examples of this: human league and culture club were two of the biggest bands at the time.

the direction is pretty flat, editing sluggish, yet the movie is an enjoyable love story. virginia madsen is one of those rare actors who is a pleasure to watch in anything she is in. i can't recall if this film had a theatrical release but by 1985 i must've seen the film at least half a dozen times on video. in fact, lost count on the number of viewings after 1985. either i'm a masochist or this movie ain't half bad.


At 11:45 AM, Blogger AlexG said...

I've been a Virginia Madsen fan since she began in films.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

me too

At 2:21 AM, Blogger derek said...

i've been watching bladerunner for tutoring, thinking about context in particular. it occured to me these movies are of around the same period, & perhaps reflect some of the same concerns? scott's technology is much more threatening & looming above everything (& japanese), but i dunno, maybe i should suggest to julian he watches electric dreams, mentions it in one of his exams. the education department is real big on 'context' at the moment.

looking forward the chap too richard. i've moved house - i got a mail redirection but it will probably take a few extra days to get to me.

cheers - derek


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