A few weeks back, I finally got to see Eyes of Laura Mars. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) is a fashion photographer whose taken her photos to new—and controversial—heights by staging them as graphic violence. As the movie starts, she finds herself able to see through a killer’s eyes as he begins murdering people close to her and staging them like her photos. As the show progresses, we find there are previous murders—though not of people she knows—that were done the same way. In these cases, she’s staged photos that look like confidential police crime scene pictures.
I can’t say I was overly impressed with the movie. It’s very 1970s—hearing a KC and the Sunshine Band song definitely rooted it there—and they don’t miss any opportunity to show off Faye Dunaway’s legs. I’ve never been all the impressed with her acting anyway. It’s always looked too much like acting to me. Nothing natural about it.
But a review of the movie isn’t the purpose of this post. The story takes place in New York City, which always seems to be the center of all things beautiful, for some reason. During the time this movie was filmed, disco was big, and the famed Studio 54 was in full effect.
I’ve seen several movies set in New York City, and I always come away from them with one question: Why in the world would anyone want to live there? To me, it looks claustrophobic, dirty, and just a generally unpleasant place to live.
I’ve never been there personally, and it’s not high on my bucket list, but I have been to other cities: New Orleans, Houston, LA, Nashville, Boston, even Frankfurt and Nuremburg, Germany. Of them all, I’d say only Boston comes closest to what I’m talking about: that cluttered, dirty feel. Both cities seem to never get their share of sunshine, even on the clearest day, and almost all the movies I’ve seen with New York City in them invariably take place in winter, so I always come away with this impression of a gray, cold city with crumbling buildings and unfriendly people.
I realize visiting the place might change my mind, but I doubt it. My two visits to LA didn’t really change my opinion of it. I like it well enough, and the weather—especially on the coast in Santa Monica where I was—is great. Yes, it’s a dirty city as well, but it’s really spread out and doesn’t feel so crammed together. Even when you get close to downtown, with buildings towering all around you blocking out the sky, it still doesn’t loom over you the way everything in Boston does.
New Orleans shares that crammed together feeling, but when I was there in 1984 (yes, I know: that was thirty years ago. Shut up), it had enough of that Old World charm—especially in the French Quarter close to where they had the World’s Fair that year—to make up for it.
In Eyes of Laura Mars, there are scenes where she’s running through the streets after another vision, trying to get to the building where she knows the victim lives, and all I see is broken pavement, litter in the streets, dirty gutters, gray buildings, and thick traffic. Not appealing at all.
But, maybe I’m just being prejudiced and need to visit the city. I doubt it’ll help any. I still don’t like Boston, and I lived in Massachusetts long enough I was in the city quite often, and I dislike it for the same reasons.
So if you really like New York City, you can have my share of it.