Saturday, 31 March 2012

Week 14: Illinois

 Hold your tongue and don't divide us;
 Land of God, you hold and guide us...."
 - 'They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors...',
 Sufjan Stevens

Well frankly it was harder to find one song mentioning Illinois than it has been to find three films set in the state. Maybe not surprisingly. To all intents and purposes Illinois is it's largest city: Chicago.

Ah yes, Chicago. The town famous for its gangsters, its blues, its wind, and its toddling. (I'm not entirely sure how a town can toddle, but I am not one to argue with luminaries of the calibre of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett). Frankly I could fill a week with three films set in Chicago purely from my girlfriend's DVD collection. I mean, what else is there to Illinois other than the Windy City? It's a fair sized state, but what else is there? There's the state capital of Springfield which has produced presidents in the shape of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, but I'm not sure how riveting a film that would make. I'll try to spread out a little way from the city centre in search of films for the week though.

The danger here is that there are so many great films from my youth set in Chicago. Chicago owned the '80s. Just look at the list: The Blues Brothers, The Breakfast ClubFerris Bueller's Day Off, The Untouchables... and when you reach the early '90s you can include, Aurora, Illinois, with Wayne's World  as well. All absolutely great, great movies... and all movies that I have seen before. This silly little challenge has two aims: the first is to find out about the state in question from the films I watch, but the second is to widen my exposure to films I have never seen before. So I've compromised. I'm revisiting two classic films that I recall really enjoying, but which I have not seen in many years, and that hopefully illustrate different aspects of the city (specifically its music and its Prohibition-era mobs), and am teaming that up with a Best Picture Oscar-winner which I've never seen. But all three share one thing in common: they're all from the '80s!

My three films are:
  • The Blues Brothers (1980)
  • The Untouchables (1987)
  • Ordinary People (1980)

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