April 15, 2008

On Smart People

The Baker Hall Staircase
An old photo of mine of the Baker Hall staircase, from back when I was in school. I'm assuming it still looks like this.

While flipping through movie reviews this weekend, I couldnít help but notice the production still used in many of the reviews for Smart People. In the photo, Dennis Quaidís character1 grasps a copy of the Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams (with the cover displayed prominently) while staring down/flirting with Sarah Jessica Parker, thereby proving an easy shorthand proof of his status as a Smart Person for the viewer. I wonder, what other books did the filmmakers considered before deciding on WCW as the visual signifier of intelligence in the photo? They probably didnít want to go with anything too old-school canon, but also didnít want to get into post-modern lit to avoid being too obscure for middlebrow tastes, or anything to contemporary for fear of being outdated within moments. But a modernist poet? Pretty much right on the nose, I guess. Probably a little too on the nose, which is probably why the photo kind of stood out for me, I suppose. As for the movie, I doubt Iíll see it, at least not in theaters. When it comes to quirky movies about middle-aged English professors in Pittsburgh, Iíd recommend the superior2 Wonder Boys3.

1A crusty English professor at my alma mater.
2While I have not seen Smart People as of yet, many reviews of Smart People compare the two, mostly to the detriment of Smart People. Plus, I know that I already really like Wonder Boys, so I feel pretty safe in figuring that will still be the case once I see Smart People.4
3Also shot at my alma mater, but takes place at a fictional college, unlike Smart People, which is actually takes place at Carnegie Mellon.
4Yeah, kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy there.5
5Just kidding.

Posted by Drew at April 15, 2008 06:11 PM
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