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Movie Settings Like Reality But Not Quite 
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Burning Godzilla
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This is a little difficult to explain.

I'm not talking about films which are clearly supposed to be set in our real world, nor about films which are clearly set in fantastic or futuristic worlds. I'm talking about films whose backgrounds are similar to our real world but slightly off, so that things seem just a little weird.

My recent viewing of The Double led me to consider this, since its setting reminded me so much of Brazil. One other example I can think of is Trouble in Mind, an otherwise realistic story set in a oddly different version of Seattle. Maybe this should also include 1984, Streets of Fire, and possibly even The Warriors.

Any others?

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Tue May 16, 2017 4:32 pm
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Destoroyah
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Would eXistenZ and Inception fall in this realm?

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Tue May 16, 2017 6:08 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Brick - I like how the noir setting works so damn well with the high school kids. Its especially effective when the parents intrude on the setting, oblivious to the goings on of their teenagers.

Parents - where the settings of early 1960s Levittown-style home life is ever so slightly turned so that the colors are just a little too saturated and artificial - like astroturf grass and baby blue sedans with raised fins and cherry red tail lights. Like eveything is slightly irradiated.

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Tue May 16, 2017 6:34 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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This doesn't qualify on worldbuilding grounds, but moodwise, the creepily plastic too-perfect faces in Surrogates add a wonderfully disturbing look to an otherwise worthless movie.

[update] Ooooh, I got one: the Burton Batman. The setting seems to be simultaneously the forties and the eighties. Then when we flash back to childhood it's simultaneously the twenties and the sixties.

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Tue May 16, 2017 9:22 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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A prime example: David Lynch's Blue Velvet - David Lynch tears away the veneer of 1950s innocence to reveal a very dark and disturbing underbelly. Frank Booth [Dennis Hopper] even says "...now it's dark." One could say that same thing about most of Lynch's movies and TV shows, but it seems somewhat more deliberate in Blue Velvet.

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Wed May 17, 2017 1:19 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Yeah, Blue Velvet has a look that appears like the sixties, but with enough anachronism to make sure you know it's actually modern.

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Wed May 17, 2017 11:13 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Children of Men, maybe? It's near-future science fiction but the cars are recognizably cars and the buildings are the same kind of buildings we always had.

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Thu May 18, 2017 12:40 am
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Burning Godzilla
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Not an example that should send people running for their next rental, but way way way way back in the early days of BMMB, Marxo "Greenie" Grouch assigned me Obsession: A Taste of Fear to review as part of our Self-Mutilation review roundtable - back when we had such things. The movie seemed present day except for a sudden WTF moment when the detective investigating a series of killings is chasing a suspect and fires at them with a laser pistol. It was then realize that the movie is supposed to be set in the near future.... It's still pretty much a WTF, though.

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Thu May 18, 2017 2:50 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Mystery Men. There are no completely outlandish elements, but the way they're juxtaposed is a little off. It's as if they took a slice of the sets from Edward Scissorhands to make The Shoveler's neighborhood, parked that next to a slice of the Lower East Side from some movie like Sid And Nancy and put the diner from Pulp Fiction in the middle of that, had the Blue Raja and his mom living in the house vacated by Willard Styles and his mom after they got through filming Willard, and had Mr. Furious's girlfriend living in the same brownstone Lydia lived in in The Fisher King. Oh, and the island with the mental hospital on it was straight out of any movie you can name about Alcatraz. Casanova Frankenstein's place was, in some parts of the house, back at the lab where Edward Scissorhands was built, but the other wings looked more like leftover sets from The Pit And The Pendulum. Add all the characters wearing platform shoes, marabou and tiger-patterned jumpsuits and you start to go all googly-eyed.

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Fri May 19, 2017 4:40 pm
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And then there's Angel Heart, which has all these utterly ordinary elements -- old churches, down-at-the-heel neighborhoods, downtown boutiques -- made terribly menacing with small pieces a tiny bit out of place. Like the black nuns looking up in perfect sync to look at you wide-eyed as the door blows open when you walk past. The old lady in black who seems to be sitting waiting for Harry Angel no matter where he goes in this story.

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Fri May 19, 2017 4:48 pm
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