Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Bright Lights Twice in 2 TIFF Movies

Richard Thompson's cult classic "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" shows up in two Toronto film fest entries.

Bright Lights Twice in 2 TIFF Movies

Winstead and Paul get Smashed.
Winstead and Paul get Smashed.

Whenever you get a kazillion movies playing in the same town in the same two weeks, which is what’s happening right now at the Toronto International Film Festival,  prominent themes start recurring (aging is one this year, but so is promiscuous, prodigious youth).

By fluke of timing, I saw two films on the program back to back: Looper, the time-travel thriller with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the same guy separated by decades, until they’re together in the same place at the same time, and Smashed, a terrifically smart L.A. indie starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) as a couple of desperate twenty-something alcoholics.

Completely different pics, except that both use the classic Richard and Linda Thompson song “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” at key points in the soundtrack. In Looper, it's when Gordon-Levitt's hitman character goes to a nightclub for some intimate R&R with a topless Piper Perabo. But this verse probably did it for Smashed writer/director James Ponsoldt, who deploys the tune in a boozing montage:

A couple of drunken nights rolling on the floor
Is just the kind of mess I'm looking for.
I'm gonna dream 'till Monday comes in sight
I want to see the bright lights tonight

 Here’s the song on YouTube:

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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