SCARECROW ON SEATTLE
In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with Scarecrow Video to bring you weekly reviews of historical Seattle films. Each week we will showcase a new movie, with special emphasis on how these films show Seattle's most filmable locations.
Two sisters on opposite ends of fame struggle to connect in this emotionally raw story. Georgia Flood (Mare Winningham) is a successful and well adjusted folk singer. Her sister Sadie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is an aspiring singer full of passion but sorely lacking the talent and focus to achieve her dreams. She's also addicted to alcohol, heroin, and whatever substance is handy. Winningham was nominated for an Oscar for her elegantly restrained performance, transforming Georgia's years of frustration into a calm sea of rage. Leigh is a little too good, giving Sadie a self-destructive, delusional energy that's often too hard to watch. The small supporting cast rises to meet their high mark: John Doe plays an extremely patient band leader who takes Sadie on as a backup singer; Ted Levine is Jake, Georgia's equally mellow husband; and Max Perlich plays Axel, a na´ve young man who shows up at Sadie's apartment to deliver groceries and ends up marrying her. John C. Reilly also has a small role as a spaced-out drummer who's even worse off than Sadie. There's not much to see of Seattle in the film-Georgia doesn't take a contemplative walk on Alki, Sadie never gazes longingly at a dazzlingly lit Paramount Theater. There's not even a good old establishing shot of the Space Needle. There are a few outdoor shots: Axel and Georgia pass Sig's Barber Shop as they share a concerned chat while walking down 3rd Avenue between Lenora and Blanchard. And you see a snippet of the viaduct during a rainy canceled gig at Pier 57. We mainly see the insides of music venues, from the Tractor Tavern and the pre-McCaw Hall Opera House, to a bowling alley bar that may or may not be the old Lewis and Clark Theatre by Sea-Tac. Axel, Jake, and Sadie play pool and recline in the high backed booths at The Buckaroo Tavern before Georgia invites Sadie on stage at the Seattle Center Arena to sing (or, more accurately, screech) Van Morrison's "Take Me Back." To fill the arena for the pivotal scene, the filmmakers staged EXTRAFest!, a free concert featuring the movie's stars along with local bands like Green Apple Quick Step and Sage. Other Seattle musicians appear in the sisters' respective back up bands, such as Marc Olsen, Amy Stozenbach (who went on to form the all-ladies AC/DC cover band Hell's Belles), and Ken Stringfellow (or "Kevin" as he's credited) from The Posies.