After the kids went to bed, I put “Blade Runner” on in the background while working. I saw it when it first came out, as part of a midnight movie double header with “Night Shift,” a comedy that starred
Harry Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton and Shelly Long (as a hooker– a role completely unlike her subsequent TV character, and a difference only topped by Paul Reiser’s Yuppie bad guy in “Aliens” and his Paul Bruckner Buchman). At the time, I thought “Night Shift” was far and beyond the better movie.
One thing I’ve never noticed about “Blade Runner” is how much it manages to make light pollution and bad air beautiful. All those views of the high-tech chaos of the L. A. landscape, of flying cars zooming past giant Coke ads or building-sized screens of Japanese women selling soy sauce, are cooly atmospheric, because the atmosphere is really terrible.
It’s also interesting to see what a vision of the future from 25 years ago was like. Los Angeles is a city whose influence is now overwhelmingly Asian, and that’s something I’ve always liked about the movie; but what’s really striking is how un-Hispanic Ridley Scott’s L.A. is (except perhaps for some of the architecture).
There’s also at least one wide shot of the city that has a Pan Am logo. Remember Pan Am? The global airline so much a part of America’s jet-age identity it could be used by Kubrick in “2001” (the shuttle that went to the space station was a Pan Am craft)?