The cover of the March Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair asks, "What's the most influential movie of the last 30 years," then offers the following hints: "(It's not E.T., it's not Pulp Fiction, and it's not Toy Story...)"
The answer, of course, is Diner, the Baltimore-set 1982 classic directed by local treasure Barry Levinson. In an extensive story, headlined "Much Ado About Nothing," writer S.L. Price details the inspiration for and making of the film, and explains how it influenced everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Larry David. As the table of contents says, "With Diner, neophyte director Barry Levinson turned a film about nothing into a male-bonding classic, launched Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, and Ellen Barkin’s careers, and spawned hits from Seinfeld to The Office."
We talked to Barry Levinson this morning about the cover, and he was, understandably, a little overwhelmed.
"It was quite the article," he said. " It's great. I hadn't thought about it that way. They're talking about how the movie talked about the pop culture things that existed and I guess it hadn't been done quite that way before, sort of focusing on the scenes between the scenes. For me, it was a way to talk about friendship. A lot of times you see movies and they talk about 'how long we've been friends' and blah, blah, blah. But basically, friends don't talk about being friends. They talk about anything else, and from the nature of the conversation, you know they're friends."
In the coming months, we at Baltimore magazine will offer our own unique celebration of the 30th anniversary of the classic film, which not only influenced a generation of filmmakers, but created perhaps the most poignant, lasting impression of Baltimore in popular culture (sorry, The Wire). Stay tuned!