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Scarecrow on Seattle: WAITING FOR THE LIGHT

In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with the Seattle Office of Film + Music to bring you reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on how these films showcase the region's many filmable locations.

Waiting For The Light (1990)

This predictable comedy/drama stars Teri Garr as a hard-working single mom raising two rambunctious kids in 1962. The family moves out west from Chicago to assume proprietorship of a greasy spoon in a small Northwest town, accompanied by a mischief-making former vaudevillian aunt (Shirley MacLaine). Soon after they are settled, MacLaine and the kids pull a prank on a strange cantankerous neighbor and he mistakes the practical joke as a vision of an angel. The word quickly spreads about the so-called miracle, which garners lots of business for the struggling cafe' but also leads to a suspicious reporter snooping into Garr's business.

Waiting For The Light is set during the Cuban Missile Crisis and features lots of news footage of JFK and Castro, as well as an overabundance of montages accompanied by overplayed early sixties pop tunes. The predictable story is enhanced by an enjoyable cast, but what makes Waiting For The Light particularly noteworthy is the fact that it was shot entirely within the friendly confines of Washington State. Aside from the appealing leads, other cast members include busy character actors like Vincent Schiavelli, Clancy Brown, and Jack McGee. There's even some local talent, including journalist Lou Guzzo as a TV newscaster, champion hog caller Douglas Moening, former KMTT DJ John Nelson, and local actor Arthur H. Cahn, who also appeared in Adventures in Spying. As far as local footage goes, there is a lot to enjoy. The city of Chicago is represented by a couple of blocks of South Jackson Street in the Pioneer Square area and a nice old cinema where Garr's character works (I don't recognize the movie theatre but I am guessing that it may be in Tacoma). As they head out west, there is a stunning shot of the family roadster tooling along a highway in beautiful central Washington and they make a stop at one the many fruit stands found in those parts. The majority of the story takes place in Buckley, which makes for an attractive, but somewhat generic, small town. Despite Waiting For The Light's shortcomings I imagine the locals brag more about this film than a straight-to-video Bigfoot movie called Clawed that was made around Buckley back in 2005.

-Spenser Hoyt

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