We went to see the film "The Tree of Life" last weekend, but before saying anything about it, I want to share this wonderful stop motion animation that was part of the Alamo Drafthouse's pre-show. This is great stuff, and you can find more info and more great stuff at blu.
Big Bang, Big Boom. The rest of the pre-show was themed this way too, and appropriately. This movie is critically-acclaimed. It won the Palme d'Or for Best Picture at Cannes, and is sitting on an 86% Tomatometer right now, nice and fresh. It's very thought-provoking and dwells on the spiritual... an individual's place in all of creation, life, the afterlife... I recommend seeing it even though I wasn't a big fan of it myself, judge for yourself. You might just think it's the greatest thing ever - really. The religious aspects of pondering on God - not really my cup of tea anymore, I don't even claim to be 'spiritual' - but the Space-Odyssey-esque trips through time and space were pretty cool.
The main reason I wanted to see this (other than the buzz) was because it was filmed in this area, several scenes in Austin but primarily in Smithville and parts between. I like to look up trivia and try and locate the filming locations on Google maps. Google just so happened to be doing street views of Smithville while the filming was going on (coincidence?) and all the blocks where it was underway it shows the closures, such as this view, which (if you could go 2 more blocks) would be facing the house. Also, it looks like Google was denied the privilege of doing street views in the closed areas at that time.
Reportedly, the Jolie-Pitts (kids and all, including the ones on the way) wanted to stay at an Austin resort during the filming but they wouldn't settle for Pitt's offer of $3000 for a month, so they either bought or rented a ranch instead. Mr. and Mrs. Smithville? That was irresistable. Sorry.
Very surprising trivia: they actually dug up and relocated a 65,000 lb. tree to the movie house's yard. This was documented in some short videos on this channel. Of all the...!#@!
While I was looking for more filming locations in Matagorda, Texas, I stumbled on this labyrinth! Debra, thought of you, of course. It's on the corner of Lewis and Fisher at the Christ Episcopal Church. Totally unrelated to the movie, as far as I know. And while we are distractedly Googlemap-surfing, I also want to mention that Smithville is really close to this (and recycling a 6-year-old screen capture here):
It's made from trees, and spells out the name of the landowner. It can be seen from space, and in fact, is so large and linear that it's used by NASA as a measurement device. Well, maybe that isn't so far off topic after all.