February 21, 2011

When I first began seeking out films and TV shows with photobooths in them, the Internet Movie Database was a useful tool, but I quickly exhausted the results I found from searching credits, and synopses (plus the fact that that Colin Farrell movie Phone Booth kept coming up as the first search result). As the site grew, we relied on the movies we saw ourselves, submissions from our readers, and the occasional Google Alert to tip us off to films featuring photobooths and photostrips. This week, I checked in again with IMDb and ran a search using their keyword system, which I don’t think as as robust six years ago, with surprising results.

A keyword search for “photobooth” revealed a list of 33 titles, at least half of which I was completely unaware of. Looking at the 25 unique listings (disregarding the Jay Leno-related items, as is my habit in life as well as with regard to photobooths), 16 were titles I’d never heard about in connection with the photobooth, 8 were titles we already have listed, and one, The A‑Team, was a film I’d known about but hadn’t done anything about yet. 

Over the next few days, I’ll be adding as many of these new films and TV shows as I can get my hands on, which will constitute a major addition to the site, and confirmation of the photobooth’s long and enduring history in the moving pictures.

I’ll begin with Amores Perros, the remarkable debut feature film from director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.

This film is the one title in this new batch that I’d actually seen, and I was surprised to see that when I first saw it ten years ago, I hadn’t paid any attention to the role of the photobooth in not one but two separate sequences. It just goes to show that if you’re not looking out for something, it doesn’t make much of an impression. El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría) takes a strip while in his vagrant mode, and another after a shave and a cleanup.

Next, changing modes completely, an episode of Mr. Bean called “Mr. Bean Goes to Town,” in which Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) heads into a photobooth after his camera has been stolen. He listens to the photobooth as the strip makes its way through the machine, and gives it a whack before the strip appears in the slot. 

We’ve cataloged Rowan Atkinson’s sort of one-man photobooth dynasty here on the site. We’ve seen him in Not the Nine O’Clock News (1980), administering a wedding photobooth. Next in line is this episode of his TV show in 1991, followed by the movie Bean (1997). Having conquered television and film, he moved on to animation in Mr. Bean: The Animated Series in 2003. What’s next, Bean?

FInally, a TV series of a different color, Sons of Anarchy. In a brief bit at the beginning of the season one episode called Fun Fair, Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Clay (Ron Perlman) head into the booth for a little fun, but Clay destroys the resulting strip once they’re done.

We’ll have more additions from IMDb’s list of photobooth-tagged films throughout the week. Then it’ll be our turn to contribute, by adding the “photobooth” tag to IMDb’s entries for the hundreds of films and shows we have listed.

Brian | 4:34 pm | Movies, TV

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