Still Breathing ---BONUS Rare and Hard-to-Find on DVD ---
1997. USA Films, Polygram USA Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 109 minutes, Rated PG-13
Release Date: May 1, 1998
Still Breathing is available on Amazon.com on DVD, on DVD All Region, on DVD Region 2 PAL, and on VHS.
Movie Synopsis: A young mans belief that he will have a vision of his soulmate and then travel wherever he must to find her, propels this story of two disparate people linked by fate and their two separate lifestyles in Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas.
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Joanna Going, Lou Rawls, Celeste Holm, Ann Magnuson
Director: James F. Robinson
Thoughts on the Movie:
What a wonderful movie! Its so rich and expansive, but in a way you just dont expect until youre caught completely up by its wit, wisdom and cleverness. The location of San Antonio, Texas, is fresh and extremely interesting, setting a tone for the film that makes every other element work. I must confess that Brendan Fraser is one of my new favorite actors and he doesnt get cast often enough in the kind of films he should. But thank God, this one happened. Its like an answer to a prayer. Fraser is perfect in this role: he makes you believe everything about this exceptional young man, Fletcher McBracken, and the quite unusual reality he was born into. I love this kind of magical, metaphysical theme, especially when its blended with the proper amount of realism, which this story is. You want to be there, to enter into and live in his special world.
This movie is sadly, completely and unfairly underrated. And the gosh darn thing isnt widely available on DVD (unless you want to mortage your house to buy a used copy at a ridiculously inflated price... oh, wait a minute, I forgot that property values have plummeted and that once really good analogy no longer applies to situations such as this). So, Ill sum it up as a popular online meme art graphic might tell it: Still Breathing - Why You Not On DVD? ~Jean
Fletcher McBracken House, San Antonio, Texas (see Map)
The house which served as the location for Fletcher McBrackens house in Still Breathing is in the River Road neighborhood of San Antonio, next to Brackinridge Park, right on the river. This was originally a very luxurious neighborhood built in the 1920s. The River Road neighborhood, which included San Antonios first municipal golf course, was very popular, and the arts flourished there. In the 1970s, the neighborhood was cut in half by the building of Highway 281. This side of the neighborhood by the river has kept its charm and is now one of the most funky and unique neighborhoods in San Antonio.
Right: The San Antonio house that was used as the inherited family home of Fletcher McBracken (Brendan Fraser), in the charming and delightful film, Still Breathing.
About San Antonio, Texas:
San Antonio, Texas (population 1,327,407; elevation 650 feet; 29° 25 0 N, 98° 30 0 W) is located in the south-central part of the state on I-410. It is the seventh-largest city in the United States and the second-largest city in Texas. San Antonio is a popular tourist destination. The jewel of the city is the River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and is suffused with the local sounds of folklorico and flamenco music during the summer, particularly during celebrations such as the Fiesta Noche del Rio.
Right: These giant illuminated cowboy boots aren't made for walkin', but they do illustrate the uniqueness of what San Antonio has to offer as a tourist destination.
Contrary to the typical American plan, San Antonios downtown streets radiate like a huge spider web from the center: an irregular quadrilateral bounded by Houston and Commerce streets, Alamo Plaza and Main Avenue, with the City Hall just off the center. The core of the business district overflows this central area, while on its outer fringe, east and west, remains of the Spanish occupation (the Alamo, the Cathedral, and the Governors Palace) mark the spread of the old town.
Not the least of the citys charms is the river, winding crazily near its source in San Antonio. Spanned by 42 bridges in the business and residential districts, this unhurried stream travels 15 miles to cross six miles of city blocks. It is the heart of the city; it is, and in fact, the reason the city exists at all. On its banks, you'll find locals and vistors walking, eating, and shopping.
Located in the city at Alamo Plaza. Founded in 1718, the first of the five Spanish colonial missions is now the center of downtown. Standing in front ot it, the Alamo is probably a lot smaller than you would sepect it to be. It is, of course, famous for the 13-day siege in the war for Texas independence from Mexico in 1836. Dont miss the brass model that represents the mission as it was during the battle. On Alamo Plaza in front of the old mission chapel, it will help explain whats no longer there. The Alamo is open Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.
This is San Antonios second most visited attraction (the Alamo is No. 1, of course). Take one of the river barges (or taxis) that travel up and down the river. This is a highly developed area, full of tourists. The only remaining undeveloped portion of the river is downstream, past the Arneson River Theater. An early morning walk is the best way to catch the mood of the river without the crowds.
Lodging & Dining:
Fiesta Bed & Breakfast. 1823 Saunders Avenue, San Antonio, Texas
A modern Latino ambiance style Bed & Breakfast, within this 1919 traditional house, located in the original Mexican historical district of San Antonio. A very colorful and unique lodging experience.
Right: Colorful lights welcome visitors to the Fiesta Bed & Breakfast in San Antonio, Texas.
Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout the city. These restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most are relatively inexpensive. Some outstanding examples of Tex-Mex eateries include: Aldacos Mexican Cuisine, El Mirador, Paloma Blanca, Pico de Gallo, Rio Rio Cantina, and Taco Haven.
The site of the river scenes with Fletcher and Roz as children, as well as the location of the last image in the film, were actually shot on San Marcos River, in San Marcos, Texas, about 60 miles north of San Antonio. This river is the shortest river in North America and absolutely clear, because it gushes out of its headwater springs at a fantastic rate.
After shooting on location in San Antonio, Texas, the production filmed for several weeks in Los Angeles at locations including the legendary Formosa Cafe and the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Principal photography on Still Breathing was completed on July 14, 1996. The film was first screened at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills, California, on December 11th, 1996.
Left: Brendan Fraser gears up for his role as San Antonian, Fletcher McBracken, in Still Breathing.
Brendan Fraser won the Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor from the Seattle International Film Festival.
The stone crafter story that Fletcher tells Roz is a local legend about La Ventana de Rosa (the Rose Window), at the Mission San Jose in San Antonio, Texas. It was well over a 100° when this scene was shot, in the middle of South Texas worst drought of the latter 20th century.
No one is allowed to shoot on Alamo property, which is why the opening scene of Still Breathing was shot in the now-closed street right in front of the Alamo. After 250 years as a public thoroughfare, it was closed because it is suspected that it covers a Native American graveyard.
Right: In a scene from the 1997 film, Still Breathing, Fletcher McBracken (Brendan Fraser) ponders his romantic situation at his warm and comfy home in San Antonio, Texas.
Music is an important element in Still Breathing. The film features an eclectic musical soundtrack that includes tracks from Morphine, Sub Dub, Texas Tornadoes, Louie Armstrong, Augie Meyers, Flaco Jimenez, The Feminine Complex, as well as new music from Rita Springer, Junior Brown, and Madeleine Peyroux. The movie also features the classic jazz music of The Jim Cullum Jazz Band, as well as a mix of classical, opera, blues and Latin music, plus a new score by composer Paul Mills.
The title Still Breathing has a double meaning, says director James. F. Robinson. On one hand, modern life can beat us down so much that about all we can do is claim that we are still breathing. On the other, its like the antidote to that whole cynical-stress gotta-get-my-share world -- to be still and just breathing: to break things down to their basics like Fletcher does. Theres a love scene in the film where Fletcher tells Roz just to be still. Thats the one thing people never are in Los Angeles, just still. People are always moving, going, or thinking. Theres rarely a sense of stillness.
Character Quote: Lemme ask you a question, Phil... and you dont have to answer it if you dont want to. Do you think that every last thread of intelligent life has chosen to huddle in either New York or L.A.? Or do you really believe that this soulless sinkhole has anything to do with real life humanity: namely integrity, compassion, dignity? Yknow what, dont answer that, Phil. Just lemme give you some advice. Next time youre driving through Texas, you better stay clear of all the trailer parks. And if you are driving through Texas, why dont you do it fast... real fast. ~Fletcher McBracken (Brendan Fraser)