SUNDAY

When I was 17, my family moved to the suburbs, and I haven’t stopped bitching about it since. Thank God I had less than a year until college, when I could use the excuse of not having a car to move into the dorms and back into Buffalo. In the meantime, I was unhappy about several things: that I had to get up at the crack of dawn to take a bus to school, that all the houses in my neighborhood looked alike, and that my friends no longer lived down the street from me (who did live down the street from me remains a mystery to this day—folks don’t talk much in suburbia). In Barry Levinson’s 1990 film Avalon, suburban America is just beginning to blossom and the Krichinsky family—whose patriarch came to the States in 1914—slowly sheds their Old World ways by Americanizing their name, breaking up the live-in extended family, and abandoning Baltimore for a picturesque house with a porch and a lawn out in the sticks. The characters recognize the problem of sprawl before the term is even in vogue: When Eva (Joan Plowright) hears of plans to build homes even farther outside the city, she suggests that it’s a bad idea because the area is inaccessible by public transportation, only to be told that “[If] they can build homes, they can put more streetcar tracks down.” Apparently not in Cheektowaga, N.Y. Avalon, also starring Aidan Quinn and Kevin Pollak, screens in conjunction with the exhibit “Reinvigorating Cities: Smart Growth and Choices for Change” at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Free. (202) 272-2448. (Tricia Olszewski)