"Routine Pleasures makes of its investigation of “men and imagination” in 1980s America “a small-scale epic,” in Gorin’s words, a remake of Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939). (14) Gorin’s principal subject is a group of model train enthusiasts who meet weekly at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Southern California: their miniature landscapes preserve a lost, perhaps illusory America, and their obsession curiously entwines work and childhood. Gorin weaves this subject with another: his friend and mentor Manny Farber. Farber doesn’t appear, except in photographs; but his paintings and words (and such preoccupations as Jimmy Cagney) do; and Gorin, again assuming the persona of bemused investigator, shuttles between these strands with effortless ingenuity. The film’s intersecting narratives function like the crossing tracks of the train set, or the lines of force of Farber’s paintings, establishing nodes of resemblance and resonance; and all the while Gorin assesses American identity, its experience of geography and frontier, of masculinity, of history, of the relation of private and collective. For Routine Pleasures, Gorin won the award for Best Experimental Documentary at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence."