Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Boston in the Movies


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
6 Comments » | Published in Boston, Movies  |  6 Comments

amy-ryan.jpgSo I finally got around to watching Gone Baby Gone last night. Great flick – I was especially amazed to see sweet little Beedie from The Wire playing a drug mule neglectful mother – I almost did not recognize Amy Ryan in that part – she was amazing. Obviously, there is perhaps one other fan of The Wire out there besides me, as Omar Little was cast as a police drug detective. Oh wait, duh, that connection would be Dennis Lehane, author of the book and writer for The Wire. Anyway, I am currently mourning the end of The Wire, but the last episode was perhaps one of the most excellent ever, so that is going to tide me over for awhile. Anyway, directing this movie is the best thing Ben Affleck has done since the SNL skit where he wants to ask Anna Nicole Smith to be his mom. The best thing since was with Jimmy Kimmel.

same-old-southie-lookin-street.jpgBack to the point:  This cinematic view of Boston in Gone Baby Gone was so familiar. It’s been done to death lately – the parts around Boston where everything is gray, from the shingles on the houses to the sky to the skin color of the tired and jaded characters. Whether it be Southie, Chelsea, Charlestown or Dorchester, movies like Mystic River (to be fair, this is also a Dennis Lehane adaptation), The Departed, Good Will Hunting and now Gone Baby Gone all seem to spotlight the same exact view of the city. Were they all filmed on this street we see to the left?  I call it “Code of Silence Avenue.”  We never see nor hear about the yuppie takeover of Southie or the mega-expensive Shipyard of Charlestown. Even Dorchester has experienced gentrification in the past decade. Instead we see the same old Irish  dive bars full of depressing characters (some get the accent right, some completely butcher it into some pseudo-JFK accent mixed with a New York accent), asbestos-shingled three family houses and Code of Silence Avenue  in all of these films. The only other views we ever see of the near-Boston area are across the river in Cambridge, when painfully lame movies like Soul Man or With Honors pretend to film at Harvard. Last I heard, the Harvard campus does not allow filming, so the only authentic view we ever see is of it the usual aerial one before they zoom in on Elle Woods sitting under a tree next to a fake dorm that is not in Harvard Yard.

Here’s the requisite depressing as hell brown and yuck Boston movie apartment.  Have you really ever seen two such heroic, young and good-looking people living with cabinets and wallpaper like that?  I don’t think so:

I’m rambling. My question is, when was the last time we saw picturesque Boston Proper in cinema?  I can’t think of the last time I saw The South End, The North End, the Financial District, Back Bay, Rowe’s Wharf, Comm. Ave., et. al. in a movie. Can anyone remember a film that highlights the rest of Boston and not the surrounding depressing areas? Cambridge doesn’t count, that’s its own city. Please leave your answers in the comments and let me know!

About Becky:
Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!

About Becky

has written 1620 post in this blog.

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!


Filed under Boston, Movies  |  6 Comments


  1. Krisse says:

    March 12th, 2008 at 9:18 am (#)

    I do not know much about Boston so I can not comment on that, but the beautiful Hollywood actors trying to pretend ugly or drug addict in these fake run down interiors is annoying. I especially love the rooms with the faux finished dirty wall look. I have never seen wall being dirty like that(and I have seen some dirty walls in my life). Film industry should get some truly ugly and realistic actors that can transform in to these characters. See French cinema (some of their most famous actors are not the attractive kind) and Finnish movies. Fat stomachs, ugly facial hair and crooked teeth that’s reality. Good research would be the real police stories and the real murder documentaries usually reacted original sites. That’s where you find the real deal.

  2. Tom Andersen says:

    March 12th, 2008 at 9:58 am (#)

    Make Way For Ducklings?

  3. Becky says:

    March 12th, 2008 at 10:40 am (#)

    Krisse, I think you would really like “The Wire.” Some of the characters are real former drug lords and players of “the game.”

    Tom – was that a movie? It’s my second favorite childhood book, the first being “A Morning in Maine.”


  4. Tom Andersen says:

    March 13th, 2008 at 7:21 am (#)

    It was an animated movie. 🙂

    And you’re right — One Morning in Maine is a great kids’ book too.

  5. kitpollard says:

    March 13th, 2008 at 7:23 am (#)

    I don’t know Boston, either, but I live in Baltimore and feel a little of the same way. We’re either John Waters or The Wire.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love them both and both do accurately present a part of the city. But not all of it. Some episodes of Homicide showed a little more diversity – not just the terribly depressing or the wildly quirky.

    I also agree with you – Krisse should check out Snoop. She was definitely didn’t lack for authenticity. Chilling.

  6. byn says:

    March 18th, 2008 at 10:37 am (#)

    Fever Pitch

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