So 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.
Back to the point:Â 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?Â I call it “Code of Silence Avenue.”Â 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 IrishÂ 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 AvenueÂ 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.Â Have you really ever seen two such heroic, young and good-looking people living with cabinets and wallpaper like that?Â I don’t think so:
I’m rambling. My question is, when was the last time we saw picturesque Boston Proper in cinema?Â 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!