November 17, 2008

The image is backwards

So, a week or two ago, I made an off-hand comment about Chicago and Boston not having any filmic identity, and a bunch of you called me on that one.

Turns out that both cities have been filmed far more often than I had remembered.

Let's start in Katydid's adoptive town.
  • Blues Brothers - the second one never happened. It's like Rocky V and Superman IV. Pretty much every list has this one set entirely aside as being absolutely, hands down the quintessential Chicago movie. They're all right. It's #1 with a giant bullet.
  • Untouchables - "That's the Chicago way!" Gangster movies play decently heavily in the Chicago genre, and this is a fine one. Sean Connery's performance is as scenery-chewing as he ever got, and he didn't deserve the Oscar for it, but it would've been a crime if he didn't get one for some role somewhere along the way.
  • About Last Night - softball, a Belushi (the lesser one), Cubs fans. It's a bit of fluff from Demi Moore & Rob Lowe after the Brat Pack flicks had started to fade, but it's fun.
  • Adventures in Babysitting - I don't think of it as Chicago, but it's been years since I last saw it, so I'll take a pass and plead by ignorance.
  • Breakfast Club - not Chicago as big city. It's set in Shermer, a fictitious 'burb of Chicago. I didn't remember it being in or around Chicago, and I would argue that it doesn't do much to give the Windy City a film identity. It's a great film, yes, but not one that says "this is Chicago" to me. It will stand place for every John Hughes movie on my list. They're all Shermer movies to me, not Chicago movies.
  • Chicago - Set in a mythical Chicago. It's a film of an era more than of a city to me.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off - An easy #2 behind Blues. This is Chicago with the parade being the absolute most Chicago moment. Outstanding choice, everybody.
  • High Fidelity - It's a London book but a Chicago movie. Again, another one that doesn't scream Chicago to me, maybe because there's never a big shot of the city skyline. I'm starting to wonder what it takes to be a Chicago film to me. Maybe it's got to be set in downtown. I don't know the neighborhoods too well.
  • Risky Business - Most outstanding use of elevated trains. Thank you, Tom Cruise.
  • Road to Perdition - Outstanding film but one that's more about the main character's journey than the city to me.
  • Hoop Dreams - Outstanding, heartbreaking. I shouldn't have forgotten this one.
  • Eight Men Out - It's Chicago in a way that Untouchables is, a strong period piece that couldn't have been set anywhere else because it happened there.
  • The Fugitive - Another strong Chicago feel to me. I'm feeling like I screwed up on ignoring the City With Broad Shoulders.
  • Red Heat - Never seen it, but I stayed in the hotel where it was being filmed while it was being filmed - when I was in 6th grade. We took a big field trip for like four days in Chicago. Good times.
  • The Company - Robert Altman's film set with the Chicago ballet. Excellent use of Grant Park in the finale. Gorgeous film, very Altman.
  • Doctor Detroit - In spite of the title, it's a Chicago film, and one I loved as a kid. Absolutely loved it. Stupid as can be. Amellia, how many times did one of us rent this moronic thing?
All these are movies I've seen but don't associate with Chicago in any way at all
  • The Color of Money
  • Home Alone
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • A League of Their Own
  • Payback
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • The Sting
  • Christmas Vacation
  • The Sting
  • Wildcats
  • Barbershop (1 & 2)
  • Roll Bounce
Movies about/in/dealing with Chicago that I haven't seen and can't comment on
  • Backdraft
  • Child's Play
  • Continental Divide
  • Five Easy Pieces
  • Hoffa
  • Mad Dog And Glory
  • Mercury Rising
  • The Negotiator
  • Ordinary People
  • Running Scared - wait, is that the Billy Crystal one? That was kind of entertaining.
  • Candyman
  • Brian's Song - shut up, I haven't seen it
  • Rookie of the Year
  • While You Were Sleeping
The reference's used here...And, of course, Boston has had its fair share...that I forgot...
  • Departed - Overrated. It's Boston and all, but it's predictable and - I thought - lacked real drama.
  • Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone - however were outstanding and both very moving. Both dealt with similar situations - poorer people in a Boston neighborhood involved in making some poor choices. Excellent films, both.
  • Boondock Saints - Sorry, but this one was predictable, too. I saw the twist coming from the moment the character was introduced. Is it entertaining? Yeah. But it's a cult movie that people love for reasons that I just don't get.
  • Field of Dreams - The Terrance Mann scenes are great. I wish they could have used Vonnegut.
  • Good Will Hunting - I don't really know where Havahd Yahd is in reference to Boston, but it can't be too fah. Another quality film, easily the best thing that Ben Afleck had done until Gone Baby Gone.
  • Blown Away - A true guilty pleasure and one I saw with Coach Sullivan in E-town outside Louisville. This is a must-see if only for Tommy Lee Jones's Irish accent. Wow...just..I
References for the Boston flicks...Chicago kicks Boston's butt, but they both deserve more credit than I'd given them.


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joey said...

Another for Chi-town, Save the Last Dance.

I fully expect you have never seen it.

cmorin said...

Although Chicago has quantity, Boston definitely has quality. I really REALLY like Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Good Will Hunting. Boondock Saints and Departed are also very good films even if they don't live up to their hype. And Field of Dreams is fantastic.

I realize Chicago has its good films too, but I kind of like Boston's list more.

PHSChemGuy said...

So, any thoughts on whether Mukesh's post is real or spam?

If real, it's my thoughts that paying teachers more will do two good things - draw more people into the profession and keep more people there.

Let's say that 3% of the population can be good teachers. At the current financial recompense, few people even consider it, we're eliminating a significant number of people who might otherwise be good at the job. By upping the pay, more people will consider it, so more people who would be good at it will give it a try.

A lot of people leave teaching in the first few years because it's a hard job. If they had a greater financial payment coming their way, more might stay. I prefer the idea that the website mentions, however, that teaching loads should be lightened for the first two years for teachers. It's a really hard thing to teach the first few years.

Joey - I've seen and enjoyed Save the Last Dance - good call.

CMorin - Agreed. I couldn't find a bunch of semi-Boston movies, but I could find a bunch for Chicago. The few I did find for Boston are high quality.

Anonymous said...

You should really see Backdraft before the special effects begin to appear to "old", if it already hasn't happenend.

Also, weren't you in the elevator with Arnold on your Chicago trip? And, didn't you go to Williamsburg with us? :)

Rich said...

It was the Mt. Tabor group that rode the elevator w/ The Ahnold. Me, Barnes, Sullivan (?), not sure who else.

PHSChemGuy said...

Welcome, Rich...good to have you around...

Gamer, Rich...I was not in the elevator with Schwarzeneger. I was in the same hotel when it was filmed, but never saw him or the crew that I remember.'s always good to go old school with the gags...