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The Heat – Own it on Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 25th November – Films set in Boston

15 November 2013

Plenty of times, films feature characters who aren’t named in the script.  Even though they don’t have lines, their personalities loom large over the proceedings and often influence everything that happens in the movie. 

Have you figured out this riddle yet? 

This character is the city in which the movie is set. 

The Heat – released on Blu-ray and DVD on 25th November 2013 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment - joins the now large list of recent movies that are prominently set in Boston.  We take a look at some of these movies now...

The Heat (2013)

Boston is without a doubt a main character in The Heat.  It is always making Sandra Bullock’s straight-laced New York FBI agent Sarah Ashburn visibly uncomfortable.  And it has most certainly shaped Melissa McCarthy’s street-wise Police Detective Shannon Mullins – the way she treats her suspects echoes the way she handles her manic, unruly family (all of whom talk in unintelligible Boston accents).

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Boston hardened Matt Damon’s Will Hunting, a self-taught genius who simply had the wrong set of friends to sway him.  But after an assault on a police officer lands him a janitorial stint at MIT, Will finally finds himself in the right place for his intellect to be cultivated.  With a little help from Robin Willams’ inspirational professor Dr. Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting proves to be a rousing tale of self-actualisation.

Legally Blonde (2001)

This one is kind of cheating because Legally Blonde’s scenes supposedly set in Boston were actually shot in sun-soaked Los Angeles.  But what would this riotous comedy be without Harvard?  Elle Woods’ surprising self-discovery is made all the more powerful by the sharp contrast between her girly Delta Nu sorority house and the über-serious halls of Harvard Law School.

Fever Pitch (2005)

The movie Fever Pitch, an American translation of Nick Hornby’s book about English football obsession, shines a light on Boston’s obsession with their beloved baseball team as seen through the eyes of Jimmy Fallon’s super-fan Ben Wrightman.  The film came into controversy for allegedly cheapening the Red Sox’s first World Series win in 86 years by allowing the film’s stars to run on the field during the victory.  But to be fair, the film changed its entire ending to reflect the team’s surprising victory to make it the perfect happy ending for long suffering Red Sox fans!

The Departed (2006)

The film that finally got Martin Scorsese his long-overdue Oscar for Best Director, The Departed is authentic Boston through to its core.  The accents are so thick that it can be tough to tell what the characters are saying when they aren’t dropping the F-bomb (uttered 237 times over the course of the film).  It feels so real that we almost overlook the iconic actor Jack Nicholson’s refusal to take off his New York Yankees hat to play Boston mobster Frank Costello.

Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Ben Affleck’s first go-round in the director’s chair would hardly be embraced by Boston’s tourism bureau.  It presents a darker, seedier look at the city where very few people – if anyone – can be trusted.  Gone Baby Gone’s portrayal of an investigation for a missing child was so grim, in fact, that its UK release had to be pushed back six months in the wake of Madeline McCann’s disappearance.

21 (2008)

21 may take place at the same school as Good Will Hunting, but no one would mistake Kevin Spacey’s Professor Mickey Rosa for Robin Williams’ affable teacher.  He teaches his students a lesson likely to get them in jail – how to count cards and bring the casinos to their knees.  With a few conspiring MIT students, he’s able to rake in some serious cash – at least for a little bit...

The Town (2010)

Ben Affleck is no stranger to his native Boston (he’s been a part of two films featured on the list already), but The Town is his purest distillation of his hometown into an essence.  The film begins with a quote from a native of Boston suburb Charlestown: ''I'm proud to be from Charlestown. It ruined my life, literally, but I'm proud.''  Over the course of two hours, Affleck explores how Boston both makes and breaks its devoted residents – as well as how they can somehow be so exceedingly proud of it, warts and all.

The Social Network (2010)

David Fincher is known for his attention to detail, so it’s no surprise that he chose to shoot a large portion of The Social Network in Boston, the city where Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook from his Harvard dorm room.  But the prestigious university has been reluctant to allow any filming on its campus since the production of 1970’s Love Story resulted in significant damage to its campus.  That didn’t stop Fincher, however, from getting some great shots around Boston to ensure the audience understood the setting in which Zuckerberg was operating.

Ted (2012)

Seth MacFarlane is another notable Boston product who loves to make entertainment about Boston.  Starring native Bostonian Mark Wahlberg, Ted features some outrageous accents ripe for jokes by the film’s titular talking teddy bear.  Try not to bust a gut when Ted impersonates the sound of Boston girls making whoopee – just try.

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