Movies become ten times more fun for me to watch when I recognize their settings, especially places I go often. There’s nothing like watching a scene, nodding and saying, “Yep. I’ve been there.” So having lived in Boston for the past four semesters, I make a point to check out Boston-based movies, and I’ve created a list of my favorite ones. Some are classics, others are guilty pleasures, but all of them in some way involve our city.
Good Will Hunting: Even though I had heard rave reviews of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s film for a while, I hadn’t seen it until last year. Now I agree: it is a must-see. After watching, head to the Boston Common so you can sit on the bench from one of the film’s most famous scenes.
Legally Blonde: One of those movies I’ve seen enough times to quote from memory, Legally Blonde never disappoints. Set in Cambridge, the comedy includes a number of Harvard locations, although most of the film was shot in LA. But you can visit 45 Dunston Street, where Elle shows up to a party in a bunny costume.
Fever Pitch: Red Sox fans everywhere understand the importance of this one. It’s hilarious, cute, and relatable to anyone with a sports team infatuation. There are a number of Boston landmarks in the film, but its most memorable scene occurs right in Fenway Park, practically in BU’s backyard.
The Social Network: A film based on the true story of Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, creators of Facebook, The Social Network features an all-star cast. There are plenty of chances to recognize places, including Kirkland Hall and the Phoenix – S K Club at Harvard, the Thirsty Scholar Pub, and the indoor rowing tanks at BU, where the crew repainted all the red oars crimson. Terriers beware: in the opening scene, Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, underestimates us, assuring his then girlfriend you need not study “because you go to BU.”
21: Inspired by the group of MIT undergrads known as the Blackjack Team, who counted cards in Las Vegas, the film highlights locations across the campuses of MIT and BU. Protagonist Ben Campbell returns to his dorm room through the doors of The Towers and plays basketball on the courts of FitRec, while the team meets in a CAS classroom to practice. Almost every scene based in Boston shows off a part of our campus.
See if you can spot more locations in these films than I could, and try not to geek out as much as I did. Enjoy!