5 Best Movies Filmed In Florida
The southernmost point in the contiguous United States, Florida is one of the most enigmatic and unique states in the country. Containing both incredibly luxurious vacation spots and tragically impoverished residential areas, sometimes within a few blocks of each other, the state is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando and all kinds of other theme parks and beautiful beaches, as well as plenty of cities that still haven’t recovered from the hurricanes that hit during the summer of 2017. Back in the early 20th century, Florida served as the prime location for feature film production. Like Hollywood in the Golden Age or Atlanta in recent years, Florida was the place to be for actors, directors, and anyone hoping to get in on the action. Plenty of films are still shot there today, but it doesn’t come close to what the numbers once were. These are some of the best to come out of the state in more recent years.
One of Tim Burton’s last truly spectacular films, Edward Scissorhands tells the story of an unfinished experiment of a man who has scissors for hands and the life he leads after his creator dies, leaving him abandoned. The movie is heartfelt and fantastic in the truest definition of the word — a dark and romantic fantasy in the purest sense. Shot in sunny Florida, the scenery is a stark contrast to the dark and confused titular character.
The Last Picture Show
Written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich and taking place in the state of Texas, The Last Picture Show is a coming-of-age story in the early 1950s. Bogdanovich’s films harken back to the time of screwball comedies and palatable melodramas from the Golden Age of Hollywood, so it makes sense to shoot in the place where those movies got their start. It might not be a Florida film like some of the other movies on this list, but it deserves the second spot on this list for utilizing the state to its advantage.
Steven Soderbergh’s engrossing tale of a bunch of male strippers actually bases itself on the real-life experiences of its star, Channing Tatum, who was a male stripper himself at the age of 19 in the city of Tampa, Florida. With a cast comprised of Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and Olivia Munn, the movie is obviously great and technically impressive. A big part of this is because of its willingness to tell a true Floridan’s story.
The Florida Project
Written and directed by Sean Baker, the filmmaker who made a name for himself after shooting his 2015 movie Tangerine on a couple of iPhones, The Florida Project is a touching look at the life of a struggling mother and her imaginative daughter as they live their day-to-day lives just a few miles away from Walt Disney World. It’s the truth: there are plenty of impoverished and struggling families that live right outside of the Happiest Place on Earth, and Baker’s film deals with these themes lovingly and compassionately. It’s incredibly important for that reason.
Based on the novel of the same name, Midnight Cowboy is a buddy drama from 1969 that stars Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. It’s a heartbreakingly timeless story, and it spends quite a lot of time in Florida both on-screen and off-screen — the movie blows through there as the characters travel from Texas to New York in search of fortune, but it also shoots plenty more sequences there disguised as other American cities. It’s lonely and sometimes shocking, but most of all it’s a significant and worthwhile character study.
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