The other day while wasting my life watching nothing good on television I caught a commercial for The Crazies remake. It began with fuzzy footage of a news anchor stating something really ominous. After seeing him I was in full WTF? mode. I didn’t notice the images rolling on the screen after the .8-second bit of commercial devoted to the anchorman. Had my day-long Cheetos binge decayed my eyesight or was that who I thought I saw?
Thankfully, NASA gave us the DVR for situations like this. Rewind. Sure enough, the news anchor was Bruce Aune of KCRG-TV9 (“Your 24 Hour News Source”). That’s my local news anchor. That’s Bruce “Mother-effin'” Aune, the Ron Burgandy of eastern Iowa. What was Bruce doing in a commercial for The Crazies, and why was I excited about this?
Well, as it turns out, The Crazies takes place in Iowa (although Odgen Marsh and Pierce County are about as real as Bruce’s hair). They even shot a large chunk of the film in western Iowa, even though the film supposedly takes place near my home city of Cedar Rapids, which is the opposite side of the state. (That’s me being a picky local.) Anyway, this was all news to me, which makes me feel like a clueless dunce since I write for a movie-news website (but you’ve already guessed that if you read me regularly).
Back to the question of why was I excited? I guess I have a little pride in my home state and enjoy seeing it portrayed nationally. Contrary to popular belief, less than half of Iowa’s residents are complete morons, which is probably a better percentage than the majority of the country. We have modern cities, and pollution too. The weather is fantastic 6 month of the year. Plus, we’re nice people when we aren’t talking politics, which is what we mostly talk about. So what if The Crazies portrays us as country-bumpkin, gun-loving mass murderers with bad skin? At least they spelled Iowa correctly.
No matter where we live we love seeing our homes in the movies. It makes us feel recognized. After all, if we can’t all be Hollywood stars, we can at least bask in the limelight’s refraction when it’s cast near our homes. Hey, I ate there. I’ve walked that sidewalk. I drove through Des Moines once.
It doesn’t even have to be shot locally for us to get excited. The Ed Helms/John C. Reilly headlined Cedar Rapids is filming in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of all places that are definitely not Cedar Rapids. Somewhat disappointing (although since my wife is a huge Reilly fan, he’ll have one less annoying stalker). My house won’t appear on screen, but it’ll still give us something to talk about. To laugh at when obvious Ann Arbor locations show up. And to prop up to those who’ve never heard of our city (unless it sucks, which I’ll just tell out-of-staters who bring up the film, “Look, I can’t help it Ann Arbor just doesn’t compare”).
Hell, a movie can just imagine your home with visual-effects and it’s still fun. I remember the audience cheering during Star Trek every time “Iowa” flashed on the screen. So what if that “Iowan footage” was shot 1,000 miles away from Riverside, IA in a green-screen studio? Captain Kirk is an Iowan. The movie said so. We are awesome. We are famous. Suck on it, Nebraska.
So this begs the question, what are some of your favorite film references of your home state or town, whether it be nifty or silly or outright stupid (hey, look at Vancouver’s mountains in Rumble in the Bronx)?
NOTE: “The Goods” is a regular mini-column focusing on, well, good stuff, whether it be nifty news, finding the sunshine in otherwise bad things, or just pointing out something really cool like an interesting movie poster, little seen film, or your house in a movie. This is a column attempting to add a slight bit of counter-balance to the boring sourness the Internet radiates. That’s not saying this column discourages robust debate on its topics. In fact, just the opposite. If you disagree with anything, say so. We just hope you do it in a civil, thoughtful manner.