There are lists of movies set in a specific state and as many incompatible lists of movies shot in a specific state. With Thanksgiving behind us and the holidays just ahead, visiting home states on-screen might get us ready to make that holiday trip home.
Alabama Big Fish (2003, Tim Burton) Touching Father-Son Fable: Albert Finney is larger than life—almost.
Alaska The Gold Rush (1925, Charlie Chaplin) Iconic silent movie comedy with prospectors dining on shoe-al- dente.
Arizona Johnny Guitar (1954, Nicholas Ray) Not even saloon owner Joan Crawford can steal the scene from Mercedes McCambridge.
Arkansas A Face In The Crowd (1957, Elia Kazan) Budd Schulberg’s screenplay was based on his political short story.
California Sunset Blvd. (1950, Billy Wilder) Hollywood’s classic look at movie stardom gone rancid.
Colorado The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick) Time Travel Package tour is the all-inclusive trip to hell—the Overlook Hotel.
Connecticut Christmas In Connecticut (1945, Peter Godfrey) Barbara Stanwyck gives another fine comedic performance in a seasonal favorite
Delaware Fight Club (2006, David Fincher) Wilmington City Motto notwithstanding, a stretch to attribute this one to the First State.
Florida A Hole In The Head (1959, Frank Capra) Mannerist Capra and pre-South Beach “name that hotel.”
Georgia Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997, Clint Eastwood) Jude Law impersonates a southern belle hustler in this political/mystical who-done-it.
Hawaii From Here To Eternity (1953, Fred Zimmerman) 8 Oscars and that sand-in-your-pants sex in the surf.
Idaho Duchess of Idaho (1950, Robert Z Leonard ) Esther Williams with an Eleanor Powell cameo so you’ll stop confusing dancer Powell with Eleanor Parker.
Illinois The Breakfast Club (1985, John Hughes) The Illinois high school movie without Ferris Bueller, this Brat Pack period piece is textbook coming-of-age fare.
Indiana Hooisers (1986, David Anspaugh) After the Hooiser state gave us “the Gipper,” and before the same director and screenwriter (Angelo Pizzo) will look to Rudy on the Indiana gridiron, the cinematic pair first looked to hoops.
Iowa State Fair (1945, Walter Lang) Only Rodgers and Hammerstein piece written directly for movies—the melodious songfest features Oscar-Winning “It Might As Well Be Spring.”
Kansas Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Fleming) No brainer, Toto, just click your heels and go home.
Kentucky Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980, Michael Apted) Great performance by Sissy Spacek drives this elegiac American biopic.
Louisiana A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, Elia Kazan) Brando didn’t get the Oscar for this one—but his “Stella, Stella” changed screen-acting forever.
Maine Dolores Claiborne (1995, Taylor Hackford) Secrets-sex-murder and domestic violence in an engrossing small town melodrama.
Maryland Blair Witch Project (1999, Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez) The Black Hills Forest of Maryland is full of surprises—one being this cult movie’s quarter-of-a-billion-dollars box office receipts.
Massachusetts Little Women (1949, Meryyn LeRoy) As good as the 1933 original with a stellar cast and an endearing performance by Liz Taylor as Amy.
Michigan Tucker (1988, Francis Ford Coppola) Originally envisioned as a musical, without songs, Tucker manages to sing the praises of the American entrepreneurial spirit.
Minnesota The Long Riders (1980, Walter Hill) Four teams of acting brothers in a violent yet nostalgic film about the Jesse James Gang, last of the legendary Outlaw bands.
Missouri Waiting for Guffman (1997, Christopher Guest) The theater community of Blain, MO channels Broadway to stage a memorable musical comedy—“Red, White and Blaine.”
Montana A River Runs Through It (1992, Robert Redford) No one since Izaak Walton has done as much to promote fly fishing as an aesthetic occupation.
Nebraska My Antonia (1995, Joseph Sargent ) This obviously TV movie is the only adaptation of one of America’s greatest stories. Thus, it cries to heaven that Hollywood should take a better look at Willa Cather’s almost flawless novel.
Nevada Melvin and Howard (1980, Jonathan Demme) Without DiCaprio or Beatty overacting, you can follow Howard Hughes on the edge of your seat instead of cringing under it.
New Hampshire On Golden Pond (1981, Mark Rydell) The melancholy plight of Norman and Ethel Thayer becomes more poignant as Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn remind you that Studio System Stars could also act.
New Jersey Eddie and the Cruisers (1983, Martin Davidson) This Jersey shore rock-and-roll story about a music legend makes some interesting nods to classic cinema and genre filmmaking.
New Mexico The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967, Sergio Leone) Third Installment in the “Dollars Trilogy.” Classic Spaghetti Western with Eastwood’s stoicism and Morricone’s music kissing the 1862 New Mexico Campaign brutally back to life.
New York The Best of Everything (1959, Jean Negulesco) Fabian Publishing where employees must face treachery, abortion, infidelity and the aging Joan Crawford to break through the glass ceiling.
TO BE CONTINUED