We love Hollywood. The flashing lights, the obscene amount of cash, the glitz and the glam. Of course, living in Massachusetts, the editors don’t get to experience that veneer of accomplishment that often (RIP to the failed before building of Plymouth Rock Studios, 2009). But sometimes fate brings Hollywood to us so we get that little piece of authenticity that can’t be replicated in the Golden State. These are a few films that were filmed in our hometowns that we are damn proud of!
Editor Joe – Gardner, Massachusetts
I am originally from Gardner, Massachusetts. Born and raised. This small city, current population roughly 20,000, is not known for its arts scene. We struggle to keep galleries and bookshops alive but nonetheless we have attracted attention from the stars themselves.
But Gardner’s first movie claim was when crews filmed a scene of School Ties (1992) at our historic Blue Moon Diner (in downtown Gardner no less!). The scene is a pivotal point in the film where the overall conflict comes to head and ends in a brawl. For Gardner natives, having acting greats Matt Damon, Brendan Fraser and Ben Affleck in town was something to see and we still talk about it to this day.
Besides School Ties, Gardner was also the location of a documentary based on the Back To The Future franchise. The original DeLorean resides in Hubbardston (a town touching Gardner) and when a producer expressed interest in filming a documentary focused on the series, filming was done in Gardner because City Hall looks very familiar….
It’s more than movies too! Two years ago, a commercial for iRobot was filmed in Gardner. I couldn’t find the commercial online but I did find this article covering the commercial.
Editor-in-Chief Sara -Beverly, Massachusetts
Ah, my old stomping ground from age 5 to 13, then again in my twenties. Beverly is known as the birthplace of the U.S. Navy (no matter what Marblehead says – they’re wrong, straight up) and has had a few run-ins with Hollywood with some shots making the final cut and others not. Here’s a short list of films and where in Beverly they were shot.
- The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968 Beverly National Bank in North Beverly
- Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, 1970 Cabot and Washington Street at night
- The Good Son, 1993 Lynch Park (fake house built for set)
- Mrs. Winterbourne, 1996, Mechanic Street and the train station in North Beverly
- The Crucible, 1996, parts of The United Shoe Company which is now the Cummings Center
- State and Main, 2000 a train station and a house on Abbott street
- The Perfect Storm, 2000 Beverly Airport
- The Proposal, 2009 Beverly Airport again! A stand in for the Alaskan town airport Sitka.
- Furry Vengeance, Beverly Airport a third time!
- Clear History, North Shore Music Theatre and the old location for Marino’s Cafe on Rantoul Street
- More recent films: Manchester By The Sea with Matt Damon
Mrs. Winterbourne, a special meaning
The scene mentioned above for Mrs. Winterbourne happened on the street behind my childhood home and, oh my, was the whole neighborhood nosey. Ricki Lake, who was still on her game back then, shined as she walked outside the house of her fictional character to start her journey. One of my sisters was even chosen to walk in the scene in the neighborhood but it was cut. This was my first brush with a celebrity. Beyond that it was getting close to the Chucky Cheese animated puppets on stage (the ones that scared the shit out of children). I’ll always remember and cherish that day because it was during a time where block parties were happening constantly, you knew your neighbors and a little bit of Hollywood in the area was a story to tell everyone.
Editor Sandy -Marblehead, Massachusetts
I’ve lived in Marblehead my whole life. I have the fortune of living in a beautiful old town with historical buildings and waterfront venues that are suitable places to film scenes. I guess Hollywood thinks so too. Look at all these films with scenes in Marblehead!
- The Pride of the Clan starring Mary Pickford (1917)
- Home Before Dark (1958)
- The Carey Treatment (1972)
- Coma (1978)
- The Witches of Eastwick (1987) – scenes at Abbot Hall
- The Good Son (1993) – Apparently some of it was filmed at Old Burial Hill
- Treading Water (2001) – look at that? Abbot Hall is on the movie cover! You don’t get any more Marblehead than that.
- Moonlight Mile (2002) – Neighbor’s Restaurant is really Haley’s Liquor Store in Marblehead
- The Company Men (2010)
- My Hometown (2011)- a movie partly filmed in my hometown. Never heard of it.
- What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001) was filmed in Manchester-by-the-Sea, but scenes are set in Marblehead.
Now, I’m not big on the Grown Ups movies, but both of them were filmed in Marblehead and have notable scenes in places I’m familiar with. Grown Ups (2010) was filmed on Marblehead Neck and, according to the MA Film office, Adam Sandler discovered the area while working on this film, which is probably why it’s sequel has a lot more action taking place in Marblehead.
Grown Ups Two (2012) created a lot of hub when it was in town. I heard stories of people encountering some of the famous actors, and how they supported our local businesses. My aunt was even working with them to be an extra in one of the scenes in the movie. I watched the movie just to see parts of my hometown that the world would now be able to glimpse. There was much ado about the car wash scene that took place downtown, near the same place I remember going with my family for one of Marblehead’s annual Christmas Walks when I was a child, around the area they had a horse and carriage ride.
The police car screeched its breaks at 5 Corners Restaurant, right in front of Tony’s Pizza where my family stopped for food when I was a kid before it burned down and became the place shown in the film. And the tire roll started in front of what used to be one of the few gas stations Marblehead had before they took them all out of town.
I could go on forever about every storefront I recognize, but there’s one movie that needs it’s spotlight: Hocus Pocus (1993). Obviously they chose some venues in Salem as well (hello? It is Witch City after all), but that bike scene in the cemetery took place at Old Burial Hill (in Marblehead!), and you can catch a glimpse of Abbot Hall and the Bus Stop shop as Max, the main character, bikes through town. Through my town!
Looking to see if your MA town has had films? Check out this site and comment with the movies filmed in your hometown!