Friday, March 10, 2006

Chicago Movies

Having recently had the great pleasure of seeing the new DVD special edition of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I've been thinking about great moments in Chicago cinema. It's amazaing how many films have been set in Chicago.

As an icebreaker to get this blog discussion going,
What are some of your favorite Chicago movies, and why?

Add your comments to the right -->>


At 3:05 PM, Blogger anthony said...

It should come as no surprise to those who know me that one of my all-time favorite movies is The Blues Brothers. With a soundtrack unrivaled by any other film that I can think of (save for maybe Dead Presidents and its soulful tribute to the likes of Isaac Hayes and the O'Jays), the success of The Blues Brothers can largely be credited to its strong reliance on its soundtrack, most notably because it actually features the artists who made the music famous (from Cab Calloway to James Brown, from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin, and including one of the strongest working bands in the business - the backing band of the Blues Brothers).

Of course, this is to say nothing of how the film pays tribute to Chicago landmark for landmark, cultural idiosyncrasy for same, and on and on. When I was watching Ferris Bueller, I was similarly taken by the scenery.

Alternately, the characters are infectious. But I felt the same attraction to Ferris and High Fidelity - two completely different Chicago films. In the end, though, Jake and Elwood define the essence of Chicago for me. Even though I'm not a native Chicagoan (I lived vicariously through WGN's superstation in the 80's), upon first arrival, I already felt at home and acclimated thanks to this sweet valentine of a film.

The Sun-Times did a great piece on the The Blues Brothers some time back to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the film. It's interesting to see all the sites immortalized on film revisited with context.

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to confess, I visited my favorite movie database website and typed "Chicago" in order to figure out what my favorite Chicago movie is. Only having lived here 9 years, many of the films listed that I like were made before I moved here.

I like the "Blues Brothers" more every time I see it. Although of the ones Anthony menioned, I like "High Fidelity" the best. John Cusack is one of my favorite actors and always nails the roles he takes on. I found the three characters working in the record store interesting, because they were all different, but shared the same love for music and vinyl records.

I think my favorite Chicago-based movies are ones that have a personal connection for me (ane one of them may not be a "kosher" choice). One would be "Running Scared" with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. It was an enjoyable action movie with an engaging story and interesting characters. My sister was living in Chicago when it was made and they shot a scene in the alley behind her apartment.

My favorite Chicago-based movie, would have to be John Hughes' "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" which wasn't exactly based in Chicago. The characters played by Steve Martin and John Candy were trying to get to Chicago for Thanksgiving and due to the weather, were having great difficulty. I didn't see the movie when it came out, but was compelled to see it after attending a cousin's wedding in Peoria. My husband and I were being driven from Peoria to O'Hare Airport, when my sister's car broke down in Braidwood. After calling for a tow truck and much yelling and crying, we located someone who could pick us up. We ended up waiting in the restaurant of a motel in Braidwood. We noticed that the wait staff was wearing shirts that said "PTA" and they were selling t-shirts with the same on them. A waitress explained to us that some of the scenes in the movie were shot at the motel and restaurant when the characters spent the night there.

We rented the movie when we finally made it home (a day late...) and found it hysterically funny. That movie will always have a spot in my heart, since we had a similar experience in Braidwood, IL.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger anthony said...

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of the finest films of the 80's and certainly of its genre. Featuring one of the best performances by Steve Martin (playing himself in caricature as always, perhaps), and one of the most endearing roles written in comedy (amazing the things that pass for comedy - especially when The Apartment is considered by AFI the best of the genre), and performances by the late great John Candy. Seeing Candy today brings a tear to my eye (big fan - from SCTV to Armed and Dangerous and Uncle Buck). Love this film! It's a holiday tradition in our family.

And gosh yes, Running Scared, (probably my mom's favorite Chciago movie)! It's more than just a cop buddy movie. Still, as well it should, it's got that great chase sequence on the L tracks - and Michael McDonald's "Sweet Freedom" takes me back - I think it's time to pay a visit to the 80's once more. Great picks, great flicks!


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