With all the recent news of movies being filmed in Pittsburgh and all the controversy that goes along with that, we decided to dedicate this weeks top 10 to movies filmed right here in the Burgh (or somewhere close). It's a little off the sports topics we usually cover, but a little pop culture never hurt anyone. We hope you enjoy, and we'd like to thank our boy, your boy, Mondesi himself for throwing us this idea...
10. Deer Hunter
Ok, I'm not going to lie, I've never actually "seen" this movie. However I do know that it won whole bunch of Academy Awards in 1978 and has also been named one of the 100 Greatest American Movies of all time. Not to metion this film stars Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken as well. Hard to go wrong with that combo. Throwback movies aren't usually our favorites, but it never hurts to respect your elders. Plus Walken is the man. Period.
Who knew Bobby was a blood?
Another old school movie at the bottom of the list, Robocop came out in 1987 and somehow ended up makin $56 Million and two more sequels, which is ludicrous. This movie probably cost about 500 grand to make as the Robocop costume looks like something your mom made you for Halloween out of tin foil and carboard boxes - and don't even get me started on the effects. The funniest part about this movie is that it featured the least scariest villain of all time; Red from that 70's show. Man that dude has been bald forever.
Rogaine didn't work for him...
8. Sudden Death
And the classics keep on coming here with the 1995 hockey classic/action flick Sudden Death. This one stared Jean Claude "Who wants to party?" Van Damme, Mike Lange, Jay Caufield, Luc Robaitaille, Paul Steigerwald, and even the mascot Iceburgh makes an apperance (and gets to commit a felony - Go Pens!). Gotta love the Van Damme movies as there is always plenty of unintentional comedey that goes along with them, this one being no different. Plus, the 80's style kung fu or whatever it is he uses on his foes are the best martial arts this side of Stephen Segal.
The only terror in this movie is the acting...
This Farrelly brothers movie is hilarious; it's a movie about hustling people in bowling. Woody "Legalize It" Harrelson plays Roy Munson, who is the inspiration behind the term "munson'd", which pretty much means getting screwed over. Randy Quaid plays an Amish bowler named Ismael and Bill Murray also sticks his nose in this one as the slimeball opponent who cost Munson his hand (and somehow is a pimp and player in the movie, even though he rocks a combover and is a pro bowler). Kingpin manages to equally offend a wide variety of people, which is always a plus. Even pitching great/enemy of the state Roger Clemens makes a cameo as a redneck named Skidmark - I'm sure this was a real strech for Roger.
6. Striking Distance
Bruce Willis is one bad dude, and him filming an action movie in the Burgh is pretty freakin' sweet. Unlike most movies filmed here in Pittsburgh, this one was actually supposed to be Pittsburgh in the movie. Bruce plays a butt-kicking river rescue cop who has a chip on his shoulder, which makes him wanna kick more butt, solve mysteries, and more unsolved murders in the Burgh. Tom Sizemore also was in this instant classic. So basically monthly earnings for the girls working Liberty Ave. and local crack dealers were up while this one was being filmed.
5. Night of the Living Dead
This one is born and bred in Pittsburgh - according to Wikipedia (god bless that site), the man who brought Night of the Living Dead to life, George Romero, went to CMU, and used a Pittsburgh based film company on the flick. He even got his start filming spots for Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. The 1968 mega-low budget picture is one of, if not the most well known zombie flick ever made, and brought forth a series of sequels and a couple remakes. It's kinda funny to watch nowadays. but it is truly a classic in every sense.
They're coming for you...
Kevin Smith's foray into the world of organized religion, Dogma was criticized by the Catholic Church for portraying God in a less then appropriate way - as a mute Alanis Morissette who likes to do cartwheels and make beeping noises. We're both Catholic and we thought it was hilarious (sorry pope). It's a great satire about the church, but we mostly like the stupid jokes and gratuitous violence. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck also star in this as angels who were banned from heaven and sent to Earth for all eternity as a punishment, as do Jason Mewes and Smith himself as Jay and Silent Bob, the two stoners who basically made Smith into what he is today. George Carlin, Selma Hayek, Jason Lee, Alan Rickman and Linda Fiorentino round out this all star cast.
Buddy Christ is the man!
3. Groundhog Day
Bill Murray stars as a TV weatherman from the Burgh' who travels to Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day to see everyone's favorite rodent, Phil the Groundhog, predict the weather in this 1993 classic. The probem is, Groundhog Day keeps repeating itself over and over and over again, until he lives the day right and gets with Andie MacDowell (well played old man). This movie is also big in the physchological community, where it's been used in many different ways. My humble opinion is this is the movie that sent Bill Murray from coke snorting SNL alum to bigtime comedic actor, which is a very good thing, because if that never happened, we'd never have classics like the Royal Tannenbaums, Lost in Translation and Rushmore.
Look ma, no hands!
What's not to like about Jack Nicholson playing Jimmy Hoffa in a movie shot in Pittsburgh? This 1992 biography of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa is a favorite of ours for two reasons; tons of violence and lots of swearing. I know, we're like 12 year olds. It was filmed all over Pittsburgh, but was actually set in Detroit. Who woulda guessed Pittsburgh would be a poor man's Detroit for the movie industry? Nicholson steals the show, and the story follows him from his beginnings burning down businesses all the way to his disappearance. Add in a great supporting cast of Danny Devito and John C. Reilly, and you got yourself one helluva movie.
Where did you go, Jimmy Hoffa?
1. Silence of the Lambs
Academy Award winners Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins bring the story of physcologist/serial cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lector to life in this 1991 Best Picture Winner. This movie still sends chills down my spine over 15 years later. It was one of the first horror movies I saw, and probably is why I don't like them to this day. Much like Night of the Living Dead (and every other horror movie I know of), this movie spawned sequels and I think even a prequel. It's also one of the most "copied" or mocked movies of all time, with everyone from South Park to the movie Joe Dirt (another Snack favorite) using something from Lambs. If you've never seen it, make sure you check out the episode of South Park called Toilet Paper - it's a spoof of this and is one of the top 5 episodes ever.
Honorable mention -
Inspector Gadget, Angels in the Outfield, Lorenzo's Oil, The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh, Milk Money, Flashdance