There was a funny item on the Boston-based blog Shamrag, yesterday. It was sparked by Charles McGrath's love letter to Ben Affleck in The New York Times this past Sunday. Affleck took McGrath on a tour of Southie, Dorchester, and Roxbury to help publicize "Gone Baby Gone," his directorial debut.
The tour gambit seems to have wowed McGrath, who doesn't even correct Affleck when the actor-director says, of the Boston locations he used in his movie: "I wanted something raw and authentic and even a little scuffed up. People go to the movies to see something they can't get otherwise, and I thought this was a chance to take you somewhere that you couldn't otherwise get to -- the Boston you never see in the movies."
This is, of course, absurd. Although movies shot in Boston might use the Back Bay or Beacon Hill as an ersatz Paris, almost every single movie that's actually set in Boston -- from "The Brink's Job" to "The Departed," and including "Good Will Hunting," "Celtic Pride," and "Mystic River" -- aims to be "authentic," a word that should make us suspicious. Affleck, who I'm sure has many fine qualities, is no more a representative of some "authentic" Boston than is the odious "Boston Rob," the Sox cap-sporting reality-TV repeat offender. Who hails from Canton.
Anyway! Written in dialect, Shamrag's Lily Von Schtoop post seeks to correct the impression, created intentionally or unintentionally by Affleck and unchallenged by the impressionable McGrath, that Affleck hails from -- and therefore truly understands -- one of Boston's working-class neighborhoods. Von Schtoop says:
Ben Affleck is NAWT from DAWT. No mattah what the Noo Yawk Times implies. Seri-usly. He's nawt. He was born in California and raised in the People's Republic of Cambridge.
But Von Schtoop is forgiving. She adds: "But whatevah. I am still gonna go see Gone Baby Gone -- represent yo!"
Via Universal Hub.
UPDATE: Running list of comments made about "authentic Boston" made in reviews of "Gone Baby Gone," at Hub Blog.
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