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Big Screen Boston: From Mystery Street to The Departed and Beyond Paperback – May 1, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Big Screen Boston had me at the introduction! Provocatively critical and coupled with a local's love of arcane inside detail (an unknown Tommy Lee Jones in Love Story??!!!), Big Screen Boston is an indispensable guide to all things cinematically Boston! I couldn't stop reading! --Joyce Kulhawik, WBZ-TV, CBS Boston

So much fun... This does what all good movie books do: Makes you want to run out and see the movies. --Ty Burr, boston.com

An indispensable history/dictionary/catalogue/critique of local feature filmmaking through the years. Dramas. Documentaries. Hollywood features and many indies. Fie on Toronto standing in for the Hub! With Sherman as guide, we're talking Boston as Boston. --Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix

A must-read if you're a Bostonian with a movie jones. --James Verniere, Boston Herald

An indispensable history/dictionary/catalogue/critique of local feature filmmaking through the years. Dramas. Documentaries. Hollywood features and many indies. Fie on Toronto standing in for the Hub! With Sherman as guide, we're talking Boston as Boston. --Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix

A must-read if you're a Bostonian with a movie jones. --James Verniere, Boston Herald

About the Author

Paul Sherman has been writing about movies for over 20 years. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Boston Herald, The Improper Bostonian, the Turner Classic Movies website, Salon, The Chicago Sun-Times, Video Eyeball, The Boston Phoenix, Filmfax, Film Threat and The Dallas Observer. He is a past president of the Boston Society of Film Critics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Black Bars Publishing; 1st edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977639746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977639748
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,290,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Laura F. Clifford on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Former Herald and Improper Bostonian film critic and native Bostonian Paul Sherman has mined his multi-decade career to put together a comprehensive look at just how Boston has figured in the movies. Written in a breezy, conversational tone, the book is of note for both its Hollywood insights and historical perspective as well as being a heck of an entertaining read.

The book's intro discusses Hollywood's love/hate relationship with Boston (including several amusing anecdotes) and just what the author is calling a 'Boston movie' (it must be at least partially shot here, which, for example "Legally Blonde" was not). Boston's contribution to the independent scene is particularly interesting - I hadn't realized we had our own movement, the 'Beanstreets' movies of the 1970's.

Although there was some Massachusetts location shooting done earlier (as far back as 1922!), Sherman fixes 1950's "Mystery Street" as the first Boston shot film. The book's main section features eighty alphabetical listings of films that primarily take place in the state. Paul gives brief synopses and commentary on the film's value as well as stories about the shoot. He follows each with a listing of shooting locations, whether the Boston accents cut the 'muhstaad' or not and whether the film has true local color (Paul particularly loathes films that refer to Boston Common as 'the Commons' - these do not rate, but a references to Kelly's does.) Where applicable, Sherman also notes local celebrity and 'before-they-were-stars' appearances. "Brief Visits, Day Trips & the Rest" list a whole bunch more films in brief but there are many cool nuggets to be mined there as well. And just to make sure you've been paying attention, the book closes with a Boston movie quiz.
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Format: Paperback
This is more than a fan's love letter to the Hub, it's a well-researched, minutely observed and highly readable tour of Bean streets. Paul Sherman always seemed to draw duty to review independent and less-hyped movies that the first-string critics sluffed off. Yet in dwelling among the cast-offs he discovered and trumpeted numerous otherwise hidden gems. His entries are compact and frequently witty with enough asides to please insiders and tempt everyone else. Plus his memory of Boston as a city and of Boston as a Hollywood-on-the-Charles wannabe goes beyond nostalgia.
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