Adapted from an item in Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal24.com.
There was a funny column in The Washington Post the other day headlined “Too Much Boston’’ about excess movies being made about what the headlines used to call “The Hub’’. These films, replete with real or badly done “Boston accents’’ (which basically means the speech of Irish- or Italian-Americans there and almost never of the famous upper-crust “Boston Brahmins,’’ usually focus on the seamy, violent, crime-ridden underbelly of the city and its environs (including, for example, the town in Manchester-by-the-Sea, much of which is actually rich). It is almost always cloudy and dark in Hollywood Boston, and there's menace around each corner.
You’d think that Boston was the most dangerous, forbidding burg in America rather than the generally safe, internationalized and prosperous (for many residents) place that it is --- world-famed for research, education, medicine, finance and high and popular culture. Indeed, much of downtown Boston has become positively glitzy, as have such formerly rather forlorn nearby places as Cambridge's Kendall Square (now home to Google and many other fancy companies).
I suggest that the screenwriters, producers and directors give up the Boston bathos and make more use of, say, Chicago --- a much more dangerous place. That’s not to say that there aren’t some sour, gritty and indeed dangerous places in Boston. It is to say that its film noir aspects are getting overdone. And could we also get off the grossly outdated presentation of Providence as a Mob town!
New England is usual among American regions in having such a strong sense of regional identity and coherence (excluding Connecticut’s Fairfield County, which is glued to metro New York City). This came out, of course, with the frenzied six-state celebrations of the Patriots’ astonishing Super Bowl win. And part of that identity is having one major city, Boston, that’s not only the capital of its leading state but also the psychic, economic and cultural capital of the whole region. People in the Canadian Maritime Provinces used to call New England “The Boston States.’’
This will continue. The other good-sized cities in the region – Providence, Worcester etc., --- will never be able to ‘’compete’’ in a big way with Boston. Rather, they should present themselves as interesting, livable and less expansive urban satellites of “The Hub.’’