I Netflix'd Gone, Baby, Gone the other day, and finally got around to it. It wasn't something I really would have paid for, but the reviews were good and I'm always curious about Boston-set movies. However, five minutes in I realized that I usually hate Boston-set movies. I hate the way they make everyone from Boston sound, and the way they always make Boston look like the crime capital of the world.
Of course, there is crime in Boston, just as there are crimes everywhere, and it would probably be a pretty boring movie if they didn't make it seem like there was a criminal underworld. But this movie made it seem like Chicago 1920. As did The Departed, which was a very good movie, but the fact that it was based in Boston was kind of superfluous. It could have been any city and still been a good movie. That's what bugs me about movies like Gone, Baby, Gone. I intentionally set my screenplays in locations that could appear in any city (bar, restaurant, wherever), because I personally don't want the city to become a character because I want the story to be the focus. But if a writer or director chooses to have the city be a character, at least do it right. They were in Dorchest-ah, Chelsea, the Quincy quarries (Do those still exist?). Man, there's no way that these criminals were travelling that far just to score some blow and hide a kidnapped kid. There were just so many little problems with the city locations, and I really expected better from Ben Affleck, since he was from here. It's fine if you're filming a movie based in Ancient Rome and have a few problems, but it's not Boston is some distant land.
So, that brings me to my second major problem with these movies, and basically with anyone in any movie or TV show that is supposed to be from Boston: the accent. I'm from Boston, and I personally don't know anyone who talks like the Kennedys, except the Kennedys. I mean, isn't it like saying that everyone from New York has to talk like Rudy Guiliani? But why do they exaggerate it so much? Why does every citizen of Boston have to sound like some idiot who drops his R's. I will admit to sometimes lazily saying "Ah-lington," but I always say "park" and "yard." Real Boston people don't usually talk like that. It's just a few idiots from Southie that ruin it for the rest of us.
And Casey Affleck is about as good a hero as Bozo the Clown.
So, anyway, thumbs down on Gone, Baby, Gone.