Give me your top Boston-based movies, I’m trying to learn a few things
— Braxton Berrios (@HNYNUT_BERRIOS) April 30, 2018
Braxton Berrios, the senior wide receiver out of Miami who the Patriots drafted last week, has been billed as the next Wes Welker, Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola. Whether or not the 210th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft will have that kind of impact on the Patriots, or even make the team this year, is anyone’s guess. His tweet from yesterday brings up a good point, though. If you knew a guy who was moving to Boston, which movies would you recommend he watch to get a feel for the place?
[For this discussion I’m only going to consider movies released since Berrios was born in 1995. The Friends of Eddie Coyle and The Brink’s Job may have been great movies 40 years ago, but they don’t really help explain Boston to a 23-year-old today.]
Good Will Hunting Quintessential Boston movie that put two Boston stars – Matt Damon and Ben Affleck – on the map. Robin Williams won an Academy Award for his performance in this film. Possibly responsible for a resurgence of Boston movies over the last 20 years.
21 Based on the book Bringing Down the House, 21 follows the exploits of the MIT blackjack team. I debated whether or not to include this one on the list as the college students aren’t necessarily from Boston and a lot of the action takes place outside of Boston, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to showcase the Hub as a beacon of higher education.
The Town Ben Affleck is back in Boston (Charlestown to be specific) as a career criminal bank robber. This movie makes this list instead of The Departed because it features better accents and because the city itself is a bigger part of this movie. I don’t remember Frank Costello trying to take down Fenway Park.
Ted A Boston comedy for the Family Guy generation. Mark Wahlberg turns in a solid performance in another Boston movie (after The Perfect Storm, The Departed, and The Fighter). This movie always sucks me in when I see it on FX. Eminently quotable and rewatchable.
Manchester by the Sea Yeah, this one is definitely a downer, but I’ve never seen an actor portray a Bostonian better than Casey Affleck did in this film. Casey Affleck won an Oscar for his performance in this film. Subtle townie references, including Affleck’s Dugout Cafe t-shirt, reinforce this film’s spot on this list.
And Braxton, if you don’t have time to choke down these five films fear not. Seth Meyers can catch you up on most of what you need to know about Boston in less than five minutes.