Moviegoers across the country made the Ben Affleck film The Town the highest grossing movie of the past week raking in roughly $30 million. And it's still going strong here in Boston anyway...
I know because the 8m show I went to see last night sold out as I waited in line for tickets. So my friends and I got tickets for the 9pm, which also sold out. Now of course the "stadium seating" in the theater really had no comparison to the actual stadium seats of Fenway Park like when I first saw the flick. And of course the popcorn was the opposite of free, no peanuts, no crackerjack, and no Ben Affleck... but the movie was maybe even better than I remember it.
So twice in two weeks I've seen The Town (I still haven't robbed a bank), and I was treated to two completely different sets of previews. Last night we literally were shown 20 full minutes of previews! 20 minutes is the length of a sitcom without commercials! ARGH! I honestly can't name half of the movies that were previewed, and I probably won't see the half I remember...
The Fighter I will see. I hadn't seen a trailer for the movie since March when I actually got to watch about 15 minutes of real footage and another half hour of back story/research the filmmakers put together. It was awesome. And in the trailer from last night, I saw a clip from the same stuff I'd seen 6 months ago. It's of Mark Wahlberg and his dozen or so sisters cursing and fighting each other on a porch. The Berg plays Irish Mickey Ward, a Lowell born and bred boxer trying to reach the top. His brother in the movie is played by Christian Bale and both looked in absolute peak physical condition. The movie was primarily shot last year in Lowell with re-shoots happening out in L.A. It hits theaters this December!
Ben Affleck's The Town gave many Bostonions something exciting to watch at Fenway Park this September, sorry sox. And not just the movie, but the people-watching and "star"-gazing was a thrill too for many here in the Hub.
Over the past few years Fenway Park has frequently undergone venue transformations. The Winter Classic brought a hockey rink. There was "Football at Fenway" this summer. And a number of concerts have been played recently by such acts as Dave Matthews Band, Paul McCartney and Aerosmith. Last night's premiere of The Town was my favorite or these transformations.
A movie screen was erected about the visiting team dugout and the lucky guests were all seated on the third-base line. The buzz in the air was invigorating, like that heard inside a happy beehive with a surplus of honey. It was electric. I know for me, every first time I walk up that ramp from the concession area into the park itself I'm always overloaded with that Fenway Feel. This time was no different. As my eyes looked up the ramp they saw not monster green, not sox red, but movie screen white. The buzz just grew.
The evening of entertainment really got underway as some VIP's were ushered to their seats after their pictures and interviews were taken on the field. The girl sitting behind me had just unbelievable vision, pointing out celebrity after celebrity from pretty far away. She literally was doing her own E! on the Red Carpet commentary. "Now we have Tom Brady in his classic Sculley Cap, looks like he's here with Giselle... And that's Matt Damon with his wife..." and so on and so forth. Really everyone from the film was in attendance including principals Blake Lively, and Jon Hamm. But really everyone from the film was in attendance, including local actors and local film crews. Affleck said in his pre-screening address that he was excited to give the screening in the Hub so all the awesome Bostonions that contributed could enjoy watching their work with their families and friends on such a grand scale. He also said that "Matt Damon will be signing autographs after the show". Good times.
Ben Affleck's pre-screening talk not only touched on the talented movie makers here in Massachusetts, but also included a dedication of sorts to the people of Charlestown who weren't really depicted in the film. That even though The Town focuses on the evil and the ugly side of its population, Charlestown is home to mostly hard-working, honest people who do not deserve the bad rap the movie gives it.
Finally, the movie, with no real spoilers!! First of all, welcome to a true Boston movie in every way possible! The accents were perfect, spot on. Not just the accents, but the truth behind them. Very real, and when you get that from a movie right at the start, it's just so much easier to get into the world that you are about to be a part of for the next two hours. The characters in the movie were clearly defined which made their interactions and dialogues that much more captivating. And even though there were some occasional plot twists or reveals, you could always tell exactly the goals of each character and knew where each stood. The character's each had a foil or two, had a parallel character or two and I'm very interested in seeing it again to study some of their relationships in better detail.
The settings make this a real Boston movie. If they had not set up shop in Charlestown for the majority of their filming, The Town would just be the punch line to the joke, "Where does Gigli live?". Haha. But the movie fans in Fenway, myself included, felt a real connection to the Boston we were seeing. Not necessarily to the crime per se, but to the city we live in, work in and see everyday. From Bunker Hill to Harvard Square and from the Old North End to Fenway Park itself, The Town for us really could have been called "Right Over There".
This is now what I consider to be the best Ben Affleck movie, formerly Good Will Hunting. And I had GWH in my mind from time to time during The Town. Both were strongly acted and showcased a realistic Boston in their film. Part of GWH's success was the monologues, that's how the characters came to life. There really wasn't much of that this time around... and I was actually kinda waiting for it. The only real monologue is Affleck's story about how his mother left. I remember watching it thinking that the story wasn't that good and the performance wasn't particularly moving. I then remember feeling strangely satisfied that the monologue wasn't better nor the acting... because it actually fit better being the way it was. It was more real, more believable. Because this character isn't going to find the right way to say what he's trying to say. He doesn't want to tell the story, and he knows that he doesn't really know the full story. And it's more or less the story of who he is, which he's questioning anyway. I really enjoyed that. And thinking back to the stories/monologues in GWH, you have Robin Williams with a beautifully dark, well-spoken opening up to Damon on the bench, and Damon himself time and again expounding brilliant, logically reasoned intelligence and emotion through his speeches in the Harvard Bar, at his job interview and in a courtroom. Now Affleck's story about his Uncle Marty at a bar scene in GWH is so much like his character's from The Town. The GWH story is not the best story, not the funniest, not the best told or acted... but the perfect fit for the film, even if it was just to set-up Minnie Driver's story.
Anyway, that's one of the things I've thought about most since seeing The Town, that a robbing a bank. And there's such great little things in the movie that make the biggest difference in turning a good movie into a great movie, or a great Boston movie. Another quick GWH for example, "Morgan wanted to get you a T pass". In The Town we get "I learned it from my mother". See the movie, get the joke.
Speaking of see the movie, it hits theaters everywhere this Friday, 9/17. Thanks to the people at Warner Bros. and Fenway Park for making last night so special. And thanks to everyone who spent last year making this movie the best Boston movie of 2010!
We just got our tickets and are pretty excited to be part of Ben Affleck's The Town red carpet premiere at Fenway Tues night. We worked with Warner Brothers, Cheers and the Liberty Hotel to give away Boston trips in major markets across the U.S. The winners receive a special The Town movie tour which departs Tuesday afternoon. We then hit the red carpet about 7.
We've been waiting for another great movie starring both Boston and Ben Affleck for awhile here in The Hub, and the wait is almost over. Just 9 days from now The Town hits theaters nationwide and we couldn't be more excited to offer a special Bus Tour featuring The Town on Tuesday 9/14! Our *Special* The Town Tuesday Bus Tour starts at a special time, 12pm! Get your tickets now!!!