Erie Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Oh, Hollywood. You come to town and throw your money around and tell us we’re wonderful — and then then the next day you’re gone and all we’re left with is a hangover. And then you never call. And if we do see you again, it’s really awkward.

No industry holds sway over the imagination like the movie business, so when The Place Beyond the Pines came to Schenectady they were treated like royalty. If a cell phone company came to town and spent two million dollars nobody would even notice — and the entire city certainly wouldn’t bend over backwards and kiss their ass.

But Hollywood is different. In David Mamet’s comedy State and Main, a small town goes nuts when the movie people show up. But it’s not just about the locals; Mamet’s movie also shows how producers use the mystique and glamour of movie making to get whatever they want.

Hey, I’m not saying that the Pines shoot wasn’t interesting — but maybe it’s time for the Capital Region (media and area film commissions, in particular) to stop screaming like teenage girls whenever somebody shows up in town with a film crew.

We need to take a lesson from New York, where they’re more like, “Oh, you’re making a movie? That’s nice… now get the #$%@ off the sidewalk, I’m walkin’ here!”

7 thoughts on “Erie Boulevard of Broken Dreams

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  2. Schenectady blew it by not reserving the big screen at Proctors (sorry Peter Pan fans). They could have had thousands of people, enough to close down State Street, for a major premiere. Instead, they went with Bow Tie for 300 special invitees. Imagine the concessions, the T Shirts, maybe even coverage on Entertainment Tonight. What a disappointment. Business as usual in the Electric City.

    1. Especially considering all the bitching they did! They acted like jilted lovers over the premiere — and then orchestrated such an underwhelming event? Lame…

    1. As usual, every story is a media story.

      Let me repeat, I think movie making is cool — but did Pines merit the intense and sustained coverage that it got? Nope.

      Editors insist that they reflect the community’s interest in an event, but this is clearly an instance where they created it. That’s called hype. And — now pay attention media literacy students — hype is what sells newspapers, gets you clicking, and keeps you watching. Why else would a newspaper put their best writer on something so — trivial?

      That’s not cynical, it’s simply true. And anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar. Even the most serious-faced news anchor or esteemed scribe understand that they are there to generate audience. Maybe they didn’t understand that when they were young and idealistic, but they know it now.

      “Well,” says the journalist, “It’s our job to look at the community and report on what people find interesting. Don’t blame us that everybody’s nuts over movie stars!”

      I don’t blame you for that. I blame you for not knowing when to stop.

      But what the hell do you expect in a world where every story can be measured with data? If you run something about Pines and your numbers shoot through the roof, why wouldn’t you do it again. And again. And again.

      It would be stupid not to. Even stupider than doing it, I suppose.

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