Hollywood on the Charles

By Carlo Rotella | Boston Magazine |

The Massachusetts boom may not be as significant as New York’s, but it’s happening in an era when the continuing expansion of Hollywood’s international reach ensures greater circulation. One side effect has been to create an odd wrinkle in the globalization of popular culture. The subset of Boston-area movies that try to achieve an authentic-feeling local quality form an exception to the general rule that Hollywood has tended to remove specialized regional American content from its movies as it has sold more and more to a world audience. The fetish for Bostonness has returned regional content to American movies with a vengeance, so that those moviegoers in Jakarta can now exclaim, “You can’t say that in a bar on Dot Ave.! Somebody’s gonna get tuned up!” It may be that audiences in a self-consciously globalizing age are hungry for any kind of local feel at all. Even, weirdly, ours.

  • Sean

    The truth of the matter is that the film industry was stunted and is now on the rebound after Deval and a few other short sighted cronies decided to “explore” rolling back the tax credit and/or capp

  • Robert

    Carlo Rotella is ill-informed and biased in his discussion of Massachusetts’ film tax credit. The Mass Department of Revenue has shown in its state-of-the-art studies that the film incentive has cost the Commonwealth hundreds of thousands of dollars just to create one full-time equivalent job. Moreover, Mr Rotella gets his facts wrong. New Mexico has capped its film tax credit and has never been more generous than Massachusetts’. Michigan’s credit is no longer 42 percent. It repealed its credit in favor of a much smaller direct grant. Finally, Rotella contradicts himself. If film producers allegedly deserted the state because of talk of curbing the credit, how can other factors attract the film industry? How can there be a “longer” answer? Massachusetts’ film “boom” has required a huge public subsidy, putting taxpayers on the hook. With respect to the film tax credit, Rotella is long on pro-film ideology and short on facts and careful policy analysis.