Hollywood on the Charles
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.