Five Instances When Movies Set in Boston Got It Wrong

Ben Affleck has no idea where he’s going, Mark Wahlberg doesn’t know Cambridge from the South End, and Jimmy Fallon is not a real Red Sox fan.

In Hollywood, no one knows anything about anything. Somebody in Hollywood probably coined that saying. Nevertheless, production companies and big-time studios pay big bucks to make sure things are done right and done accurately in the movies. But some things still get overlooked. A crew member will step into a shot, somebody is standing in the wrong place, an actor is holding a glass and the next second he’s holding a plate. Details. Every film has missteps.

Then there are things askew in Boston-based films that only people with local knowledge and Bostonian logic would understand. Things like T stops, and driving routes, and knowing that that person doing that thing was just plain stupid.

Of course, Hollywood will be Hollywood. But those Cali people also have to know that Boston will be Boston—and folks around here will call you out. Here are just five of many examples out there.

The Departed: That Address Doesn’t Make Sense

boston movies

Screenshots via The Departed on DVD

In the beginning of the movie, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) signs the lease to his apartment, a location which the broker says has a great view of the State House and Beacon Hill. Based on the balcony view, it looks like Sullivan lives near Park Street station on Tremont. Later in the film, Sullivan’s girlfriend holds a letter found in Sullivan’s mail at his apartment. The address is 20 Pickering Street, Boston, 02459. There is no Pickering Street in that part of town, but there is a Pickering Avenue in Roxbury. The 02459 zip code is for Newton Centre. So this broker had no idea what he was talking about.

Fever Pitch: That Wasn’t Opening Day

boston movies

Screenshot via Fever Pitch on DVD

Ben (Jimmy Fallon) pretend-proposes to Lindsey (Drew Barrymore) with a ticket to Red Sox opening day at Fenway Park. The date on the ticket says Tuesday, April 11, and that they played the Texas Rangers. In reality, Fenway’s opening day in 2004 was Friday, April 9, and the Red Sox played the Toronto Blue Jays. Also, April 11, 2004, was a Sunday. Normally this wouldn’t matter, but the 2004 Red Sox season means a lot to basically everyone in Boston. So Jimmy Fallon is not a real Red Sox fan.

The Town: That Train Is Not Going to Florida

boston movies

Screenshots via The Town on DVD

At the end of The Town, Doug (Ben Affleck) flees Charlestown after his Fenway Park heist by pretending to be an MBTA employee. He drives a bus to Anderson RTC commuter rail station. The sign at the platform says this train goes to Washington D.C. and Miami, when actually, trains out of Anderson go to Lowell via the MBTA and Maine via Amtrak. So Ben Affleck has no idea where he’s going.

Ted: That’s Not Cambridge

boston movies

Screenshots via Ted on DVD

(Spoiler alert!) John and Lori get married at the end of the film. The narrator says, “John and Lori were married in Cambridge,” while the camera pans to a visual of the church. This church is the Union United Methodist Church in the South End. This is confirmed as John and Lori’s wedding limo drives into the sunset off Columbus Ave. in Boston. So that’s not Cambridge.

What’s Your Number?: That’s Not the Right Way

boston movies

Screenshots via What’s Your Number? on DVD

In one of the opening scenes, Ally (Anna Faris) leaves her apartment in the North End to go to work. She is seen walking north on Salem Street eating a hot dog while on the phone. The scene then cuts to Ally coming out of State Street station in the same outfit eating the same hot dog. This doesn’t make sense because Ally was walking north on Salem Street—in the complete wrong direction of any T station near the North End. So Ally had no clue what she was doing.

  • p_radicator

    Then there’s “Killing them Softly” which takes place in some run down hell-hole version of Boston that isn’t even Boston – I like to think it takes place in an alternate universe.

    • mperrotti76

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