July 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM ET
Months after Tom Cruise filmed "Jack Reacher" in Pittsburgh, Kristin Bell was photographed on the streets of the city's Sewickley neighborhood shooting her new movie "Lifeguards."
"Maybe someday we could become the Hollywood of the east," Sewickley borough manager Kevin Flannery told the Sewickley Herald.
Don't laugh, the 'Burgh, where I have deep roots, has hosted its fair share of notable films. Below, I choose my favorite, and other entertainment staffers do the same for the places they've called home. Read on, and weigh in with your own Hometown Hollywood story over on Facebook. --Courtney Hazlett
Wonder Boys, Pittsburgh
Great films have been shot in my fair city --"Groundhog Day," "Adventureland" and "Flashdance" to name just a few. But the 2000 film "Wonder Boys" is one that captures it best, from the city's moodiness right down to its dismal winter weather (Pouring rain is driving into four inches of snow? In Pittsburgh that's not a movie set. It's February.) Michael Douglas plays a philandering, cantankerous, aging professor trying to shepherd a promising, troubled student (Tobey Maguire) toward his potential. Robert Downey Jr. and Katie Holmes have fantastic roles, too and between the four of them, every possible shade of angst is covered. If you're looking for a coming-of-age film for every adult age, in a place that nails its non-Hollywood setting perfectly, "Wonder Boys" is your movie. --C.H.
‘Purple Rain,’ Minneapolis
The Twin Cities are no Hollywood and “Purple Rain” isn’t exactly “Citizen Kane,” but you couldn’t have told me that when the rock musical, filmed in and around my hometowns, burst on the scene in 1984. I was in high school, too young to be one of the extras seen hanging around downtown Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub, the central setting for Prince’s movie tour de force. The movie itself was fun (“That ain’t Lake Minnetonka” indeed), but it was the club that took on mythic proportions for those of us still unable to drive or drink. Years later I’d finally be old enough to go to shows there and in the adjacent Seventh Street Entry, spending hours sweating and drinking and playing video games and wandering around waiting for Redd Kross or The Meat Puppets or The Soft Boys or whoever to start playing. Prince later opened his own club, Glam Slam, just a few blocks away. But nothing could attain the legend of First Ave, our beloved, smelly, black-painted bus station, its exterior spangled with white stars bearing the names of the bands and artists who’d come to play. When I catch a glimpse of the club in the movie today, I still see it with the eyes of a teenager, and and it still looks like the most dazzling, grown-up place there ever was. –Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
'Moneyball,' Oakland, Calif.
Many a movie has been made and set in San Francisco, and for good reason. It’s a beautiful, multicultural city with style and tons of character. Its blue collar sister across the bay –- Oakland –- has not been as fortunate. It is beautiful (the hills, Lake Merritt, Knowland Park), but also much grittier, more working-class and, unfortunately, in recent years, better known for its escalating crime rate than its scenic views. One export the city has long been proud of is its sports teams, which are just as blue collar as the city itself (hello, Oakland Raiders fans!). That ethos was on display in the 2011 Oscar nominated film “Moneyball.” The fillm starred Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and focused on his attempt to turn around the slumping fortunes of a very low-budget team. As a dyed-in-the-wool A’s fan, it was glorious to watch the 20-game win streak of the 2002 season all over again –- and to know that Beane is still in Oakland, trying to win that last game of the a season. –Denise Hazlick
'Herbie Rides Again,' San Francisco
My first introduction to my future (if temporary) hometown was 1974’s “Herbie Rides Again.” While thousands of films have been shot in the city by the bay, this is the movie that first introduced a very young me to the spectacular scenery, rolling hills, cable cars and fog which continues to dazzle locals and tourists alike. To my unjaded eyes, this film had it all: Good vs. evil as old widow Steinmetz tries to hold off the greedy developer Alonzo Hawk; humor and action as Herbie The Love Bug chases after cable cars, several gangs of lawyers and climbs the Golden Gate Bridge. While the young me couldn’t believe they would let an unmanned car drive the steep and curvy streets of the city, the older me notices the hokey special effects, but this film will always have a place in my heart for introducing me to this amazing city. –Dave Gostisha
'No Way Out,' Maryland/Washington
Since it's so close to our nation's capital, it's virtually impossible to see the beautiful state of Maryland on the big screen without a political context. "No Way Out" is guilty of that cliche, but otherwise made terrific use of its setting, including Annapolis and Baltimore (which served as the interiors for the subway stations -- there has never been a Georgetown Metro stop). Kevin Costner plays a decorated Naval officer who witnesses an accidental murder committed by the Secretary of Defense -- and who is put in charge of rooting out the Soviet sleeper agent blamed for the crime. There's a suicide and a love story and a twist at the end, all done while racing around the Capitol and beyond. Great film, nicely executed. –Randee Dawn
I’ve called Seattle home for 16 years, and I’m able to say that in large part because of the music that lured me out West in 1996. Nothing captures what was going on during that time better than the documentary “Hype!.” The film examines the Seattle scene that grew into the “grunge” movement behind heavyweights like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Mudhoney, to name a few. Classic music performances are layered with interviews with those who were witnessing the cultural phenomenon firsthand. As new music resonates with me today in Seattle, it’s not hard to reflect back on a time when the entire world tuned its ear to what was going on in the Pacific Northwest, bought into the “Hype!” in the ‘90s, and found a home in the process. –Kurt Schlosser
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