Sunday, July 12, 2009

The NYC Sox Movie

You know this "What About Sal?" movie they've been plugging on NESN? I didn't really plan on watching it, but I happened to leave NESN on after the game just now, and it started up. And what did I notice? The bar they show--at least the outside shot of it--is Pat O'Brien's! In New York City, a few blocks from where I used to live. It's a Sox bar on the Upper East Side, with a big sign in the window (they now have a second sign, I saw it recently when I was at Chan's place in the same area) saying "watch all the Red Sox games here." Click here for the street view. You can make out "RED SOX" on the sign to the left of the door. I think the inside shot was that bar, too.

And as I'm writing, a scene of a coffee shop comes on, and I think that was also an Upper East Side place! I guess it makes sense since the actors all seem to have New York accents. And there are many NYC people in it. And movies are often filmed in New York. But they are definitely trying to make it seem like they're in Boston the whole time. The guy goes to the bar, then to Fenway, then the coffee shop, then Yawkey Way, etc.

I also noticed the date on the scoreboard--5/17/08. I wasn't there that day, but I was the next day. Who knows if they were filming while I was there.

So how do I feel about this? Well, I'm happy they used an NYC bar, but why try to fake it? When I was living in NYC, I didn't write this blog "pretending" I lived in Boston.

Wait a minute. While writing that last paragraph, the movie ended. It lasted about a half hour. What was the point of this? You know, my mom and I wrote a book that involved the team, and they didn't want any part of it, worried that we craaaazy blog-types would slander the team and write about them killing people or whatever. But they go and endorse some ridiculous, pointless half-hour movie? I don't get it. For some quality Red Sox fiction, click here.

Well, films rarely are shot entirely where they are set. That indie movie 'Away We Go' that came out a month or two ago had a scene set in a Montreal diner which was filmed in a pizza place in downtown Stamford; we were walking by while they were filming last summer (I think we might be in it for a 1/2 second). The ironic thing is that it's usually someplace like Toronto or Vancouver (or, these days, Stamford) that's filling in for NYC; I doubt an NYC location is subbed for someplace else very often because of the high cost of filming in the city. In this case it was probably because it was a short film with only a handful of scenes/locations, which likely made it more cost-effective since it likely was edited in the city.

Pat O'Brien's is nine blocks above my wife's old apartment; I knew about the place, but never went there.
For a movie filmed around, inside, and on the field of Fenway Park, why not walk into any bar in the area to film the bar scenes? Maybe because it wouldn't have been worth it to fly COlin Quinn to Boston for one scene. But that's what happens when you decided, for some reason, to get all your NY friends together to make a half-hour movie about Bostonians.

But at the very least, they could have grabbed the two-second shot of a Red Sox bar while AT FENWAY PARK with cameras to get a Boston one. I mean, I'm aware of the practice of movies filming on location. But for this one, it just seemed a little messed up. If the people have NY accents, and you're filming in NY, why not just have the guys be Sox fans from NY in the movie? But if you CAN go to Fenway and have access to the inside of it, why can't you do the rest of the filming in Boston, especially since it would've taken about 20 minutes?
That's a good point. Some possible explanations:

Maybe the producers know the owners of Pat O'Brien's and could get it cheaply (or for free).
Maybe they weren't able to get any of the Boston bars to grant them permission (or maybe Baseball Tavern/Cask'n'Flagon et al wanted too much money...wouldn't shock me if they overestimated their worth)
Or, as you say, maybe Colin Quinn was only available in NYC when they were filming.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States