July 14, 2006

More About Movies Shot in NJ

Staff Writer

During most of the 20th century Hollywood has been the base of the movie industry. That is where most of the big studios are located, the weather is sunny and a large number of the stars live. But, as we discussed seven years ago, New Jersey was home base for a number of film companies early in the century.

These weren't Academy Award winners but 70 films were made in the Fort Lee area from 1900-20. Even now, in the first decade of the 21st century, you can find films shooting in the Garden State.

There are no real studios in New Jersey. But studio shooting is being done less and less as top film-makers have discovered the advantages of locations. And a number of them have found appropriate locations in the Garden State.

Tom Cruise is in the news almost daily these days and his film - "War of the Worlds" , one of 2005's biggest - was filmed in Bayonne, Elizabeth, Howell and Newark. The film also included brilliant child star Dakota Fanning and Tim Robbins.

We're concentrating on films here, but TV shows, most notably - "The Sopranos", "The Simple Life" (starring Chuck Dougherty) and "The Apprentice" have all done significant shooting in our state.

It's always fun to watch a movie shot in your hometown or home state and to look for recognizable sites. And here is an updated list of some films that can give New Jersey's movie fans such a kick.

Analyze That (2004) with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal as an analyst and his patient, was filmed in Montclair, Kearny and Bayonne.

Atlantic City (1981) is undoubtedly the most successful film shot in the area. Burt Lancaster and director Louis Malle (the late husband of Candice Bergen) both won numerous awards for the film, which was shot in the resort just as casino gambling was beginning. A number of scenes were shot at Resorts International and the scenes of the old, decaying Atlantic City are quite a contrast to today.

Bogus (1996) stars Whoopi Goldberg, Haley Joel Osment and Sheryl Lee Ralph in a story about a boy who invents an imaginary friend after his parents die. Shot in Atlantic City, Jersey City and Newark.

The Burglar (1957) was about a group of thieves, led by Dan Duryea, who break into the home of a wealthy Main Line woman. They steal her jewels and other valuables and then take off for Atlantic City. The story ends with a shootout on the original Steel Pier, near the Diving Horse. The interesting plot twist is the way the thieves time their break-in. They do it while the woman is watching John Facenda present the news, knowing they d have 15 minutes. The film was also the first serious role for blonde sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, who was born in Bryn Mawr.

Clerks (1994), Mallrats (1995) and Clerks 2 (2006) is a New Jersey trilogy by Kevin Smith, who wrote and directed. Clerks, made for less than $30,000 and featuring a cast of newcomers, won the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival. Mallrats featured Shannen Doherty, Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Smith. Clerks 2 includes Rosario Dawson, Wanda Sykes and Brian O'Halloran. All were shot in the Atlantic Highlands area and all featured Smith as Silent Bob.

Cold Hearts (1999), featuring TV actresses Amy Jo Johnson (Felicity) and Marisa Ryan (Major Dad), was shot almost exclusively in Ocean City.

Copland (1997), with Sylvester Stallone in a dramatic role, shot in Fort Lee.

Eddie and the Cruisers (1983) is a shore classic. A lot of it was filmed in Somers Point, from the balcony of a motel and at Tony Mart's. You will probably see a familiar face or two in the concert scenes at Tony Mart's, where they used a lot of local extras. Tom Berenger, Michael Pare and Ellen Barkin were the stars. Pare returned for a sequel that was awful.

Godfather: Part III (1990), with Al Pacino and a cast of heavyweights, shot a few scenes at Trump's Castle.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), one of that year's top hits, shot some scenes in Fort Lee. The film featured Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. and former Ocean City resident Anne Heche.

The In Crowd (1988) is a film that generally takes place in Philadelphia and its suburbs. It is about a TV dance show, whose host sounds a lot like Jerry Blavat. You can still hear the Geator, by the way, on Oldies 94. Anyway, one touching scene takes place on the Wildwood boardwalk. Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos) plays the host with Donovan Leitch and Jennifer Runyon as the two most popular dancers. If you liked American Bandstand, you'll enjoy this.

Jersey Girl (1992) was shot in Jersey City with the adorable Jamie Gertz getting involved in a romance with Dylan McDermott.

Jersey Girl (2004) had nothing to do with the film by the same name, above. It was another Kevin Smith film, a pretty good one that got buried by the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck media frenzy. Affleck was good, JLo had just a small role. It also featured Liv Tyler, Matt Damon and George Carlin and was shot in Paulsboro, Cherry Hill and Berlin.

King of Marvin Gardens (1972) brought Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern to Atlantic City. The title, of course, comes from the game of Monopoly. Ellen Burstyn and Scatman Crothers are also featured in this story of the pre-casino Atlantic City. Look for a local bandleader, the late Jerry Vigue from Pleasantville, in the scene at the train station.

The Lemon Sisters (1990) is about two sisters - Diane Keaton and Carol Kane - who buy their own club in Atlantic City. Elliott Gould, Ruben Blades and Aidan Quinn are also featured.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) is a blood-soaked and foul-mouthed action film starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson that shot scenes in Atlantic City. It was, of course, commercially successful.

Marnie (1964) was a Hitchcock classic starring Tippi Hedren as a mysterious blonde who steals money from her employers - again and again. One of her stops is in Atlantic City. Sean Connery, Diane Baker and Bruce Dern are also featured.

Ransom (1996) was shot in Jersey City and various Bergen County locations. It was a remake of a Glenn Ford film, directed by Ron Howard, featuring Mel Gibson, Rene Russo and Gary Sinise.

Rounders (1998) stars Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Turturro in a story about a reformed gambler shot primarily at Trump's Taj Mahal.

Snake Eyes (1998) is Brian DePalma's story of a political assassination at an Atlantic City boxing match. It stars Nicholas Cage, Gary Sinise and John Heard. There are many scenes in Atlantic City but a lot of the indoor arena scenes were actually shot in a Montreal skating rink. One interesting scene was a boardwalk setting that actually was filmed at Egg Harbor Township High School. They built a fake boardwalk and pumped in water to make waves. The producers said something about the Atlantic City boardwalk not being realistic enough.

Tattoo (1981) is about a model (Maud Adams) who is pursued by a psycho tattoo artist (Bruce Dern). He kidnaps her and holds her hostage in an Ocean City house, located at the boardwalk near 17th Street. The house was rather isolated in the film but has now, of course, been replaced by duplexes and condos.

That Night (1993) also shot some scenes in Ocean City, including nighttime shots on the 9th Street beach with the Music Pier and Shriver's in the background. C. Thomas Howell and Juliette Lewis are the stars and the film has a great oldies soundtrack.

The 13th Child (2002) shot some scenes at Batsto Village, outside of Hammonton, and in Port Republic. It stars Oscar-winner Cliff Robertson, Lesley-Anne Down and Christopher Atkins in a story about mysterious deaths and whether the "Jersey Devil" might be responsible.

Young Americans (2004) stars Lukas Haas and Mary McKenna in a coming-of-age story shot in Atlantic City, Asbury Park and Red Bank, with interior casino shots at Resorts International.

Wise Guys (1986) is a mediocre film about two hoods (Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo) who rip off the mob and run to Atlantic City, among other places. Directed by Brian DePalma, it also features Ray Sharkey and Patti LuPone.

Rent some of these and watch them a couple of times - once to enjoy the film, the second time to watch for familiar sites.