Hollywood gets a lot of things wrong – a creative approach to history in Cool Runnings (there was a Jamaican bobsled team, but the story isn’t anything like as warm and fuzzy) and treatments of accents (Mawwwy Popppings anyone?) being just two examples.
But there are plenty of things that Hollywood gets right, and building up hype around a destination is one of the best examples.
I’ve picked three great cities that have been depicted expertly on the small or silver screen. I’ve visited each of them and I can tell you now, in the good and bad ways, they really live up to the hype Hollywood sets up around them.
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New York: Friends
I’ll be straight with you – Friends was there for me in the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. It provided the background to many study hours, a comfort blanket during times of crisis, and the inspiration for endless put-downs.
Friends was a life almost the same as your own, but just the little bit better – sharper, punchier, and cooler, just like its New York setting.
Having spent time in New York, I can confirm that it’s everything Friends claims it to be and a little more – for instance, the city’s music scene rocks, but gets barely a mention in Friends. And yes, the cheesecake is good enough to eat off the floor:
Tokyo: Lost In Translation
For people of a certain age, Lost In Translation was their first introduction to Japanese culture. Released two years prior to the launch of Google, it showed the mystique, vibrancy, majesty, and the clash between a modern and traditional culture that many Western students had little or no access to.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to spend time in Tokyo, the setting for Lost In Translation. It confirmed all the upbeat qualities that were made plain in the film, along with with some of the more sombre ones – loneliness, ennui, and the sense that your life could be lost in translation.
I’m a big fan of gambling and it’s always a treat to find a TV show or film that tackles the subject in an interesting way – especially if it’s showing you how to outplay your opponents or beat the house.
Kaleidoscope is a film that came to my attention a few years ago because its focus is on a poker player (Warren Beatty) beating the house. He does this by visiting a Genevan card manufacturing plant, then marking a kaleidoscope on the plates that are used to print the playing cards. In short, Beatty cheats casinos out of their money and he couldn’t have picked a more ironic setting.
Having visited Geneva I can tell you now that Hollywood is right about it – the scenery is stunning, the architecture is gorgeous, and the whole place positively oozes of class. Kaleidoscope showcases all these things but its focus on cheating people out of money is also true – the place is so darn expensive that you feel a little cheated every time you buy a drink or meal out!
New York, Tokyo, and Geneva, three unique cities from three different continents. Each one has its own good and bad points, but one thing they all share is that Hollywood gets its hype about them just right.
So, if you’ve not been to these places, make sure you add them to your list of travel destinations today – then you can see and believe the hype for yourself!