Steve Eighinger

Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 13, 2018 10:45 am

Movies have long been a fascination of mine, from their stars to their story lines, and even their locations -- which brings us to today's subject matter.

I recently stumbled across an interesting list of the most famous movies filmed in all 50 states. I was genuinely surprised by some of the findings, beginning with Illinois.

In my humble opinion, these are the top films that used Illinois as their principal backdrop, with Chicago as the focal point:

1. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986): The iconic teen comedy that was written and directed by the legendary John Hughes, remains one of my all-time favorites. Matthew Broderick portrayed the central figure in the box-office smash, but the movie has reached cult status over the years in part because of the strong supporting roles filled by accomplished character actors such as Alan Ruck.

Incredibly, Hughes wrote the screenplay in less than a week. Ferris Bueller was a high school slacker who knew how to manipulate the world around him. Filming began in September 1985 and finished in November.

Writer Nick Cannata-Bowman of cheatsheet.com penned, "Featuring many landmarks, including the then Sears Tower and the Art Institute of Chicago, the film was Hughes' love letter to Chicago: I really wanted to capture as much of Chicago as I could. Not just in the architecture and landscape, but the spirit.' "

2. "The Breakfast Club" (1985): Another film by Hughes, which arguably received even higher acclaim -- at least initially -- from critics than "Ferris Bueller." The stars included Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy as teenagers from different high school cliques who had to spend a Saturday in detention with their strict assistant principal portrayed by Paul Gleason.

The movie's popularity was evident in its box-office receipts. The film cost $1 million to make and grossed $51.5 million.

In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"

It was hilarious, too.

3. "High Fidelity" (2000): An extremely underrated romantic comedy-drama that starred John Cusack as a record-store owner and featured a superb supporting cast, beginning with an aspiring Jack Black.

º Missouri's biggest claim to fame, in regard to movies made there, probably lies with "Gone Girl." Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike both drew raves for their performances in the 2014 psychological thriller.

º The choice for the top Iowa-based film is an easy one -- "Field of Dreams," considered by many one of the three best baseball-centered movies ever made. ("A League of Their Own" and "Bull Durham" are the other two.)

"Field of Dreams" (1989) is best remembered, at least for me, by the exchange between Kevin Costner's Ray Kinsella character and the ghost of his father, John Kinsella, played by Dwier Brown:

"Is this heaven?" John Kinsella asks.

"No," Ray Kinsella said. "It's Iowa."

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