Last weekend, I ventured out to see the outstanding \”There Will Be Blood\” at the local moving picture house. The movie depicts the travails of ruthless oil baron Daniel Plainview around the turn of the century. Interestingly, the theater broke out in guffaws when it was revealed that Plainview\’s character hailed from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. As everyone knows, Fondy has a strong reputation as a breeding ground for homicidal oil barons.
It was just a few weeks before, in the movie \”Juno,\” that I heard a song by Kimya Dawson (\”Tire Swing\”) that mentioned Madison. Again, muffled chuckles within the theater.
These two movies, of course, have both been nominated for Best Picture Oscars this year. And both, apparently, have some sort of spiritual connection to Wisconsin.
Of course, it could just entirely be coincidence. But it does seem that over the years, Wisconsin has gotten some pretty notable shout-outs in big movies. This includes the highest-grossing movie of all time, \”Titanic,\” where Leo DiCaprio\’s character claims to hail from Chippewa Falls.
It\’s apparent that there\’s something about Wisconsin that appeals to screenwriters. It almost seems that Wisconsin represents \”the place people are supposed to be from that represents their simple upbringing.\” Being from Wisconsin is supposed to tell us something about a character without the screenwriter having to go into detail about the person\’s past.
Okay, so I\’ll just go off the top of my head here – a character in the British movie \”Love Actually\” takes a random flight to Milwaukee to score chicks. In \”Reservoir Dogs,\” one of the back stories involves a guy who\’s a big Milwaukee Brewers fan, so the characters deduce he\’s from Wisconsin. The movie \”A Simple Plan\” was filmed in Ashland, but I can\’t recall if the movie is actually set there.
Before I blow a brain vessel, it looks like OnMilwaukee.com noticed the same thing a couple years back. Here\’s a more complete list of Wisconsin on the silver screen.