In my last post, I talked about a really academic topic. While I definitely loved getting back into student mode and writing about my BA, I do believe in having balance in your life. For this week, I thought I’d write about something a little more casual. I am trying to explore new interests while I’m social distancing, but I’m also enjoying having some extra time for watching things. I’m always looking for new suggestions, and I figure that you all probably are too. So, I thought it would be fun to give you a list of movies and TV shows that feature Chicago/UChicago to add to your quarantine to-watch lists:
- Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I’m going to start us off with some superhero movies! The first two movies in the Dark Knight trilogy made use of Chicago as a stand-in for the fictional Gotham City (I do promise that we are not actually home to all of the bizarre villains that are featured in the Batman comics and movies). One particular scene that stands out among the others is the Batmobile car chase in The Dark Knight. That actually took place on Lower Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, which I will admit is sometimes pretty hard to navigate if you’re unfamiliar with driving in Chicago.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This is probably one of the most famous movies that features Chicago. During their day off, Ferris and his friends get into different shenanigans while cruising down Lake Shore Drive, going to a Cubs game, spending some time at The Art Institute of Chicago, and participating in a parade in downtown, among other things. If you want a movie that features some of Chicago’s most famous sites, this is most definitely it!
- Home Alone. This is cheating a little bit, but Home Alone is such a classic Christmas movie that I really couldn’t leave it off. While Kevin’s mom repeatedly says she has to get back to Chicago, the Home Alone family technically lives in Winnetka, Illinois, one of Chicago’s many suburbs. The house is actually still there, and people do still visit it to this day.
- Parks and Recreation. Chicago only appears in Parks and Rec for one episode, and it’s not even the “A” storyline, but I am a huge Parks and Rec fan and really wanted to include it on this list (especially in light of the reunion episode that aired recently). In “2017” (Season 7, Episode 1), Tom and Andy go to Chicago to visit Tom’s ex-girlfriend, Lucy. During their visit, she mentions the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. At the time, this seemed like just a throwaway joke, but it actually ended up turning into a freaky coincidence. As the title suggests, the episode takes place in 2017, but it actually aired in early 2015, meaning the Parks writers kind of predicted the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win!
- The Martian. Again, this is cheating a little bit because neither Chicago nor UChicago shows up in the movie (the majority of the story takes place on Mars or at NASA headquarters). However, the main character, Mark Watney, is a fictional UChicago alum. I actually went to see this movie with my parents at Harper Theater, which is a movie theater in Hyde Park that many UChicago students frequent. When Matt Damon (who plays Mark Watney in the film) mentioned attending UChicago, the UChicago students in the theater gave an audible cheer, which was pretty cool.
- Indiana Jones. Speaking of fictitious UChicago alums, there is another one to add to the list. That’s right, Dr. Jones himself studied at the Oriental Institute under his mentor, Abner Ravenwood (two Oriental Institute scholars, James Henry Breasted and Robert John Braidwood, are thought to have inspired the characters). In 2012, a strange package addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr. actually made its way to the UChicago Admissions Office. The package turned out to contain replica props from the movie, and the original packaging had been lost, which explained how the package ended up in our office. You can read more about the crazy story here.
- The Fugitive. Indiana Jones is not the only Harrison Ford movie to grace this list. The Fugitive actually features a number of locations in Chicago. However, UChicago makes an appearance as well. The Chicago Memorial Hospital that Dr. Richard Kimball visits during the movie was actually the John Crerar Library, which is located on our campus.
- Sense8. Some parts of the second season of this TV show were shot on the UChicago campus, with some of the most recognizable locations being our quad and The Oriental Institute (I’ve mentioned in a previous post that we sometimes host our information sessions in The Oriental Institute). I’ll admit that I actually haven’t seen Sense8, but I am definitely excited to add it to my list of things to watch.
- When Harry Met Sally. This was actually a movie that I was introduced to at UChicago. For one of my house’s study breaks, our RHs invited us all over to their apartment for pizza and to watch this movie. The very beginning of When Harry Met Sally takes place on the UChicago quad, with Harry picking up Sally for their drive to New York City. Cars actually aren’t allowed to drive on the quad (maybe they were when the movie was shot, but not anymore!), but it’s pretty cool to see UChicago in action! When Harry Met Sally has actually since become one of my favorite movies (and not just because it features my alma mater).
- Divergent. I saved this for last for a couple reasons. First of all, I was really into Divergent during my teen years, so it holds a special place in my heart. Secondly, it features a couple of the most iconic places on campus: the Regenstein and Mansueto Libraries. Our campus doubled as the Erudite headquarters in the post-apocalyptic, futuristic version of Chicago that the film takes place in, and these two libraries appear in the movie when Tris leaves Dauntless headquarters to visit her brother at his new home in Erudite.
I hope that this list gave you at least a couple new things to watch! Even if it didn’t, I hope that you learned something about one of these movies or TV shows that you didn’t know before. I need to go now and get started on watching Sense8, but I will see you all next week!