Films That Perfectly Encapsulate the Area They Are Set In

They say that art is meant to hold up a mirror to society and reveal something about us as people. Film is often the best medium to achieve this goal, as movies show realistic characters that act and think in a certain way based on where they are from. Sometimes, popular films have managed to perfectly represent the time and cities they take place in. Let’s take a look at some great examples of films that got the setting just right. 

October Sky (1999)

In October Sky, we get to see an intimate look at a part of the US that doesn’t often have a spotlight on it. This film is based on the true story of a group of friends in a coal mining town in West Virginia that dreamt of building rockets after the news of the Russian Sputnik 1 launch made headlines in 1957. While they aspired to study and dedicate themselves to science, their families urged them to work in the coal mines, even amidst a series of accidents and strikes. 

There is a heavy emphasis on the coal mining industry in this film. Naturally, West Virginia is well-known as a coal-mining center, and the attempt to move away from this industry has been documented of late. Luckily, there are some new industries rising up in its place. Sports betting is a new venture in many places across the US since it has been legalized in recent years. This area has also capitalized on the sports betting market and there are 2 live options in West Virginia for sports betting right now. While October Sky is certainly not a glamorous film, it manages to show what this part of the world was really like at one time, and the challenges and uncertainty that comes with it. 

Lords of Dogtown (2005)

California during the 1970s is a very romanticized setting in pop culture. This is when skateboarding first emerged as surfers branched out from riding waves to cruising the asphalt. The 2005 film Lords of Dogtown explores this exciting time in the development of the sport with younger versions of the famous skateboarders Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and Jay Adams. 

The film is entertaining and accurately recreates many important moments from the early days of these skateboarding legends. However, what Lords of Dogtown is really applauded for is capturing the setting and spirit of this era in Santa Monica, California. Some of the most realistic details are the scenes showing the main characters sneaking into the backyards of various homes to skate in their empty pools during a drought when California declared it illegal to have them filled. 

Casino (1995) 

Las Vegas, Nevada is iconic for the lights and sounds that make the attractions here feel like a wonderland. There is always an excitement in the air as many people travel here for a vacation they will never forget. Everyone has an ideal image in their mind of what Las Vegas will look like and somehow the 1995 film Casino manages to not only deliver on that picturesque atmosphere, but also perfectly represent the city in the 1970s and some real life events. This film is loaded with small details that add up to a very authentic experience. It leaves you with a realistic impression of what Las Vegas was really like in those days. 

Fargo (1996)

Everyone that has seen Fargo is captivated by this sincere look into the snowy midwestern United States. The atmosphere is somehow so endearing that they even made a television series about it some 15 years after the release of the film. Without the setting and characters, this may have just been another unremarkable crime story. Instead, the film leaves you with a lasting impression and introduces you to a world in ways that other films have tried to replicate since and failed. 

Taking place in 1987 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota, we are swept away with an exciting tale of a scam gone awry and the local small-town police force who try to put the pieces of the crime together. However, the most memorable aspect of the film comes from the characters and setting. Fargo is credited with popularizing the “Minnesota nice” attitude, as well as catchy phrases like “you betcha” and “dont’cha know.”  From the soft powdered snow vistas to the cozy small talk between the main characters, Fargo did a wondrous job of capturing a time and place.

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