Arts, Uncategorized

‘Oh, baby, it’s cold outside’

By Jennifer Huberdau

Staying in this winter because it’s too cold outside? Here are movies filmed in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont you might want to watch.

“Daddy’s Home 2,” a 2017 holiday sequel to the popular “Daddy’s Home,” features Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and John Lithgow. The four men decide to take Ferrell’s stepchildren and Wahlberg’s children on vacation at a luxury resort where chaotic adventures take place. The movie was partially filmed at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington, Mass.

If you aren’t able to catch it in the theater, it should be hitting on-demand and other streaming services soon.

Although “The Cider House Rules” — a 1999 film starring Toby McGuire, Charlize Theron and Michael Caine — is set in Maine, most of the film was shot elsewhere. Based on the book of the same name by John Irving, the movie follows the exploits of the orphan Homer Wells (McGuire). Perhaps the most obvious local connection is Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox, Mass., which lent its exterior to the film for its orphanage. Other scenes were shot at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass., Scott Farm Apple Orchard in Brattleboro, Vt., and at the train station in Bellows Falls, Vt.

Available on Amazon Video, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

Chevy Chase’s 1988 film, “Funny Farm,” is perhaps the most famous comedy filmed in Southern Vermont. The film, which follows the misadventures of a couple after they move from New York City to the fictional Redbud, Vt., was shot in Townshend, Grafton and Windsor and featured many local residents as extras. A gazebo built by the film crew for the shoot still stands in Townshend.

Available on Amazon Video, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

Enjoy romantic comedies? “Baby Boom,” is a bit of a throwback to the late 1980s Wall Street era, but it still has its charms. The film featured Diane Keaton as a yuppie who inherits her deceased cousin’s six-month-old child, was filmed in Manchester, Peru and Weston, Vt.

Available on Amazon Video, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

For those looking for something a bit more on the serious side, there’s the 2003 film, “The Human Stain,” which shut down parts of Williams College and the surround area during filming. The film featured Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins portrays a professor and dean of a college who is forced to resign after he is accused of making a racial slur. The event leads him to examine his own racial identity.

Available on Amazon Video, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

“The Human Stain” was the second movie Hopkins filmed in Williamstown, Mass. He appeared alongside Bo Derek and Shirley MacLaine in the 1980 dramedy, “A Change of Seasons,” which was filmed on location in Williamstown, as well as in Bennington and Wilmington, Vt. In the movie, Hopkins is a college professor who is having an affair with Derek’s character. MacLaine, who plays his wife, retaliates by having her own affair. In the end, the two couples end up sharing a ski cabin in Vermont.

Available on Amazon Video.

Feeling nostalgic? In 1969, Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” was turned into a film of the same name. Guthrie appeared as himself in the film which recounts the events that take place in his now iconic song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.” The film was shot in Great Barrington and Housatonic, Mass.

Available on Amazon Video.

Other movies filmed in Southern Vermont include, “Time Chasers,” “Paranoia,” “Blood Rites,” “Sacrifices,” “Terror Train, and “Welcome Home.”

Films shot in the Berkshires include” Karen Allen’s directorial debut “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.,” “Poison,” “Lethal Innocence,” “Before and After,” “Into My Heart,” “Winter Falls,” “Dinner and a Movie,” “The Secret Village,” “I’m Coming Over (short),” “The River (short)” and “Worlds We Created (short).”


UpCo Film Trivia

“The Haunting,” a 1999 remake of the 1963 psychological horror film of the same name, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor, has several connections to the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. At the beginning of the movie, Taylor’s character responds to a newspaper advertisement searching for candidates to participate in a sleep study at Hill House, a mansion in the Berkshires. Both the 1999 film and its British predecessor were based on “The Haunting of Hill House” by North Bennington author Shirley Jackson.

“Wet Hot American Summer” fizzled at the box office in 2001, but became a cult classic shortly after it hit video store shelves the following year. The satirical parody is set at the fictional Camp Firewood, which co-writers David Wain and Michael Showalter based on the sleep-away camps they went to as teens. Showalter attended Camp Mohawk in Cheshire, Mass. The film, as well as its Netflix prequel and sequel series, features Pittsfield, Mass., native Elizabeth Banks, as well as Williamstown Theater Festival alum Bradley Cooper and David Hyde Pierce.

When Kathleen Turner’s character, Jane Blue, is asked where she is from in the 1993 comedy, “Undercover Blues,” she replies, “North Adams, Massachusetts. Why?” During an interview at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2007, Turner said she had never heard of North Adams before, saying the line and the location had come from either a script writer or crew member.

In the 1998 film, “You’ve Got Mail,” as Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan walk through a farmers market in New York City, they pass by the “Berkshire Berries” stand, a small, Becket, Mass., business that sells jams, jellies and syrups.

Film crews painted the leaves of trees to simulate the fall foliage while filming “Funny Farm” in Townshend, Vt. All but one of the trees died. The production crew planted new trees at the end of the shoot.


Jennifer Huberdeau is New England Newspapers’ online editor and associate editor of UpCountry magazine. She also pens the column, “The Cottager,” for Berkshires Week and The Shires of Vermont.

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