Entertainment Weekly staffers live and work in two of the most exciting cities in the world—New York and Los Angeles. But most of us come from somewhere else—and sometimes, especially when the weather is dreary and the entertainment landscape is caught in a post-Oscars/midseason TV premieres, pre-spring blockbusters/TV finales lull, we find ourselves longing for home… and the pop culture that reminds us of the places we’ve left behind. Hence this week’s Confessional question: What do you watch/listen to/read when you’re feeling homesick?
Samantha Highfill, correspondent: Growing up in Virginia, the movie that reminds me of home should probably be something like Secretariat—the horse was raised not far from where I grew up—or Lincoln, which was shot about half an hour from my house. Or, for that matter, any movie about the civil war. Instead, the film that reminds me most of home was neither set nor shot in Virginia. I saw Runaway Bride as a child and came away convinced that it had been filmed in my home state, particularly the scene where Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are riding horses. It looked so much like home that I decided it was home, and now, it reminds me of home.
Melissa Maerz, TV critic: Being from Oregon, I’m spoiled by lots of pop culture that gets the Pacific Northwest right: Portlandia, Kelly Reichardt’s films (particularly Old Joy and Night Moves), Elliott Smith’s early albums (which play like a map of Portland), Raymond Carver’s early short stories, Gary Snyder’s poetry. But the best surprise was the film adaptation of Wild, which is based on a memoir that I adored, so I assumed the movie couldn’t possibly live up to it. Cut to the scene where Cheryl (played by Reese Witherspoon) hooks up with a guy in Southern Oregon: on his wall, there’s a poster for the Dharma Bums, a local Portland band I loved when I was in school. I was shocked by the accuracy of the smallest details. Someone on set must’ve grown up near me.
Jeff Jensen, TV critic: I grew up in Seattle, but since Hollywood shoots either Vancouver (The Killing) or Los Angeles (Grey’s Anatomy) for the Emerald City, I compromise and settle for Portland, Oregon. And there’s no better Portland show—and Pacific Northwest show, really—than Portlandia. The credits sequence alone is so evocative. The bridges, the neighborhoods, the “Keep Portland Weird” sign—it takes me there. Oh, and it was my wife’s hometown, so it reminds me of her, too. Not Seattle, but close enough.