On this 237th birthday of our dear country America, we all band together in our patriotism. Yes, we do have quite the uniting country indeed... despite it being split up into 50 states, all of which vehemently hate the other 49 (especially Jersey).
But as brethren of the same land, we must find common ground. We must find something to appreciate each of the states from which we do not hail. The best way to do that: Movies. Hollywood.com has taken a look at every corner of our land of the free and pinpointed the big screen feature that best exemplifies each of the 50 states. Check below, and see if your home state is represented by a particular favorite of yours.
AlabamaForrest GumpSure, he ran all around the country, but that Greenbow pride stuck with him.
AlaskaOut ColdWacky, off-kilter, and a gem that nobody ever talks about. Just like Alaska.
ArizonaPsychoFrom the creepiest corner of the country comes the creepiest movie ever made.
ArkansasTrue GritRemake or original, both have that AK charm.
CaliforniaCluelessNever before has the Valley been so astonishingly well represented.
ColoradoThe Shining Beautiful and inspiring, but haunting nonetheless — we mean the film and the state.
ConnecticutMystic PizzaSoft-spoken and charming? A little bit sad, but able to laugh? That's Connecticut for you.
DelawareThere are no memorable movies set in Delaware. Sorry, Delaware. Sorry, everybody.
GeorgiaThe Legend of Bagger Vance Ah, that whimsical mystery that soars through the Georgia winds... the kind of mystery only a Will Smith Ghost could convey onscreen.
HawaiiLilo & StitchHawaii is such a fantasy land that only an animated Disney flick could appropriately capture its presence.
IdahoNapoleon DynamiteSlow moving, weird, and possibly ingenious. From the fields of Idaho comes a cult classic that nobody could stop quoting for years.
IllinoisFerris Bueller’s Day Off Danke schoen for Chicago and its favorite son, John Hughes.
IndianaBreaking AwayA sleepy state with firecracker passion gives us a coming-of-age dramedy that can be described just the same.
IowaWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Sad, lonely, desperate, hopeless... No. Not hopeless. Just remember: We can go anywhere.
KansasThe Wizard of OzOh gee, as if there was any alternative?
KentuckyGoldfingerYou don't think of James Bond as a Southern boy, do you? Well, he payed a visit to the Bluegrass State in this classic chapter.
LouisianaSteel MagnoliasThat heartfelt hometown passion for which Louisiana is famous just courses through the beloved modern classic.
MaineCasper The other creepiest corner of the state gives us a slightly more charming ghost story.
MarylandThe Blair Witch Project And we thought the scariest thing in Maryland was Omar Little...
MassachusettsJaws Celebrate Boston pride all you want with The Departed, but Jaws captures everything that a Martha's Vineyardian knows to be home.
MichiganAmerican Pie Great Lakes, great friends, great stories... and hardly a worry in the world. American Pie, you've got Michigan right.
MinnesotaGrumpy Old Men I think just about everyone in Minnesota is in fact 75 years of age or older.
MississippiThe Help Granted, Mississippi has come a long way since the days of The Help, but it still has that connotation...
MissouriWaiting for GuffmanWe'll be honest. We've never been to Missouri. We don't know anyone from Missouri. We have no idea what Missouri is like. But we imagine (and hope) it's exactly like Waiting for Guffman.
MontanaA River Runs Through It That old mountain spirit, that true American flavor, that's what Montana, and this Robert Redford classic, are about.
NebraskaElection We always thought there was something suspicious lurking underneath that oh-so-perfect Nebraska... Tracy Fleck just might be the state incarnate.
NevadaFear and Loathing in Las VegasSorry, Nevada, but you're just Vegas to the rest of the world. Crazy, drug-addled Vegas.
New HampshireLolitaThings are a bit off all throughout the beautiful, jovial, captivating Granite State, and throughout Stanley Kubrick's classic comedy.
New JerseyClerks Angry, grungy, and highly polarizing. Yep. Clerks is Jersey.
New MexicoCity SlickersYes, this movie is about people from other states visiting New Mexico... but isn't that what the real New Mexico is all about, anyway?
New YorkAnnie Hall A symphony of neuroses, heartbreak, and wide-eyed fantasy, Annie Hall is everything that the unstoppable city of New York has to offer.
North CarolinaBull DurhamThis movie is set in North Carolina. So it wins.
North DakotaFargo Oh yah. Quite a sinister tone under this kooky snow-laden state and its signature film, yah.
OhioTommy BoyThe good-natured values of hard work and friendship? That's the cornerstone of Ohio livin', we tell you.
OregonThe GooniesWhen Oregon learned it was finally getting a movie, the entire state cheered: "It's our time."
PennsylvaniaRockyPennsylvania is just another nickname for Philadelphia, right?
Rhode IslandDumb and DumberYes, a good portion of the film takes place on the road (and in a place where the beer flows like wine), but Harry and Lloyd are distinctly, undeniably Rhode Island folk.
South CarolinaThe Notebook That deep, abiding love that can only exist in a small state sheltered from the rest of the world? That can only come from a man like Nicholas Sparks? That can only be appropriately sold through a stunner like Ryan Gosling? Yep.
South DakotaLittle Big ManIt's appropriate that South Dakota's pick is riddled with historical color... and some wacky adventure.
TennesseeThe Blind SideA simple story of family, pride, acceptance, and overcoming adversity. Tennessee should be proud of this Oscar winner.
TexasDazed and ConfusedOf course our Texas pick had to come from Richard Linklater, master of the Lone Star State. And which film better than his most iconic, nihilistic, dreamy high school graduation picture?
Utah127 HoursIn Utah, no one can hear you scream. =
VermontSuper TroopersCall it a mindless stoner comedy, but the Broken Lizard debut packs a lot of that wintry Northeast flavor into its wild, witty mix.
VirginiaThe PatriotAs if there was anything more Virginian. As if there is any state more American.
WashingtonThe Twilight SagaWhat's with the corners of this country being so dang creepy? At least this one has some glitter.
West VirginiaOctober SkyCoal mines and dreams of escaping the coal mines. That's what ol' West Virginia was all about in its day.
WisconsinLars and the Real Girl There's something cold, eerie, and wonderfully beautiful about small town Wisconsin. Ditto Gosling.
WyomingButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Wyoming, even though we're not entirely sure that you actually exist, you might win the pot with the best movie on the list.
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The trailers for Hope Springs might lead you to believe it's a romantic comedy about a couple trying to jumpstart their sexless marriage but it causes more empathetic cringing than chuckles. Audiences will be drawn to Hope Springs by its stars Meryl Streep Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell and Streep's track record of pleasing summer movies like Julie & Julia and Mamma Mia! that offer a respite from the blockbusters flooding theaters. Despite what its marketing might have you believe Hope Springs isn't a rom-com. The film is a disarming mixture of deeply intimate confessions by a married couple in the sanctuary of a therapist's office awkwardly honest attempts by that couple to physically reconnect and incredibly sappy scenes underscored by intrusive music. Boldly addressing female desire especially in older women it's hard not to give the movie extra credit for what writer Vanessa Taylor's script is trying to convey and its rarity in mainstream film. The ebb and flow of intimacy and desire in a long-term relationship is what drives Hope Springs and while there are plenty contrived moments and unresolved issues it is frankly surprising and surprisingly frank. It's a summer release from a major studio with high caliber stars aimed squarely at the generally underserved 50+ audience addressing the even more taboo topic of that audience's sex life.
Streep plays Kay a suburban wife who's deeply unsatisfied emotionally and sexually by her marriage to Arnold. Arnold who is played by Tommy Lee Jones as his craggiest sleeps in a separate bedroom now that their kids have left the nest; he's like a stone cold robot emotionally and physically and Kay tiptoes around trying to make him happy even as he ignores her every gesture. One of the most striking scenes in the movie is at the very beginning when Kay primps and fusses over her modest sleepwear in the hopes of seducing her husband. Streep makes it obvious that this isn't an easy thing for Kay; it takes all her guts to try and wordlessly suggest sex to her husband and when she's shot down it hurts to watch. This isn't a one time disconnect between their libidos; this is an ongoing problem that leaves Kay feeling insecure and undesirable.
After a foray into the self-help section of her bookstore Kay finds a therapist who holds week-long intensive couples' therapy sessions in Good Hope Springs ME and in a seemingly unprecedented moment of decisiveness she books a trip for the couple. Arnold of course is having none of it but he eventually comes along for the ride. That doesn't mean he's up for answering any of Dr. Feld's questions though. To be fair Dr. Feld (Carell) is asking the couple deeply intimate questions so if Arnold is comfortable foisting his amorous wife off with the excuse he had pork for lunch it's not so far-fetched to believe he'd be angry when Feld asks him about his fantasy life or masturbation habits.
Although Arnold gets a pass on some of his issues Kay is forthright about why and how she's dissatisfied. When Dr. Feld asks her if she masturbates she says she doesn't because it makes her too sad. Kay offers similar revelations; she's willing to bare it all to revive her marriage while Arnold thinks the fact that they're married at all means they must be happy. Carell's Dr. Feld is soothing and kind (even a bit bland) but it's always a pleasure to see him play it straight.
It's subversive for a mega-watt star to play a character that talks about how sexually unsatisfied she is and how unsexy she feels with the man she loves most in the world. The added taboo of Kay and Arnold's age adds that much more to the conversation. Kay and Arnold's attempts at intimacy are emotionally raw and hard to watch. Even when things get funny they're mostly awkward funny not ha-ha funny.
The rest of the movie is a little uneven wrapped up tightly and happily by the end. Their time spent soul-searching alone is a little cheesy especially when Kay ends up in a local bar where she gets a little dizzy on white wine while dishing about her problems to the bartender (Elisabeth Shue). Somewhere along the line what probably started out as a character study ended up as a wobbly drama that pushes some boundaries but eventually lets everyone off the emotional hook in favor of a smoothed-over happy ending. Still its disarming moments and performances almost balance it out. Although its target audience might be dismayed to find it's not as light-hearted as it would seem Hope Springs offers up the opportunity for discussion about sexuality and aging at a time when books and films like 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike are perking up similar conversations. In the end that's a good thing.