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Five Films In Philly

by Jimi Izrael
Aug 5, 2011

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Jimi Izrael

Jimi Izrael is the author of The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can't Find Good Black Men and a regular contributor to Tell Me More.

Are you missing a few faces of color on your local newscast?

Don't call the Rev. Al Sharpton or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just yet — your favorite black newscaster or reporter is probably at the 2011 National Association of Black Journalists convention in PhiladelphiaThat Dude, among them.

It's hard to walk the streets here without acknowledging the wonderful architecture and the tapestry of faces that make up Philly's diverse backdrop — a diversity that has inspired filmmakers to set their movies in these streets.

Trading Places - One of my favorite 80's era comedies Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy make movie magic as men who switch places and become the unlikeliest of buddies. Frank Oz does a great job of choosing wonderful shots of the city, including 30th Street Station, Society Hill and Rittenhouse Square.

The Rockys - Sly Stallone's odes to hard scrabble life and boxing are set in Philly. Just about all the films (but most notably the first one) have scenes where Rocky Balboa visits the Italian Market on 9th and Passyunk.

Philadelphia - The irrepressible Denzel Washington stars as a slightly scummy lawyer (as if) who consents to representing an AIDS patient (an Oscar winning performance by Tom Hanks) in a discrimination suit. Philadelphia's City Hall figures prominently in many scenes of this film, inspired by true events.

Limitless - Professional cad Bradley Cooper plays to type in this film about a writer/slacker who takes a synthetic drug that enhances all his senses and taps into his inner genius. There are scenes shot in the Avenue of the Arts throughout this ode to smart drugs.

The Sixth Sense - Before his formula turned sour, Philly's own M. Night Shyamalan wrote great scripts with unpredictable twists, like The Sixth Sense, with Bruce Willis as a psychologist and the underrated Haley Joel Osment as a patient. Much of it was filmed in the Grant's Ferry and Point Breeze neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

What's your favorite Philly film?

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