Friday, March 19, 2010

Long Island Movies and Documentaries

It's my intention to maintain the definitive list of movies that take place, are supposed to take place, or are about Long Island, New York. (That would be the part of Long Island which is not located in New York City.) I'll try to keep this up to date, but please do not hesitate to recommend additions and changes by posting to the comments area.

  • 3 Backyards (Eric Mendelsohn, 2010) [IMDB] - Another indie film from Old Bethpage's own Eric Mendelsohn. Being an indie it is not necessarily in full release, but I have my fingers crossed. 
  • Grey Gardens (Michael Sucsy, 2009 ) [IMDB] - Well reviewed bio-pic about Jackie O's eccentric Aunt and Cousin. Based on a documentary of the same name from 1975 (see below).
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004) [IMBD] - Two lovers are so torn when they break up that they have their memories removed. Sweet, sentimental, and different. This, plus some of his other non-LI films, made me a Gondry fan. Charlie Kaufman collaborated on the screenplay and my old neighbor in Brooklyn created the sets - including the absurdly giant kitchen and the shell of a house on the beach.
  • Pollock (Ed Harris, 2000) [IMDB] - Ed Harris portrays the inspired and tragic life of artist Jackson Pollock. Filmed at the house Pollock Krasner house which is now a museum you can visit.
  • L.I.E. (2001) [IMDB] - I have not yet seen this rough movie about struggling LI kids. 
  • Judy Berlin (Eric Mendelsohn, 1999) [IMDB] - This very blog's author's old-schoolmate directs Edie Falco who it appears is stuck in Old Bethpage. This movie made me relive my long ago Long Island late summer evenings. 
  • Love And Death On Long Island (1997) [IMDB] - Though it's really a "Hamptons" movie, it's a wonderful Long Island film with challenging roles. Stuffy professor and stunning actor John Hurt is utterly infatuated beyond his control with a famous heartthrob actor (think Keanu Reeves) played by Jason Priestley. Allusions to Death In Venice are purely intentional .
  • The Daytrippers (Greg Mottola, 1996) [IMDB] - Thanksgiving on Long Island is interrupted for a non-stop family trip to New York City. Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Parker Posey, and Anne Meara.
  • Simple Men (Hal Hartley, 1992) [IMDB] - Lindenhurst and out east.
  • Trust (Hal Hartley, 1990) [IMDB] - Starring Shelly and Edie Falco and others. More Lindenhurst.
  • The Unbelievable Truth (Hal Hartley, 1989) [IMDB] - One of several Long Island films by director Hal Hartley. Here an ex-con returns home to Lindenhurst. (I actually saw the premier of this film, at the Huntington Cinema Arts Center. After the film, all the actors stood up. We applauded. This among the earliest movies for each of them, so it's more than likely that Adrienne Shelly, Edie Falco, Hal Hartley were there. In fact, it's so early in their careers, it's likely that their parents were there as well.)
  • Family Business (Sidney Lumet, 1989) [IMDB] - Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, and Matthew Broderick play three generations of criminals in this comedy. I cannot remember exactly how much of this takes place on Long Island, but I definitely recall some recognizable Syosset office buildings. Sorry, no Sayville.
  • She-Devil (Susan Seidelman, 1989) [IMDB] - I was living in Port Jefferson Station when this movie was filmed at an estate in Port Jeff's Belle Terre - the big pink one at the end. Roseanne plays as the eponymous character. Even with Meryl Streep starring in it, I still haven't seen it.
  • The Amityville Horror (Stuart Rosenberg, 1979) [IMDB] - This film, which I'm sure I originally saw for 99 cents at the Morton Village Theater in Plainview, started a string of almost a dozen remakes, sequels, 'documentaries', and of course practically it's own genre ( Horror Movies Ripped From The Headlines). I recall driving by the real Amityville Horror house during driver's ed.
  • Interiors (Woody Allen, 1978) [IMDB] - One of the first not starring the director himself. This serious Bergman-inspired film has many long scenes with no dialog at the beach. Can you hear the surf? Can you see people speaking in profile? Is that death I smell or the surf?
  • Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977) [IMDB] - Since I do not need to tell you about this film, I can remind you that some of it takes place on Long Island. (Please help me identify any scenes or any other of his films I should include here.)

  • Farmingville (2004) [IMDB] - Why is it that bad things make for good documentaries? This award winning documentary explores a string of attacks by Suffolk county residents on Mexican farm workers. Unfortunately, this is still going on today. What? Do the locals really want to work at farms and menial labor themselves? This film does not make you proud of our great Long Island heritage. Not one bit.
  • Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003) [IMDB]
  • Wonderland (1997) [IMDB] -  Quirky documentary of Levittown and some of its residents.
  • Grey Gardens (1975) [IMDB] - Documentary about Jackie O's eccentric Aunt and Cousin. See 2009 film based on this above.

Scenes (this is a placeholder heading)
  • Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, 1986)  [IMDB] - Paul Hogan plays an Australian Out-Back fish out of water when he visits NYC with his large knife. The love interest is a reporter for Newsday, a great Long Island Newspaper. A least one scene is at the Newsday headquarters in Melville, but do help me out here because that may have been in the sequel where the two end up back in Australia. This movie came out of the local fame of Paul Hogan as well as a curious pre-occupation by US movie distributors with Australian comedies around this period (Muriel's Wedding, Pricilla, etc.).
  • North by Northwest (1959 [IMBD] - One of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpieces. You'll see Hitchcock's cameo in there somewhere, but most importantly 1950s Glen Cove, LI makes a cameo as well. I don't know where it was actually filmed, but traditionally, the Russian embassy types kept home on Long Island's north shore. I recall them being harassed by patriotic citizens during the Cold War in the 1970s.
 Other Lists of Long Island Movies
  • An article about Long Island award winners.
  • list of top 10 Long Island movies.
  • A strange Sayville-obsessed Long Island list. OK, we admit it, everything started in Sayville.


  1. I feel challenged to blog about Brooklyn movies. But the internet is not big enough.

    Date Night is about to come out. Last winter they brought their own plows to Prospect Park.

  2. You could try for Park Slope movies.

  3. Park Slope is still too big.

    Maybe Movies I saw them film. I could dig through internet clips and post a link to the scene.

    or A list of movies that "allowed" me to steal a donut from their Craft services.

    BTW, if you want to see Park Slope check out the HBO series Board to Death.

  4. Cutting and pasting from a "best documentraies of the decade" list. This is really good.

    4. Capturing the Friedmans (Andrew Jarecki, 2003)
    Capturing the Friedmans is the best of the “miscarriage of justice” documentaries of the decade – a personal favorite subgenre of mine. Capturing the Friedmans looks at a disturbing case in Long Island New York, where a former school teacher and his son were accused of molesting dozens of children in their home during “computer class”. The authorities bungled the case in every conceivable way – not trying to verify the children’s claims, not finding physical evidence, asking the children leading questions again and again until they got the answer they wanted. Yet, you almost cannot blame the authorities – there were so many children making claims, they didn’t have the proper training, and the father was sexually attracted to children, as evidenced by the child pornography found in the house. Still, though, you feel sympathy for the Friedmans, as there was no evidence that they actually molested children, especially the son who was just helping out his dad. This is fascinating, troubling film.

  5. Thank you Matt. I will add it to the list. I had that in mind, although I never saw it. Partially because of the subject matter. I get more squeamish the older I get. Plus when you become a parent, your perspective changes.

    The review was from here: