“Hey girls, you know what I love? Back bacon, Sloan, draconian anti-pornography laws, and living in a welfare state! Go Habs!”
“Hollywood” shamelessly continues its tradition of outsourcing the American image, showing unprecedented gall in releasing the Abigail Breslin vehicle Kit Kittredge: An American Girl just in time for the July 4th holiday.
Kittredge follows the titular tween, a prepubescent would-be investigative reporter, who, faithfully accompanied by her loyal bassett hound (the newspaper ads would have me believe this pooch wears one of those Uncle Sam hats at some point), pursues adventures in Depression Era Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cincinnati, my hometown, The Queen City of the West, was once described by no less a personage than Sir Winston Churchill as “the most beautiful of America’s inland cities.” Built on seven hills (like Rome!), its broad vistas, distinct regional identity, and abundant specimens of vernacular architecture (the highest per capita representation of 19th century Italianate townhouses in North America holla!) could offer an endless array of pictorial possibilities to a receptive production team (while in town, cast and crew could’ve enjoyed visits to the American Sign Museum, the Taft collection, and Junker’s Tavern)
So what do American Girl Brands/ Goldsmith-Thomas Productions/ HBO Films/ New Line Cinema/ Red Om Films go and do? They set up shop in fucking Toronto, all to save a few measly sheckles.
For shame. Job-loss issues aside, runaway film production does us–whatever side of whatever border we lie on–a gross disservice by routinely fobbing off the outskirts of Vancouver as Missouri, upstate New York, California, and God knows where else. In this, the tremendous diversity (of topography, of architecture, of flora, of personalities) of this great nation are entirely ignored or falsified. Will it take the unveiling of a built-to-scale Monument Valley in Manitoba for us to wake up to this crisis? I bear no animosity toward our neighbors in the North, but The Industry gets on the fightin’ side of me when they put poutine in front of me and try to tell me it’s a juicy hamburger. (It wasn’t always this way: a certain immigrant from Minsk who became Louis B. Mayer was proud enough of his adopted country to falsify his birthday to July 4th.)
Real talk: Buy American Images.