Let Me Entertain You | The Best of Boston Special

Fun story: when I was fourteen, I saw The Departed. It really, really terrified me. (On a related note: I was super lame when I was fourteen.) I was so scared of Martin Scorsese’s movie about Boston mobsters that I decided I would never, ever go to Boston. And now I go to school here! The irony is not lost on me.

So, since I’m no longer scared of Boston, I decided to make a list of the best movies and television shows set in the best city in New England. (Note how I didn’t say the best city in the Northeast, because I’m from New York and New York is obviously the best city in the Northeast.) Boston’s finest movies and shows are:

1. Cheers. The show about the bar where everybody knows your name is just a classic, and still hilarious thirty years later. Not only is it one of the best sitcoms of all time, it’s also set in Boston! You can tell by the accents. If you are of a legal drinking age, you should go visit the real bar “Cheers” right next to Boston Commons, which I’m sure gets lots of tourist traffic.

The Cheers cast, in all of their 1980s glory. Photo courtesy of NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images.

2. The Departed. Once I got over my fear of this film, I came to appreciate how truly awesome it is. Leonardo DiCaprio sports a sketchy Boston accent as undercover cop Billy, who is trying to take down a mob led by Jack Nicholson’s Frank Costello. In a shocking turn of events, Jack Nicholson is super duper creepy. It’s honestly a great movie; just don’t show it to a weak and girly fourteen-year-old girl.

3. Fringe. If you know me, or have talked for me for more than three minutes, you know that I am a big science fiction fan. Fringe is one of the best sci-fi television shows ever. It’s creative, weird, and smart. Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) joins the Fringe Division of the FBI, which deals with all the crazy, inexplicable science anomalies around the country. Partnered with mad scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia saves the world multiple times and looks hot. There are parallel universes and killer butterflies. You should watch it.


It physically pains me that Fringe did not get the love it deserved by viewers. Photo courtesy of EW.

4. Good Will Hunting.

I had a teacher who showed us that scene at the beginning of the year, ostensibly to show us what ‘real learning’ is. But really, I think Mr. Pitman just wanted to watch a scene from Good Will Hunting because it’s a really good movie. It has young, adorable Matt Damon in his cutest role (Jason Bourne is his hottest role). It has romance, Robin Williams before he got annoying, and the triumph of the human spirit! Plus, it’s an exhibition of the adorable real-life friendship of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

5. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Dude, the Disney Channel shows of our generation were the bomb diggity, and none more so than Suite Life. Watch adorable Dylan and Cole Sprouse as Zack and Cody, mischievous kids who terrorize the Tipton Hotel. You probably idolized them as a kid but probably would now hate. I recently watched an episode, and I related way more to strict adult manager Mr. Mosby and crazy obsessive sci-fi geek Arwin than any kid on the show. It was a scary wakeup call. Anyway, it’s a cute show and definitely worth a visit, if only for nostalgia’s sake.

My childhood in one picture! Nostalgia (and photo) courtesy of Disney Channel.

There are way more, like Boston Legal, which is famous, but I’ve never seen it so it’s not on my list. There’s also a ton of Boston gangster movies, which kind of makes me worried about living here again. But these are the crème de la crème of Boston movies and shows, at least in the professional opinion of a sleep-deprived and heavily biased college student.