November 28

Lady Bird and Sacramento

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I don’t think we’re going to see a huge increase in tourism just from one really good movie, but Lady Bird will certainly give people a glimpse of how nice Sacramento is. And that can’t hurt. – Me

That’s the quote I gave to noted journalist Ed Fletcher of the Sacramento Bee when he interviewed me regarding the effect the movie Lady Bird will have on Sacramento. Sadly, Ed wasn’t super-impressed with my take, I guess, as it ended up on the cutting room floor. You can read the story I was cut out of here and imagine how much better it would have been with me in it.

My missed chance at local newspaper fame aside, Lady Bird really is a great film and Sacramento looks great in it. Plus, the whole movie is basically about Sacramento – or at least it is if you ignore the entire mother/daughter relationship and anything that happens between Lady Bird and her friends.

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Ok, maybe the movie isn’t about Sacramento, but the city does play a crucial role and it was fun to see places like Gunther’s Ice Cream, Club Raven and the Pasty Shack get a couple seconds of screen time. Plus, we even got a recreated version of the old New Helvetia coffee shop that used to be where Mulvaney’s is now. Oh and there are entire scenes shot at Thrift Town where 80% of my clothes came from between 1997-2006. So it’s a bit of extra fun for those of us who know Sacramento to see all this on the screen. I even used to have a P.O. box at the post office where Lady Bird gets her mail.

If you’re wondering why all the Sacramento stuff, it’s because the film is the semi-autobiographical creation of Greta Gerwig who was born and raised here. She even starts the movie with a quote from Joan Didion, another famous Sacramentan…although maybe one with a less flattering take.

Mostly, as a Sacramentan and as Sacramento’s Director of Tourism, I was relieved that the movie didn’t suck and it didn’t make Sacramento look awful. The fact that it’s a great film and makes Sacramento look fantastic was just an added bonus. I think it easily shoots up to the top of the Sacramento Movie List:

  1. Lady Bird
  2. Probably some other movie somewhere

I bet New York City’s Director of Tourism has a much harder time putting together their list. And – for what it’s worth – if Lady Bird were set in NYC, it would be darn near the top of that list too. Like 90th percentile.

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Long story short, Lady Bird is a film made by a Sacramentan, set in Sacramento and – at least partially – about Sacramento. And it’s really, really good. I’ve liked a lot of movies in my time, but I’ve never left a movie feeling proud before.

I’m not going to take the time to actually verify this, but I saw on the twitters that Lady Bird is the best reviewed movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes. So, yeah, I’m proud of Greta Gerwig, I’m proud of my city and I’m proud of pretty much everyone in Sacramento…except for Ed Fletcher who cut me out of the his story.

But no, I don’t think Lady Bird is going to send tourists rushing to Sacramento. I mean, that would be great and I’m ready to welcome them if they do, but I don’t really see it happening. That said, if you do want to come to town, I’ll be happy to give you a personal walking tour to Club Raven, Gunther’s, Thrift Town and my old P.O. box.

Oh and if you want to download your own “Lady Bird for President” posters like the ones she used when she ran for school office, you can do so here. I did.

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As an added bonus for reading this far, here’s a list of my favorite high school movie characters of all time:

  1. Max Fischer
  2. Lydia Deetz
  3. Lady Bird
  4. Ted Theodore Logan/Bill S. Preston Esq.
  5. Ferris Bueller
  6. Jeff Spicoli
  7. George McFly
  8. Enid from Ghost World
  9. Napoleon Dynamite
  10. Carrie