Welcome to the super-secret Boston Marathon prep blog! Over the course of the last 20 weeks everyone has prepared to run from Hopkinton to Boylston street. They’ve run intervals and done long runs and hopefully practiced for the downhills. But, in the name of transparency, I am going to be revealing my secret Boston specific training in time for you to copy me and maximize your shot at a PR. I have been watching Boston Movies and I’ve reviewed 4 of them for your reading pleasure. Yesterday I wrote about Fever Pitch, and today we have The Town. Enjoy and then watch The Town to get ready for The Boston Marathon. It will help, I promise. Probably. It definitely wont hurt.
Boston Movie- The Town- 3.5/5 Dunkins
The Town is a movie about bank robbers from Charlestown, which is a neighborhood in Boston. Charlestown is a neighborhood known for producing generation after generation of armed robbers, and the main character Doug McCrae, (played by Ben Affleck) is the head of one such crew.
In the commission of one of their robberies, the loose cannon of the group Jim (played by Jeremy Renner) takes the bank manager, Claire Keesey (played by Rebecca Hall) hostage. Doug is NOT happy that Jim took her. After they let her go, and the job is complete, Doug follows Claire, who happens to live in Charlestown, in order to figure out if she knows anything that could send the crew to prison. Doug starts to fall in love with her, and she with him. Jim is NOT happy about this when he finds out.
The crew is being investigated by FBI Special Agent Frawley (played by Jon Hamm), but the team continues to pull jobs anyways. As the FBI closes in on the team, they inform Claire that she is dating one of the people who robbed her bank (Doug/Affleck). Claire is NOT happy with Doug when she finds out. Doug thinks that the FBI is getting too close and that they should lay low for a while, but he’s ultimately pressured into trying for one more big score by the local mob boss who threatens to kill Claire if Doug doesn’t comply.
The team attempts to rob Fenway Park and, for a number of reasons that would take way too long to explain but involve Jim sister, Krista (played by Blake Lively) who is also Doug’s longtime girlfriend/ booty call, and also maybe his baby mama (never confirmed), this job goes to shit and 3 of the crew is killed by the police/FBI. Doug gets away and heads back to Charlestown before he leaves for good. Before leaving he calls Claire, who is working with the FBI. She tips him off that the FBI is at her place and that he should not come to say goodbye, which makes him happy because maybe she still loves him a little bit. Doug then leaves Boston and goes to Florida.
A life time Bostonian gets fed up with his job and retires to Florida.
The Town is basically the perfect movie if you want to sit on the couch and be entertained but not really have to think for 2 hours. It’s got lots of attractive people, a good car chase, action, some very fun Boston accents, and nothing completely soul crushing happens. It’s not an Oscar Winner, it’s not a desert island movie, it’s not an all-time classic story. But it’s not trying to be. It’s just wants to be a good action movie that you watch every couple of years and think, “Oh yeah, The Town. That’s a really good movie.” It doesn’t take a lot of risks, it doesn’t really have any super original elements. We’ve seen all the stuff in it before in other movies, but The Town does all those things really well. The acting is good, the plot is solid, you’re drawn in, and then it’s over and you’re happy that you just watched The Town. But then a week later you forget that you watched The Town, which is fine.
Doug’s track suits. I LOVE that he wears track suits. And it’s not just one. He wears like 3 really good ones. If this was set in the late 90’s, I don’t think that I would like that he wears track suits so much. I would just be like, “Oh yeah, that was a weird style that we all pretended was cool.” But this movie is set in 2010. The track suit craze was dead, which means it was a very conscious decision to have Doug mobbing around Charlestown in a track suit. I don’t know what this decision means, or who made it, (I like to imagine that they were actually Ben Affleck’s track suits that he brought from home.) but I absolutely love that decision.
The winner of this category, by a landslide starts when Doug is talking to Claire and she mentions that she used to walk through the projects to get home after work but got hassled and now has to take the long way home. So, after the date, Doug goes and finds Jim and delivers one of the great lines ever. Doug says, “I need your help, I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people.” To which his best friend and resident psycho, Jim, replies, “Who’s car are we gonna take.” The two friends then don masks and go to the projects and beat the shit out of two guys in a way that makes it very clear that this is not the first ass kicking that they have performed together. They cover the peep hole and bust down the door with a sledge hammer at just the right time, and then before the two guys in the apartment know what’s going on, they get beat to shit. Jim, then escalates things, as he is want to do, by shooting one of the victims twice in the leg and showing him his face. Doug is NOT a fan of this move and tells Jim so on the ride home (they took Jim’s car, BTW). He says, “I can’t be up there killing people.” To which Jim says, without a second thought, “That’s why you brought me.”
This scene kind of has a sibling scene later in the movie that I am including as my favorite part even though they are separated by about 25 minutes. In this second scene, Jim and Doug are arguing next to a cemetery. Doug wants to leave town, Jim doesn’t want him to, so they argue and Jim (oh, background, Jim has previously served 9 years for manslaughter) says, “in the 302 the feds had me dropping Brendan right here, but I first got him back on Tibbits. That fucking guy ran 100 yards with a bullet in his heart. Dougie, the fucking guy should have run track.” Doug responds, “I didn’t ask you to do that.” Jim fires back, “yeah, well you didn’t have to, c’mon. They told me Brendan Leahy was gonna roll up on you with a Glock 21, so I came over here and put him in the ground. Did 9 years for it. Now you don’t got to thank me, but you’re not walking away.”
I like these two scenes for 2 reasons, the first is that, in both of them, these guys are being real scumbags doing, real scumbag things, but they’re doing them for not that scumbag of reasons. And the second reason I really like these two scenes is because it really makes you wonder if things could have been flipped. Jim, at this point, is a true psycho. He was a violent kid who did 9 years in prison, there’s no coming back from that, he’s always gonna be a wild card with that life trajectory. But what if it was Jim who was about to get rolled up on by Brendan Leahy and Doug was the one who went to prison for 9 years. It’s not hard to imagine that Doug would have had no problem killing that guy for his best friend. He’s not exactly a law-abiding citizen, his dad is an infamous bank robber, and even after not serving 9 years he’s going into the projects and beating people up and robbing trucks and banks with AK-47’s on his shoulder. Maybe in a different world Doug is the wild card, and that’s a fun thing to think about.
Least favorite part-
Special Agent Frawley and his partner are doing this briefing on the Doug and Jim’s crew in front of a bunch of other agents. They’re running through all the connections and the relationships and even some generational stuff. It’s pretty extensive and a pretty good scene. And then comes the stupid line that really bothers me. The agent says, “you need a fucking Venn diagram for these people.” See, here’s why this is stupid. What he means to say is that you need a flow chart for these people. A Venn diagram would be useless because everyone would be in the middle part, because everyone he was talking about were criminals who ran in the same crew, that wouldn’t be helpful at all. A flow chart, on the other hand, would be very helpful. Which is why there is one on the white board that the guy was pointing to when he was doing the explaining. Not only would you need a flow chart for these people, this guy fucking made one and had been referring to it for the entire scene. It had arrows and everything, it was a great flowchart.
My winner for least favorite part is the very very last shot. In this shot, Doug is standing on a pier in Florida looking over this beautiful body of water as the sun sets. It’s super pretty, and heartwarming, and it looks like Doug, who has grown a nice beard at this point, has found some peace. You see that scene and you get the feeling that Doug is gonna have a nice life. Meanwhile, there’s a voice over being played of a letter that Doug wrote for Claire before he left. It says, “No matter how much you change, you still have to pay the price for the things you’ve done. So, I got a long road. But I know I’ll see you again- this side or the other.” That’s a nice line, it shows that Doug is doing a little introspection, maybe he’s trying to take responsibility for his actions. Here’s why I don’t like it. I don’t like it because it’s paired with a shot that makes us feel like everything is gonna be ok. The movie ends feeling like Doug is good now, he’s set. But he doesn’t get to have his cake and eat it too. He either gets self-transformation, or he gets an easy life with his cool new beard in Florida.
Best Boston accent-
I mean, there’s really no question. It’s Ben Affleck, his accent is great, it so fun and he says so many cool things like appahhhtment, and gahhhhd, and suppahh.
Worst Boston accent-
I don’t want to do this to her, because I thought that she was so good in this, and it was a role that she doesn’t normally do. But without a doubt, Blake Lively has the worst Boston accent in the movie. She never really drops an R or draws out an ahh sound. Her character does lots of drugs in this movie, but I don’t think that being high on oxycontin makes you not sound like you’re from Boston if you are, in fact, from Boston. IDK could be wrong.
Best Boston accent lines-
Before we get to the best one in the movie, I would officially like to nominate everything that Ben Affleck says for honorable mention. He has so many fun lines like:
“Fe-gie, remembeahh who clipped yahh nuts for yahh.”
“You know, we can do bettah than a bahhbeque.”
Anytime he says any form of the F-word.
Anytime he says “smahht”
“I don’t like the gahhds on the next thing, alright. One kid is like fahhking G.I. Joe. He weahhs the vest on the outside and tucks his pants into his fahhking combat boots… We’ll find anothah truck with a drivah who’s a fahhking fat kid with his fahhking shit untucked who don’t think he’s special fohhhces.”
All those are so good, but the best Boston accent line in the whole movie comes from Jon Hamm, whose character, Special Agent Frawley just doesn’t have a Boston accent. But in one scene, he’s interrogating Doug and he turns on the thickest most offensive and obnoxious accent he can muster in order to mock Doug, and he says, “You and yahh boys didn’t just roll a Stahhh Mahhhket over in Mahhhlden foh a box or quahhhters.” I’ve watched that scene probably 20 times and smile every time.
How could the Boston Marathon be incorporated?-
There are a couple ways we could do this, the first two are simple. I think it would be cool if, on one of their first dates, Doug takes Claire to watch the marathon. But, that’s not a Doug thing to do. I also thought it would be funny if Jim made fun of someone, probably an FBI agent, for running the marathon. That would be a very Jim thing to do.
Here’s the thing though, if we’re re-writing The Town to feature the Boston Marathon, we’ve got to go big. So, with that in mind, here’s how we would incorporate the Boston Marathon into The Town:
This scene would take place instead of the second robbery, where they’re wearing nun masks, and we’re going to have to imagine that there is less traffic than on a normal Marathon Monday. So, the crew robs a bank in Back Bay, but on the south side of the course. Then they get into their getaway bus (Like, a school bus, in an attempt to blend in with other busses that transport people) and evade police as they drive toward the course. When they get to Massachusetts Ave., which is the road that the Boston Marathon course goes under, the driver does one of those cool drift skid stops where he turns the bus in such a way that the road is blocked. The robbers get out, cash in hand, and do something cocky like flip off the helpless police who are on the other side of bus. The crew gets into a non-descript vehicle, maybe like a Toyota Corolla, and drives away free. This maneuver is executed with such precision that the runners who are running under Massachusetts Ave don’t even realize that something is going on. It’s a perfect day, with a tailwind, and everyone PRs.