Our recent list of made-in-PA movies paired with made-in-PA wines was a blockbuster hit, garnering a bunch of reactions and comments. You know what that means: Get ready for the sequel. Here are some more films — all shot in the state of Pennsylvania — to keep you company.
Night of the Living Dead
Southwestern Pennsylvania was the haunt of George A. Romero, the legendary horror auteur. His hungry hordes of the undead created the template for our modern zombies, who have since overtaken popular culture. Start with the original Night of the Living Dead, shot in Butler County north of Pittsburgh, and then make it a movie marathon with the five sequels (released between 1968 and 2009). Skip the red wine — too close for comfort — and open a bottle of crisp, bright Cayuga.
Speaking of too close for comfort, this post-apocalyptic, post-pandemic, time-travel thriller falls under the category of indulging your fears to overcome them. The scenes of an eerily abandoned Philadelphia are iconic, as is Brad Pitt, playing against type as an asylum patient (in scenes shot at Eastern State Penitentiary). Pair this off-the-wall film with a complex, surprising wine like peppery Noiret.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Now let’s go the other direction: Warm your heart with this story of Pittsburgh legend Fred Rogers and his impact on a magazine writer in emotional disarray. Tom Hanks, the king of filmic comfort food, stars as the children’s television legend. Filming took place around Steel City, including in Fred Rogers Studio at WQED, where the original show was shot. Pair the movie with Merlot, a steady, delicious red that goes down smooth.
This zany sports comedy was mostly filmed in Johnstown, PA. In fact, several players from the real-life Johnstown Jets hockey team served as extras on the ice. The cult classic stars film legend Paul Newman as player/coach Reggie Dunlop, who comes up with an unconventional strategy to save the squad. Hijinks ensue! Do as the professionals do and celebrate sporting victory with a bottle of PA sparkling wine.
All the Right Moves
Here’s another sports classic shot in Johnstown. A fresh faced Tom Cruise plays a high school football star with big dreams looking to escape his economically-depressed small town in the early 1980s. Will they win the big game? Will he realize his college ambitions? Will you choose the right wine to pair with this flick? Chambourcin is a beloved local varietal eager to rise from regional star to world-class wine grape. Support its ambitions by drinking it!
Wet Hot American Summer
Who couldn’t use a good laugh right now? Relive summers past — well, a wacky, surreal version of them — with this good-hearted summer camp farce. Beloved stars such as Bradley Cooper, Jeanine Garofolo, Paul Rudd, and other indie comedy legends team up for this nostalgic fever dream, shot at Camp Towanda in Honesdale, PA. Pay homage to spiked punch and hot nights with wine slushies.
Most of this wild late ‘80s rom-com — A department store mannequin comes to life! Only Andrew McCarthy can see her! — was shot in an iconic Philadelphia space. The historic Wanamaker Building, with its grand central hall and exposed mezzanines, was a fitting playground for the star-crossed lovers. Pair this movie, which also stars a before-she-was-famous Kim Cattrall, with a wine that is more than it appears to be. How about Traminette, a wine with a rich floral bouquet and subtle sweetness?
Based on a novel by Pittsburgh native Michael Chabon, this cerebral comedy features a murderers’ row of acting talent: Michael Douglas, Toby Maguire, Robert Downey, Jr., Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes. The story of a flailing novelist turned college professor, the film was shot in PA locations including Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, and Shady Side Academy. To go with all the tweed and typewriters, choose a wine that will allow you to showcase your esoteric knowledge. Saperavi is an up-and-coming Georgian red (grown in Pennsylvania) that is guaranteed to impress.
We miss sports. You miss sports. Fill the hole with this true story of a 30-year-old Philly bartender who tried out for the Eagles. The movie was filmed at locations across Philadelphia, from Franklin Field (original home of the Eagles; current home to University of Pennsylvania sports), to South Philly, to the Navy Yard. PA sports fans love an underdog, and so should PA wine fans. Open a bottle of Grüner Veltliner, a white-wine grape on an epic rise from virtually unknown to star of the state.
This B-movie horror flick stars a young Steve McQueen and was filmed in Valley Forge, Chester Springs, Downingtown, Phoenixville, and Royersford. Fear and laughter are both appropriate reactions to creepy premise and mid-century visual effects. Take inspiration from the light red color of the eponymous Blob and open a bottle of earthy, drinkable, fruit-forward Pinot Noir.
What are the made-in-PA entertainments getting you through? Let us know.