I watched Wonder Boys last night if only for the purpose of seeing Pittsburgh in an insider\’s eyes.

Pittsburgh is a neglected city to outsiders, especially to those from larger metropolitan areas. I admit that coming here I thought everything was going to be run-down. But as I said before, there\’s a certain quality about this city that I won\’t find anyone else. The general belief that there is nothing here makes something so small (a small vegetarian store, a farmer\’s market, an independently owned costume store) so…special. When you have low expectations, little things make the difference.

Strangely enough, Wonder Boys fully took advantage of its city. I don\’t recall that many movies that fully take advantage of their setting–always having it shot in more than two locations and using it different cities for effect. The movie is about a professor in a writing program at an unnamed university (filmed at Carnegie Mellon). What was interesting was whenever they drove through Pittsburgh, CMU was prominent in the background. The main scenes on campus were filmed inside CFA and Baker Hall. There were great shots of Margaret Morrison Hall. And it took advantage of other settings within the city–the area of Friendship and Swissvale. It\’s not like any other city can be filmed in its place. But the difference between this movie and other movies is that it was stating that Pittsburgh…was the very wonder boy. Pittsburgh is a city that flourished the most during the steel period, but floundered. Unlike other industrial cities however, it\’s growing still. The seven major colleges/universities and an artistic undergrowth is enforcing all of that…

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