When I wrote the first part of this blog back in March, I always intended to write the second half although there could easily be 3 or 4 of this theme alone. I think the reason the Pacific Northwest is such a popular location for films is because of the mood the geography provides; moody, rugged, cozy, rainy. These are the reasons some of my favourite movies are filmed here. My disclaimer is the same as the first edition of this blog: These are not necessarily good movies or shows. I like them because they’re set around some of my favourite places to be; the forest, sleepy Pacific Northwest towns and fishing villages. They’re filled with grey lighting, long drives along desolate roads and warm Autumn clothing. Hygge brought to life.
If you’d like to visit Chapter 1 of this series here’s the link:
Men In Trees
Men in Trees premiered in September 2006. Produced by Jenny Bicks who also produced Sex and the City, the show is based in the fictitious town of Elmo Alaska. When Marin Frist, Relationship Coach and Author (played by Anne Heche) discovers her fiance is cheating on her back in NYC, she decides to stay in Elmo where the ratio of men to women is 8 to 1. The show was filmed mainly in Squamish & Brakendale BC as well as North Vancouver. I couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the locations. I took a drive one afternoon up to Squamish and took photos outside the Chieftain Pub, looked for the Chiefs face in the rock of the Stawamus and even found Marin’s log cabin at a park in North Vancouver. The men are the focal point of the story. Soft spoken Ben,the owner of the Chieftain Pub. Buzz, the towns floatplane pilot. Patrick, who runs the Inn and Jack, the local biologist and Marin’s love interest. You can’t help but really like all the characters in this quirky town. I still wish Elmo was an actual place. I’d move there in a heartbeat. Oh! and when I was working at a spa in town a few of the actors came for massages. I met Anne Heche, James Tupper and Suleka Matthews. How cool is that!
Stand By Me
This movie changed my life. It came out in the summer when I turned 10. I immediately had a crush on River Phoenix and to this day keep a copy of this movie on DVD in my collection. Based on the novel The Body by Stephen King, 4 boys head out into the Oregon woods to find a dead body after hearing about it through their friend Vern. A reward will be given to whomever can give police the whereabouts of Ray Brower, who had gone missing while blueberry picking. They find him but so do the gang of older boys. Who will get the reward and public recognition? Every time I watch this film I still get chills at the closing credits and Ben E King’s song Stand By Me. Filmed mainly in Oregon with some scenes filmed in Northern California.
My sister always says this movie terrified her. I must be missing something because I love watching this movie every October. Filmed in Seattle, the Deception Pass Bridge and Port Townsend Washington, I think I just ignore the “scariness” of the story and love immersing myself in the scenography. Like Twilight the movie is filmed under a greenish grey filter bringing to life the true feeling of the rainy season here on the coast. I’ve been to Seattle many times and the Deception Pass bridge is one of my favourite places to stop for photos and a snack whenever I’m driving down to Port Townsend. The film is about an urban legend that starts with 2 girls watching a video with random images of a well, the forest and the ring. After watching the video the phone rings and it is said you will die in 7 days. The rain never stops in this one. Such a great film for Halloween.
The Secret Circle
Ever since The Craft came out in 1996 I’d been hoping another movie or show would draw me. I tried so many times with Charmed but after watching the entire first season, I just wasn’t convinced. When I saw the commercial for The Secret Circle I had a feeling this one might be the show I’d been waiting for. Sadly it only lasted one season before it was cancelled but I still got to enjoy 22 episodes. The Secret Circle is the story of Cassie Blake a young girl who moves to Washington state to live with her grandmother after her mother dies in a freak fire. Slowly Cassie begins to learn about her mother’s past and why she fled the town of Chance Harbor when Cassie was just a baby. Turns out mom was a witch and so is Cassie. This show was entirely filmed in Steveston BC and and being the geek that I am who loves visiting film locations, I drove out there one cold Sunday in December to take photos of the main street, Cassie’s house and the BoatHouse Bar & Grill. Honestly, more than anything I loved watching this show for it’s small town feel and the fashion was noteworthy.
Who didn’t watch this movie? I think the first time I did was at a childhood birthday party and even then I remember the cozy feeling of misty Cannon Beach, the old character homes in Mikey’s neighbourhood, smoke bilowing out of chimneys on the hills. Filmed along the Oregon Coast and mainly in Astoria, the Goonies is a classic Steven Speilberg movie. Action, adventure, comedy and a cast of misfits that would go on to be super stars in their adult years. Mikey’s dad is about to lose their home to Troy’s dad and his dreams of building a golf course. When the Goonies find a map the holds the location of an apparent buried treasure, they head out on the adventure of a lifetime in hopes the rich stuff will save their home. Last summer my sister , my nephew and I headed out on our very own Goonie Adventure. The plan was to visit Portland, Bagby Hotsprings then head down to the coast and visit Cannon Beach and Astoria which still holds the house and the jail. Sadly on day 2 of our adventure my nephew got very sick. Luckily we were quick to decide and headed back home to what turned out to be kidney stones. So the adventure was incomplete. But don’t worry, we’ll get there. Goonies never say die!
Don’t all the best stories have Witches in them? Practical Magic is the story of the Owen’s woman. For centuries they’ve been cursed after a relative was banished to a remote island after being accused of Witchcraft. She vowed to never love again and cast a spell that any Owen’s woman who truly fell in love would lose her partner when the death beetle sings. Filmed in Coupville and Whidbey Island Washington the films revolves around the story of Sally and Gillian Owens. Both sisters have mainly avoided Witchcraft after being bullied most of their lives. When Gillian starts dating Jimmy Angelov however they find themselves obliged to teach themselves hard magic to resurrect Jimmy. During one of my visits to Port Townsend, I veered off the path, headed south through Whidbey Island and have photos of some of the locations seen clearly in the film.
The X Files
I was living in Colombia when the X Files first came and because the shows there are dubbed into Spanish (imagine Scully with a mexican accent) I was never able to get into it. The latest revamp however hooked me in right away. Mulder is an FBI agent who believes in Extraterrestrials and believes the government is hiding the truth about their existence. Along with Agent Scully, he works on cases that are considered unsolvable and most involve supernatural circumstances. Netflix has the original series right from the beginning and I’m slowly catching up on them. Filmed entirely around Vancouver. It’s dark a lot and monsters lurk in the forest.
And last but never least. Twin Peaks is another 90’s show I watched way after the fact. I had spent a grey afternoon in the forest foraging Douglas Fir and Cedar bows to distill into fragrant hydrosols. As I worked in the kitchen I searched for something to watch and as in many of my movie or show searches I typed “Shows filmed in the Pacific Northwest”. Twin Peaks was top of the list and I think I binged watched the entire show in days. Filmed in Snoqualmie, Bend and Roslyn Washington, the story starts with the death of a local girl named Laura who’s body washes up on shore wrapped in plastic. FBI agent Cooper must investigate the case in this strange town where people talk to logs and they serve the best coffee and cherry pie in the country.
And with this I conclude chapter 2 of my favourite movies filmed in my PNW home. I love living here and I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of shows and movies. Maybe you’ve watched them and maybe you’ll find something new to watch. Love them or hate them, if you can’t visit the PNW, check out one of these films!
Until next time…there just might be another chapter. I still haven’t added Twilight or Harpers Island or The Hunted.
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