30 Minutes or Less

Posted in GRAND RAPIDS by urbanmi on June 20, 2012

I miss Taco Boy.

I forgot about its existence.

I finally made the time to watch “30 Minutes or Less.” The was filmed in and around and takes place in and around my hometown of Grand Rapids. It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Danny Mcbride, Nick Swardson, and Aziz Ansari; the movie is the most significant movie filmed in Grand Rapids to this point. Other films made in Grand Rapids have been straight to video, like the Val Kilmer romp “The Steam Experiment.”

Unfortunately with the end of the Michigan Film Tax Credit it will probably be the last film made in Grand Rapids (Thanks Gov. Rick Snyder). This is unfortunate for Michigan Audiences. Previously, we, as a state, have enjoyed a few significant films either filmed in or that take place in the State (Evil Dead Series, Robocop, etc.)

The experience of watching one’s own city and one’s own environment presented on screen is its own experience. Fictional, Factual, and Interpretive accounts of what a city is and what a city means. What it means to experience a city and be a part of a city. These films add to that lore and enrich the mythology of those cities. Cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles get overlooked through the regularity of being a setting.

Film captures the temporality of the Urban Experience. The emphasis of narrative elevates a city to more than setting, to a character in itself. The city becomes friend, foe, protagonist, or antagonist. Film, as a medium, reveals content about the city invisible and difficult to garner through other mediums.  Distance is understood through mood; humor is brought out by circumstance.

Detroit has been both celebrated and victimized in film.  (A dissection to be conducted more specifically at another time.)  Film transmits the essence of a city to a large audience quickly, immediately, and more completely.


Guy Madden’s My Winnipeg documents of the city he grew up in.


Refer to Jack Lessenberry for great commentary on the Michigan Film Tax Credit

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