In case you missed it, Essex County has been abuzz with celebrity and film crew sightings as two new star-studded movies film in the neighborhood. While having the opportunity to see one’s hometown on the silver screen is always exciting, this is far from the first time production companies have rolled their cameras into town. Keep reading for a rundown of movies with scenes filmed right here in Montclair.
Analyze This + Analyze That | 1999, 2002
What better backdrop for a movie about a mob boss than New Jersey? The 1999 film Analyze This follows anxiety-ridden mobster Paul Vitti, played by Robert De Niro, and his therapist Dr. Ben Sobel, portrayed by Billy Crystal, in a comedy that earned a sequel, with the actors reprising their roles in 2002 for Analyze That. Montclair makes an appearance in both films, as the location of Dr. Sobel’s home, though the address changes from the first movie to the second. In Analyze This, Billy Crystal’s character lives at 538 Park Street in Upper Montclair, and in Analyze That, he’s taken up residence on Wayside Place.
Imaginary Heroes | 2004
The plot of the drama Imaginary Heroes is centered around a family trying to cope following the suicide of the eldest son, with a cast that features big-name actors Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels, and Michelle Williams. It’s also one of many movie productions to choose Montclair High School as a filming locale, with other scenes shot throughout New Jersey, including Essex County’s Glen Ridge and Newark.
Read More: Celebrities That Have Lived in Essex County
In & Out | 1997
This early LGBTQ+ film, a comedy starring Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Matt Dillon, Debbie Reynolds, and Tom Selleck, actually derived its inspiration from a significant moment in the film industry: an Oscar’s acceptance speech from Tom Hanks. In & Out looks at the events that unfold in a Midwest town after a high school teacher is outed as gay by a former student during his acceptance of an Academy Award. Loosely based on Tom Hanks’ praise of his gay high school drama teacher as he received the 1994 Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of a gay, AIDS-positive lawyer in Philadelphia, it’s important to note that the movie differs in that Hanks had asked his former teacher’s permission prior to the speech. The event, though, provided the idea for In & Out nonetheless. And according to New Jersey Digest, despite the film’s plot taking place in Indiana, Montclair made the cut as one of the filming locations, in addition to other spots in New Jersey.
Loverboy | 2005
Directed by Kevin Bacon, and featuring both himself and his IRL wife Kyra Sedgwick, Loverboy is a drama about an exceedingly possessive single mom and her struggle with her son’s increasing independence. As noted by NJ.com, Montclair residents will spot a familiar sight in the film, the Bradford School, although renamed as Bradford Academy.
Lymelife | 2008
2008’s Lymelife brought in quite a few recognizable actors for the drama, including Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts, and brothers Kieran and Rory Culkin. Focusing on the Lyme Disease diagnosis of a husband and father and its rippling effects on two families, the story is set in 1979 Long Island. However, Lymelife joins the roster of films with scenes shot at Montclair High School.
Mean Girls | 2004
(Photo credit: @meangirls)
Arguably one of the most iconic movies of all time (just check Instagram and TikTok feeds on October 3rd), the highly quotable film had the crew call “action!” right in our own backyard. The teen movie follows Africa-transplant Cady Heron, played by Lindsay Lohan, as she navigates the cutthroat cliques of public high school, and falls in with the Plastics, the girls at the top of the social hierarchy. Those who have passed through the halls of Montclair High School, it turns out, have also walked through one of the sets of Mean Girls’ own Northshore High. How fetch is that?
Reversal of Fortune | 1990
Reversal of Fortune is based on the intriguing true events that took place between an American heiress and socialite Sunny von Bülow (Glenn Close), and her husband, Claus von Bülow (Jeremy Irons). The movie looks at Claus’ trial for the attempted murder of his wife after she mysteriously becomes irreversibly comatose. As for its tie-in to Montclair, scenes from the drama designed to be taking place in a Fifth Avenue New York City apartment were actually filmed in a local home, according to insight from The New York Times.
Seven Minutes in Heaven | 1985
Eighties movie fans, this one’s for you. The 1985 teen flick Seven Minutes in Heaven stars a young Jennifer Connelly as Natalie, and centers around her character and two friends, Jeff and Polly, as they work through familial and romantic relationships. While IMDb confirms that filming took place in Montclair, the nostalgia-driven fansite 80s Movies Rewind points to a more specific locale, sharing that one of the houses in the film is at the intersection of Christopher and McDonough Streets. The movie also claims Montclair High School as another spot where the cameras were rolling.
Stepmom | 1998
An emotional family-focused drama, Stepmom revolves around the rocky relationship between a mother (Susan Sarandon) and the young future stepmom (Julia Roberts) to her children. The movie credits many filming locations in New York City, New York State, and New Jersey, including Glen Ridge, Maplewood, and yup, Montclair.
Swimfan | 2002
The first thriller on the list, Swimfan shows actor Jesse Bradford portraying a popular MVP high school swimmer, with his life thrown into chaos by a new girl, whose obsession with him becomes toxic. Montclair High School once again proves to be big-screen-worthy, serving as a set for the 2002 picture.
The Devil’s Own | 1997
Headlining Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, The Devil’s Own is an action thriller about a police sergeant hosting a man visiting from Ireland, who is later revealed to be involved with the Irish Republican Army and on a dangerous mission. Among New Jersey stomping grounds Newark, Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne, and Sandy Hook, Montclair was also selected as one setting for the film.
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar | 1995
(Photo credit: @montclairfilm)
Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo portray three drag queens who pile into a 1967 Cadillac DeVille convertible for a road trip from New York City to Los Angeles in this comedy, one that has been regarded as a cult classic. In fact, just this past summer, a screening of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar was put on by Montclair Film in partnership with Out Montclair as part of the effort to shine a light on LGTBQ+ stories in film. The film was a fitting choice, given that production took place on the township’s own Upper Mountain Avenue. It also filmed a scene in Jersey City.