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Review: My Tale of Two Cities

Pittsburgh doc not Pittsburgh-y enough
By CLIF GARBODEN  |  July 28, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars

 

The smoky, solid-iron Pittsburgh that Woody Guthrie sang about faded away after WW2, leaving a vacuum eventually supplanted by a cleaner but still soulful civic iteration. Screenwriter and Pittsburgh native Carl Kurlander left town for Hollywood during the protracted downturn; there he co-wrote St. Elmo's Fire (1985) and a lot of sit-com schlock.

This 2008 vanity documentary sells itself as a POV appreciation of the Steel City's resilience and Steelers-inspired blue-collar esprit. It tires. Kurlander shops for cheese with Teresa Heinz Kerry and chats with Immaculate Receptor Franco Harris, zombiemeister George Romero, and old friends — few of whom offer insights. Mostly he whines about his marriage and his ambivalence over abandoning LA for a teaching post at Pitt.

The film is charming, and involving if you're part of the Three Rivers Diaspora or (probably) Kurlander's friend, but it doesn't capture the self-depreciating pride, trashy underpinnings, parochial resignation, and self-aware eccentricity that make Pittsburgh unique. Call this an opportunity missed.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, Pittsburgh,  More more >
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