Let me start this post by saying that I’m not a huge movie buff, but like anyone else I do enjoy watching movies and also have a list of movies that I call my favorites. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Breakfast Club, Casino, and Heat are just a few of the movie titles that hold a comfortable spot on my all-time favorite list. However, My Cousin Vinny, a 1992 comedy film directed by Jonathan Lynn, definitely rounds out the top ten on my all-time favorite list of movies. Perhaps you’ve seen it, heard of it? Ok, well, if you fall into the very small group of movie-goers who have missed this hilarious film here’s the plot in a nutshell.
Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, and Chris Credendino (Ok, I kid. I kid. You can strike my name from the list of actors, but my last name does end in the letter “o,” I am Italian, come from New York, and think I would have added something a little extra to the film – just sayin’.) are among the actors who headline the star-studded cast in this hilarious comedy about two New Yorkers who are accused of murder in rural Alabama while traveling back to college. Vincent “Vinny” Gambini, a loudmouth, obnoxious personal injury attorney from Brooklyn with zero trial experience heads south to defend the “two yutes.” Oh, excuse me… I mean… two YOUUUTHS! And so the laughs begin!
While the movie was set in fictional Beechum County, Alabama, it was filmed on location throughout several small towns in Georgia. Some of the towns on the list of filming locations include: Monticello, Eatonton, Madison, Bostwick, Mansfield, Gainesville, and Covington.
During the time of filming I lived in New York and like most New Yorkers, I only ventured down south when I was on my way to Florida to see Mickey & Minnie, enjoy a little fun in the sun, or attend a college football game at Florida State University (Go Noles!). Although I didn’t hold a personal opinion about Southern mannerisms at the time, I never once felt it was necessary to veer off I-95 to do a little back-road sightseeing in the deep South. Look, I’ve seen the movie Deliverance! I know the deal… I stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t blend. I get it.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta a few years ago that I realized Georgia was a serious hot spot for film crews. Georgia is a film-friendly state that offers a boatload of attractive incentives to entice Hollywood executives to do more filming in the state. At the time of this writing, there have been more than 725 featured films, TV movies, and TV shows filmed in the state since 1972.
So, one day I decided to fire up my iPad and throw some queries at Google in hopes of finding a few filming locations in and around Atlanta that matched up well with my list of favorite movies. Since many of my favorites weren’t filmed in a Southern setting this list was fairly short. However, I struck success with my very first movie title query – My Cousin Vinny!
While doing some quick surface research I discovered that only a handful of filming locations were disclosed on the Web. (Somewhere Vinny’s fiancee, Mona Lisa Vito, is screaming… “It’s called disclosure, you d*ckhead!”) Wikipedia, IMBd, and several other websites only share faint details about the filming locations. I knew that if I really wanted to put together a sweet “My Cousin Vinny Filming Location Tour” I would need to dig deeper and put my research skills to work in order to make the trip a success – not to mention a good time.
The week prior to the trip I spent countless hours trying to find as many filming locations as possible. The most difficult locations to find were the Beechum County Sheriff’s Office, Pool Hall, Wahzoo City Hotel, and a few locations we see during the opening credits of the film.
After plugging away on Google, speaking to people at Chambers of Commerce, and following roads at the street view level with my index finger across Google Maps, I managed to locate 12 filming locations scattered across 6 towns and 5 counties. Unlike some filming location info swirling around the Web, the physical addresses of the 12 locations I found were “dead-on balls accurate.”
On Saturday, July 28, 2012 my friend Stephanie and I packed up the car and headed south on I-75 to explore all the awesome locations on the 20th anniversary of the film. First stop, the Sac-O-Suds!