Johnny's movies

Boston, Whitey Bulger and a city still maybe too much stereotypized by Hollywood?

Posted in Books, Johnny Depp, movies by Anna Maria Polidori on October 7, 2014

The necessity of moving on from “Whitey” Bulger’s story for the good of the city? Mmmm…Let’s see



An article of Alex Beam was released by the Boston Globe last sept 27th. The title: “Hollywood can’t let go of old image of Boston“.

The journalist started to write something about the realization of Black Mass 10376187_10100874283940015_5423352159825973522_n-cropwith Johnny Depp blacksuit002 by Cooper, a movie based on the nonfictional book written by the two former journalists and writers of the Globe: Dick Lehr, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize once and Gerry O’Neill: Black Mass: Black Mass Book Cover Whitey Bulger, the F.B.I. and a devil’s deal.

Beam writes with a vein of polemics some considerations about Black Mass and the protagonists, analizing later what it meant for Boston during these past years of movie productions, the perception of of the city from…outside.

It is absolutely true that “WhiteyLand” has been immensely interesting for the cinema.

Beam continues: “The august New York Times notes that these recent movies, in tandem with “The Town,” “The Departed,” and “Mystic River,” paint a particularly bleak picture of our little city on a hill. Boston, the Times opines, is a city of melancholy“.

The journalist thinks that maybe it’s all Boston’s fault. “It’s our fault, isn’t it? Because we are the creators, curators, and consumers of this endless loop of stereotypical ethnic minstrelsy“.

Alex Beam thinks that maybe the dark irish clichè was good in the past for some smiles because of the weird accents of the various actors involved in the productions regarding Jimmy Bulger, when they tried to re-produce the classic Boston’s accent. Jack Nicholson, Leo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen….

Maybe there is the fear of a city, living constantly with the worry of being classified in a certain way because of his past and the recent choices of Hollywood.

Beam asks to himself and to his readers if after Mystic River, The Town, The Brothers Bulger, Black Mass would be possibly good to move on.

Beam added that once William Faulkner said: “The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.” His observation: “In Boston, the past isn’t dead, it’s just done to death“.

The journalist and writer close the article with an affirmation: “We’ve all seen these movies before; maybe it’s time for some new material“.

My considerations about Boston and Whitey’s story. I start with James/Jimmy Whitey Bulger. I strongly doubt that a story like this one will be never over for the city because of the exceptionality of the events lived from Boston because of Bulger during the 70s and 80s. And this is a fact. I think that Bulger, once that all the protagonists will be dead, will become a sort of negative legend for the city, although an important legend,  with which anyway Boston will have to cope with because other books will be written, other movies will be realized, other people will report the facts, other ones will want to learn more about this legendary mobster.

I am sure of it, because it happened the same with us.  I live in a little locality and in the 1800s at just half mile from my house was born a bandit, and this bandit terrorized with his gang the poor people of the closest cities after the italian unification so in 1860 and something. It was a sort of protest at first but of course it degenerated in something else and the poor peasants of the countrysides surrounding the cities where the gang acted, lived every market-day as a horrible experience because of the attacks of this gang for stealing their cows, their animals or alimentary food and products that these poor peasants were bringing to the market for being sold. Our local bandit, was also called with a nickname,  Zigo. He is still remembered by everyone and some people wrote little essays about his gestures because of course he became a legend. Old people remember very well what happened in our area because of oral tales of their parents or grannies.There is still a sort of “respect” mixed with fear for this legendary man. He died poisoned in prison when he said he would have said all the names of the respectable and powerful people who had helped and covered him during the years of banditism.

No one can forget the passage of someone significative in this world in the good or in the bad.

Yes, true: Boston has “developed” without wanting it, the most known mobster of all the times and history of the Usa, but the story of Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger is very….original and singular in comparison with other histories of other mobsters.

Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger is a very interesting character to me and I am not so surprised that Hollywood and good screenwriters can think that this one is a great story to tell. There are all the possible elements a good writer or screenwriter can want,  desire or search for with Jimmy Bulger’s story:  no need of inventing anything. Just the necessity and ability  of writing down a captivating real story for readers or a great script for a movie. That’s it, trust me. That’s it. And no one can’t think that realistically a mobster lived a life like the one lived by “Whitey”. But it happened. A very incredible criminal life and not just a criminal life if we consider the 14 years he spent hided in various places and in Santa Monica, particularly. The singularity of Whitey has been this one: the interruption of every sorta of illegal life once he went away from Boston. For a mobster is absolutely incredibly very unusual So….No boring time for media, for my colleagues, for writers, for cinema. Of course a coral problem lived by not just South Bostonians but by an entire city in a way or in another involved in this story. There has been great sufferance, years of terrors, at the same time the city all has researched for this mobster per years and years, once he was hided in Santa Monica, curious to discover and to ask in a phantomatic question without answer: “Where are you “Whitey”?

I didn’t know a lot of Boston before the arrival of the troup and cast for Black Mass.

I learned much more while Johnny Depp was filming Black Mass in the city and surrounding areas. His role the one of Jimmy Whitey 10433842_294206544086329_1853548928510790858_n (Copy 1) 10547671_297200410453609_4781995239279213270_n (Copy 1)Bulger.

I absolutely hated the idea of writing at first for my Johnny Depp’s blog something about a mobster. “Another criminal after Mortdecai?  And this one is still living and he is a mobster? Good Lord….” I thought, depressed.

Later I became another real addicted one of Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger’s story.

At the same time I started to appreciate Boston so badly while I was and I am writing pieces regarding Bulger. Boston is maybe the most European city I have ever known of all the Usa where I can find precious corners of the Old Europe, where I live in, in most of the articles I read everyday. Boston is still remembering its origjn. People haven’t forgotten that their citizens were from Europe and that there is a special connection with this part of the world. Plus the fact that in Boston there are great groups of Italians and Irish means to me something very important and positive. Italians and Irish are very good and positive folks, very talkative, opened, generous, and a city with Italians and Irish means for sure a different kind of humanity. Boston is an intellectual city because of the university, and a city with a lot of “fire,” and strong energy and very good vibes thanks to its extraordinary ethnicities and brains. Opinions are expressed very strongly, frankly and without too many compliments. There is a lot of enthusiasm and the university bring apart excellent minds, of course a natural intellectual fertility. People although the city is big, is very well connected. I find Boston simply adorable because people are very warm and opened.

Boston is not Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger but much much more. Although I discovered Boston more seriously thanks to Johnny Depp and Whitey.


An idea: have you got Bostonians in your mind I don’t know, some wonderful old-fashioned love stories of some of your citizens with torments, passion, sufferance lived by the protagonists and not yet told by anyone?  Maybe that one can be the next wonderful and moving script for another production this time “Whitey”- free. For once….





Anna Maria Polidori


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