Here is my growing and evolving list of “best New Jersey films, ever …”
Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist (2008) – the young characters are all from northern New Jersey and have a long and revealing night out in New York City where they find love and themselves.
The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke’s tour de force – was all set and shot in Central New Jersey, that depressing gray and brown landscape which we native-born New Jerseyans remember so fondly. My favourite moment: when his character leaves the hospital – which hospital? Robert Wood Johnson Memorial Hospital, where I was born.
The Return of the Secaucus Seven – the first film by my great man John Sayles (more on him anon).
Baby, It’s You (1983) – another film by Sayles, this one starring Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano – my 1984 New York Times article about this film will be posted here shortly. When you go to high school in New Jersey, there is something which imprints in your brain for the rest of your life. The first time I saw this film I was absolutely transported to central New Jersey, circa late 1960s. This does not happen very often, so enjoy it when it does.
Being John Malkovich – most of the action actually takes place in New York City, but when the characters are transported “out” of Malkovich, they land … by the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. My review of this film will be posted soon.
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) –
Atlantic City (1980) – one of the greatest films of all time.
more to come.
Wikipedia also has a list of films set in New Jersey. Remember that Wikipedia entries evolve over time and can by idiosyncratic at times. Still, it’s a good place to start. The New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission has a “New Jersey filmography“, which includes television series and specials, but not all of them appear to be specifically set in New Jersey.