When it comes to television, the Jersey shore doesn’t have the best reputation because…well, you know. However, the Garden State has appeared in a number of popular films. Here are just a few New Jersey movies that will satisfy fans of any genre:
War of the Worlds (2005)
A recent film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ famous novel, War of the Worlds features acting superstars Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. War of the Worlds focuses on a divorcee from Bayonne, NJ named Ray Ferrier, who is taking care of the two children he had with his ex wife for the weekend. After a violent lightning storm, Ferrier must protect his family and prove himself a loving father as an intergalactic battle rages.
Oscar Nominations: Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing, and Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004)
A source of nostalgia for millennials, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen stars teen idols. Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox. In the movie, Mary Elizabeth Steppe, who calls herself Lola, unhappily moves from New York City to Dellwood, a suburb in New Jersey. An aspiring Broadway star who loves attention, Lola does her best to make a name for herself in a high school where newcomers start at the bottom of the social hierarchy.
The Hurricane (1999)
Denzel Washington takes the leading role as Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, an African-American wrestler wrongfully accused of three murders in Paterson, New Jersey. After a select group of people read his autobiography and are convinced of his innocence, they work against the institutionalized racism of the courts to bring Carter justice.
Oscar Nominations: Best Actor (Washington)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Russell Crowe stars as the arrogant and asocial John Nash, a mathematical prodigy who attended Princeton University and struggled with cryptography for years before finally receiving the Nobel Prize.
Oscar Nominations: Best Picture (Won), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jennifer Connelly, Won), Best Director (Ron Howard, Won), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (Won), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Crowe), Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, and Best Music, Original Score
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
Although not a cinematic masterpiece in any sense, Paul Blart: Mall Cop takes place in a New Jersey mall. Blart (Kevin James) aspires to become a cop, but always fails the physical exam. However, he has a chance to prove himself when a group of criminals put the mall on lock-down and take hostages, trapping him inside and allowing him to spy on and stop them.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Jennifer Garner stars as Jenna Rink, a 13 year-old girl from New Jersey who, embarrassed at her birthday party, wishes to skip 17 years and become 30. Some magical dust fulfills her wish, and she finds herself with the figure, apartment, clothing, boyfriend, career, and friends she’s always dreamed of. Everything is almost perfect until she meets her childhood friend, Matt (Mark Ruffalo), again, and she realizes what she’s been missing.
Tom Hanks plays Josh, a young boy from Cliffside Park, New Jersey who, like Jenna Rink, makes a wish to become big, which comes true. He struggles in navigating the adult world of 9-to-5s and dating.
Oscar Nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Hanks), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Friday the 13th
The entire wildly popular Friday the 13th horror movie franchise takes place at Camp Crystal Lake in New Jersey.
American Hustle (2013)
Con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his wife (Amy Adams) must work for an FBI agent named Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) and find themselves caught in a crowd of powerbrokers and mafia members. Other notable cast members include Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence.
Oscar Nominations: Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Bale), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Adams), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Cooper), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Lawrence), Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Production Design, and Best Writing, Original Screenplay.
Surely you’ve seen at least a few of these New Jersey movies, but if there are any you’re unfamiliar with, be sure to watch them before your next visit!