Dogma | 1999
Provocative director Kevin Smith risked causing grave offence to platypus lovers with the preamble to his rambling but imaginative satire, which sees Loki and Bartleby (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck), a pair of dispossessed angels, attempting to re-enter Heaven via a loophole in Catholic doctrine.
There are only glimpses of Smith’s usual stomping ground of Red Bank and Asbury Park – at the beginning of the movie, the old man is battered by three strange kids on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, alongside the Paramount Theatre, 1200 Ocean Avenue, but, although the movie is set in New Jersey and Illinois, most of it was, in fact, shot around Pittsburgh.
For instance, ‘General Mitchell Airport, Milwaukee’, where Loki and Bartleby tempt a nun to go AWOL, is Pittsburgh International Airport.
World-weary angel Metatron (Alan Rickman) explains the awesome mission laid on the doubting Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) over tequilas at Mexican restaurant Franklin Inn, 2313 Rochester Road, Franklin Park, northwest Pittsburgh.
It’s in Laverne’s Diner, 113 South Main Street, that prophets and John Hughes fans Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) tell Bethany about their fruitless journey to find ‘Shermer, Illinois’.
Movie location buffs won’t need to be reminded that ‘Shermer’, the North Shore setting of many Hughes films, is fictitious (though the name was inspired by Shermerville, the original name of Northbrook).
Down southwest of the city in Dormont was ‘Mooby’s Fast Food’ joint, an old Burger King restaurant, the site of Rufus’s (Chris Rock) revelations about the real Christ, which is now a Rite Aid drugstore at 3210 Banksville Road, Highway 19, opposite Dormont Park.
In downtown Pittsburgh itself you can’t miss the ‘Mooby Corp Building’, which is US Steel Tower, 600 Grant Street – it’s the city’s tallest skyscraper.
The Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, 4500 Fifth Avenue between Dithridge and Craig Streets, supplied the ‘Mooby’ boardroom, where Loki guns down the sinful directors. Incidentally, the side entrance to the institute on Dithridge Street became the entrance to to ‘Blackgate Prison’, from which Bane releases the criminals in The Dark Knight Rises (which used Pittsburgh as ‘Gotham City’).
The posh restaurant in which Metatron makes the astonishing revelation that God has gone missing, is the Grand Concourse Restaurant, 100 West Station Square Drive, the restored waiting room of Pittsburgh’s old Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Station in Station Square.
St Michael’s Church, supposedly in ‘Red Bank, New Jersey’, where the Catholicism WOW! movement launched by Cardinal Glick (George Carlin) replaces the depressing crucifix with the upbeat Buddy Christ – and site of the apocalyptic climax – is the Sts Peter and Paul Church, 130 Larimer Avenue in East Liberty, currently empty and in a state of disrepair.