If you have just moved to Minnesota recently, maybe within the last decade, you will, or have already have discovered many things that are very 'Minnesotan.' One of those things is our mark on the entertainment world -- things such as movies and music -- or a combination of both.

Speaking of the entertainment side, there is a pretty good chance you've heard residents, many who have been here for a long time, say that there are 'certain' movies you should watch -- you HAVE to watch -- so that you can, you know, understand us better.

And while it is tempting to give you the giant list, I'm just going to provide you with the essential list -- a handful to get you started on the road that will go a long way in that whole 'understanding' part.

 

Purple Rain

If there is one, and only one movie that every Minnesotan (native or transplant) should see, it's 'Purple Rain.' Although many parts of it are cheesy and the acting is not that great (Prince is okay, for a musician). It's the combination of Morris Day, the movie soundtrack, and the performances (especially the end) that make it great and an absolute must-see. Plus, it's the closet thing we'll ever get to an 'origin' story of Prince.


 

Fargo

This Coen Brothers movie is a simple, and yet a pure genius piece of filmmaking. It's beautifully filmed and even more beautifully written, and it nails so much of what is  'Minnesotan.'

  • The Accent: It's spot on. But before other Minnesotans go off on me, passive-aggressively like, I acknowledge that not everyone talks with that thick of an accent. But, there a lot of us that have a real thick 'yah, you betcha, don't cha know' thing going.
  • The Minnesota Nice: Marge, Jerry, Stan, Mike, they all have that passive-aggressive thing happening. Of course, the two antagonists do not. But they're not Minnesotans, are they?
  • The Laid-Back Nature: It's that calm, 'don't over-react, it doesn't bother me' demeanor. That is precisely why the William H. Macy scene, when he explodes at his desk for just a moment, is one of my favorites.

 

"Grumpy Old Men" & "Grumpier Old Men" - 1993/1995

Two movies? Yah, you betcha. But it's they're pretty good ones. While these movies may have lacked the 'accent,' the passive-aggressive 'Minnesota Nice,' and the long goodbye, but it had enough Minnesota things in it to make it a Minnesota movie. The Matthieu/Lemmon tandem was fantastic, but sadly, the 'Grumpy' films were one of the final few times we saw many of those actors. The great Burgess Meredith, who was the glue and the funniest character in both movies, died right after the sequel.



 

 

Miracle

Hockey is ingrained in our Minnesota culture. The 'Miracle,' the true story of the USA Olympic hockey team (with a bunch of Minnesota players) winning the gold medal against the far-superior Russian team. It personifies that hockey culture. The actual event was my first, vivid sports memory as a child. 'Miracle' captures what was indeed a 'miracle on ice.'


 

 

Little Big League

I'm sure you are thinking, why is this movie on this list? Two reasons. One, it's about the only professional team in Minnesota that has won not just one -- but TWO championships. Yeah, that's right! And, that's all we got.

The second reason I put this on the list is that I'm in it. Seriously, for a couple of brief moments. I am not only in this movie, but I am also in the movie trailer below (maybe 2 seconds). Stop it at 1:08 and look in the upper right of the screen. I'm wearing a maroon, Gopher jacket, and I'm reaching for the ball (I know, acting). I even blew up the photo. You can see it below. Keep in mind, I actually had hair then.


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Warner Bros. via YouTube