For the 17th annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue, the magazine chronicled the city’s long love affair with the movies. Author Jill Kargman said, “Always love this issue so much, makes me verklempt,” and director-writer Ellen Houlihan wrote, “Very excited to read this issue. Movies in NY have been my lifeline (always but even more so) since life started opening up again.” Although @shereeny asked, “How lovable can a place be if you have to constantly (annually!) remind people of reasons to love it?” Leading off, Bilge Ebiri wrote about how “New York Makes the Movies, and the Movies Make New York.” @juliebabyar found the essay “reaffirming yet fresh,” and screenwriter Valerie Kalfrin said it “captures what’s to love about the city & movies.” Inside the issue, Matt Zoller Seitz explored the 1970s cinematic countermovement against the doom-and-gloom mode of that decade (“Because the ’70s Wasn’t All Bad”); designer David Herman praised him for getting “Superman in there as an example of treating ‘New York as a magical place where charming and incredible things happened’ at a time NYC needed that magic.” On Rachel Handler’s essay about the role of the fantastical love story in Maid in Manhattan (“Because Literally Any Meet-Cute Can Happen”), Esquire’s Justin Kirkland wrote, “This is sheer brilliance. Thank you for giving this insane film the air it deserves.”
As part of the special issue, Vulture’s critics ranked the city’s greatest films. The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum called it “a cool list I’m gonna consult for my family’s movie night.” Despicable Me writer Cinco Paul tweeted, “Frantically goes through list to make sure Crossing Delancey & Taking of Pelham One Two Three & Rosemary’s Baby are included … okay, great list!” Many others found much to quarrel with. Defector editor Barry Petchesky wrote, “Any list of NYC movies that doesn’t include Die Hard With a Vengeance is a bad list.” And film critic Carlos Aguilar noted, “Lists are lists, there are always blind spots, but for me the one glaring omission in this list about New York films is Raising Victor Vargas.” Times book editor John Williams wrote, “As someone who thinks it’s mostly fun to argue about lists: Saturday Night Fever is waaaaay too low. And having only Annie Hall, and at 39 — I get it, I get it. But that’s absurd.”
For New York, actor Colton Haynes wrote about how Hollywood forced him back into the closet. Poet Saeed Jones called it “a harrowing essay … about how Hollywood brutalizes and shames gay boys to make them into camera-ready men,” while MSNBC columnist Zach Stafford said it was “a stunning and complicated look at being gay in Hollywood and the way we are hurting our own.” Carina Adly MacKenzie, writer and producer of the CW’s Roswell, New Mexico, wrote that she was “furious at the predatory people & system who did everything they possibly could to dim his light.” Reader Tony Vaughan called it “a frank, devastating but unsurprising account of moving to Hollywood.” Some related on a more personal level. Actor Nicole Rodenburg wrote, “Demoralizing encounters around one’s sexuality and sense of self as a sexual commodity as a young actor in the mid-aughts was a constant. I’m only now feeling safe enough to reckon with my own experiences. Wonderfully written, but deeply painful piece.” Designer Brandon Hilton said, “Thank you for being brave enough to speak out about the harmful effects this industry has on gay men.” @DungForever added, “We need to stop gatekeeping & hold those that do responsible. You cannot say you’re an ally of the queer community only to refuse to hire queer actors. Some of us can’t hide in the closet nor should we.”
“Reasons to Love New York” Contest
In the “Reasons to Love New York” issue, we asked readers for help identifying what movie the extras in a strange photograph appeared in. No, it wasn’t Ghostbusters. The movie was Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, a 1983 space western featuring Molly Ringwald. Congratulations to Caryn Murphy of Madison, Wisconsin, who was the first reader to help us pin down the film.