MAX in the movies

There’s a new Portland blog called TriMet Diaries that is just getting started but looks very promising. Recently they posted a video called F*ck You TriMet: A Love Story. It’s very nicely shot and the music is good, but I think I’ve spent too much time on the trains to be able to appreciate it in any romantic sense.

We see the girl leaving Papa Haydn East, located on 5829 SE Milwaukie, far from any light rail platform. She then hoofs it up to Overlook Park, about 6 miles north of there (when there was a perfectly good stop for the 19 right across the street from the restaurant)…

…only to just miss a southbound train.

Meanwhile, on the west side, the guy runs across the pedestrian bridge at Sunset TC and down to the platform, where he just misses a Red Line.

What remains unexplained is why he passed up the Blue Line behind it (which generally speaking would be scheduled about 7 minutes later..)

Blue Line to Gresham, as indicated by the sign in the window

So then the girl decides to walk to…wherever she was going to go, except she goes past the Palms Motel, which is farther north of Overlook Park. That southbound train she missed wouldn’t have helped.

That’s pretty much the end of it – I guess it was a love connection missed because they both missed their trains, or as Josh said they didn’t know about Transit Tracker. Still, light ribbing over the geography aside, it’s beautifully shot and always nice to see the trains in other people’s art.

One of the commenters on the Oregonian mentioned The Hunted regarding the geography in the film clipI thought of that movie after seeing this too. Not so much for the liberties taken with geography, but because it’s one of the few movies that features a MAX train*

*that’s actually an articulated bus, on the Hawthorne Bridge (the MAX trains go over the Steel Bridge in real life) and it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie but I vaguely remember the train sounding like a freight train instead of light rail in that part of the movie.

I didn’t take either of these next two pictures of the artics that were made to look like Type 1s for The Hunted.

Car 301 looks nothing like that, but altogether not bad for a fake train

And stored under the bridge

Anyway, back to the Love Story TriMet video. I liked the way it was shot and seeing the trains featured in it, so I went to the director’s vimeo account to see if he’s done anything else MAX-related and found this one:

It’s got some really nice shots of an eastbound Type 4 on the Blue Line and a northbound Type 3 on the Yellow Line.

I know that there was a MAX train in Extraordinary Measures, but I haven’t seen the movie and can’t find any clips of it on Youtube. Offhand I can’t think of any other movies that have our trains (or buses made to look like trains) in them.


Edited: Forgot about What the Bleep Do We Know? when I posted this morning, but that’s got some footage of Goose Hollow & the Robertson Tunnel.

Bob R also mentioned Zero Effect and Leverage as other media that have featured TriMet.

14 responses to “MAX in the movies

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention MAX in the movies « MAX FAQs --

  2. Pingback: MAX FAQs Analyses “F*ck You TriMet: A Love Story” | TriMet Diaries

  3. Yeah what I was thinking was “Well gee, no wonder you missed the train, you were running from Sellwood to catch the MAX!”

  4. MAX and the streetcar make a few cameos in the TV series “Leverage” which films all over Portland. The series is allegedly set in Boston and other NE towns, and the wide shots and stock photography are of Boston, but all the acting and action is filmed in Portland.

    I think the Leverage crew likes to play little Portland-centric jokes because occasionally they seem to deliberately frame shots so that you can see MAX going by in the distance when they didn’t have to frame the shot that way.

    Another movie shot here which prominently features MAX (even as a plot point) was called Zero Effect. As with most movies, it takes _extreme_ liberties with locations. The layout of the city in the movie makes no sense at all to a local. (Did you know TriMet goes up to the Vista House in the gorge? And that inside you’ll find OMSI?) But the truth is that ALL cities including LA fall victim to this. Filming locations are usually selected for a look, or for practical reasons, rather than for any kind of geographic accuracy. If you’re familiar with LA or Vancouver BC you can see it happening in most shows/movies today.

    • Oh right, Leverage – I was thinking movies so I forgot about that one. I remember they blew up a car or something during the early testing of the Mall.

      Zero Effect I’m not familiar with… but it reminded me of What the Bleep Do We Know?, the opening scenes of which feature Goose Hollow and the Robertson Tunnel.

      • I think “What the Bleep to We Know” is best left forgotten. :-)

        As for Zero Effect, it does feature transit as a plot point. (The blackmail victim is forced to make payoff drops by following a series of mazes based on instructions like “arrive at this spot at 2pm, take the first train you see to the 3rd stop”, that soft of thing.) It’s a clever idea, its just that at least for Portlanders the mazes don’t make any sense. You see this guy riding trains and buses all over the place but really he never leaves downtown or suddenly he’s in the Columbia Gorge, or the blackmail note names streets which we know do not exist. I still like the movie, though.

        I found a couple of trailers online for the movie, but none show the transit scenes.

        Here’s one on YouTube:

  5. I have seen Extraordinary Measures, but the only time I remember any MAX would be in the few shots they have of Pioneer Courthouse Square, but I’m not sure if there were any trains or not, it was the only possibility I could remember.

    • Yeah, that’s where it was filmed since the Mall wasn’t open yet. I remember it being filmed but I don’t know how much of those scenes would’ve made it in the final cut of the movie.

      • A bit of “Extraordinary Measures” trivia: The main medial research building is actually a design building on the Nike campus. The spot in front of the building where you see people driving and where Harrison Ford parks is actually closed to vehicular traffic — it’s a pedestrian promenade. Deliveries and maintenance vehicles only.

  6. The best appearance of a Line 14-Hawthorn bus stop is in the music video “Get Up” by Sleater-Kinney.

  7. Pingback: TriMet Diaries Hits A Chord

  8. From Out of Nowhere

    At the beginning of Free Willy, the film goes straight from Willy getting captured to an aerial shot of Pioneer Courthouse Square, and an MAX train can be seen pulling into the station on Yamhill. Here’s a shot of the title screen (the train is in the upper middle):

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