Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Travolta Fever Hits Town with the Filming of Criminal Minds

Stuart C. Wilson/Thinkstock

Movie sets are rapidly becoming an all too common sight on the streets of Cleveland. With the runaway success of indie films at the Cleveland International Film Festival and national franchises such as Captain America, the city has managed to accommodate both local and big-time filmmakers alike – a considerable feat. We even dedicated an entire cover package to Cleveland's newfound filmic identity, and it doesn't look like the growth is about to stop.

Just yesterday, shooting for the deviant Criminal Minds shut down parts of Chester Avenue downtown. Craving a bit of adventure, this all too often desk-bound journalist meandered down to the set hoping to lay eyes on the action – and perhaps a peak at John Travolta or Jackie Earle Haley. But alas, the fates conspired against me. All I managed to catch were sweaty crew members scurrying in and out of a closed set in Pacer’s Ribhouse and a ditty about free beer from wandering super-bard Guitar Man. An on-set source did tell me Travolta will only be filming in Cleveland briefly. Instead of waiting around, I took a few moments to brush up on the Travolta canon. 

Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino’s blood-spattered 1994 masterpiece is brutally spacey, pairing over the top violence and superbly inane dialogue. Opposite another Cleveland film scene stalwart, Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta’s earthy take on hit man Vincent Vega is required watching before heading to the theater for Criminal Minds.

Grease: Singing, dancing, gaggles of girls and guys, and excessive use of hair products. What else is there in life? The 1978 classic, coming on the heels of the equally campy Saturday Night Fever, is a necessary part of the Travolta back catalog. Travolta’s experience as a song and dance man has been turned on its head since the '70s though, due mostly a totally regrettable billing in 2007’s Hairspray as Edna Turnblad – complete with wig, body modification suit and falsetto. Hopefully, the excessive accouterments will be safely stowed in the costumer’s closet this time around.


Swordfish: A personal favorite, due mostly to repeated scheduling on daytime cable, this thriller about a hacker forced to work for a terrorist group features Travolta playing the hilariously languid villain Gabriel Shear. Hugh Jackman plays hacker Stanley Jobson in a script with so many techno-cliques it’s terrible enough to only be watchable by high schoolers bound in bed by sickness.

To view road closures during the five-week shoot, click here.

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