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These 3 iconic movies are Coloradans

These+3+iconic+movies+are+Coloradans
Collegian | Rashida Obika

Colorado, the home to many beautifully diverse landscapes and scenery, has been the backdrop for various cult classic movies that fans continually go back to.

Colorado fans can visit their filming locations, maintaining a nostalgic connection to their favorite movies in their very own home.

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“My first impression of Aspen in Colorado (was) learning about it through ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ I thought it was a place where wealthy, conniving, villainous people liked to ski and stay in big lodges and get their tongues stuck to the ski lift battle post.” –Nick Marx, film and media studies associate professor

1. ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

The 1989 comedy classic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” follows Clark Griswold as he tries to plan the perfect Christmas for his family. However, he finds himself dealing with a series of hijinks and unfortunate events, leading him to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

This movie filmed many of its scenes in Colorado areas such as Breckenridge, Frisco and Copper Mountain. Most prominently, the crew used Summit High School in Frisco as a backdrop for the throwback home video scenes.

Vanessa Agee has been the director of marketing and communications for the town of Frisco for a little over 10 years. She said the setting has changed since the late ’80s; they would have used what is now Summit Middle School and Snowy Peaks High School. Even with these changes, Agee still said the surrounding area is so appealing with its beautiful hiking paths and views of the lake from the school itself.

“It’s just a phenomenal place in terms of trails and public land,” Agee said. “It’s a place which appeals to people who want to be outside. ”

The local town of Frisco itself is incredibly charming in Agee’s eyes, further reflecting the nostalgic and merry vibes of “Christmas Vacation.” She recalled cheerful memories of getting a Christmas tree with her family during the holidays. Frisco as a whole evokes a reminiscent feeling of the movie.

2. ‘Dumb and Dumber’

Dumb and Dumber,” starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, is a 1994 slapstick comedy about two guys who go on a hilarious road trip to Aspen, Colorado, to return a woman’s briefcase.

Nick Marx is an associate professor of film and media studies for Colorado State University. He said this movie holds a special place in his “adolescent heart”; it’s a comedy he could always come back to as a teenager.

With scenes in and around Aspen, Breckenridge and The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Marx said he initially came to know more about Colorado through this film.

“My first impression of Aspen in Colorado (was) learning about it through ‘Dumb and Dumber,'” Marx said. “I thought it was a place where wealthy, conniving, villainous people liked to ski and stay in big lodges and get their tongues stuck to the ski lift battle post.”

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Marx said being in the hotel fueled a feeling of reminiscence within him; he could almost immediately recognize the sets from one of his favorite films. With this memorable comedy being so quotable with silly lines and gags, Marx said he felt rather connected to the film when visiting Stanley Hotel.

“I remember going there with my wife and quoting the movie back and forth to her from the scenes set in the bar,” Marx said.

3. ‘The Shining’ 

Known as the one of the most popular cult classic horror films, “The Shining,” based on the novel by Stephen King, tells the story of a family that travels to a remote hotel and is unraveled by violence and visions.

Hye Seung Chung has been a professor of film and media studies at CSU since 2011 and has grown to love this Stanley Kubrick film after bringing it into her classes.

Chung said that the film’s setting, the Overlook Hotel, was inspired by The Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909. Even to this day, the hotel has maintained the eerie grandeur of the 1910s and ’20s through its appearance.

“(Kubrick) apparently researched everything about the Colorado history, especially its history of genocide of Native Americans,” Chung said. “He intentionally inserted many visual motifs of Native American art and culture to allude to this tragic state history.”

Chung said she appreciates that Kubrick brings The Stanley Hotel to life, picking a setting that invokes the atmospheric horror of the past. The Stanley Hotel is known for its paranormal activity and “maze-like quality,” which mirrors the violent horrors of the 20th century in Colorado that Kubrick highlighted throughout the film.

“Kubrick captured both timeless charms and sinister feelings of the place magnificently,” Chung said. “I cannot imagine a better setting for King’s novel and Kubrick’s adaptation.”

Reach Sananda Chandy at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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    Pete A.May 1, 2024 at 12:42 pm

    “These 3 Iconic Movies Were Filmed in Colorado?!?” The Shining (1980) was filmed in Oregon at the Timberline Lodge, and parts of Montana, but not in Colorado. Stephen King’s mini-series the Shining (1997), which is truer to the book, was filmed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

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