First off, WUNC’s poll has nothing to do with film incentives that I can tell. I just find it interesting that 14 of the 17 “North Carolina movies” WUNC identified were made before the state got involved in the race to the bottom of offering tax incentives to film production companies. Two others were made during the first year of film incentives but are not listed in NC Dept. of Revenue reports among those having received incentives.

And the reason I find it interesting is because of something I’ve noticed recently and written about before:

They probably expect you don’t know we didn’t have film incentives until 2005

You can almost count upon op-eds and editorials written in favor of keeping North Carolina’s film incentives to cite popular, well-known North Carolina productions such as “Bull Durham” (1988), “Dirty Dancing” (1987), “Last of the Mohicans” (1992), “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003), etc. in making their case. Even though those examples preceded the incentives by years, even decades. I’ve even seen “Being There” (1979) cited.

I’m beginning to think it’s not exuberance on the part of the incentives’ supporters, or mere oversight, but instead a gamble on readers’ ignorance of the reality of state film incentives — a mad rush from 2002 to 2009 with lots of buyer’s remorse and several states dropping out since. North Carolina’s program began in 2005 and was made more generous to production companies in 2010. …

Here is the list, with my notes added:

  • Days of Thunder (1990) — before film incentives
  • George Washington (2000) — before film incentives
  • No Mercy (1986) — before film incentives
  • The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) — before film incentives
  • Last of the Mohicans (1992) — before film incentives
  • Junebug (2005) — first year of film incentives; did not receive any
  • Dirty Dancing (1987) — before film incentives
  • The Jackal (1997) — before film incentives
  • Muppets from Space (1999) — before film incentives
  • Firestarter (1984) — before film incentives
  • Bull Durham (1988) — before film incentives
  • Hunger Games (2012) — received $13.8 million in film incentives
  • Loggerheads (2005) — first year of film incentives; did not receive any
  • Blue Velvet (1986) — before film incentives
  • Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) — before film incentives
  • Billy Bathgate (1991) — before film incentives
  • The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)  — before film incentives

For what it’s worth, I voted my favorite NC-made movie: Last of the Mohicans.