Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flint: Cloudy With a Chance of Cinematic References

Matt Bach, the energetic and funny public relations manager of the Flint Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, is paid to keep a vigilant eye out for any connection to the Vehicle City. And after seeing the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, he's really on to something:
I saw this new children's movie over the weekend and couldn't help but draw some comparisons between what happened in the film and our own history in Flint, Michigan. First, the title character is named Flint Lockwood. And Flint lives in town that once flourished due to the booming "sardine industry." The whole town was centered around sardines, but it went in decline after the rest of the world realized sardines are "super gross." Then the mayor gets this great idea to build an amusement park centered around the town's rich sardine history. But just as the museum is getting unveiled it's accidentally destroyed by the inventor, Flint Lockwood.

And I'm not the only person seeing the similarities. This review of the movie actually mentions Flint, Michigan: "Unfortunately, the well-meaning Flint’s ambitions have a tendency to outreach his grasp and not only does the machine not work during his big test, it winds up destroying the sardine-inspired amusement park that the suspiciously Blagojevich-esque mayor (Bruce Campbell) has sunk the town’s remaining funds into (presumably figuring that if it worked for Flint, Michigan, it would work for them) before launching itself into the sky."


  1. Hmmm. Lightweight.

    BTW, the YouTube link is to the associated Sony PlayStation III videogame, not the movie.

  2. Thanks JWilly. I had trouble finding an official trailer with permission to embed, but I did track one down and swap it out with the video game.

  3. This book originally came out in 1978 I believe and my kids loved it. I still have their hard cover copy stuck away with the Mr. Men and Berenstain Bears books. The story line could refer to many other cities over the decades with similar problems. The steel industry, textiles, chocolate manufacturing. It's a great book for kids, grand kids and the adults reading it. I forgot-kids don't read anymore. So add print industries to this too.

  4. The movie doesn't really follow the book.... other than there's food instead of precipitation. The movie is very good though.

    I did notice a Flint metaphor, especially when Sardine World was going to open. But unless Flint, MI decides to become a restaurant town, the buck stops there. :)

  5. I was reading an article in my master's class over about your water concerns and immediately thought of this movie. I inquired about the connection as well, but could only find this article. I believe that you are actually onto something.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at