4 Worst Depictions of Wisconsin in Movie History


Let’s be honest folks, the silver screen is not always kind to Wisconsin.

Sure, there are more than a few movies that do Wisconsin proud, but on the whole we’re portrayed as terrible hicks or ignored completely.

But don’t take my word for it. These four movies are, for better or worse, the least realistic representations of Wisconsinites you will ever see.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1. Love Actually

For the three of you that haven’t seen it, Love Actually is a holiday classic about British people falling in love . . . actually. In this heartwarming Christmas movie, the only mention of America comes from unlucky in love Colin, who sets off for the exciting destination of Milwaukee where his ugly mug will be no problem with girls because of his “cute British accent.”

Once he travels across the pond, he sets foot in a local bar only to be immediately set upon by three babes who pretty much promptly invite him back to their apartment.

While I give Love Actually points as being one of the few movies that depict Wisconsin ladies as being super sexy (which we are), it’s clear that the writers of the movie have never met a true Sconnie lady.

In the scene, the three ladies sit around the table listening to the Brit talk while giggling and demurely sipping from their drinks. We Sconnie ladies have lots of good quality, but demure is not one of them. Make no mistake, real Wisconsin girls would be trying to drink that limey under the table.

Yes, probably while enjoying his accent. Accents are hot. Don’t judge.

2. Dogma

Wisconsin just barely comes up in this Kevin Smith comedy about two fallen angels trying to get back into heaven. Still, it’s worth mentioning because Wisconsin is literally hell on earth.

Disgraced former angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartelby (Ben Affleck) have been banished from heaven and are being forced to spend the span of human history in Wisconsin. Near the beginning of the movie, we see them in what’s supposed to be the Milwaukee airport  – where cheeseheads abound.

We’d put some quotations from the movie here for you, but being that it’s a Kevin Smith movie – f-bombs also abound.

But what’s really offensive to us is that these fallen angels hated Wisconsin so much they were willing to challenge God herself just to get out of there.

Ben and Matt, consider yourselves on notice. Don’t make us sick Alanis Morissette on you!

3. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

If you know anything about this movie (or briefly read the title) you might be wondering why it’s on this list when it’s clearly set in Texas.

Let me answer your question with a story. I first watched the chilling horror movie (the 2003 remake to be exact) while in college. It ends with a bit of a cliffhanger and indicates that the lurching, skin-wearing, hack-em-up killer Leatherface is at large and probably still looking for unsuspecting teens with poor vacation planning skills.

I, of course, immediately ran to Google to find out more about the “true story” this movie was based on while thanking my lucky stars I didn’t live in the apparently hickish, inbred Texas.

Yeah, turns out the “true story” is based on the life and times of Ed Gein, famous Wisconsin-born serial killer. While the story of Gein is horrific and involved him claiming the lives of two innocent women, it does not involve a chainsaw wielding psychopath who is supported by a system of hickish family members. Also, it is not set in Texas.

Moral of the story, never trust those “Based on a True Story” labels at the beginning of films. And don’t judge an area by its horror movies. (Sorry Texas. My bad.)

Coincidentally, Ed Gein’s story has inspired a few other serial killer movies. They include, Silence of the Lambs and the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece Psycho.

But the strangest of all has to be a locally-made, independent film called Ed Gein: The Musical. It may be the first movie that ever put a comical spin on the story.

Watch the Trailer for Ed Gein: The Musical

4. Giant Spider Invasion

Considering that the last movie was literally about a crazy murderer, you might be wondering what could top it.

Well, the 1975 cult classic and B-Horror Movie Giant Spider Invasion isn’t just set in Wisconsin, it’s set in the least flattering version of Wisconsin ever to exist. Seriously, it’s like nightmare zone Wisconsin.

You’re probably not familiar with this movie unless you’re a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan. Which, coincidentally cracks lots of jokes about Wisconsin as star Mike Nelson went to school in River Falls, and the show’s creator Joel Hodgson is from Green Bay. (They get a pass because we all know you can make fun of the Midwest if you’re from here.)

However, if you are not from Wisconsin and watched Giant Spider Invasion, you might get the impression that we’re one of the following:

Angry drunks that spend all day not working and hating our spouses. (Yes that is a breakfast beer in her hand and yes that is the cleanest their house ever gets.)

Lazy teenagers that lounge around the house while creepy older men hit on them.

Or, worst of all, overweight, creepy, bearded hicks who love making money in unscrupluous ways and aren’t very nice to their wives.

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Yes, he’s wearing ONLY long under wear and a back brace. Image Source.

That last line is from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 spoof. Which seriously, is your duty as a Wisconsin lover to check out.

The director of this campy classic is Bill Rebane, who’s lived in northern Wisconsin for much of his life. You can read about him in our article on Famous Wisconsin Filmmakers.

Oh, and believe it or not, we heard Rebane was also hoping to produce a Giant Spider Invasion musical.

There are actually quite a few low-budget horror movies that are based in Wisconsin. Check out this list of movies set in Wisconsin on IMDB. The second half has a lot of B-movies.

Any More Bad Wisco Movies Out There?

We’re sure we missed a few. What’s your least favorite representation of the Badger State on the silver screen? Leave a comment below!

For even more Wisconsin references in big-time movies, check out the compilation video we found on YouTube.

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  1. Here is the link to the real thing… I don’t remember the movie’s name

  2. Can’t remember the title, but I recall a Jim Gaffigan movie about the Wisconsin Hockey tourney.

  3. “I was a middle aged zombie” and “I was a middle aged zombie too” made in Washburn, WI

  4. Lynne Phillips says

    I love Kevin Smith and Dogma in particular. But I was always offended by his depiction of WI. One recent one not on the list, and is bad in the sense ofcompletely inaccurate rather than offensive, is the Houdini miniseries. It showed turn-of-the-century Appleton as some dusty western frontier town instead of the concrete and steel civilized city with streetcars that it was. Still, at least it included Appleton. Most Houdini biographies forget that part.

  5. I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned “The Godfather of Green Bay” as a piece of questionable cinema history….

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