Whitey Bulger, Mean Girls & Trace Adkins

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Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing the Whitey Bulger biopic, Black Mass, a little early. I’ve been wanting to see this film ever since I heard Depp had been cast as Bulger and the terrific Scott Cooper — Out of the Furnace — was directing. The film didn’t disappoint. Depp was crazy good as Bulger, truly a master actor at work, almost unrecognizable as Bulger. And it wasn’t just the thinned hair and scary blue contacts. His accent, mannerisms, and swagger was spot on.

Besides a handful of my local pals here in Oxford, the movie theater was bare. Except for a few cellphone obsessed frat boys and a gaggle of sorority girls. Who I wrongly assumed were in the wrong theater.

I enjoyed the film so much, I was talking Boston with my pal Chris about the real locations we’d just seen. I said a lot of old South Boston had been recreated in Cambridge. The words were not even out of my mouth when one of the sorority girls snapped her head around and let me know I was so very wrong. She informed me that she was from Boston and the most of the film had been shot in “Southie.” A term you don’t hear often Down South.

Even though I knew about sets being built in Cambridge — if you don’t believe me, read the Boston Globe piece on the film — I didn’t disagree. To which my pal Jerry smirked and said, “Don’t you know who this is?” As always, Jerry likes to needle folks. “It’s Ace Atkins. A big deal. He writes books about Boston.”

The gaggle of sorority girls rolled their eyes as they flitted from the theater and tossed their popcorn bags. Jerry, Chris, and I headed for our cars.

Suddenly the Mean Girls — it seemed like ten of them had piled into a small BMW but I can’t say for sure — slammed on the brakes. A young woman, but not Boston Girl, jumped out and walked straight up at me with hands on her hips.  I waited for more discussion on the locations of Black Mass or perhaps a diatribe on the representation of Catholicism and violence in film.

Instead she looked at me with my ball cap and gray T-shirt and said, “Did I hear you’re related to Trace Adkins?”

I shook my head. “Nope.”

Yikes. Has it come to this? I would have rather been mistaken for Bulger.

— Ace

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