There are so many film productions that have called Newton County home, it’s hard to mention all of them but we can try. One movie that filmed scenes here in the Hollywood of the South is “ My Cousin Vinny”. This movie was the 1992 Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress.
“My Cousin Vinny” is the story of two New York University students, Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stanley Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield), who win scholarships to UCLA. However, the duo gets into trouble after they decided to take a drive through the heart of Dixie. Once they are in Alabama, they stop at a local convenience store to pick up a few snacks, but are suddenly arrested! The two men have been accused of murder and robbery and have found that they are facing execution for the crimes. Bill and Stan don’t have enough money for a lawyer, so they are forced to call Bill’s cousin Vinny (played by Joe Pesci). Unfortunately for the pair, Vinny is an inexperienced lawyer who has never been to trial.
The three New Yorkers begin to face a number of challenges thrown their way from local Alabama residents and the judge of the trial, who proved to be uncompromising. One scene in particular shows Vinny and his girlfriend, Mona Lisa (played by Marisa Tomei) walking into the Pool and Chicken to collect a $200 winning on a previous pool game, left unpaid by the character named T.J. This is the hilarious “counteroffer” scene, in which Vinny negotiates a bet with T.J. on getting their money. The setting for this “pool hall” scene is a long, historic brick building right off Hwy 11 on the main strip in Mansfield, Georgia.
Across Highway 11 on the other side of the street is an old abandoned warehouse. This building was also used during filming to represent the Wahzoo City Hotel, where Vinny and Mona Lisa stayed for part of the movie. Remember the scene where they ask the hotel clerk about the train that comes through so early every morning? That was shot at the old warehouse. The crew also used the top floor corner room as the space to build the “hotel room” set. Many scenes that take place within their hotel room were actually shot on that top floor set!
Who remembers the quaint, rural cabin where Vinny gets stuck in the mud and Mona Lisa expresses concerns about her ticking “biological clock”? This little cabin is also tucked away on the backroads of Newton County.
If you haven’t seen this 90’s classic, then it’s a must-see movie. This dramatic comedy is a great date night flick, as well! Watch to see if cousin Vinny can get Bill and Stanley out of trouble and back to UCLA. And, join in our sense of hometown pride as we spot all of the local sites used on location.