I can't lie to you. "Iowa" is a very popular search term because of the Republican Caucus. I tried to find a way to make this list seem more organic, but there is absolutely no way of making you, dear reader, believe that I organically decided upon an Iowa-themed list. Anyway, you've clicked and made it this far. Please keep reading and school yourself on Iowa.

Field Of Dreams

Perhaps the most famous movie set in Iowa, Field of Dreams follows Ray Kinsella, a handsome farmer who goes around picking up men and dressing them in uniforms. He then starts to imagine men walking among cornstalks (no phallic imagery there), until he is literally surrounded by athletic dudes. For some reason, this doesn’t really bother his wife.

Ray's farm is a magical place, and connotes what most of us imagine when we think of Iowa – a place that is mostly made of corn, consisting of a bunch of people that refuse to believe in magic. It makes sense that we would hold a caucus there.

Unfortunately, after Field of Dreams was released in 1989, 90% of Iowa farms were immediately converted to baseball fields. Many were populated with historically significant baseball players, but unfortunately, the players that appeared to occupy these fields predated the Jackie Robinson era, and racism pervaded all of Iowa. Consequently, Iowa is now known as a place with no corn and lots of race riots, all because of Field of Dreams.

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids
is a pretty funny film, but it gets more credit that it deserves because it didn’t get a wide release. The film stars Ed Helms, the guy that says “sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiit” from The Wire, John C. Reilly, and Anne Heche. Helms is sent to an insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, only to find that the Midwestern independent insurance accreditation game is straight-up rigged.

This film paints Iowa in a negative light in much the same way that The Wire did with Baltimore and Florida does all on its own.

Cedar Rapids was actually shot in Ann Arbor, because Iowa wasn’t able to give the film anything in the way of a tax credit. Considering the film appeared to have cost about $14,300 to produce, you think that Iowa would have been able to pony up the $91 or so that the producers required. Missed opportunity, Iowa.

The Straight Story

This film is based on the true story of Alvin Straight (played by Richard Farnsworth), an elderly man who drives across Iowa and Wisconsin on a tractor to visit his brother, who suffered a stroke. As a David Lynch film, it is bizarre in that it’s a David Lynch film that isn’t completely bizarre. In fact, it’s insanely straightforward and to the point, much as I expect the state of Iowa to be, by and large.

You’ll be surprised to learn that driving a tractor instead of a car is NOT a common occurance in Iowa. In fact, a quick Wikipedia search taught me that Iowans drive “cars,” very similar to the ones that we seen in movies set in Los Angeles or Seattle. Huh.

The Crazies

If you liked Timothy Olyphant in Deadwood or Justified, you’ll hate him in the horrible film, The Crazies, as he plays a small-town sheriff contending with residents who are just going bitchcakes all up in that piece. It’s a terrible, terrible movie, and manages to make Iowa seem like the logical place for the government to conduct weird experiments that turn people crazy.

Iowans – please feel free to chime in via the comments – is your state a good state to conduct chemical experiments on its residents? My default answer is “probably,” but I want to get all the facts before making a ruling as to whether or not your people should be gassed. You’re welcome.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Gilbert Grape offers a representative slice of Iowa life in the form of a morbidly obese woman, a developmentally disabled teen, and a handsome man tasked with caring for both.

The film offers up a look at small town life, and the hardships of growing up self-reliant. Sort of like a Friday Night Lights without football.

Unfortunately, the title of the film is a metaphor, and the film is not a mystery that urges the audiences to deduce what kind of monster, animal or person is actually trying to consume Johnny Depp’s character. That would be a very different, but equally awesome movie, and one that would also be right at home set in Iowa.


This film about a “fallen angel” stars John Travolta, an angel that falls to Earth, drinking and smoking, but teaching people hallmark lessons along the way. During filming, it was reported, though not proven that John Travolta’s hair was the largest structure in Iowa, but when filming concluded, that title reverted to an abandoned ferris wheel about seven miles outside of Davenport, as the crow flies. Reckon that until that Russell Brand feller comes to these parts to shoot a film, that record’ll stay put, right where she is.

More iced tea? It’s hot today.

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