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Boston Pop Culture

Cheers is, of course, the quintessential Boston TV show, though in recent years, Boston Legal has introduced the city to a new generation. Tops in the film pantheon here is "Good Will Hunting", for which Cambridge boys Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won a screenwriting Oscar. Matt Damon returned to a Boston setting in Martin Scorsese's 2007 Best Picture winner, "The Departed". And Affleck now directs Boston-set thrillers; "The Town", coming out in fall 2010, includes a big robbery at Fenway Park. For a sample of how gritty things used to be, watch "The Friends of Eddie Coyle", a brilliant slice of blue-collar mobster life, circa 1970. For the tale of a more recent mobster, Whitey Bulger, read both Black Mass by two Boston Globe reporters and The Brothers Bulger by a columnist for the rival Herald. J. Anthony Lukas’ "Common Ground" offers a panoramic view of Boston’s busing crisis. For music, download any of the concerts from the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s web site. At the other end of the spectrum, rock out to Aerosmith, the J. Geils Band or, of course, Boston. Celtic punkers the Dropkick Murphys are also huge, especially since they recorded the century-old Red Sox fight song, "Tessie."