Film and TV

100 Things to Do in Denver Before You Die: An Expert's Advice

Here’s one thing Rich Grant wants you to know: There is absolutely no connection between Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, the deadly boring 1995 Andy Garcia movie actually filmed in Denver, and 100 Things to Do in Denver Before You Die, the new book that the longtime Visit Denver communications director co-wrote with Irene Rawlings — which the two will be signing at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7.

That book is part of a series from Reedy Press, which has already given the 100 Things treatment to Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and San Antonio, among others.

But do those cities have anything like the must-climb Longs Peak? Or a nature retreat that was once known as “the most polluted spot on earth” (the Rocky Mountain National Arsenal Wildlife Refuge)? Or Casa Bonita?

All of which are better advertisements for Denver than Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.

“Of all the things that were bad about the film, the worst was that Denver was horribly miscast as a film-noir location,” Grant says. “The city’s just too pretty.”

Which made it doubly ironic last Friday when Grant found himself playing tour guide for a German writer whose site,, catalogues movie settings around the world — and she specifically wanted to see spots where the movie crew had filmed scenes from Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.

But Grant made sure to show her a few other spots, including Rockmount Ranch Wear, whose fashions are frequently seen in Western scenes.

"She loved the photos of Hugh Grant in Meet the Morgans, apparently a hit in Germany," he reports. "We found the Carrington building from Dynasty, and the shot of the cannons in front of the Capitol for the opening of that show...amazing how high the evergreen tree on the Capitol lawn has grown since the ’80s."

And, yes, he adds, "We found the spot where Steve Buscemi stood under the Travel by Train sign, in the stinking Things to Do in Denver — she brought stills from the movie to compare!"

They agreed to skip the site of the Jack Nicholson/Kathy Bates hot-tub scene in About Schmidt, he says, as well as settings for other TV shows filmed here.

"She had never heard of Perry Mason or Mork & Mindy (Mork would have been very hard to translate into German) or Father Dowling  — like much of the free-thinking world," Grant points out.

Then the crew moved on to Wyoming, and Devil's Tower. For his part, Grant hopped on a bicycle for a ride to Boulder — one of the things actually hyped in his book.

Find out more about the June 7 signing for 100 Things to Do in Denver Before You Die at
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun