But maybe there's another reason we get so excited when the film crews descend. The script we originally wrote for ourselves -- the story about gritty people making their way in America's industrial heartland -- has undergone a dramatic rewrite in recent years. And whenever a movie comes to town, we see how easy it could be to reinvent ourselves, even if just for a couple of takes. Even if a preening actress refers to us as "Shitsburgh" while pouting in her hotel room. Even if the movie itself turns out to be a bit of a dog.
So for this year's "Best of Pittsburgh" issue, we asked several winners to cast themselves in the kind of movie they'd want to star in. You might not recognize them at first, and when you do, you might have to suspend a bit of disbelief. But hey, that's how films get made -- and sometimes cities too.
And if nothing else, they -- and the rest of this year's finalists -- prove that Pittsburgh really is ready for its close-up.