Do people in LA even know how lucky they are? Consider this: Back in 2003, an obscure thriller writer released a novel. It went on to become one of the highest selling books of all time. Three years later, Tom Hanks starred in the film adaptation, which pulled USD 750,000,000 at the box office.
If you had not heard of The Da Vinci Code, you were probably living under a rock.
Travel agents began custom designing European tours based on the book and film's locations, and fans painstakingly revisited every epic moment from the story. They spent Time and Money to do this.
Have you any idea of the plethora of the movies that have been filmed in LA? The Bradbury Building is in every science fiction movie ever. The Quality Cafe is in every cafe scene ever. The Vasquez Rocks are in every alien world movie ever.
People take LA locations in movies for granted. They walk through locations of iconic movie scenes and never even realise they're basically treading on sacred ground.
Need convincing? Consider the following examples:
Spring Street: Chinatown (1974), Final Scene
This imposing road, historic for both the 23 major financial institutions located there and the beautiful Beaux Art architecture of its buildings, sees a footfall of hundreds of thousands every day. And none of those falling feet realise they are walking past the location of one of cinema's most tragic moments.
Roman Polanski's neo-noir masterpiece, made when he was still in grief-throes of his wife Sharon Tate's murder, has one of cinema's bleakest endings. Just south of Ord Street, at North Spring Street, heroine Evelyn Mulwray is shot dead in her desperate bid for freedom mere minutes after her tragic story has won the audience's heart. (It's been 32 years! Don't snark at me about spoilers, you luddite!)
2nd Street Tunnel: Everything Futuristic, Sleek and Gritty
If you've never physically been here before, as you approach this tunnel from the west, a feeling of bewildering deja-vu should leave you disoriented and worried that you teleported. There's something hauntingly familiar about the futuristic-looking, fluorescent-lit hole of glazed white tiles. You're worried a AI from the future is about to attack, or Will Smith is about to pop out from somewhere to recruit you to fight aliens. Here's a list of science fiction movies you've seen it in - Blade Runner, Independence Day, The Terminator, and The Demolition Man. But you've probably seen it more often on MTV - this is the tunnel the parkouring, dog-fleeing, death-invincible hero of Bon Jovi's 'It's My Life' music video was headed to. But you're even more likely to have seen it in a vehicle advertisement - the tunnel has been featured in over 70 of them.
Hawthorne Plaza Mall: Minority Report (2002)
Zombies. They are fun enough when they are just about resurrected humans, but that's not enough anymore. What about resurrected malls? Opened with much pizzazz in the 1970s, this shopping complex took an entire decade to finish its economic death rattle before finally giving up the ghost in 1999. But it was still a 'warm body', and it would take Steven Spielberg's love to resurrect it from death, like Nicholas Hoult's increasingly prettified face (I'm amazed 'prettified' is a legit word; no red squiggles or anything!). 2002's Minority Report's thrilling plaza scene, in which precog Agatha uses her foreknowledge of vectors regarding a bunch of bobbing balloons to hide Tom Cruise and herself from federal agents, was filmed here (yes, we know how crazy that sentence sounded but it made sense onscreen, ok?). That love didn't last. Later, when David Fincher was filming Gone Girl, they decided the mall's dead body made for a fitting place for a certain psychopath to purchase a gun.
Las Palmas Hotel: Pretty Woman
At first glance, 1738 N Las Palmas Ave Los Angeles, CA is so utterly unremarkable it's a wonder anyone would ever want to film ANY movie here, let alone a romantic one. Cuffed sidewalk, stained walls, the odd garbage can. But turn eastwards ok? See that hotel sign? Argh, it's changed in the 25 years the movie was made. Just look at the hotel building itself - the Hotel Las Palmas. Does the fire-escape look familiar? It should! That's the one Richard Gere climbed in the final scene of Pretty Woman, overcome with the thought of never seeing Julia Roberts again. Seriously though, Richard who in the world needs a second thought to realise they can't live without Julia Roberts? What were you doing with your first?
Phyllis Dietrichson's House of Death: Double Indemnity
We'll admit, not quite as many people walk past this house as some of the other locations on this list. But it's still strange so few people know about it. This beautiful Spanish-Colonial-Revival building (6301 Quebec Drive, Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood Hills) was featured in the movie that, while not defining the noir genre, definitely was one of the genres ultimate expressions. This is the house in which Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray consummate their affair and came up with the plan to murder her abusive husband. It's kind of thrilling how the house has remained entirely unchanged from its look in the movie.
Redwood Bar & Grill, (500) Days of Summer:
This wicked looking pirate themed bar doesn't look like it needs more reasons to be swag but since it does have a pretty cool reason, we might as well put it out there. In 2009, after a long string of terrible romcoms, (500) Days of Summer was like a breath of fresh air. Was there literally anyone that year who didn't completely and hopelessly fall in love with Zooey Deschanel's bangs? Anyhow, the karaoke scene was filmed right here.
So if you're in LA, and you're not on a constant lookout for iconic filming locations when they are literally beneath your feet, then you honestly don't deserve to live there. It's wasted on you. Move out, and let someone who'll truly appreciate the city move in.
Also, Los Angeles is ONE city. Have you any idea how many deathly popular filming locations there are? We should totally make this a series. Right?