Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Will Strangle You With My Microphone Wire - The Wedding Singer House

Next time you're in Pasadena you need to swing by the house used in the movie The Wedding Singer.  Just off the beaten path of Lake Ave which runs north and south, head east a few blocks and there you are! 

Later in the movie, Julia is rehearsing her "Hello, my name is Julia Gulia" in the mirror in her room.  Robbie Hart comes strolling up on the street below to confess his love to Julia but becomes discouraged when he sees her happy and smiling through the window.  Julia's house is over in the city of Sierra Madre (not too far from the filming spot for Dude Where's My Car).

I'm a huge fan of Adam Sandler.  I grew up listening to all of his comedy cd's and worshipping movies like Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison and Bulletproof.  More Sandler filming spots to come.

Robbie Hart's sister's house is located at:
1075 E Topeka Street
Pasadena, CA

Julia's House is located at:
41 Sierra Place
Sierra Madre, CA

(thanks to for the actual movie shots)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tom's Restaurant - Seinfeld

If you're even somewhat of a Seinfeld fan and you visit New York City, you must stop by Tom's Restaurant in upper Manhattan.  Located on the upper-west side just above the park, Tom's Restaurant is a local favorite and situated perfectly to serve students of Columbia University.

Just a brief rundown of New York City geography, Central Park runs from 59th Street to 110th Street.  Tom's Restaurant is located on the corner of Broadway and W 112th Street which is getting close to Harlem territory.  Harlem's boundaries vary depending on the area, but Central Harlem where the famous Apollo Theater is located is W 125th Street (just to give you an idea).

NBC's hit show Seinfeld used this small restaurant's exterior in hundreds of episodes as the local diner that Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer would frequent for a quality meal and to talk about "nothing."  The interior shots were done in a studio in Los Angeles as well as Jerry's apartment and many other inside filming scenes.  Even outside scenes where characters would be walking down the streets were filmed in Los Angeles on mock streets that were made to look like New York City.  You can tour those streets on the Universal Studios backlot tram tour.

The actual interior of Tom's Restaurant looks nothing like the set on television.  The real Tom's is much smaller but does have cool Seinfeld memorabilia on the walls.  I recommend stopping by and grabbing a quick burger (the service is fast and good, I've eaten here twice). 

Seinfeld is probably my favorite show of all time.  Like The Office, the episodes are quick, funny and well written.  So if you're a fan, swing by Tom's and snap some pictures like the one above where I'm enjoying the New York Times.

Tom's Restaurant is located at:
2880 Broadway
New York City, NY

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Halloween Street

70's horror movies are the best, aren't they?  My friends Maegan, Ryan and I used to rent five horror movies at a time and spend a couple nights watching them all.  We couldn't have been older than 12 or 13 eating popcorn and watching Children of the Corn, Hellraiser, Candyman and Halloween.  I'm not afraid to say that I would walk extra brisk past my windows and glass doors in fear that Michael Myers would be standing out in my yard.  That white mask has always amazed me because it is so simple yet frightening.

In October of last year I spent a very fun Halloween weekend in Fresno with my girlfriend and her good friend.  It just so happened that Halloween was on a Sunday and I was heading back to Southern California.  I decided to make a quick stop to make the weekend complete.  The first Halloween movie, as well as several others were filmed in South Pasadena.  I walked around the area where Michael Myers stalked those kids and haunted the neighborhood that is supposed to be Haddenfield, Illinois.

It was about 6pm on October 31st and there I was walking around Michael Myers' "neighborhood."  This was a cool feeling for any Halloween movie fan and I must say that there were a couple others like me trying to blend in.  I snapped some pictures, got a feel for the area and headed on my way.  This was a fun moment in my filming spot hunting career and now you can experience it for yourself.

The pictures above show the street where Jaime Lee Curtis crosses the street heading to school in the very beginning of the movie.  The other pictures are of Michael's house.  The opening sequence shows him murdering his sister when he was a kid and standing out in front holding the massive knife.  This house has since been moved (literally picked up and moved I believe) to the end of the street by the train tracks.  It is actually a doctor's office now, go figure.

The trailer for the 1978 classic can be watched here.

The street from Halloween is located at:
Meridian Ave (specifically Meridian Ave & Magnolia Street)
South Pasadena, CA

Michael's house is just down the street before the train tracks facing south.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hill Valley High School

The fictional town of Hill Valley returns in another installment of Back to the Future filming spots.  This time we look at Marty's high school.  In the beginning of the first movie we see Marty race out of Doc's place because he is late for school.  He skates across the street in front of a Burger King restaurant and continues to make his way towards school grabbing onto the back of vehicles and whatever can speed him up.  He skates right on up to the front entrance where Jennifer tries to sneak him past the all-time schmuck, Mr. Strickland.

We also see Marty re-visit his high school in 1955 where he is tries to ignite the flickering flame between George McFly and Lorraine Baines.  If he doesn't succeed in doing this he ceases to exist, so it's pretty important.  He and Doc Brown (who is a hilarious character by the way) head back to Hill Valley High School to drop in on his folks.  Marty is instantly impressed by the graffiti-free and clean appearance of the school and how "they really cleaned this place up."

Many memorable scenes take place in and around this high school in the Back to the Future trilogy.  It turns out that Hill Valley High School isn't located in the city of Industry, but nearby in the city of Whittier.  You can now visit Whittier High School (aka Hill Valley High School) and snap some pictures yourself.  I will post more BTTF Whittier spots in the future as this was the location for the exterior scenes of the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance and Mr. Strickland's house (nearby).

Hill Valley High School is located at:
12417 E. Philadelphia St
Whittier, CA

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dunder Mifflin & Scranton Business Park

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was far from an early adopter of the greatness that is The Office.  NBC's hit television show had been on air for just over five years before I became a superfan.  Before I began watching it I would catch bits and pieces of it on TV and wonder "what the hell is up with this filming style with a shaky camera zooming in and out of this office?"  Then I began watching the series starting with season 1 and became more familiar with the premise.

I disliked Michael Scott in the beginning as I'm sure most people did.  I found his character obnoxious and rude.  I felt that in the second and third seasons he began to develop sensitivity and transformed into a character that the audience could enjoy.  His goofy remarks and ridiculous behavior comes off as somewhat ignorant yet excusable.  Moral of the story, it only took me four short months to plow through six and a half seasons to catch up with live television.

It's sad that Michael's character has left the show but I have a feeling we'll be seeing plenty of him.  Or at least I hope so.  And let me just get this out of the way before I conclude this post, Will Ferrell's character showed no significance to me other than a distraction.  Perhaps that's what the producers were going for. 

Anyways, I have visited Dunder Mifflin and "Scranton Business Park" several times and am excited each time.  To visit the filming spot for my second favorite television show of all time (Seinfeld holds the top spot) gets me excited.  Now, you can visit it too.  It's located in the city of Van Nuys which borders Northridge and Burbank northwest of downtown.  You'll have to drive through a somewhat run down part of town and follow the directions to Saticoy Street which is a narrow side street that actually dead-ends just after the studios.  Don't expect a tour of the set, believe me I've asked.  However, you can enjoy the exterior of the studio which they use quite often in the show as the exterior of Dunder Mifflin and Scranton Business Park. Just punch the address below into your GPS and it shouldn't be too hard (that's what she said).

Dunder Mifflin aka Chandler Studios is located at:
13927 Saticoy Street
Van Nuys, CA

Sunday, July 17, 2011

American Pie Additives

It's time for a second installment of American Pie filming spots.  This time, let's focus on the sequel.  The boys have all spent their first year at college and are back home for the summer.  Re-visiting their rooms and hometowns for what seems like a whopping total of fifteen minutes, they decide to spend the summer at the lake.  Now remember that these movies are supposed to take place in Michigan and the lake they are referring to is one of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan.

This scheme originated from the mind of Kevin, the lonely and lost self-proclaimed leader who is a complete fool for letting Tara Reid go.  Of course, this is before Tara Reid let herself go in real life.  Getting back to my point, dorky Kevin had the first good idea in his life to spend the summer at the lake with the guys.  The boys load up in the truck and head down to the lake driving through what appears to be a lakeshore town, but is actually Seal Beach.  Seal Beach just so happens to be the spot where I learned to surf.

When the guys arrive at their palace for the summer they are in shock.  After picking their jaws up off the ground they begin to set up camp.  What is supposed to be Lake Michigan is actually the Pacific Ocean and the location for their summer home is not even Seal Beach, it's Paradise Cove in Malibu, California.  This past May I just so happened to be exploring Malibu with my girlfriend and we stopped at Paradise Cove for lunch.  At the time I had no idea that A Pie 2 was filmed there.  I got lucky that I snapped a picture of the pier.

If you compare the two pictures, you can see that the pier's lighthouse was built for the film and is no longer there.  For those of you who are familiar with the movie, that lighthouse is where Jim almost gets down with Nadia.  And if you're like me, when he decides against it you scream obscenities at the television.  Also, there is no house at this location.  Apparently it was a facade built for the movie.  Now there is just a cliff and coastline.

Later in the film, the boys pick up a painting job to make a little extra cash.  One of the most memorable scenes in the film is the scene with the "lesbians."  This takes us to our second filming spot.  While watching the film you believe that they're working in a lakeside town, but the home actually lies 45 miles east of Malibu, or as the film would like us to believe Lake Michigan.  The guys are out painting the house on a warm summer day when they spot what appears to be two lesbians residing in the home they are re-coloring.  This home is located in the city of South Pasadena on the same street as the house they used in the movie The Girl Next Door with Emile Hirsch and Elisha Cuthbert.  A clip from that ever-so-epic lesbian scene can be seen here.

The lake-side house location is at:
1 Paradise Cove Rd
Malibu, CA

The lesbians' house is located at:
820 Milan Ave
South Pasadena, CA

Friday, July 15, 2011

Because It's Friday

Last October one of my best friends was visiting from Florida and staying for over a week.  It was time to play host and show him what Southern California is all about.  Unfortunately the day he arrived the weather took a turn for the worse and remained like that for almost his entire stay.  I created a list of things we could do and some sights that I could show him like the Hollywood sign, Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles and UFC 121 where Cain Velasquez took the heavyweight title from Brock Lesnar in dominating fashion.

The first stop and attraction that I took him to the day after he arrived was the street where the movie Friday was filmed.  This movie is regarded by both of us as one of the all time greats and I had never seen the filming spots for Friday before.  Very appropriately we embarked on this adventure on a Friday morning on our way to Roscoe's in Hollywood.  When we arrived at the location I actually drove right past Craig's house because they re-painted it and added some new decor to stray away from that same look that we all know and love from 1995.  That god-awful peach pink color is a pleasant blue complimented by white trim.  I quickly turned around and parked up the street.  Let me say that when checking out these filming spots it's hard to not feel creepy and paparazzi'ish, particularly if it's someone's home.  So remember to always be respectful and try your hardest not to come off how I described above.

We snapped pictures of Craig's house and kept reciting our favorite scenes and lines from the movie.  "You gotta be a stupid motherf***** to get fired on your day off!" "What'up Big Perm?"  I must also say that when you are on that street you get the feeling that everyone knows each other and a warm summer day would be just like they portrayed in the movie.  We were deprived of any kind of Miss Parker action with her out watering her lawn because of the weather, but maybe that's motivation for you to go visit this spot.

I loved visiting this filming spot because this is another movie that I grew up watching over and over.  Enjoy the pictures as you replay your favorite scenes in your mind.  I must mention before I wrap this post up, remember to be respectful when visiting these spots and also be aware of your surroundings.  This neighborhood isn't in the best part of town, so travel with someone and preferably during the day.  You better believe that there are real-life Deebo's out there and you don't want to be the one saying "my grandmama gave me that chain!"

Craig's house is located "between Normandie and Western" in the West Athens area of Los Angeles at:
1418 W 126th Street
Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, July 14, 2011

If You Don't Use It, You Lose It? - The 40 Year Old Virgin Smart Tech Store

January of this year my girlfriend and I had planned a romantic weekend in Ventura, California.  For those of you who don't know, Ventura is located up the California coast north of Los Angeles.  It just so happened that a few nights before this trip I was watching one of the all-timers The 40 Year Old Virgin.  Now this movie has it's place in the history books and I would label it Steve Carell's breakout role.  I was never a fan of NBC's The Office until I subscribed to Netflix last summer.  I started watching the series and was immediately hooked.  I'm talking 3 to 4 episodes a day hooked.  But I will save that obsession for another post as I have some wonderful pictures of Dunder Mifflin for you Office die hards out there.

Anyways, The 40 Year Old Virgin is a hilarious comedy that came out in 2005 starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd.  I won't go into details explaining the plot because I want you to go out and see it for yourself.  As I started mentioning before, I was watching this film and began wondering as I often do "where the hell did they film this movie."  Now typically my inclination is Southern California, Chicago or New York City.  You can usually tell by the architecture and landscape where the film was shot, but Hollywood can play some funny tricks on the viewer.  I did a little research on this filming spot and discovered it on and IMDB.

So I left a little early for my weekend getaway and made a stop before Ventura.  What fascinates me about living in Southern California is that you can be watching one of your favorite movies one day and be standing in the exact location it was filmed the next.  This was the precise case with 40 Year Old Virgin.  Just off the 101 freeway is the city of Encino.  This is the location for the movie's fictional business Smart Tech which closely resembled a then electronic superpower Circuit City.  Circuit City has since gone on to close down most if not all of their physical storefronts and transition to online sales.

In "real life" Smart Tech is FlashLaser Aesthetics which is a skin treatment business.  There is also a neighboring Bed Bath and Beyond among several other businesses.  I walked around the area checking it all out and wondered as I do about all of these locations, "what made them choose this spot?"

I'll leave you to think about that question.  What makes the directors and producers choose specific houses, businesses and locations for movies?  If you have a logical answer feel free to leave it in the comments section below.

Smart Tech is located at:
17401 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Like Warm Apple Pie - American Pie Dog Years

If you attended high school in the early 2000’s there’s no way you missed the American Pie movies. I remember sitting in a small local theater laughing my ass off in 1999 watching the first American Pie. An instant classic! A few years later, American Pie 2 was released and I can honestly say that the sequel was just as good as the first. So when I discovered that a lot of American Pie locations were in Southern California, I had to put them on the list. I’m also going to throw this out there before I go any further and say that American Wedding was terrible. Maybe I need to re-watch it, but I can’t imagine it doing much good. Sean William Scott’s character Stiffler is too obnoxious for my taste in American Wedding. It’s as if they relied on that character to carry the movie, but it’s just too much.

There, now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the location on hand. If you can remember back to the first movie the boys talk about their favorite burger/hot dog joint Dog Years. They also mention it in the second movie and even film that location again. There is an actual restaurant at this location although it’s not called Dog Years of course, it’s called CaffĂ© Opera located in Monrovia, California. Monrovia is another city nestled at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains along the 210 freeway just east of Sierra Madre (Dude Where’s My Car locations). More American Pie locations to come!

The Dog Years filming spot is located at:
402 S Myrtle Ave
Monrovia, CA

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name - The Cheers Bar

It’s time I share a location that isn’t in Southern California. In fact, this location can be found 3,000 miles east in the great city of Boston, Massachusetts. While traveling the east coast with my dad who is one of my favorite traveling buddies, Boston was one of the main stops. With a Red Sox game on the agenda, a tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery and a stroll around the city, we stopped at the Cheers bar.

What’s interesting about this location, much like Tom’s Restaurant from Seinfeld in upper Manhattan, is that they only used the exterior for the show. The interior filming was done on a set.

Inside this Beacon Hill location is an actual Pub and a Cheers gift store. They have also created a replica to the Cheers bar that you see on the television show that is located downtown in Quincy Market. I would also like to mention that the impression us West-Coasters get about Boston is that it is this giant city that has been a powerhouse in sports that always rivals New York City. While in fact, Boston’s 2010 population was 645,000 people which is about 300,000 people less than California’s San Jose.

Nonetheless, Boston is a very fun city with a rich history. I recommend it be on anyone’s top 5 cities to visit because of the people, the landmarks, the sports and the accents! Just across the Charles River or as they say in Boston “Challs riva” to the west are the prestigious MIT and Harvard campuses. Both of these hotspots have been host to many films over the years including The Social Network, 21, Old School, The Town and Road Trip to name a few.

So the moral of the story is take some vacation days this year and get your butt on a plane to Boston. Have a great time and enjoy a Sam Adams for me.

For more information about the Cheers locations, click here.

The original Cheers bar location is at:
84 Beacon Street
Boston, MA

The replica bar is located at:
1 Faneuil Hall
Boston, MA