Falling Down (1993)

In Joel Schumacher’s 1993 film “Falling Down,” Michael Douglas plays the central character, referred to only as “D-Fens,” which is his license plate number.  The film follows D-Fens as he makes his was from Los Angeles to Venice Beach.  For the most part, the locations actually do follow this path, with a few exceptions.

The opening traffic jam is set at the 101 interchange of the 110 freeway.  The traffic pileup is in the southbound lane to the left, while D-Fens abandons his car and takes the northbound lane to the right on foot.

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LOCATION: Interchange of I-110 / I-101, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Beth, the estranged wife of D-Fens, played by Barbara Hershey, lives just off the Venice boardwalk.  This view next to her house, facing towards the beach, is seen multiple times in the film.

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LOCATION: 201 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Beth’s house was unfortunately completely remodeled and looks nothing like it did in the film.

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LOCATION: 18 Ozone Ave, Venice, CA 90291

The police station where Detective Prendergast, played by Robert Duvall, works was a set built at Warner Bros. Studios (4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522).

D-Fens makes his was to the market of Mr. Lee, where the first outburst of violence occurs over an overpriced can of soda.  This location is right next to the 101 freeway, making it a logical stop along the path of D-Fens.  The market has since been demolished and a park (Madison West Park) now exists in it’s place.

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LOCATION: 458 N Madison Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Later in the film, Prendergast makes his way to the market and climbs this embankment.  After spotting a billboard, he correctly places the proximity to the abandoned car and identifies D-Fens as his suspect.  A note to those interested in visiting, this dead end next to the park is not a very safe area, serving as a makeshift homeless community.

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As D-Fens makes his way through East L.A., he sits to rest and is approached by two gang members demanding his briefcase.  D-Fens refuses and things quickly turn violent.  The hilltop where the scene was shot has been converted in to a park, Vista Hermosa Natural Park, but the skyline of downtown Los Angeles still matches up.

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LOCATION: 100 N Toluca St, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Looking for retribution, the gang members spot D-Fens in front of a theater, where they attempt to ambush him with a drive-by shooting.  The theater has since been demolished, but the surrounding buildings where the car rolls up still match.

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LOCATION: 2524 East Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (looking down from N Fickett St)

After hitting everyone in sight except D-Fens, their car turns off East Ceasar E Chavez Ave onto N Ficket St and crashes in front of this building.  D-Fens walks up and takes their bag of weapons.

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LOCATION: 2600 East Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (at N Fickett St)

D-Fens is standing next to a children’s playground in MacArthur Park, when a beggar starts asking him for a handout.  The playground has since been moved to another section of the park, but the structure to the left, seen in the film, still stands at the original spot.

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LOCATION: 2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

The beggar follows D-Fens through this tunnel, making up a sob story, which is quickly exposed as a lie.  MacArthur Park is not the safest of areas in general.  We wouldn’t recommend tourism here.

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On the other side of the tunnel, the D-Fens gives the beggar his briefcase.  The lake in the background is also seen in the movie “Drive,” where Ryan Gosling’s character makes a deal with some criminals.

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After discovering the briefcase only contains some lunch food, the disappointed beggar throws the apple at D-Fens, who kicks the apple and continues up the stairs to the left.

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The “Whammyburger” in the film is the biggest departure from the true path of Los Angeles to Venice Beach.  The restaurant, Angelo’s Burgers, is located much further south in Lynwood, California.  It still bears a strong resemblance to how it appeared in the film, aside from the fictitious Whammyburger set dressing.  Angelo’s was in fact the same restaurant at the time of filming.  It has not changed ownership.  The burgers there are quite good as well.

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LOCATION: 10990 Atlantic Ave, Lynwood, CA 90262

A view inside the Whammyburger.

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A poster for the film can be found inside, noting that filming took place on May 12, 1992.

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Celebrating his last day, Prendergast eats lunch at a Mexican restaurant.

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LOCATION: 4067 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

In one of the more poignant scenes in the film, D-Fens sees a man protesting, because he has been denied a loan and was determined to be “not economically viable.”  The building is now a post office.

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LOCATION: 5350 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The scene where D-Fens shoots up a phone booth was shot over on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, right along the iconic Sunset Strip.  The El Pollo Loco restaurant to the left was seen in the film, although most of the other businesses in the plaza have since changed.

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LOCATION: 8148 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

The army surplus store where D-Fens meets a Nazi store owner can be found back towards East L.A.  The building really is a surplus store and still operates today.  The real owners are nothing like the eccentric man in the film and are very welcoming to visitors.

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LOCATION: 3828 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

A view of the front counter, which is brimming with quite a bit more merchandise than seen in the film.

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Some of the rocket mortar props seen in the film are still found in the store, albeit a bit tucked away.

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The back of the surplus store, where more violence occurs, was actually a set construced at Warner Bros. Studios (4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91522).

The construction scene, where D-Fens fires a bazooka, faces towards the 110 and 105 freeway interchange.  The same interchange can be seen in the film “La La Land,” which also opens with a traffic jam, albeit to much different results.

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LOCATION: Intersection of S Broadway / W 112th St, Los Angeles, CA 90061

This church can be seen in the background of a few shots during the construction scene.

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Near the end of the film, D-Fens finally finds his family at the Venice Fishing Pier.  The pier had long been closed at the time of filming and was once set for demolition, but after community backlash, was ultimately saved and restored.  The building at the end of the pier is no longer there, but otherwise the area looks the same for the most part.

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LOCATION: Venice Fishing Pier, Los Angeles, CA 90292

Prendergast approaches and finally meets D-Fens.

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Prendergast and D-Fens have a standoff in the film’s climactic scene.

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There are quite a few locations to this film, some demolished or remodeled, others still standing.  Other than a few slightly unsafe areas, if you’re a fan of visiting filming locations, most of them are worth a visit.  “Falling Down” has grown in stature in the years since the film’s release and it has rightly taken it’s place among the the most iconic Los Angeles-based films.

Friday (1995)

In the 1995 comedy “Friday,” Craig, played by Ice Cube, lives at this Los Angeles house.  He hangs out with Smokey, played by Chris Tucker, on the front porch.

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LOCATION: 1418 W 126th St, Los Angeles, CA 90047

Across the street is Miss Parker’s house.

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LOCATION: 1423 W 126th St, Los Angeles, CA 90047

Paramount Ranch

In 1927, Paramount Pictures purchased land in Agoura Hills, California in the Santa Monica Mountains, where they constructed the original movie sets of Paramount Ranch, which were known for representing everything from colonial Massachusetts to ancient China, becoming widely used in a number of classic films, such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Gunfight at the OK Corral.”  The legendary TV series “Gunsmoke” also filmed at the ranch.

In the 1950s, William Hertz purchased the ranch from Paramount (although their name stuck) and brought in sets from RKO Pictures’ former Encino Ranch, which would become the basis of the “Western Town” at Paramount Ranch.  This opened up the property to a new generation of Westerns and the ranch flourished.

With Hertz’s health in decline, he would sell the ranch to an auto racing company.  However, after two fatal crashed in 1957, the racing company folded.

In 1980, the ranch was adopted as Paramount Ranch Park, part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  Due to this change, the ranch became open to the public and free of charge, which is a very unique quality for movie ranches in Southern California, as most those remaining are privately owned and closed to the public.

While many of the buildings did change over the years, the National Parks Service restored the “Western Town” to it’s former glory and resumed using it as a filming location, including notable appearances on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “The X-Files,” “Carnivàle” and “Westworld.”  Countless films also shot at the ranch, including “Reds,” “The Flintsones in Viva Rock Vegas,” “Bone Tomahawk,” “The Great Outdoors,” “American Sniper” and many more.  Even when filming was taking place at the ranch, it still remained open for public visitation.

Unfortunately in November 2018, the ranch fell victim to wildfires and nearly every building was burnt to the ground.  This has actually happened to several sets around Southern California over the years, with many often being rebuilt.  It remains to be seen what the future holds for Paramount Ranch.

We had the good fortune of visiting the ranch on multiple occasions before the fire, so here we’ll take a look at pretty much everything that could be seen around the Western Town set.

LOCATION: 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (now demolished)

Here is entrance the entrance to the ranch.

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A map of the grounds.

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The “Chins” building, seen on the TV series “Carnivàle.”

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The church, seen on the TV series “Westworld.”  It was the sole building to survive the wildfire.

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A look inside the church.

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The general store.

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The Trapper.

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A house at the ranch, which was actually used as a residence by staff.

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The saloon and gazebo, where the climax of Season 1 of “Westworld” takes place, with Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins and Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood, causing a dramatic scene.

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The hotel, seen on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

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A glimpse inside.

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The barber shop.

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The bank.

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Another general store.

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The jail.

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The stable.

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The train depot, seen on “The X-Files.”

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A covered cafeteria area with picnic tables, where film crews could eat their meals.

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We are hopeful that the sets will be reconstructed in time, but until then, we hope this article serves as a document of what was.

Beethoven (1992)

The house from the 1992 comedy “Beethoven,” as well as the sequel, “Beethoven’s 2nd,” can be found in South Pasadena, California.  The house still largely resembles how it appeared in the films.

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LOCATION: 1405 Milan Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

Bio-Dome (1996)

The 1996 film “Bio-Dome,” starring Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin, filmed at the Japanese Garden of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California.  The location has been used in countless TV shows and films, notably serving as the “Starfleet Academy” in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.”  Other TV shows to film there include the original “Knight Rider,” “Murder She Wrote” and the original “Charmed.”  Films such as “Rising Sun,” “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and “Most Wanted” also filmed at the location.

The Japanese Garden is well worth a visit, even if you’re not a movie buff.  There’s lots of beautiful greens and a pond not shown in this article.  It’s a unique oasis tucked away in the San Fernando Valley that will make you feel like you’re strolling through Tokyo.

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LOCATION: 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91406

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Stranger Things

The popular TV series “Stranger Things” is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana.  The real locations of Hawkins are actually a composite of a number of small towns scattered around the Greater Atlanta Area of Georgia.  Many of the locations are fairly distanced from one another, so it takes some dedication to see them all.  Here we’ll take a look at many of these locations.

The Hawkins National Laboratory, where all of the supernatural mysteries seem to originate, can be found in Atlanta.  The building is actually a former clinic, which is part of Emory University.

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LOCATION: 1256 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

Mike’s house, which is seen frequently on the show, can be found in the town of East Point.  Most of the kids’ houses from the show are all not only in East Point, but all in the same neighborhood.

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LOCATION: 2530 Piney Wood Ln, East Point, GA 30344

Hawkins High School can be found in the town of Stockbridge.  The real school is Patrick Henry High School.

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LOCATION: 109 S Lee St, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Hawkins Middle School is actually the same location as the high school, just different buildings on the same property.  Quite a number of scenes take place around these school buildings.

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LOCATION: 109 S Lee St, Stockbridge, GA 30281

The kids can be seen parking their bikes here.  This and many scenes were filmed towards the back of the school property, away from the road.  So if you don’t immediately spot recognizable areas, look for the tall field lights and head toward the back of the school.

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This building can be seen pretty close to the road, in which the giant creature from the alternate universe known as the “Upside Down” can be seen towering over it.  The building is still painted with the fictitious school name from the show.

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This entrance is seen prominently is Season 2 of the show, with the kids dressed as Ghostbusters.

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Max, played by Sadie Sink, is seen walking up these stairs as the other kids spy on her.

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The kids look for Dart in another Season 2 episode at this spot.

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Another wide view of the school, as seen from the field at the back of the property.

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Most of the town square of Hawkins is comprised of buildings from the town of Jackson, Georgia.  Melvad’s General Store is one such example.

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LOCATION: 4 2nd St, Jackson, GA 30233

The interior was dressed for filming when we visited, so here’s a couple glimpses inside.

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Eleven uses her mind control powers to kill a man inside of this restaurant in Litha Springs, known as Tiffany’s Kitchen.

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LOCATION: 7413 Lee Rd, Lithia Springs, GA 30122

Back over in Jackson, the Hawkins Library is actually the Butts County Probate Court building.

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LOCATION: 25 3rd St, Jackson, GA 30233

Switching back to East Point, this house, where Lucas lives, is located right beside Mike’s house.

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LOCATION: 2550 Piney Wood Ln, East Point, GA 30344

Jonathan and Steve get into a fight in this alley as Nancy is caught in the middle.  It can also be found in Jackson, not far from Milvad’s General Store and the Hawkins Library.

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LOCATION: Alley between N Oak St / Pittman St, Jackson, GA 30233 (the building seen across the street is 124 W 2nd St, Jackson, GA 30233)

While the kids are being pursued, Eleven uses her powers to flip a van over in front of these houses, found in Tucker, Georgia.

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LOCATION: Between 3782 and 3788 Sarahs Ln, Tucker, GA 30084

The police station, where Sheriff Hopper works, can be found in the town Douglasville, not far from the arcade seen in Season 2.  Finding the building can be slightly confusing.  Many online resources state the address as “48 Pray Street” in Douglasville.  The number above the doorway of the building is indeed 48.  However, the street name is actually Courthouse Square West.  Google lists the address as 8485 Courthouse Square West.  If you find yourself confused, just locate the intersection of Church St and Courthouse Square West and you’ll have no trouble spotting the building.

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LOCATION: 8485 Courthouse Square West, Douglasville, GA 30134

Dustin’s house, nested in trees, can also be found near the houses of Mike and Lucas in East Point.

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LOCATION: 2886 Piney Wood Dr, East Point, GA 30344

Barb’s house is likewise located on the same road.

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LOCATION: 2980 Piney Wood Dr, East Point, GA 30344

Jonathan pays a visit to Lonnie’s house, which can be found in Atlanta.

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LOCATION: 930 Garibaldi St SW, Atlanta, GA 30310

Season 2 kicks off with police in pursuit of a van carrying another girl with supernatural powers, much like Eleven.  As they approach this overpass, the girl seizes control of the cop’s mind to make him envision the structure collapsing.

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LOCATION: Glenn St SW, Atlanta, GA 30312 (nearest address is 562 Glenn St SW, Atlanta, GA 30312)

The cop slams his breaks, with many cop cars crashing into him, only for his partner to inform him his vision wasn’t real.  The tunnel appears much longer and deeper on the show than it is in real life.  It’s actually just a short overpass.

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It isn’t the safest or cleanest of areas, we wouldn’t recommend coming out here alone at night.

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The arcade, seen in Season 2, still has the paint job from the show, although the sign is no longer there.  The building currently sits vacant in Douglasville, the same town as the Hawkins Police Department.

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LOCATION: 6501 Church St, Douglasville, GA 30134

A couple glimpses inside the empty arcade building…

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Max lives at this small house, which can be found in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

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LOCATION: 5280 Moore St, Stone Mountain, GA 30083

While you’ll spend a lot of time driving across Georgia to see all of these places, one upside is that most of these locations still bear a strong resemblance to how they appeared on the show, with some still continuing to be used for production.

Twins (1988)

In the 1988 Ivan Reitman comedy “Twins,” Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger play two long-lost brothers who reconnect.

Vincent, played by Danny DeVito, lives at this Santa Monica house.  The house has since been remodeled from how it appeared in the film, but does still bear some resemblance.

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LOCATION: 323 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402

Julius, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, walks up this Pasadena driveway in search of their father.

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LOCATION: 1126 Hillcrest Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106

Matinee (1993)

Joe Dante’s 1993 film “Matinee,” starring John Goodman, is set in Key West, Florida.  Much of the film centers around a movie theater known as The Strand.  There is a real, historic theater by that name in Key West, the exteriors of which still stand, but the interior is now a pharmacy store.  It also was not the theater used in the film.

The building which served as The Strand for filming wasn’t in Key West at all.  It’s the Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse, which can be found in the town of Cocoa, Florida.  While the theater does still show films on a limited basis, it primarily serves as a playhouse.  Only the playhouse exteriors were used in the film.  The interior theater scenes were filmed at Universal Studios Florida.

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LOCATION: 260 Brevard Ave, Cocoa, FL 32922

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Related articles: The ‘Burbs (1989)

Tangerine (2015)

Sean Baker’s 2015 film “Tangerine” made waves at the Sundance Film Festival for being shot entirely with iPhones.  The film depicts the life of a transgender Los Angeles prostitute, Sin-Dee, played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, as she discovers her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her.

The opening scene, as well as later scenes, were filmed at the former Donut Time on Santa Monica Blvd.  The filmmakers aimed for authenticity in their choice of locations, as this section of Hollywood is widely known for prostitution.  The Donut Time has since been replaced by Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts, owned and operated by actor Danny Trejo.

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LOCATION: 6785 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Sin-Dee makes her way down to the Vermont / Santa Monica Metro Station.

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LOCATION: 1015 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

She sits at this bench in front of the station, considering her next moves.

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Sin-Dee makes her way to a motel full of drug addicts and prostitutes, in search of another prostitute, whom she believes is cheating with her boyfriend.  This is the former Grand Motel, which has since closed.  Amy Winehouse also filmed scenes for her music video for “Tears Dry On Their Own” at the motel.

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LOCATION: 1479 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Another view of the former motel property, which is now fenced off until it is either remodeled or demolished.

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Related articles: The Florida Project (2017)