My Stepmother Is An Alien (1988)

The 1988 comedy “My Stepmother Is an Alien,” starring Kim Basinger and Dan Aykroyd, was filmed in Southern California. Steven Mills, played by Aykroyd, works as a scientist at this building, where he sends radio signals to space. The same building, found in Westlake Village near Thousand Oaks, was featured in the film “Demolition Man.”

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LOCATION: 1 Baxter Way, Westlake Village, CA 91362

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Celeste, played by Basinger, first arrives on Earth at the beach front property of Ron Mills, played by John Lovitz. The property, which was also featured in the TV series “Beverly Hills, 90210,” can be found in Hermosa Beach.

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LOCATION: 3500 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

The Mills house where Steven and Celeste live can be found in Studio City. Unfortunately, the front of the property is now lined with tall hedges.

LOCATION: 4222 Agnes Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

Celeste, unaware of how to prepare breakfast, sneaks out in the middle of the night to a diner, where she orders everything on the menu. This scene was filmed at the former Johnie’s Broiler in Downey.  The restaurant has a unique history, having appeared in many other films, such as “Heat,” “Short Cuts,” “License To Drive,” “The Game,” “One Hour Photo” and many more.  In 2007, the building was unfortunately demolished.  However, Bob’s Big Boy purchased the property years later and rebuilt it based on the original blueprints and even some of the same materials.  So what stands now closely resembles what was seen in the film.

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LOCATION: 7447 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241

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50 First Dates (2004)

The 2004 comedy “50 First Dates” was filmed primarily in Oahu, Hawaii, with some additional scenes filmed in Southern California.

The Hukilau Cafe, where Henry, played by Adam Sandler, first meets Lucy, played by Drew Barrymore, was a set built for the film.  Contrary to some information online, it definitely no longer exists.  It was filmed near the Moli’i Fishpond, which is adjacent to Kualoa Ranch.  The ranch in fact owns this land and it has been featured in many films, including “Jurassic World,” “Triple Frontier,” “Snatched,” “Tears of the Sun,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” “You, Me and Dupree” and the TV show “Lost.”  There are some buildings there, but they were not used as the restaurant set, which was torn down after filming.

There are a couple ways to see this area.  The local shops near the pond, which rent their buildings from Kualoa Ranch, offer tours of their own near the water for a small fee.  However, the Premier Movie Site Tour offered by Kualoa Ranch itself stops at this area and covers it in detail, which is our recommended way to see it.  Here is a view of the general area where the cafe set was built.

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LOCATION: 49-243 Kuukama St, Kailua, HI 96734

Here is a small sign nearby marking it as the filming location.

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It is a challenge to find the house of Lucy and even more of a challenge to photograph it.  There is a lot of conflicting information about its location and GPS does not offer a definitive address.  So the easiest way to pinpoint the general area is to find the Waikane Store on Kamehameha Hwy, located at 48-377 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744.  There is an unnamed road sitting right beside the store.  That is the road that leads to Lucy’s house.  You can in fact walk down this road, as we did, but the houses do not appear to have any registered addresses.  From where the road dead ends, you still can’t see the house very well, as you’re facing behind it and from a distance.  You would need to actually continue onto the property, which is private, in order to obtain a good view.

The best alternative we could find by land was traveling a bit down Kamehameha Hwy over to Waiahole Beach Park at 48-199 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744.  Despite the name, the area is quite grassy, with little sand.  There is a small section around the trees that extends out from the shoreline a bit, offering the best view of the house.  It’s still not ideal, but it is the closest point on public land to obtain a view of the actual house.  If you have a long-focus lens, you can probably obtain a better view.  It should also be noted there is no parking on Kamehameha Hwy at Waiahole Beach Park.  There are some nearby side streets, however, where you can park and walk over.

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LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 21°29’34.1″N 157°50’50.6″W (nearest registered address is 48-377 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744)

Here is a wider view of the area.  The pier, known as Waikane Pier, is also seen in the film, though only remnants of it exist now.  The TV show “Lost” also featured the pier.

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Further out in the water, you can see a small island known as Mokolii, or sometimes referred to as Chinaman’s Hat, which can also be seen in the film.  It is a popular photo spot for tourists.

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The road where Henry keeps finding creative ways to stop Lucy can be found on Kualoa Ranch.  Countless other films have shot in this area, ranging from “Jurassic Park” to “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” to “Windtalkers.”  If we have one complaint about the Kualoa Ranch tours (which are otherwise great), even on their Premier Movie Site Tour, they drive through this area rather quickly and do not stop.  This makes getting decent photographs a challenge.

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LOCATION: Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Later in the film, Lucy is admitted to the Callahan Institute for Brain Injuries.  This was filmed at the Cabrillo Beach Bath House in San Pedro, California.  The same location was famously featured in the film “Face/Off.”

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LOCATION: 3800 Stephen M White Dr, San Pedro, CA 90731

The Cabrillo Beach Bath House interiors were also used in the film.  The staff is very friendly there and welcoming to the public, so don’t hesitate to visit.

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My Girl (1991)

For those seeking out the filming locations of the 1991 film “My Girl,” prepare yourself for a lengthy journey.  While the film was set in Madison, Pennsylvania, it was shot mostly around Central Florida, with many of the locations scattered far apart from one another, tucked away in small towns.  To see the “My Girl” locations for yourself requires a lot of time and travel.

The Saltenfuss house, where Vada, played by Anna Chlumsky, lives with her father Harry, played by Dan Aykroyd, can be found in the town of Bartow, Florida.  For quite some time after the film, the property operated as a bed and breakfast.  Due to the property’s distance from major tourist destinations, however, it was unfortunately forced to shut down due to a lack of guest bookings.  It has since returned to being a private residence.  The house is very impressive and recognizable to how it appeared on screen, so if you have the time to venture to Bartow and are a fan of the film, it’s worth the journey.

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LOCATION: 555 E Stanford St, Bartow, FL 33830

Shelly, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, pulls her RV up from around this corner in front of the house.

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The main street where Veda and Thomas J., played by Macaulay Culkin, ride their bikes can be found in Sanford, Florida.  They can be seen crossing this road with the clock tower to the right, then riding down the sidewalk.

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LOCATION: Intersection of E 1st St and Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

They then ride their bikes up a ramp that specifically says “no bicycles,” taking a short cut through a mechanic’s garage.  That building and ramp have since been demolished.  The alley they exit onto can still be found, however, where the garage owner yells at them as they ride away.

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LOCATION: Alley directly behind 228 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771

As they approach Dr. Welty’s office, they continue riding their bikes down another alley, which features a “Nixon / Agnew ’72” poster on the brick wall.  This alley really is just around the corner from the Dr. Welty’s office filming location.

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LOCATION: Alley between 107 and 111 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

Vada visits Dr, Welty’s office, where, in spite of her claims that she’s sick, the doctor insists she’s in perfect health.

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LOCATION: 113 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

The kids then come across their school teacher, Mr. Bixler, played by Griffin Dunne, who is painting his house.

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LOCATION: 605 Magnolia Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

The tree where Vada and Thomas J. become “blood brothers” and later kiss in the film was a bit of movie magic.  It was, in fact, an artificial tree, built in part using pieces of a real tree.  After extensive location hunting for a willow tree beside a lake, the filmmakers failed to find what they were looking for and instead opted to make their own tree.  A team was hired to cut down a large oak tree, tagging each branch for reassembly, then uprooting it and moving it to the lake location.  The lake in question is Mirror Lake in Clermont, Florida, which is located somewhat far away from the other filming locations.  The base of the tree was held in place by five tons of cement, with metal coupling sleeves to reinforce the branches.  They then covered the entire thing with $15,000 worth of silk willow leaves to give you the tree you saw in the film, which appeared quite authentic.  Today all that remains is the metallic base of the tree.  Some say the dock has since been removed due to deterioration, while others say it is still there, submerged underwater.

This portion of the lake is not open to the public and is not visible from the road.  However, the much of the surrounding land is currently up for sale, in an effort to develop more housing around the area.  So while an eventual sale of the property could open it up for easier visibility, there is always the possibility that developing the land could in turn lead to the removal of the tree base.  The reason it hasn’t already been removed is most likely due to the five tons of concrete beneath.

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LOCATION: Mirror Lake, Old Hwy 50 W, Clermont, FL 34711 (closest known address is 15647 Old Hwy 50 W, Clermont, FL 34711, the GPS coordinates of the tree base itself are 28.565015, -81.700218)

A bit closer look at the tree base.

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Vada sneaks over to Thomas J.’s house and asks him to go to the church with her to spy on her father’s date with Shelly.

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LOCATION: 603 Myrtle Ave, Sanford, FL 32771

They church they head to is Ocoee Christian Church in Ocoee, Florida.  The kids can be seen walking down the sidewalk on the left and passing the front steps as they make their way over to the bingo tent.  Once again, Ocoee is not a short drive to get to and it’s somewhat puzzling why the filmmakers chose such a far-removed location, as surely there must have been other churches available that were closer to the other filming locations.

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LOCATION: 15 S Bluford Ave, Ocoee, FL 34761

Here is the yard to the church, where the bingo tent was set up.

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The school where Mr. Bixler teaches his creative writing class can be found at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Building, not to be confused with the present day Plant City High School.  The 1914 building is an old landmark and serves as a community center.

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LOCATION: 605 N Collins St, Plant City, FL 33563

Back in Sanford, near the end of the film, Thomas J.’s mother runs into Harry at The Breezeway Restaurant & Bar, which is located right by the clock tower on the main street, where the kids are seen riding their bikes early in the film.  Harry is eating inside, when he comes out and speaks to her on this sidewalk at the corner.

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LOCATION: 112 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771

If you’re a fan of the film, the good news is most of the filming locations are still well preserved.  The biggest challenge, aside from the handful of locations found in the town of Sanford, is simply traveling to all of the towns distant from one another, which composite the small Pennsylvania town depicted in the film.

Ghostbusters (1984)

One of the most famous movie locations in the world, the fire station that served as the headquarters for the Ghostbusters in the original 1984 film can be found in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.  The building was chosen because the screenwriters imagined the Ghostbusters as a public service, much like firemen.  Cast member Dan Aykroyd knew the neighborhood well and suggested the building.  Still an active firehouse, the location draws countless visitors each year.

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LOCATION: 14 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

Not quite as well known is the Los Angeles fire station location used in the film.  While the Hook & Ladder Company 8 building in Tribeca was used for exterior shots, interiors were filmed at Fire Station No. 23 in downtown L.A.  The fire station was closed in 1960 and has currently fallen into quite a state of disrepair.  The photo below is from several years ago, when it still looked presentable, but currently the building is boarded up, covered in graffiti and prohibited from entry.  Perhaps someday the interior will be restored to resemble the film, but it sits in a pretty bad area not far from skid row, so a restoration seems unlikely at this time.

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LOCATION: 225 E 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The Ghostbusters capture their first ghost at the fictional Sedgewick Hotel.  These scenes were filmed inside the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.  The hotel is a staple of film, having appeared in such movies as “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Independence Day,” “Fight Club” and dozens more.  Here is the lobby where they first enter.

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LOCATION: 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

They try to capture Slimer in the hotel’s lobby.

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Over at the Sony lot in Culver City, California, there was even at attempt to build a replica of the Hook & Ladder 8 building.

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LOCATION: 10202 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

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Also on the lot is the Ecto 1 car, which can be seen on the Sony Pictures Studio Tour.

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Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016)

In the opening scenes of director Paul Feig’s 2016, all-female remake of “Ghostbusters,” the ladies encounter a ghost at the Aldridge Mansion Museum, supposedly in New York.  The building is actually the Boston University Castle in Boston, Massachusetts.

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LOCATION: 225 Bay State Rd, Boston, MA 02215

The team sets up a new Ghostbusters headquarters above Zhu’s Authentic Hong Kong Food.  The real restaurant is actually Kaze Shabu Shabu.  The production added a garage on the left side of the building to house the Ecto-1 car.  At the real location, the garage space is just an additional area of the parking lot.

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LOCATION: 1 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

Here are some costumes and props from the film, which are on display at the Sony lot as part of their tour.

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LOCATION: 10202 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

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