Southland Tales (2006)

The 2006 Richard Kelly film “Southland Tales” tells the story of an alternate timeline in the near future where the United States is descending into chaos and ultimately the end of the world. The film features an ensemble cast with interconnecting stories set against the backdrop of Southern California. The film is largely set along the beach fronts of Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. However, the film also shot brief scenes in Abilene, Texas and Primm, Nevada. This article contains some spoilers for the film.

In the opening scene of the movie, a nuclear attack is shown in the town of Abilene, Texas, through the perspective of home video footage at a children’s party. These scenes really were filmed in Abilene, with the house located at 2143 S 10th St, Abilene, TX 79605.

Throughout the film, Private Pilot Abilene, played by Justin Timeberlake, sits perched at the end of the Santa Monica Pier on the rooftop of Maria Sol restaurant, armed with a military grade gun, which is aimed inland at citizens.

LOCATION: 401 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Here’s closer view of the building, from the pier itself.

Boxer Santaros, played by Dwayne Johnson, awakens on the beach, unable to remember the events prior to the start of the film (those events are told in a graphic novel). He is seen walking up these stairs, which connect Palisades Park to the Santa Monica Beach parking area, as he is monitored by USIDent, which is something of an mock up and extreme version of the Department of Homeland Security.

LOCATION: 34°00’47.5″N 118°29’51.6″W

In Downtown Los Angeles, protesters demonstrate outside of the USIDent headquarters, which was filmed at the Caltrans building.

LOCATION: 100 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Boxer Santaros and Krysta Now, a porn star with psychic abilities played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, hide out with Fortunio Balducci, played by Will Sasso, at this home in Manhattan Beach. It is also under surveillance from USIDent.

LOCATION: 132 3rd St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Later in the film, Officer Ronald Taverner, played by Seann William Scott, stands in front of the home and looks out toward the beach.

The Sidewalk Cafe in Venice is featured multiple times throughout the film, as several characters meet and discuss various matters. It is connected to Small World Books, which is another location seen later in the film.

LOCATION: 1401 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The entrance is seen briefly in the film.

USIDent surveillance shows that Boxer was first found at the California / Nevada state line, with images showing Buffalo Bill’s Resort & Casino in Primm, Nevada (31700 S Las Vegas Blvd, Primm, NV 89019).

Neo-Marxist Cyndi Pinziki, played by Nora Dunn, lives at this apartment above a storefront in Venice Beach, which has been slightly remodeled since filming.

LOCATION: 1307 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

The Neo-Marxist compound, where Roland Taverner, also played by Seann William Scott, awakens can also be found on Venice Beach.

LOCATION: 909 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Later in the film, Roland escapes the Neo-Marxist compound by jumping off the rooftop of the same building. The dumpster jump was a visual effect, but the location is otherwise geographically accurate. In fact, most of the film is geographically accurate in the ways the characters move from one location to the next. This side of the building faces Speedway / Breeze Ave.

Ronald and Boxer go on a drive together as Ronald makes a racist remark, which is captured on camera by Boxer, who is recording for research for an upcoming movie role. The two drive along Culver Blvd, past Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Playa Del Rey.

A political ad plays on the USIDent screens, with a little girl standing in front of a church. This was filmed back in Abilene, Texas (518 N 6th St, Abilene, TX 79601).

Boxer follows the mysterious Serpentine, played by Bai Ling, into a book store. This was filmed at the aforementioned Small World Books, which is connected to the beach front restaurant featured multiple times throughout the film. Both the interior and exterior of the store were featured in the film.

LOCATION: 1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Dr. Soberin Exx, played by Curtis Armstrong, picks up Boxer Santaros in front of this restaurant in Marina Del Rey.

LOCATION: 311 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Bing Zinneman, played by Todd Berger, gets hit by car at this intersection in Venice.

LOCATION: Market St / Speedway, Los Angeles, CA 90291

The actual close-up stunt of the impact, however, was filmed in an alley near Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles, around 337 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

On the same street where Bing Zinneman is hit, Ronald Taverner is injected with Fluid Karma, a drug with a variety of effects, depending on which color is taken. Ronald passes out in the street in this area.

LOCATION: 74 Market St, Venice, CA 90291

After Roland awakens from the dumpster he jumped into, he arrives at this area, where he finds Walter Mung, played by Christopher Lambert, parked in an ice cream truck.

LOCATION: 1313 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Dozens of caskets draped in American flags are unloaded onto the Santa Monica Pier.

LOCATION: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

One of the bodies is transported on a tram to Treer Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. The tram was a CGI creation, but the surrounding buildings are once again geographically accurate, placing the location at W 7th St / Francisco St. As you can see in the photo, however, new buildings are going up as the skyline continues to change.

LOCATION: W 7th St / Francisco St, Los Angeles, CA 90017 (partial CGI used for the location)

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is Pilot Abilene’s Fluid Karma hallucination, where an impromptu musical sequence ensues to “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers. This was filmed at the Playland Arcade on the Santa Monica Pier, which was renamed the “Fire Arcade” in the film, as a nod to the band Arcade Fire. Both the interior and exterior of the arcade are seen and it still looks largely similar to how it appeared in the film

LOCATION: 350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Late into the film, the MegaZeppelin prepares to launch in Downtown Los Angeles. This was another CGI creation. However, it is depicted as being located beside the Staples Center, placing it where L.A. Live stands now.

LOCATION: 777 Chick Hearn Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (partial CGI used for the location)

Zora Charmichaels, played by Cheri Oteri and Bart Bookman, played by Jon Lovitz, track down Krysta Now in Hermosa Beach. They exit the Municipal Parking Structure, where armed military are present. This same building appears later in the film, as gunfire erupts.

LOCATION: Municipal Parking Structure, 13th St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Krysta Now enters the former Poop Deck, which was a real bar and restaurant in Hermosa Beach. It is now known simply as The Deck. Both the exterior and interiors of the restaurant were featured in the film. However, the bathroom scene where Krysta delivers a tape was filmed on a set.

LOCATION: 1272 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Back at the Municipal Parking Structure, which is just around the corner, a military gunman opens fire on Zora and Bart from the top deck.

Krysta Now escapes the scene.

The interior of the MegaZeppelin was a composite of two different locations. It starts inside a restaurant at the Pacific Design Center (8687 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069), before seamlessly transitioning (via a hidden edit in an unbroken shot) into the ballroom, which was filmed at Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049).

A Los Angeles freeway is seen, with more CGI elements added. This was filmed at W 7th St, overlooking the CA-110 freeway, facing Southbound. Again, the surrounding buildings are geographically accurate.

LOCATION: 34°03’01.0″N 118°15’45.3″W (partial CGI used for the location)

Walter Mung drives his ice cream truck, with Roland inside, towards the erupting riots in the city. A car is burning next to the “Uptown Rocker” public art piece in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (GPS coordinates: 34°03’06.3″N 118°15’10.2″W)

The ice cream truck crashes at S Hill St / W 4th St, where there are riots in the streets.

LOCATION: S Hill St / W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

As Roland and Ronald Taverner meet one another, the ice cream truck ascends into the sky in front of the US Bank Tower in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: 633 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Related articles: Donnie Darko (2001)

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.”

demolitionman10

LOCATION: 1 Baxter Way, Westlake Village, CA 91362

demolitionman11

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.

beverlyhills90210-3

LOCATION: 3500 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

The Mills house where Steven and Celeste live can be found in Studio City. The same house was featured in such films as “A League of Their Own,” “Candyman” and “Adams Family Values.” It is also located next door to one of the houses used in the film “Catch Me If You Can.”

LOCATION: 4222 Agnes Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

Unfortunately, the front of the property has since been lined with tall hedges, obscuring the view from the street.

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.

heat21

LOCATION: 7447 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241

heat22

La La Land (2016)

Perhaps no movie has inspired more interest in it’s filming locations over the past several years than the love letter to the City of Los Angeles, “La La Land.”  The 2016 musical, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, filmed at a wide variety of locations all over the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas.  There are so many locations, in fact, one would be challenged to see them all in a single day.

The opening dance scene in traffic was filmed on the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange, which connects the 110 and 105 freeways in Los Angeles.  The scenes were shot on the express ramp, which requires a non-cash toll.  The bus jump from “Speed” was also filmed on the same interchange when it was still under construction.

lalaland33

LOCATION: I-110 / I-105, Los Angeles, CA 90061

Mia, played by Emma Stone, works in a coffee shop on the Warner Bros. Studio lot.  The real building is indeed located on the Warner lot, however, it is not actually a coffee shop.  Rather it is just a building facade, used for any number of settings for productions, such as the toy store in “Small Soldiers.”  After the success of the film, however, Warner Bros. did decorate the building again to make it appear as it did in the film, for a few select weeks.  The building can be seen as part of their studio tour.

lalaland1

LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

Mia lives at this pink apartment building in Long Beach, known as El Cordova.

lalaland12

LOCATION: 1728 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802

The production filmed inside of unit 16.

lalaland14

Mia exits through the courtyard to join her roommates for a dance number.

lalaland13

She and her roommates then dance on E 3rd Street in front of her apartment.

lalaland15

Later in the film, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, visits the apartment and picks up Mia at this back entrance to the building.

lalaland16

They then drive down this back alley.

lalaland17

Mia is walking alone past this famous mural in Hollywood, known as the “You Are A Star” mural, when she hears music inside.  She enters to find Sebastian playing piano.  The mural can be found at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Wilcox Ave.  It can also be seen in the 1999 film “8MM.”

lalaland2

LOCATION: 1648 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

After reconnecting at a party, Sebastian walks with Mia along Mt Hollywood Drive towards the viewpoint where the film’s most famous scene takes place; the dance sequence over the night skyline.

lalaland6

A lot of creative license was used by the filmmakers here, as to get to the dance spot, the characters would’ve had to hike nearly an hour.  The spot is known as “Cathy’s Corner” in Griffith Park and it requires a bit of commitment if you wish to see it in person.

lalaland3

LOCATION: Cathy’s Corner, Mt Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

There’s surprisingly little information online about how to accurately reach Cathy’s Corner.  Here we’ll attempt to detail that.  First and foremost, the spot is completely inaccessible by vehicle.  It is found along a fully paved road, but the road is gated off in all directions from motor vehicles.  Aside from park rangers, the road is primarily used by hikers and bicyclists.  Many GPS systems will offer different routes to drive to Cathy’s Corner, but rest assured, you’ll only get so far before you’ll encounter signs or gates preventing you from proceeding any further by car.

The viewpoint is accessible a couple different ways on foot, but the best way to do it is by parking at the Griffith Observatory.  The lot at the Observatory itself is almost always full.  You’re unlikely to find a spot in the actual lot.  However, you can park along East or West Observatory Road.  Unfortunately, these are now paid parking spaces.  There are a few free auxiliary lots, but those fill up quickly as well, plus they get you pretty far away from where you need to be to get to Cathy’s Corner.  You shouldn’t have a difficult time finding a paid parking space on Observatory Road, unless you’re arriving at peak evening hours.  Your best bet is to arrive early.

The easiest way to spot the trail head to reach Cathy’s Corner is to look for the tunnel when approaching Griffith Observatory.  Most traffic to reach the Observatory passes through it.  The tunnel was famously seen in Back To The Future Part 2, when Biff and Marty McFly (riding a hoverboard) fight over a sports almanac.  The very first road on your right, once you pass through the tunnel, is where you will need to hike.  It will either be gated off, or if the gates are open, a guard will be parked there, making sure no motorists attempt to drive up it.  The road is freely accessible to pedestrians on foot or bike, however, and you’ll likely see a lot of both.  You simply take that road for 2.2 miles to reach Cathy’s Corner.

It is a moderate hike.  Much of it is uphill, but considering you can walk a paved road the entire way, as well as the fact that there are resting spots and a water fountain along the way, it’s certainly manageable for most.  A couple bottles of water should suffice, unless it’s an extremely hot day.

If you use GPS for walking, it should be accurate from Griffith Observatory to Cathy’s Corner.  The hike takes anywhere from 90 minutes to a couple hours round trip, depending on your foot speed.  Cathy’s Corner can be found along a winding corner of Mt Hollywood Drive and should be distinct from all other corners for it’s skyline view.  Contrary to some information online, you do not likely need to worry about traffic, snakes or mountain lions.  It’s a heavily used trail on a paved road.  Your biggest challenge will be to simply bring adequate hydration and know where you are headed.  You can visit there at sunset or night, but you’ll likely have a difficult time finding a parking space.

Taking a closer look at the viewpoint, Sebastian hangs from a lamppost here, which was added by the production.

lalaland4

Sebastian and Mia then sit at a bench, which was located here.  The bench was likewise added by the production.

lalaland5

After their famous dance routine, Sebastian walks Mia to her car, which is also located at Cathy’s Corner, simply looking the opposite direction as the scenic view.  The production added cars and lampposts all along the road.

As a final tip to film location enthusiasts, a location from the David Lynch film “Lost Highway” can be found along the same trail, much closer to the Griffith Observatory.

lalaland7

Excited about their budding romance, Sebastian sneaks onto the Warner Bros lot to visit Mai at her workplace and the two take a stroll together down the studio backlot.  This area was famously also seen on Pink Floyd’s album cover for “Wish You Were Here.”

lalaland8

LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

The pair then go see a jazz show at the Lighthouse Cafe, near the Hermosa Pier in Hermosa Beach.  The Lighthouse Cafe really is a jazz bar.

lalaland9

LOCATION: 30 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Right next to The Lighthouse Cafe is the Hermosa Beach Pier, where Sebastian does a dance at sunset.  Lampposts were added along the pier by the production.  After the success of the film, the City of Hermosa Beach began hosting occasional special events at the pier celebrating the film, where they add temporary lampposts.

lalaland30

LOCATION: 1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

lalaland31

The two watch “Rebel Without A Cause” at the Rialto Theater in South Pasadena.  The theater has appeared in numerous other films, including “Scream 2” and “The Player.”

lalaland30

LOCATION: 1023 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

After watching the movie, the couple makes an impromptu trip to the Griffith Observatory to check out the filming locations.

griffith10

LOCATION: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Sebastian drives his convertible, with Mia in tow, down the sidewalk on the right.

griffith6

They then dance around this pendulum inside the Observatory.

griffith12

The two gaze up at this mural inside.

griffith13

They also pause to take a look at this Tesla Coil.

griffith14

During a romantic “summer” montage, the two can be seen walking along the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.

lalaland29

LOCATION: 504 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

The pair can also be seen visiting the Watts Towers.

lalaland10

LOCATION: 1727 E 107th St, Los Angeles, CA 90002

Sebastian and Mia can also be seen riding up Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles.  They dance together briefly at the top.

lalaland11.jpg

LOCATION: 50 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Directly across the street from Angels Flight is the Grand Central Market, where another scene in the montage takes place.  A popular eating spot, Grand Central Market has appeared in many films, including “Color Of Night,” “City Of Angels,” “I Am Sam” and many more.

lalaland32

LOCATION: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Mia walks past this motel as she tries to call Sebastion.

LOCATION: 995 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Later in the film, Mia, now a successful actress, can be seen staying at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.

somewhere1

LOCATION: 8221 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

Near the end of the film, Mia accidentally stumbles upon Sebastian, who has opened his own jazz bar, called Seb’s.  In reality, Seb’s was a combination of two film locations.  The exterior is a Los Angeles bar known simply as Black.

lalaland21

LOCATION: 6202 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Here is the angle from the sidewalk seen in the film.

lalaland18

The interior is a bar far from Los Angeles, located in Long Beach, known as The Blind Donkey.  After the success of the film, The Blind Donkey hosted an evening based around the film, where they once again dressed the space to appear as it did in the film.

Here is the stairway Mia walks down to enter the bar.

lalaland19

Here is the stage where Sebastian played his piano.  In the actual bar, it’s just an enclosed seating area.

lalaland20

LOCATION: 149 Linden Ave Ste. B100, Long Beach, CA 90802

As many locations as we’ve covered here, there are still countless more seen in the film.  We hope we have covered most of the highlights.

Beverly Hills, 90210

Despite the show’s name, very little of “Beverly Hills 90210” was ever shot in Beverly Hills.

The Walsh residence can actually be found in Altadena, California.

beverlyhills90210-1

LOCATION: 1675 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

The cast attends “West Beverly High,” which was also filmed far from Beverly Hills at Torrance High School, down in Torrance, California.  The same school was used on the TV series “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and the film “She’s All That.”

beverlyhills90210-5

LOCATION: 2200 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

Another shot of the school seen frequently on the show.

beverlyhills90210-2

A few different locations served as the famous “Peach Pit” on the show.  In the first season, several episodes depicted the restaurant at this West L.A. restaurant.

beverlyhills90210-9

LOCATION: 10801 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

However, production switched to this Venice location for the remainder of the season.

beverlyhills90210-8

LOCATION: 1027 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

The most well-known location for the “Peach Pit,” used from the second season onward, can be found in Pasadena.  The building has hosted a variety of restaurants since filming ended and no longer bears much resemblance to how it appeared on the show.

beverlyhills90210-4

LOCATION: 45 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

If that wasn’t enough Peach Pit for you, in 2019, a special pop-up version surfaced in Los Angeles, which has since closed.  The same location was previously used as a pop-up for “Twin Peaks.”

beverlyhills90210-10
beverlyhills90210-11
beverlyhills90210-12

Dylan, played by Luke Perry, lived at this house in Altadena.  It’s located just a few houses down from the Walsh residence.

beverlyhills90210-6

LOCATION: 1605 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

Steve’s house can be found in Encino.  The house was also seen in the films “Ghost In The Machine” and “The Dentist.”  Trees in the yard are making the front of the property increasingly difficult to see from the road.

beverlyhills90210-7

LOCATION: 16711 Bosque Dr, Encino, CA 91436

Andrea’s house was formerly located at 540 N Gramercy Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90004, but the houses on this block have since been demolished and replaced by an apartment complex.

Kelly and Donna’s beach house can be found right along the walkways of Hermosa Beach.  The same property was featured in the 1980s comedy “My Stepmother Is An Alien.” It’s quite a nice area to visit, even if you’re not a fan of the show.

beverlyhills90210-3

LOCATION: 3500 The Strand, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Related articles: Melrose Place