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

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Point Break (1991)

The 1991 action film “Point Break,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was filmed mostly around Southern California, with a few late scenes filmed in Oregon and Hawaii.

Early in the film, the FBI agent Pappas, played by Gary Busey encourages his new partner Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves, to learn to surf.  Believing the bank robbers they are pursuing to be surfers, they discuss the need to infiltrate the tight-knit surfer community in order to gain leads as to the thieves’ identities.  These scenes were filmed at the Manhattan Beach Pier.

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LOCATION: 2 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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While surfing, Johnny meets Tyler, played by Lori Petty and the two strike up a romance.  Johnny visits her at her work, which was filmed at Neptune’s Net in Malibu.  A famous biker and surfer restaurant, the same place was also seen in “The Fast And The Furious.”

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LOCATION: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Utah begins frequenting a variety of beaches, in hopes of identifying the robbers, who call themselves the Ex-Presidents.  One of the beaches he checks out is Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey.  Utah can be seen near the El Segundo Power Plant, just past W Grand Ave.

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LOCATION: 12001 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293

Johnny is washing off after surfing, when another crew approaches and attacks him.  Bodhi, played by Patrick Swayze, intervenes as the two fight off the rival crew.  These scenes were filmed at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu.

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LOCATION: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Later in the film, Utah is ordering sandwiches when the Ex-Presidents pull up right behind him and proceed to rob a a bank.  This was filmed in Culver City, with the Culver Hotel seen in the distance (where the opening of “Last Action Hero” was filmed).

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LOCATION: Main St, Culver City, CA 90232 (facing toward Culver Blvd)

The building where the bank was located has been remodeled and is now separated into several business spaces.

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LOCATION: 3849 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

After the robbery, Utah and Pappas pursue the Ex-Presidents in a car chase.  The chase continues into the Westfield Shopping Plaza in Culver City, as the cars enter from Slauson Ave towards what is now a Macy’s department store.

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LOCATION: 6200 Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

They hook a left in the parking lot and drive past what is now a Trader Joe’s.

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LOCATION: 6150 Slauson Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The cars race up and down the aisles of the parking lot, which is located beneath the Marina Fwy (CA-90).

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LOCATION: 6000 S Hannum Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The cars then drive down Westfield Dr and head towards S Hannum Ave, where Pappas crashes into a security gate, stalling out the car.  Utah exits the car and continues on foot.

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LOCATION: Westfield Dr / S Hannum Ave, Culver City, CA 90230

The thieves blow out a tire as they turn right onto S Hannum Ave.

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While made to look only a short distance away, the Ex-Presidents pull off into a gas station, which was actually located in Redondo Beach.  Bodhi torches the car by lighting a gas pump and using it as a flame thrower.  Now on foot, Utah catches up and tackles him.   The gas station is no longer there, replaced by a surf shop on N Catalina Ave.  This can be slightly confusing, as the same surf shop uses a multiple buildings along the block, including across the street on N Broadway.  The correct location of the former gas station is at the intersection of Beryl St and N Catalina Ave.

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LOCATION: 600 N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Most of the buildings seen in the background of the gas station, such as the Crowne Plaza, are still there and match up with the film.

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LOCATION: Beryl St / N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Bodhi runs from Utah and the foot chase begins as the two race across N Broadway, located behind the former gas station.  This triangular rooftop building can be seen in the background, which is another property of the surf shop.  The other side of the street, where the two begin running down the narrow, residential corridors, has been remodeled.

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LOCATION: N Broadway / N Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

The ending of the foot chase, with a conflicted Utah reluctantly passing on the opportunity to shoot at Bodhi, was filmed over at Ballona Creek, a concrete water channel and bike path, which runs through Culver City.

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Inherent Vice (2014)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, “Inherent Vice,” shot all over Southern California.  Much of it is set in the fictional town of Gordita Beach.  These scenes were actually shot in Manhattan Beach, which is worth checking out if you’re interested in beautiful ocean views, without the crowds of such places as Santa Monica or Venice Beach.

This shot, seen at both the beginning, as well the end of the film, is overlooking Manhattan Beach and a scenic walkway called The Strand.  However, the shot is actually taken from Ocean Drive, one block up, at the intersection of Seaview Street.

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LOCATION: 4210 The Strand, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 (this exact shot is from behind the house, on Ocean Drive at Seaview Street, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, looking out towards the water)

Doc, played by Joaquin Phoenix, lives in this house,  which is close to the above shot.  The house was mostly used for interiors in the film, but the exterior can also briefly be seen.

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LOCATION: 214 El Porto St, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This cafe in San Pedro pops up a couple times in the film. First, Doc sits outside reading a newspaper about real estate developments. The interior is seen later in the film, albeit dressed heavily to appear as a Japanese restaurant, as Bigfoot, played by Josh Brolin, delivers the immortal lines, “Motto panukeiku, motto panukeiku.”

LOCATION: 700 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731

Doc follows leads on the mysterious Golden Fang boat, which is believed to bring in drugs, as well as having carried Shasta, played by Katherine Waterston, on board the last time it sailed.  The schooner is seen in darkness, off in the distance in the film.  The actual boat is the Tallship American Pride, which can be found at the Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, California.  The boat is located at Dock 3, though it does sometimes set sail into the waters.  If you’re unfamiliar with this area of Long Beach, just search for Gladstone’s Restaurant (330 S Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802) or Toyko Wako (310 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802) at the Long Beach Pike.  The pier and the boat are located directly behind them.

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LOCATION: Rainbow Harbor, Dock 3, Long Beach, CA 90802

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Later in the film, Doc pays a visit to Bigfoot at the old Los Angeles Police Department in downtown Los Angeles.  As he’s approaching the building, an officer bumps into him, knocking him to the ground. The building has since been demolished.

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LOCATION: 150 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (now demolished)

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is a flashback sequence, when Doc and Shasta get caught in the rain, while Neil Young’s “Journey Through the Past” plays.  This song was a major inspiration for the film and Doc’s look was even modeled after a 1970s photograph of Neil Young.  The scene was shot in Pomona, Californa, about an hour east of Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 406 W 2nd St, Pomona, CA 91766

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