Hard Eight (1996)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s underappreciated 1996 debut film, “Hard Eight” (a.k.a. “Sydney”) filmed primarily in Reno, Nevada.

The restaurant seen at the beginning and end of the film, where Sydney, played by Philip Baker Hall, meets John, played John C. Reilly, who is sitting outside the doorway, was filmed at Jack’s Cafe in Sparks, Nevada, located just outside of Reno.

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LOCATION: 2200 Victorian Ave, Sparks, NV 89431

The entrance where John C. Reilly is sitting is not the main entrance to the restaurant.  In fact, it’s a side door with an emergency exit sign.  There were several homeless people around this area.

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Things take a turn for the worse when John and Clementine, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, find themselves involved in a hostage situation at a motel.  The motel is the Ace Motor Lodge in Reno.  The motel has changed quite a bit from how it appeared in the film and is now more dilapidated.

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LOCATION: 222 N Sierra St, Reno, NV 89501

John can be seen exiting through the front entrance.  The surrounding area has also changed quite a bit from what was seen in the film, as the casinos are no longer beside the motel.

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Near the end of the film, Sydney awaits Jimmy, played by Samuel L. Jackson, at his house.

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LOCATION: 756 W 6th St, Reno, NV 89503

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Magnolia (1999)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 film, “Magnolia,” named after a street that spans the San Fernando Valley, was shot mostly, as you might expect, around the Valley.  However, some additional scenes were also filmed in Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake and Reno, Nevada.

In the opening “coincidences” sequence, there is a memorable scene in which an attempted suicide becomes an accidental homicide.  That scene was actually a composite of a couple different locations. The rooftop shot was done in Hollywood, with both the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign visible in the distance. Also visible is the top of the North Kingsley Apartments, which puts the roof at Hollywood Blvd, facing north up N Kingley Dr. It still looks pretty much the same as it did in the film.

LOCATION: 5217 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The view of the man falling was shot at the Bryson Apartments in Los Angeles.  The same apartments were seen in the film “The Grifters.”

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LOCATION: 2701 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Early in the film, Quiz Kid Donnie Smith, played by William H. Macy, crashes his car into this liquor store in Winnetka.  The same liquor store also appeared in Kevin Smith’s “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and The Smashing Pumpkins’ music video for “1979.”

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LOCATION: 20001 Roscoe Blvd, Winnetka, CA 91306

Officer Jim Kurring, played by John C. Reilly, investigates a crime scene at this apartment complex in North Hills.  As he walks back to his police car, he is approached by a young boy.

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LOCATION: 15150 Parthenia St, North Hills, CA 91343

As the two stand on Burnet Ave, the boy performs a rap for him.

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Frank T.J. Mackey, played by Tom Cruise, gives his memorable seminar inside this hotel in Valencia. The hotel is only featured from interior views in the film. The same hotel appears in the film “Twilight.”

LOCATION: 24500 Town Center Dr, Valencia, CA 91355

Linda, played by Julianne Moore, gets upset with a pharmacist after he insinuates she may be abusing the medications.  These scenes were filed at the A to Z Pharmacy in North Hollywood, although it is only seen from interior views in the film.

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LOCATION: 12626 Riverside Dr # 100, North Hollywood, CA 91607

Donnie visits the Foxfire Room, located on the titular Magnolia Blvd in Valley Village.  In a slight bit of movie trickery, Donnie parks in the lot at the rear of the building, but is seen entering through the door facing the street on opposite side.

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LOCATION: 12516 W Magnolia Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607

The Firefox Room is a staple of the San Fernando Valley and in the two decades since filming took place, it still looks nearly identical.  The bar opens at 7AM daily and it’s dark and inconspicuous.  Yet the staff is friendly and the vibe is welcoming.  Donnie enters through the door on the right.

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Donnie sits at this corner booth.  The lighting in the bar is so dark, any brightness quickly overexposes a shot, so photography can be a challenge inside.

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He sits and admires Brad the bartender.

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Donnie then sits at the corner of the bar and talks to a mysterious older man, credited as Thurston Howell.

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Officer Jim approaches the corner of this building, when shots are fired.

LOCATION: 4055 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

He then slides down this embankment on the side of the building.

As Jim is disoriented in the rain, a kid approaches and steals his gun, running up the stairs to escape undetected. While there are still stairs up to the street at the location, they have been remodeled since filming.

The police arrive to assist in the search for the gun, with the L.A. river and overpass visible next to the building.

Late in the film, as a biblical storm hits, Officer Jim finds himself at the intersection of Reseda Blvd and Sherman Way in Reseda.  This is located right beside the “Hot Traxx” night club from “Boogie Nights.”

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LOCATION: Sherman Way / Reseda Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

He makes an emergency stop at a gas station, only see Donnie climbing on a pole, where he has just attempted to rob his workplace.  Donnie then falls to the ground.  The pole and payphone are both still standing at the location.

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LOCATION: 7222 Reseda Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

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The two take shelter at the gas station.

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LOCATION: 7208 Reseda Blvd, Reseda, CA 91335

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