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.
In the 1993 Tony Scott directed, Quentin Tarantino penned film, “True Romance,” the outlaw couple of Clarence, played by Christian Slater and Alabama, played by Patricia Arquette, supposedly meet in Detroit. In reality, most of the film was shot in Southern California.
In the opening scene of the film, Clarence sits at a bar and talks about Elvis. These scenes were filmed in San Fernando. The bar is only seen from interior views in the film, but you’ll see the distinctive glass block windows match up to those visible behind Clarence in the film.
LOCATION: 1113 San Fernando Rd, San Fernando, CA 91340
Early in the film, Clarence and Alabama watch a Sonny Chiba “Street Fighter” triple feature together. This was filmed at the Vista Theater, one of L.A.’s best vintage theaters.
LOCATION: 4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
After the movies, the couple goes for coffee and pie at Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica. The restaurant has been used in countless films, such as “Lords Of Dogtown,” “Bowfinger” and “Starsky & Hutch.”
LOCATION: 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
The comic book store, “Heroes For Sale,” where Clarence works, was actually “Fantastic Store,” a former comic book, music and vintage store located near the famous intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave in Hollywood. The store has unfortunately long since closed and bears little resemblance to how it appeared in the film.
LOCATION: 1718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
The billboard location where the two sit outside and talk could be found in downtown Los Angeles at the Dewey Hotel Apartments. Unfortunately, there is no longer an actual billboard on the side of the building.
LOCATION: 721 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
The building where Drexl, played by Gary Oldman, resides was a combination of two locations. The exterior was located in Downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was demolished in the 1990s, to make way for a football stadium. The interior living room, where Clarence confronts Drexl, was actually shot on the other side of the country, back in Los Angeles. Known as The Beckett Mansion, the property, located in the West Adams neighborhood, actually operates as an event space and filming location year round. The same house has been featured in Rob Zombie’s “Halloween,” “Neighbors,” “No Strings Attached” and many more. It’s also located directly across the street from the house from “The People Under The Stairs.”
LOCATION: 2218 S Harvard Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
The apartment of Floyd and Dick Ritchie, played by Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport respectively, can be found in Hollywood. The scenes were filmed on the upper level unit of the Krotona Apartments. Tarantino himself lived at Krotona Apartments for a time, staying on the couch of writer-director Scott Spiegel, much like Floyd in the film. The apartment is seen only from interior views in the film. This area is on the side of the building.
LOCATION: 2122 Vista Del Mar Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Clarence calls Dick Ritchie from a payphone in the desert. The building in the shot has long since been demolished and now its just an empty plot of land. The mountains in the distance can be seen behind Clarence and Alabama in the payphone in multiple shots.
LOCATION: 17012 E Palmdale Blvd Palmdale, CA 93591 (now demolished)
The scene took place near the intersection of 170th St E and E Palmdale Blvd in Palmdale.
The foundation where the building stood still exists.
Dick Ritchie auditions for a role on “T.J. Hooker” at the majestic Castle Green Apartments in Pasadena. The scene was shot on the bridge of Castle Green facing S Raymond Ave. The location is only seen from interior views in the film.
LOCATION: 99 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
Here’s a closer look at the hallway, which leads into what would have been the casting office in the film. Castle Green has been featured in countless films, such as “The Sting,” “Wild At Heart,” “The Little Rascals,” “Deja Vu,” “Sneakers,” “Bugsy,” “The Last Samurai,” “Puppet Master” and many more.
Later in the film, the couple stays at this motel, supposedly located on the Sunset Strip. The real motel, the Safari Inn, is actually located just north of L.A., in Burbank, California.
LOCATION: 1911 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91506
The same motel was featured in the films “Apollo 13” and “Coach Carter.”
The final drug deal takes place at the fictional Beverly Ambassador Hotel. The exterior used in the film is The Athenaeum, an event venue at Caltech in Pasadena. The same building was featured in the films “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Beverly Hills Cop II.” The interiors were filmed at the former Ambassador Hotel (3400 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010), which has since been demolished.