Monday, July 30, 2018

Why I love living in "Hollywood"

Every so often Hollywood lives up to its reputation as the “dream factory.” Yes, we have crazy traffic and every loopy fad, con artist, opportunist, and cult gravitates here, but every so often the uniqueness of the area offers perks you can’t get anywhere else.

Like bumping into celebrities. Like Jennifer Garner on the next treadmill. Or Tom Hanks recognizing you.

Since so much filming takes place here it’s not uncommon to come upon a shoot. There’s George Clooney down the block waiting for a set-up to be lit. Here’s a location manager wondering if they can use your pool for a pilot starring Eliza Dushku?

To be fair, often times these location filmings are a royal pain in the ass. They snarl traffic even more.

But there was one recently that really tickled me. As many of you know, I love the ‘60s. Especially LA in the ‘60s. Well, Quentin Tarantino is currently filming his next movie that is set in Hollywood in 1969. Not sure of the premise. Probably a tender love story set against the Manson murders.

But for authenticity his crew has transformed a couple of blocks of Hollywood Blvd., recreating Hollywood in 1969. This includes bus signs, ads on benches, etc. Talk about entering a time machine.

So recently I went to dinner at Musso & Franks, which is right in the middle of the recreation. Took a couple of photos, and it was so cool to be back in 1969. With all due respect, you can’t do that in Baton Rouge.

Sure, amusement parks and Vegas can erect recreations, but it’s not like being on the actual boulevard.

What I really appreciate is that Tarantino made the choice to physically recreate it and not just use CGI.

I only hope I get half as much enjoyment out of the movie.

See for yourself.


Jim S said...

Great post as always.

Just want to clarify my question you answered on Friday. When I said do you check to see if an actor is Harry Morgan or Kathryn Heigel, I didn't mean to imply Harry Morgan was a monster.

What I meant to say was do you check to see if an actor is like Harry Morgan - a dream to work with, or Kathryn Heigel, someone who is, shall we say problematic.

Sorry for the confusion.

Ted McCarthy said...

You can't go back to 1969 in Baton Rouge. They haven't changed anything since 1965

Matt said...

The music on the video is form the KPM 1000 series library. NFL Films used this library (and others) along with the Sam Spence music for their 60s and 70s films. The 60s animated "Spider Man" also used the KPM 1000 series library.

Many of the albums are available on Spotify.

VP81955 said...

One of the bus stops for the production even had a 1969 ad for KHJ Boss Radio. If only we could flick on 93 AM today and hear "Soul Deep" by the Box Tops, or "My Pledge Of Love" by the Joe Jeffrey Group...

Lemuel said...

I'd like to see a 1969 LA nostalgia piece that DOESN'T feature hot models in miniskirts. Well, no I wouldn't.

Brian said...

Jennifer Garner??? Wasn't it Kate Beckinsale, who made a face when you went to greet her?

And also I hate these pretensions directors who don't use CGI. They are being conceited thinking that they are doing something "original" and indirectly they are also throwing shade at those who use it.

QT is just aping Nolan. Both the great "artists" who don't use CGI and use IMAX cameras and other crappy 'conservation of old stuff' PR stunts they do, just to show off that they are a cut above the rest.

Anonymous said...

What a memory flogger! I ate at Musso and Franks a few times on special occasions and went over budget; usually it was Ben Franks on Sunset. The Supply Sergeant was the place to shop for your olive drab Army field jacket, so you could look like Archie Bunker's son-in-law. The shop is still there today, filling your camo and nunchuck needs. Larry Edmunds Bookstore too, only moved half a block to the east.


My one quibble with the recreation is the X-rated Pussy Cat Theatre. In 1968 and a few decades on, that building was the New View. That was the BONNIE AND CLYDE theatre. Later it was a storefront church but in 1969 it was one of at least 8 movie theatres I can remember on Hollywood Blvd. The Pussy Cat was on Santa Monica with another at the far east end of Hollywood (or maybe Sunset) Blvd.

kitano0 said...

If I spotted Jennifer Garner on the treadmill next to me, I would fall off and hurt myself!

Doesn't she make enough money to have her own, by the way?

Mike Bloodworth said...

Two things: I was ten years old in 1969. Some times my mom and I would drive through Hollywood on the way to somewhere else. So, I can't be sure how authentic Q.T.'s movie really is. My primary recollection of that year was the moon landing. I was a space-nut back then. I remember being glued to the T.V. with the rest of the world.
Second. I welcome filming here in Los Angeles no matter how disruptive it may be. I may have mentioned this before, but when I started doing extra work I had a couple of good years. Then "reality shows" such as SURVIVOR and runaway production, mostly to Canada at that time, killed much of the work around here. It got to the point that I basically gave up trying to get background jobs. (The more "mainstream" you looked the greater chance you had to find jobs. But that's the subject for another rant.) Bottom line, I'm very glad to see location shoots around town. Better here than Vancouver or North Carolina or New Zealand!

VP81955 said...

Not using CGI in filmmaking is no more wrong than producing songs without some of the current techniques that take the soul out of the sound. I prefer my music to be human, thank you.

Todd Everett said...

My one quibble with the recreation is the X-rated Pussy Cat Theatre. In 1968 and a few decades on, that building was the New View. That was the BONNIE AND CLYDE theatre. Later it was a storefront church but in 1969 it was one of at least 8 movie theatres I can remember on Hollywood Blvd. The Pussy Cat was on Santa Monica with another at the far east end of Hollywood (or maybe Sunset) Blvd.

Toward the ends of its existence, the owner of the New View had a great policy: headline with a second-run feature; bill it with a classic. For instance (I'm making up this example) Grease and The Public Enemy.

I've been told that the other Pussycat was on Western. Maybe north of Santa Monica.

The movie is called "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and the Manson murders do figure; but the main inspiration is allegedly Hal Needham and Burt Reynolds. It'a all on the internet, so it must be true.

Peter said...

Brian, your comment is baffling. These directors are conceited because they think they're doing something original? What, shooting on 35mm film which was the standard for over 100 years?

Why is this something even to criticize? Films shot digitally generally look awful. They're lifeless, flat and antiseptic. Nothing can match the look of shooting on film. Watch a clip of Bad Santa, shot on film, and then a clip of Bad Santa 2, shot digitally. The contrast is staggering. Bad Santa looks warm and cinematic. Bad Santa 2 looks like a TV documentary.

CGI is fine when it's used for things that absolutely cannot be done any other way, like Titanic and Terminator 2. The reason why some people hate CGI is that it's used for everything! Action films used to have real explosions and real vehicles. Now it's computer generated explosions which look dreadful and take you out of the film. Even smoke and muzzle flare are computer generated now.

I recently saw Skyscraper. It was 99% CGI and green screen. Some have compared it to Die Hard, which is absurd. Die Hard had a real building, real helicopters and real explosions. Skyscraper looks like a video game.

I appreciate that Tarantino, Nolan, Spielberg and a few others still shoot on film.

YEKIMI said...

Boy, the Peaches Records & Tapes sign threw me for a loop and took me back [but not to 1969]. There was one south of Cleveland were I went and bought my records from 1976 when they opened till they went belly up. They had everything and I mean EVERYTHING. I don't know how many hundreds of of dollars I dropped there but I still have some of my Peaches record crates. About the only place that had it beat was J&R World in NYC...and they had record music departments that in itself were bigger than most record country in one room, rock in another, indie music over there, world music here and so on and so forth. And here's a look of Peaches grand opening in Cleveland [but, technically, it was really in a suburb of Cleveland].

Dr Loser said...

As I recall, you turned down the chance of Eliza Dushku using your pool, Ken.
I don;t wish to rub this in. I just want to point out that sometimes the lack of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity makes it preferable to live in dull little suburbs of rust-belt towns ... because I will never be faced with that choice, and consequently I will never regret my stupidity for the rest of my life.

Peter said...

Say what you like about Tarantino, and he certainly is arrogant, but he always puts together entertaining and quirky casts for his films. For this one he's cast former TV Spiderman Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker.

D McEwan said...

A friend who lives in New York was out visiting last week. He wanted to take me to Musso & Frank's for dinner, as it's his favorite restaurant. It's been on my calendar for July 25th for three months. Come the 25th and M&F's is closed for the day because of Tarantino's shoot. We ended up eating at The Cheesecake Factory in Sherman Oaks. But I got to see the Fright Night with Seymour poster Tarantino had put up outside it, and there was Tarantino shooting a scene of Brad Pitt driving. (Pitt actually doing his own driving, like he's a person.)

My friend said, "It must have been expensive to close down Musso & Frank's for two days." I replied, "It must have cost MILLIONS to remake three blocks of the Boulevard like this, and fill it with period cars and extras on the sidewalks in period clothes."

Tom Galloway said...

Ate at Musso and Frank's once due to two factors. One, of course, was old time Hollywood. The other was that it was the source of the names for supporting characters Principal Grace Musso and her minion Frank Lemmer on Parker Lewis Can't Lose.

Most people don't know that it, to the best of my knowledge, was the first tv show to interact with the Internet. I'm not sure how it started, but the producers had non-electronic access to the show's Internet-based fan mailing list. This led to some members making a cameo on the show in a promotion with Entertainment Tonight, list member names used for one-shot background characters such as three of Parker's ex-girlfriends, and some of us, including myself, got to visit the set of this not shot in front of an audience show during taping days. They were even kind enough to ask me to sit in on a Writers' Room meeting.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Who the f%€# is NOLAN?

Jahn Ghalt said...

Thanks for the Musso and Frank's reference - the menu looks terrific! Old school - straight out of Mad Men - except that it predates that period drama.

Brian Phillips said...

My moment happened when I was driving home from Encino. There was an earthquake earlier that day and as I made a left to head to the highway, I saw a couple of people, barefoot in drab gray clothes coming out of a truck and I had a fleeting thought about the dispossessed, until I went further down the road and I saw a billboard that could have been erected in the 1930's...and then another one...and then I realized they were filming some sort of dust bowl epic just off Ventura Blvd.

I never did find out what movie it was, though.

Carol said...

When I was in London in 2016 I got to see a scene from (what turned out to be) Allied, in Hampstead. The street was decked out to look like London circa WWII. It did honestly feel like I got sent back in time. Too bad the movie didn't interest me in the slightest. :)

E. Yarber said...

Gee, my second pornographic comment in one day. If I don't watch out, I may spark a sex scandal of my own.

I know the gay Pussycat Theater was on Santa Monica near Fairfax because my first apartment in LA was nearby on Hayworth Avenue (two blocks south from the bungalow where F. Scott Fitzgerald died). When I took my one and only film class, it was at the AFI and I passed the straight Pussycat Theater on Western walking north from Santa Monica Boulevard to get to the campus. And that's all I'll say without a lawyer present.

AAllen said...

" Not sure of the premise. Probably a tender love story set against the Manson murders."

Wow, and I thought you were joking.