You can totally be part of movie history by visiting the sets of these classics
There are certain movies you love so much you just wish you could be a part of them, am I right? What if I told you that this was possible? Well, sort of. While you can’t actually be in your favorite movies — unless you’re having that dream where you’re kissing Bender (Judd Nelson) in the closet again — you can get pretty darn close by visiting some of the locations where those films were shot. And you don’t need a backlot tour or anything. Of course, the list of classic movies is legion. These just happen to be scenes from five of my all-time favorites that I’d love to visit in real life. Road trip, anyone?
ANNIE HALL (1977)
One of Annie Hall‘s best scenes takes place at the theater in Manhattan where Alvie (Woody Allen) takes Annie (Diane Keaton) to see The Sorrow and the Pity. Annie’s in a bad mood and there’s a complete pedant in line behind them going on about Marshall McLuhan. Alvie just can’t with him. He ends up hilariously confronting the know-it-all and bringing over the real McLuhan to settle the disagreement. And the theater still exists today! You can totally wait in line for events and listen to someone explain the The Matrix according to Althusser, just like Alvie and Annie. Back then it was known as the Thalia. It has since undergone some renovations, and today it’s the Symphony Space or the Leonard Nimoy Thalia, acknowledging the late actor’s financing to help rebuild and reopen the space in 2002.
The Thalia Theater is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan at 2537 Broadway in New York City.
BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)
OK, this movie is beyond amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t love Back to the Future. If you’re the one person that’s not into BTTF, I recommend that you watch it again. You were probably on NyQuil or too young to appreciate it. So: the Twin Pines Mall. This is the spot where Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd) first shows Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) the DeLorean time machine. Twin Pines Mall actually becomes Lone Pine Mall once Marty returns from the past, thus proving that he’s already altered the future, but that’s a whole other post. Twin Pines is actually Puente Hills Mall, located in City of Industry, California. Great Scott!
Puente Hills is located at 1600 S. Azusa Avenue in City of Industry, CA. Get a pretzel inside the mall and stand in the parking lot absorbing the awesomeness.
This movie is a classic. If you’re a Grease lover and you’re in the Los Angeles area anytime soon, then you have GOT to do a little bit of location touring. So, Grease mostly takes place at a high school, obviously. Turns out that the fictional Rydell High is actually three L.A. high schools blended together to make one perfect summer-lovin’ incubator. The exterior scenes, including the basketball, baseball, and track segments where the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds sing “Summer Lovin'”were shot at Venice High School (in Venice, yes). The interiors, including the high school dance where those crazy Rydell kids dance to “Born to Hand Jive,” were filmed at Huntington Park High School. And the final carnival scene where Sandy (Olivia Newton John) and Danny (John Travolta) sing “You’re the One That I Want” was shot at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, a hipster neighborhood in east L.A.
John Marshall High School is located at 3939 Tracy Street in Los Angeles, CA.
YOU’VE GOT MAIL (1998)
Tom Hanks! Meg Ryan! Talk about great onscreen chemistry. Yes, the technology in this film may be a bit out of date in today’s Twitter/Instagram/Snap Chat world, but this movie’s got heart and heart is eternal. It will honestly make you nostalgic for a dial-up modem, asuming you even remember what that is. Anyway, remember that charming little cafe where Meg’s character, Kathleen Kelly, is supposed to meet her online mystery date with the hopelessly dull AOL (omg, AOL) handle NY152 only to have Tom’s character, her nemesis Joe Fox, show up “instead”? Well, it’s called Cafe Lalo, and it has amazing souvenir matchbooks (trust me, they’re BEAUTIFUL)!
Cafe Lalo is located at 201 W. 83rd St in New York, NY. Get a cannoli if you go.
HOME ALONE (1990)
KEVIN! … Buzz, your girlfriend? WOOF… Look what you did, ya little jerk!… (How quotable is Home Alone?!) If you grew up in the ’90s, chances are that you love, love, love to rewatch this movie, especially around Christmastime. It has everything: pizza, a kid outsmarting no-goodnik adults, fuzzy family feelings, a creepy old man that turns out to be an angel of sorts. It’se seriously the best. And about 90% of the movie takes place at the McCallister residence where Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) booby traps the entire house to protect if from two naughty burglars known as the Wet Bandits. The mansion is supposed to be in the village of Winnetka in northern Illinois, and guess what? The real Home Alone home actually is in Winnetka! This is kind of a fun fact, because often times movies, particularly those not set in New York or L.A., are supposedly taking place in one city while they’re all actually being filmed in Vancouver. The Home Alone house recently sold for $1.5 million dollars, a small price to pay to be part of movie history.
The real (and much bluer!) McCallister home is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois.
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