Metatalktail Hour: Roll Camera! September 21, 2019 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, rhizome wants to know all about the "Movies where you live(d). -- Houses, apartment buildings, etc. stretching to landmarks (corner store, bus stop) where the person [that is, you] spent appreciable amounts of time. Movies, TV...maybe even books!"

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, so tell us everything that up with you! And send me ideas for future metatalktails!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:34 PM (165 comments total)

Will 8mm be ok?
posted by clavdivs at 5:58 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is very confusingly formulated. Who is "the person"?,

I see, "you".
posted by Dumsnill at 6:05 PM on September 21, 2019

From the movie Rudy, two seconds later the camera pulls back and you see the windows just above, those are the only two dorm rooms that appear in the movie, and one of them was mine!

(Cold. As. Fuck. in the winter, the building dates to 1925 and the wind howling under that arch with basically zero insulation on the floor there made for some VERY COLD FLOORS even with thick carpets!)

I grew up about half a mile from the "Save Ferris" water tower -- I remember them painting it for that -- and a whole shit-ton of other John Hughes movie locations (my high school was the high school in Ferris Bueller, and a couple of my babysitters were extras; the party scene in Uncle Buck was filmed four houses down from my parents' house; some 16 Candles locations; etc.). His sister actually lived around the corner from my parents at one point. I DID get to meet John Candy when they filmed Uncle Buck, because they parked his hair and makeup trailer on my parents' lawn. My parents got paid some daily amount for 3 days, not a lot, but it was neat, and the night they filmed some neighborhood kids who were hovering nearby (mostly on my parents' lawn) to watch the excitement, and he came out of the hair and makeup trailer and signed autographs for several minutes, he was really nice.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:08 PM on September 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

This is kind of a weird question. How many people live in places where movies and TV shows get filmed? The closest I can think of is that my mom and I stayed in a bed and breakfast when we went to Atlanta, and the owners rented the whole thing to MTV so it could be the house for this season of the Real World. (Apparently the Real World is still on. Who knew?) But that probably doesn't count as "appreciable time."
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:13 PM on September 21, 2019

When I asked, the brackets were not there. It's annoying when a mod edits without a note.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:16 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mod note: I can only type so fast, Dumsnill. I added a clarification to the original post, as I was typing just now.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:17 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ann Arbor Michigan. The Blue Front, circa 1978. A buddy of mine and I hatched a scene for an early casting call for two local kids for a possible movie based on 'The Michigan Murders.'
So, mark and I shooting baskets against the wall at the Blue, pivoting and positioning for a slow close up when the clerk comes out with tye-dye and shoulder long hair.
"Hey, can't do that here, man"
"Men, there are two of us besides it's for a movie"

Dude starts looking around.
" By the yellow VW..."
"... is it cops"
"Think so"
"Oh, man"
"There you go dude. Think they'll use a crane shot"

"It's basketball, dolly roll".
posted by clavdivs at 6:18 PM on September 21, 2019

ah, sorry
posted by Dumsnill at 6:19 PM on September 21, 2019

In Wayne's World, there's a scene Wayne and Garth drive past what looks like 8 cars impaled on a giant needle. That's an art installation which was about two miles south of here. (It's gone now.)
posted by zompist at 6:23 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I used to live in Asheville NC, where parts of My Fellow Americans were filmed. It was kind of entertaining to see how the filming locations were used to portray places that were geographically nowhere near the actual locations.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:25 PM on September 21, 2019

where the person [that is, you] spent appreciable amounts of time. Movies, TV...maybe

Flashcut to MetaFilter comment.

This is a first for I was not confused by the question.
posted by clavdivs at 6:27 PM on September 21, 2019

The Empire Strikes Back was largely filmed in Norway. I can see my uncle in one of the battle scenes.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:38 PM on September 21, 2019 [9 favorites]

The Farrelly brothers are from my hometown, so the characters played by Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary are graduates of a fictionalized version of my high school. This is extra funny to me as the Farrelly brothers went to one of the Catholic high schools IRL.
posted by Ruki at 6:43 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Early Edition was filmed in the Chicago Loop, where Mrs. W. and I have spent a fair amount of time. The clock and fountain that appear in the opening credits have been obliterated by the Trump building.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:47 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

One of the Planet of the Apes films (Conquest, I think) was partly filmed at UC Irvine, my undergraduate alma mater. At least one of the scenes is set around the classroom buildings where I spent most of my time.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:52 PM on September 21, 2019

The book (excellent book) Set This House in Order is set in Seattle, and features scenes and chases through places I know well (to be fair, most Seattlites know them, too). In particular, Magic Mouse toys. Same with Darwin's Radio, which has a fairly pivotal scene (IIRC) at Gasworks Park.
posted by Gorgik at 6:54 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Contagion was supposed to take place in Minneapolis, but it was filmed in Chicago. When Matt Damon said he was on the bus at Lake and Lyndale, the audience at the Riverview Theater laughed because he was clearly at a much classier version of that intersection.

Kate Winslet played the role of my old boss at the state health department, actually. I had graduated the semester before and therefore finished that public health internship, so I never got to ask my boss how she felt about her dramatic film death...
posted by Maarika at 6:55 PM on September 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

Also the (not excellent) movie Assassins is set in places in the PNW. And features a driving scene around Seattle that would be impossible to actually follow in real life, unless you had a special timey-wimey teleportation car. Which would have made the movie much more interesting.
posted by Gorgik at 6:57 PM on September 21, 2019

There were occasionally things filmed in/near my East Texas hometown as I grew up, but I don't recall what specifically they were. I got to the University of North Texas just after the film Necessary Roughness (with Scott Bakula and Sinbad!) had used the campus as a location, just before it was released.

It's a little unfair now, as I live in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. One of my two favorite bits is the "Terminator driving a semi through a cement canal" bit of I think T2?, which was filmed in one of the washes (cement drainage canal) that cuts across the Valley, but it was not the specific wash I live next to. There was another scene filmed in the parking lot of my mall, but a part that is now more mall. The other is the trick or treat scene in E.T., which was filmed in a half-built neighborhood in Porter Ranch, like two miles north of my house (more or less straight uphill, as the expansive view you see down into the Valley is because the neighborhood is up in the highest populated areas in the Santa Monica (possibly another sub-range?) mountains.

One of the highlights of my year is a series of summer pop-up drive-in (or, in the case of Top Gun this year, outdoor movie at the Van Nuys airport) movies that have some kind of connection to the Valley. The first year was top picks - Back To The Future, E.T., Fast Times at Ridgemont High, T2. They're starting to stretch now, but I still love them because summer in the Valley can be nasty hot in the day but it gets very reasonable as soon as the sun sets, and we always have an awesome time. We did Top Gun and Jurassic Park this year, and they're doing a Halloween series next month (even more awesome night time weather) where we're going to see Addams Family and The Exorcist. Which I am absolutely sure has no Valley connection except probably one or two of the actors lived here once, but that's okay, I am still stoked to see it at the drive in.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:00 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

This beef commercial was filmed in Manhattan, Montana when I lived there.
posted by Redstart at 7:07 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I lived in LA for a while, so I'm always spotting familiar locations in things. My personal favorite is any time I recognize LA City College in something. I got really involved in that campus when I was a student, and it kind of turned my life around, so I have a mix of pride in the school and fond memories of that period of my life.

In other news, I bought a bike! I went to a bike sale this morning and found something for cheap! (Thrift is very important to me.)

It's a carbon fiber racing bike by Trek, probably a late 80s or early 90s model. When I'm feeling less lazy I'll look for serial numbers and try to figure out its manufacturing date. All I know is that it's the very early kind of carbon fiber frame, with the straight carbon fiber tubes bonded to steel or aluminum joints (plus, the components seem to be good, if pretty dated -- Shimano 105 and stuff).

Most importantly, it has gears. I love my fixie, but my knees have been killing me -- my doctor says I don't seem to be tearing anything, but he's sending me to physical therapy for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Besides that, I just tire out too quickly on the hills around here. I can ride all through the city, but I get completely exhausted just leaving the neighborhood, let alone returning uphill. I might try swapping out the gears on my fixie with a gentler ratio, but it's really nice having a lightweight, geared option.

It's been a while since I rode a bike with gears, and I still have no idea what I'm doing. Lots of leg spinning action today. But in the long run I'm hoping this will help me ride faster over longer distances, especially since I don't have a car and can't afford public transit. Of course, if I'd really been thinking I would have bought a bike that could take panniers, but whatever, this was a good deal.

My next step is to try to go on some group rides around here. Not only for the social aspect, but also to see when/how other people are shifting and whatnot.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:11 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

The mall where I was a mallrat in the late 80s to early 90s is where Mallrats was filmed. I was there for one night of the dating game show scene and I'm in the crowd but there's no way you can see me. It was very strange to be walking through the mall and see the stores Rug Munchers and Time For Cookies and such which were obviously only 3 feet deep right next to regular stores. They filmed mostly at night and didn't cover up stores or sets during the normal mall day.

Until about a year ago I lived for 5 years in the downtown neighborhood where many of the outdoor scenes in Drop Dead Gorgeous (awesome and underrated) was filmed.

When I was in high school a friend worked at a Super 8 motel where a crew came in to film for a few hours. It turned out to be the scene of the sex workers being interviewed by Marge Gunderson in Fargo.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:12 PM on September 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

And I already realized I was wrong. It was the scene of the sex workers working, not being interviewed. Which makes more sense since it was a motel.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 7:15 PM on September 21, 2019

Oh yeah, parts of Ant-Man and the Wasp were filmed pretty close to my old apartment in downtown Oakland. We had fun watching it and spotting familiar streets -- "oh, they're on Harrison!"

I also get a kick out of watching Star Trek (any series) and figuring out which LA-area park or campus they're at in the holdeck episodes.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:17 PM on September 21, 2019

I think there have been like a billion movies set in Seattle, some at least partially filmed here. Frasier too, obviously? I dunno, I'm really...bad at Seattle culture.

Oh, they filmed Rocky...something...outside my apartment when I lived in the Italian Market in Philly, I guess that was pretty cool.

When I lived in Cardiff though! Bliss! Doctor Who, Torchwood and Sherlock all filmed there, and it added such a great layer to watching them. I mean, obviously Torchwood is Extremely Cardiff what with Roald Dahl Plass and all of that. When I first moved there I was told by a friend not to worry about seeing explosions at night, because that was just Torchwood filming.
Doctor Who was really special to me, though. They filmed a lot at National Museum locations; especially the main one in the heart of Cardiff itself. It's right by the university, so when I had an hour to kill between classes or whatever I would go there (yay free admission!) and it was kind of my playground; I knew the permanent exhibitions so well. And it was always so lovely to see it playing the Louvre or whatever on DW. I had an internship at National Museum Wales and had apparently just missed some Sherlock filming when I arrived; I think they had a Doctor Who prop in the conservation lab. And I have...I guess it's a daily filming script? for an episode of DW that someone lost or left behind at a local historic house. It is for a scene that was cut, and having read it, they were right to cut it. But I'm so happy to have this little connection.
Aw, man. Such good memories; I had to keep stopping myself when I watching Good Omens because I'm so used to stuff like that being filmed in South Wales and no, they had Amazon's budget and anyway I don't think the National Trust lets anyone film at Tredegar House anymore.
posted by kalimac at 7:35 PM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Before the gerrymandered state legislature killed a growing film /TV industry in Michigan (Not Bitter!), a lot of productions filmed in the hip suburban town I used to live in. IIRC then still-married Ben Affleck supposedly flirted (or more) with women while he was living in a loft there.

And I remember a movie was filming at a little park between two main streets, Tom and Nicole's son what's-his-name was in it, and I realized later, a pre-Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson.

While we're on the topic of the arts, I had a weird dream the other night about being the lead actor in a movie, and that brings me to ask, what strange dreams about the entertainment biz you've had- either dreams of glory, or just nightmares reliving real-life performing disasters. The weirder, the better.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:37 PM on September 21, 2019

There was an episode of Family Guy where they were trying to find a Twinkie factory in my town. I got to take a tour of the factory when I was in the third grade. It was pretty sweet.
posted by bondcliff at 7:41 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Living in Durham, NC means being pretty familiar with, or at least having a good awareness of, the movie Bull Durham. If for no reason than because sooner or later some friend or family member from out of town is going to ask about it (fortunately I liked the movie, so I don't mind much). The movie was shot a couple dozen years before I moved here but the parts of town where they did location filming are still sufficiently recognizable if you have only the movie as a guide. The Bulls (which were a real team even before the movie, it wasn't a Mighty Ducks kind of thing) now have their own huge brick stadium with a full concessions court in a plum part of downtown, but the old ballpark still remains as a local league park. All the residential areas are getting thoroughly gentrified, thought at least the old fancier neighborhoods are being aggressively preserved or made even fancier. Annie's old house is probably still there and recognizable, but if it was on the market its price tag would have a few more digits to the left of the decimal now than it would have fifteen years ago.

It's the old blue-collar neighborhoods that are getting razed for townhouses and condos, as one might expect, but those mostly didn't appear in the movie. And of course the old tobacco and heavy industry buildings have nearly all been repurposed for restaurants, nightclubs, condos, apartment buildings, and so on.
posted by ardgedee at 7:45 PM on September 21, 2019

I've driven past the Field of Dreams several times, but I have to go with books here!

John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats spent a lot of time in central Iowa, near where I live (and nearer to Ames, where I used to live). His novel Universal Harvester is both extremely creepy and extremely evocative of places I've spent a fair amount of time.

Jane Smiley's novel Moo is set at a fictionalized Iowa State University, and although it's very smart about academic politics at a university where money and agriculture are big deals, it doesn't have a strong enough sense of place to really feel like a central Iowa novel to me.
posted by Jeanne at 8:05 PM on September 21, 2019

My tiny neighborhood is in a lot of films and TV. Off the top of my head: Last Witchhunter, Where'd You Go Bernadette, Love And Other Drugs, Mindhunter, Downward Dog, Abduction, American Pastoral, Those Who Kill, Ma Rainy's Black Bottom, Innocent Blood, and Darrow. The area is seldom portrayed as Pittsburgh but has played New York, Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago, Arlington, Newark and Boston.
posted by octothorpe at 8:49 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I finished high school in Lake Forest, where Ordinary People was filmed. Still never seen more than bits of it.

Other than that, I enjoyed the more-blatant-than usual use of Chicago as stand in for Gotham in Dark Knight, especially the ferries (like, do people in Gotham commute to and from Michigan?) the mention of the bridge and tunnel crowd (okay, uh, the Skyway and... tunnels? Like, does the workforce of Gotham have a large percentage of Morlocks?), and the use of a mid sized office building schedule for demolition as a major metropolitan hospital.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:24 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I went to college at USC in Los Angeles, so that's almost cheating.

BUT- the Drew Barrymore movie Big Miracle about whales trapped in ice in Barrow (which has since been renamed Utqiagvik), Alaska came out about 10 years ago, and they punted and did a lot of the filming in Anchorage in the middle of the winter when Utqiagvik had a ridiculous cold/windy streak (and cold streaks that far north are...something else). The library at the school I teach at was transformed into the small-town school, and my kids and I got kicked out of the orchestra room for like a week so they could use it as a green room/hospitality space.

I'm still mad.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:04 PM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

The mall that was used in Bad Santa is our local mall. It's been completely rebuilt at this point and is no longer recognizable relative to what appeared in the film.

I saw the movie Swingers in the theater in Orange County, California (Fullerton? Huntington? idr). There's a scene where one (white) kid is trying to play up how "gangsta" he is, saying no one understands him because he's from the streets, and another character tells him "dude you grew up in Anaheim". I've never heard a theater laugh so loud.

In other news, I am currently unsuccessfully trying to sleep my first night in a new house. I have never moved before! It's very strange. We had a long day with the movers and thankfully dinner with some good friends, and now here we are, not at all unpacked, squeezed into one bedroom because we decided the carpet in the other room is just too disgusting and needs to be replaced immediately, stuff and refrigerator still at the other house, about to become landlords, all the while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy for the kids... it's a lot to take in. My hubby moved a lot when he was younger but we've been in the same place together nearly 20 years so he's lost all of his moving nimbleness and skills. Tips for how to survive the first week appreciated.
posted by vignettist at 10:28 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Slacker, Linklater, 1990, Austin. (Wikipedia Rotten Tomatoes) I moved here in 1992, Slacker's version/vision of Austin was very much alive, held maybe another five years, pieces of it for maybe 10 years. You have to dig deep to find it now. Fourth and Congress was really shady, railroad tracks, broken beer bottles, broken people, now it's buried in high-rises, people coming out of those high-rises could easy be stepping out of a high-falutin' store on Michigan Avenue close to the lake, downtown Chicago, or they could easy be L.A. people also. They're contained, mostly, in a ten or twelve block area but that area grows larger day by day.

It seems to be in the DNA -- or maybe in the water? -- that everyone who lives here more than ten days laments "how much better it was before..." It wasn't better before. It was different. I could never, ever afford to live here had I not put down a thousand bucks downstroke on this condo and spent four hours signing this document and that one at the closing. I signed whatever they put in front of me, I had no idea, I could easily have signed myself into indentured servitude but fortunately for me they didn't lay that in front of me.

What's the same? The river. The parks. The bike trails. The swimming pools, many of them free. A great movie scene, a great music scene. People complaining that it's not how it used to be, when it was a good place to live, blah blah blah. It was then and is now a pretty city -- I personally think it's much, much prettier now -- and it has lots of Texas history.

What is different? Everything else. High-rises popping up like mushrooms after a heavy rain, they're everywhere, and more every day. Ridiculous dress shops, dresses costing a grand and up. I spent two years not driving, did everything on my bicycle, a man I mentor was talking about how nasty traffic is and I sortof laughed it off -- having lived in Houston, I know what really terrible traffic is. So I'd never say that the traffic here totally sucks, even though the traffic here totally sucks. The whole music scene here came about because musicians could live really inexpensively; not so much anymore. None of the people in Slacker could live here today, that's for sure. That's not bad. Just different.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:45 PM on September 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Linklater also nailed Austin in Boyhood -- what a great flick!
posted by dancestoblue at 10:54 PM on September 21, 2019

The amusement park scene in The Fury was filmed in Old Chicago in Bolingbrook, IL. I miss Old Chicago- it was too far ahead of its time.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:18 PM on September 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

When I lived in LA, I used to work in the building that played the exterior of the offices of Hooli, the "bad guys" on Silicon Valley, the TV show. At least some exteriors for one of the JJ Abrams Star Trek movies were filmed partially down the street, in the remnants of the Ballona Creek Wetlands, which are now a bunch of very expensive condos. But then, I lived in LA, everything filmed everywhere around there, so it kind of stopped being exciting after a while.
posted by Alterscape at 11:20 PM on September 21, 2019

I grew up in Vancouver, so watching a lot of 90s-00s TV sci-fi was always filled with "wait, isn't that..." side comments. Plus all the snarky remarks about the Stargate franchise's "alien worlds" looking like PNW forests went right over my head because that was my world so.. wasn't everywhere like that?

One summer as a student at UBC I was temporarily displaced from my work-study job in the physics department after a couple location scouts for some new series found my dusty corner of the Hennings building suitable for the "mad scientist" lab. After they were gone I came across a script that someone'd left behind, lost in the papers on my desk - I tried reading some of it and found it awful. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so because I don't think that show ever saw the light of day.
posted by btfreek at 11:39 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I spent some time in Cochabamba, and got to meet Edmundo Paz Soldan at a book signing organised by my university in Melbourne- he told me that the novel Turing's Delirium is based on that Bolivian city.
posted by freethefeet at 12:13 AM on September 22, 2019

You know Niagara Falls? Well, someone had to be born there.
posted by pracowity at 1:20 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ah! Barrel Boy! We meet again.
posted by Dumsnill at 1:28 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Keg party!
posted by pracowity at 1:53 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Keeping Up Appearances was largely filmed in Coventry and a couple of nearby towns in Warwickshire, one of which I live in. I think some other BBC series have had some shooting in the area as well, but I've not seen them to recognise anything.
posted by Dysk at 2:19 AM on September 22, 2019

...and of course, growing up in Hong Kong, a lot of Hong Kong cinema used very familiar locations.
posted by Dysk at 2:20 AM on September 22, 2019

I've lived in Austin since the 70s and a few of my friends had bit parts in Slacker.

Some of Friday Night Lights was filmed a block from my house. The main thing I saw was the big equipment trucks parked by my house out of filming range.

I did see a crew lighting a house a few blocks from my house for another one of Linklater's films.

And my one brush with movie fame happened when I was swimming one night at Barton Springs. I talked to a friendly stranger who sat on the side of the pool while I treaded water for an hour. The next day a coworker asked me how hanging out with Owen Wilson was. I didn't know who he was!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:37 AM on September 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

Believe it or not, the film version of In the Heights has been filming in Washington Heights. Also the remake of West Side Story, as I guess we're the more readily transformable into a facsimile of the 1950s UWS.

I finished high school in Lake Forest, where Ordinary People was filmed. Still never seen more than bits of it.

You're not missing much. I think it's supposed to be a good movie, but I remember it as being very Lake Forest people having very Lake Forest problems. Sometimes they're having their problems in the Walker Bros Pancake House, which is definitely recognisable, more so than the high school. (I can't tell which one it is. I think they all look kind of the same inside. I have a vague idea someone told me it was on the one in Wilmette.)
posted by hoyland at 3:02 AM on September 22, 2019

Okay, so I didn't live in the area when it was filmed, but What's Eating Gilbert Grape was filmed in a neighborhood in Spokane that is a charming little development close to downtown but down next to the river, Peaceful Valley.

Also, my hometown of Las Cruces, NM had the Kiefer Sutherland movie White Sands filmed there, which made for some entertainment for the locals when a chase scene featured the characters driving consecutively between places that were 30-40 miles apart each. Made for a good film, but physically impossible.
posted by hippybear at 3:13 AM on September 22, 2019

The Devil's Pulpit is just outside our village and was used in Outlander and The Eagle (with Channing Tatum). We also had a crew shooting some scenes for Detective Picachu nearby. In the village itself over the past couple of years we've had some scenes from David Walliam's Grandpa's Great Escape filmed around the Church, some scenes from a Johnathan Creek episode shot around the graveyard and we recently had Succession shooting in and around the village green. Down the road we also have Vin Diesel shooting another Fast and Furious in Edinburgh at present. An associate tells me that he is much shorter than you think he is.
posted by Chairboy at 3:21 AM on September 22, 2019

This scene in Quadrophenia was filmed in the pie and mash shop I used to go to when I was growing up. We probably used to have pie and mash once a month, and Cooke's was one of the best in London at the time. Watching that clip, I can still smell the fug of mashed potato steam and liquor (the green stuff). Even the view out of the window is nostalgic - I loved that toyshop!

Cooke's closed in 2015, my dad and I went down one last time the week before it did. I go to Goddards now, it's conveniently near my pilates studio, now there's gentrification.
posted by featherboa at 4:46 AM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

I live in NEW YORK CITY. Even if you focus just on LAW AND ORDER you've still seen about half the damn city, they film EVERYWHERE around here.

There was a scene from the Jessica Jones episode "AKA WWJD?" that was filmed three doors down from me, which meant that David Tennant might very likely have been standing in front of my house once.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:11 AM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

My legs are in a scene from St Elmo’s Fire. They filmed a scene at the University of Maryland’s fraternity row and those of us playing football etc were encouraged to just do what we were doing.
posted by terrapin at 5:18 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I read The Witches of Eastwick because it was supposed to be named for the town of East Greenwich and the village of Wickford. The locations described tracked pretty closely with the village but I don't remember too much else. The neighbor who recommended and lent me the book apologized for the quality but thought it had local cultural significance.

I also lived near downtown Boulder, CO when Mork and Mindy was filmed. The house was familiar from walks but I think the only part filmed there were the shots of the house.

And I once stopped in SOHO, Manhattan to watch a film crew shooting a police car coming to a screeching halt at the curb. After about 20 identical looking takes I gave up and left.
posted by Botanizer at 5:26 AM on September 22, 2019

Cermak Plaza was my childhood shopping center, before they built the mall across the street.

The bar where I worked in my twenties was featured in four different movies while I was a bartender there: The Color of Money, Adventures in Babysitting, Blink, and A League of Their Own. (I got to be an extra in the latter one.)

As a high schooler in Cicero (pre-Internet where you could just look this stuff up), a rite of passage was to drive around the north end of town, looking for the house where Jake and Elwood go to find one of their former bandmates in the Blues Brothers.

Speaking of the Blues Brothers, I live near the prison now.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:48 AM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Here's my street playing 19th century Baltimore in a PBS biopic of Clarence Darrow. Here it is playing Arlington Virginia in 2011 in that horrible Taylor Lautner movie, Abduction. It was actually used as contemporary Pittsburgh once in the already forgotten series, Downward Dog.

Mindhunter S1 shot all day on the street. They made everyone move their cars and lined the street with 1970s vehicles and then shot with a 365 degree camera running down the length of the two blocks. For all that work, you can see it (as Boston) for a few seconds through the windows of a taxicab over the shoulder of Anna Torv's character.
posted by octothorpe at 6:11 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

So I once lived near and worked in this somewhat small town where this huge, and dark, and horrible tragedy occurred. It broke nationwide and brought the news and cameras into our town for well over a year. Documentaries were made about it, and movies, it was the focus of podcasts and books, and it was horrible. The tragedy was horrible and broke the town, and the coverage was horrible and bathed the whole town in pain. I hated seeing all these familiar places in this new context, and it seemed like it was everywhere. A darkness settled on that town that I think is still pervasive today. I still have family there and we go back to visit on occasion, but I'm glad I don't live there anymore. It was broken by what happened and it may take generations to recover.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:13 AM on September 22, 2019

I finished high school in Lake Forest, where Ordinary People was filmed. Still never seen more than bits of it.

You're not missing much. I think it's supposed to be a good movie, but I remember it as being very Lake Forest people having very Lake Forest problems. ....

Ordinary People is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I still watch it every few years, it still stands, I'd pit it against any Bergman flick. Mary Tyler Moore turned in an incredible, absolutely believable performance as a heart-broken control freak who just would not allow herself to be heart-broken, and would not allow her son to be heart-broken either. Five star performances from Moore, from Timothy Hutton, from Donald Sutherland, from Elizabeth McGovern. Redford's directorial debut, it won Oscar's for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hutton). I don't know who won Best Actress that year but it's a crime that Mary Tyler Moore didn't win it; I hated her guts every bit as much as I hated Louise Fletcher's guts (as Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.") To stir that much emotion is a testament to those women's acting ability -- Mary Tyler Moore was this lovable, beautiful, emotional darling in the only role I ever knew her in (the Dick Van Dyke show) and to turn herself upside down, to have that much range, she was just incredible, and so was Redford, to be able to orchestrate that performance.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:16 AM on September 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

Oh and this scene from Wonder Boys with Downey Jr., Michael Douglas and Tobey McGuire was shot at the Modern Cafe right around the corner from me. Sadly the interior was destroyed in a fire about a dozen years ago so it doesn't look the same.
posted by octothorpe at 6:19 AM on September 22, 2019

I used to live in London, which is cheating quite a bit. I spot locations I know a lot, so I mostly like to point out weird and egregious errors, like Charing Cross being three stops away from Greenwich in the second Thor film, or two of the detectives in the Whitechapel TV series running five minutes from Borough Market and suddenly being in deep residential suburbia, or the Presidential motorcade in London Has Fallen turning in the wrong direction out of Somerset House to get to St. Paul's, or...

These days, though, I live in Sheffield. I haven't seen a lot of the locations in The Full Monty, but I live maybe a ten-minute walk from the park they filmed in, and I travel a lot past the building they used for the job center, which is now...a Jobcentre Plus. (It may have been at the time. I'm not sure.)

I saw quite a few familiar places in the latest series of Doctor Who, too, like the pedestrian/rail bridge in (I think) the fourth episode that crosses one of the busiest roundabouts in the city and connects the eastern half of the tram network to the western one. Also, the apartments that show up all through the season are right behind (and a fairly punishing climb up from) the main train station.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:37 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had a childhood love for the TV Show Early Edition because it was actually shot in places around Chicago! All sorts of neighborhoods that weren't Toronto!

The first book I purchased from Uncle Hugo's* after moving to Minneapolis was War for the Oaks. I had this strange sublet in Loring Park and had this soul crushing job downtown, but at least I could walk home, pass Peavey Plaza, turn down Oak Grove Street, and go into my apartment and read my new book.

In War for the Oaks, the main character has a band practice in the warehouse district, walks home, has a magical experience in Peavey Plaza, turns down Oak Grove street to go to her apartment. . .

At this point, I had stopped reading to wonder if I'd just entered a portal fantasy. Later, I found out that a sizable portion of people who lived in Minneapolis did a stint living in an apartment on Oak Grove street, but I'll always have that first reaction.

*Uncle Hugo's is this scifi/fantasy used book store that seems like the place that probably does have a used portal book somewhere, the trick is finding it. A labyrinth of different types of shelves packed in, floor to ceiling and sometimes double stacked, notable authors might get their own cardboard flats that are stacked on the ground - there's a system that one can eventually get used to, but part of that system is learning to embrace uncertainty as part of the human condition. I usually find my next read by wandering through with my eyes a little unfocused until I notice something and think 'hey, this looks good'.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:37 AM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Amsterdam scene from the James Bond movie "Diamonds Are Forever." I lived one block up at the Weesperplein for five years and went across the Magere Brug almost every day shopping; walking along the very side of the Amstel where they're fishing the person out of the water whenever I needed classical CDs, wine or Indonesian spices or produce...
posted by Namlit at 6:50 AM on September 22, 2019

dancestoblue—I wish I could favorite your Ordinary People comment x100! Hands down, it’s one of my favorite movies ever. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times. SO MANY great scenes. And adding to the performances you mentioned, Judd Hirsch is just perfect. I could go on and on and ON but I won’t!
(Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...)
posted by bookmammal at 6:51 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, and then parts of the Come Together sequence from the "Across The Universe" movie were filmed on the block I lived on in the Lower East Side. The exterior shots that aren't set near the skyscrapers - all the nighttime exteriors, and the daytime exteriors when the guy is walking down the street and almost gets hit by the taxi and then goes to audition at "Cafe Huh" was all the neighborhood where i lived.

But it did not look like that usually. Julie Taymor's art department must have blown millions turning this one intersection in my neighborhood into something that resembled Haight-Asbury in 1967 - one of the local restaurants was turned into a corner store with flyers in the window, all the street signs were re-done with different names and shaped signs, and all of the buildings and the pavement at that intersection were done over with psychedelic murals.

And they must have done that in the morning right before filming, because I passed through that intersection that morning on my walk to the subway and none of it was there. I saw the trailers setting up, but just ignored them and walked past as I usually do. The movie shot some day shots there, and then had some further night shots so they left it sitting there; and that night when I came home from work, here I came back from the subway, on my usual route towards my intersection, and I got there and looked and thought I'd completely snapped.

....Another time, though, I came home to my apartment one night right when some people were breaking down a shoot, and a couple of the grips were joking around with each other. Something prompted me to ask one of them what they'd been shooting. And one of them got this enormous fake grin and told me, "It's a film called All That Glitters," he said. "It's Mariah Carey's life story."

"Is it now."

"Yes," he said, fake grin still in place. "Because it was time for her to tell her story to the world."

Glitter tanked, but I loved that guy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Living in Pittsburgh, there's quite a lot. Too many to list but a couple personal standouts are Silence of the Lambs and The Mothman Prophecies. Both filmed in the area I've lived around and gone to school in and worked in for my entire life. I watched Mothman being filmed but then moved away (reluctantly, for my husband's job) before it came out. By the time it came out, we were relocated in a very boring rural place and one night we decided to drive the 45 minutes into the nearest stripmall hellzone for dinner. After dinner, we decided to buzz by the movie theater to see if there was anything good starting soonish and there on the marquee was Mothman Prophecies and I was like, I have no idea what it's about but it was filmed right outside my office so let's go!

As it turns out, it's an unexpectedly good film. In it, Pittsburgh stands in for both Chicago and Washington DC. It scared the tar out of both of us, as our house at the time was way down a dirt road with no lights and we had to check all the doors like 8 times before we went to bed to make sure they were locked (as if Indrid Cold would care.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:05 AM on September 22, 2019

Oh - and for the film The Dead Don't Die, Jim Jarmusch used this tiny little town in the Catskills called Fleischmanns to stand in for "Centerville". Friends of mine own a rental property in Fleischmanns and I"ve been there frequently; that made watching the movie even more surreal than it already is. (Also the taco place we'd always visit got a shout-out in the closing credits.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:13 AM on September 22, 2019

Nice page showing some of the filming locations of Mindhunter. I assume that the producers like Western PA because they can basically just show up and and shoot a series set in the 1970s without doing much set dressing because nothing has changed in so many the little towns around here in forty years.
posted by octothorpe at 7:25 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

The only movie I can think of for my locality is World War Z, and the town itself doesn't feature. The production hired two ships that are based here, the RFA Argus and another one whose name escapes me as it didn't make it into the film. Anyway, the RFA Argus becomes a UN vessel (also called Argus) which is the UN's floating HQ that star Brad Pitt's character reports back to between trips to zombie infested cities (and Wales).

Apparently there was a film shot on the small campus where I work a couple of summers ago featuring Cobie Smulders, Griffin Dunne and other recognisable faces, but I managed to not recognise any of them.
posted by biffa at 7:39 AM on September 22, 2019

Living in Providence, just walking to the train station takes me past a bunch of locations from Lovecraft. A recent British audio drama of the Case of Charles Dexter Ward really suffered from a lack of understanding of the Rhode Island setting, placing a rural trailer park in the middle of an area that was last rural in the late 19th century, among other sins.

I once told Caitlín Kiernan that the only utterly unbelievable thing in any of her novels was the time a character found parking at midnight on Benefit Street.

A few movies have been filmed here, and occasionally stumble across a film crew. The TV show The Brotherhood has a lot of scenes set around the city.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:46 AM on September 22, 2019

I have never lived anywhere other than Toronto, and made the Toronto Film Map last year. Includes films and TV shows set (not just filmed) in Toronto.
posted by avocet at 7:49 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Nothing of importance was ever filmed close to a place where I've lived. I've lived close to the eponymous Bridge Too Far, but it was shot elsewhere.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:33 AM on September 22, 2019

And a book has been written about the town where I live now, but I'm sure none of you have read it and let's just say that that may be for the best.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:44 AM on September 22, 2019

Having grown up in Maryland, I always assumed there was nothing special about it, especially the somewhat rural (although less so nowadays) areas outside Gaithersburg and Poolesville. When The Blair Witch Project came out and blew up, I didn't realize it was a local production. It wasn't until years later that someone pointed it out to me. Wait, Blair as in our Blair, like Montgomery Blair high school? It was filmed at Seneca Creek State Park? I know that place! As a person obsessed with witch stories, it made Maryland way more exciting to me.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:55 AM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, another too many to think about. USC for decades in a job that pretty much required going to every location on both campuses (often in the middle of the night).


I ran into probably ALS or similar guy again yesterday. Managed to mostly confirm that he understands be well enough (but maybe English isn't his first language, who knows). He knows my name now, but I totally couldn't decipher his. But he did ask for my cellphone number. I'm hoping his caretaker will give me a call or text or something. Anyhow, it's been interesting.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:09 AM on September 22, 2019

When we lived in London, we lived right next door to Victoria House. I lost count of how many flyers we got that filming was going on.

Many of the indoor scenes from Inception were filmed there and we lived so close that the lighting they used was also lighting up our front room.

I guess I have lived in scenic places because the Victorian I lived in San Francisco I recall seeing in SF-based films. And the building I lived in in Soho, NYC on West Broadway is often in the background of films too. When we lived in the Cotswolds in England we often went to services in Gloucester Cathedral - a big Harry Potter location.
posted by vacapinta at 9:09 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Like Lyn Never, I live and work in the greater Los Angeles metro area. For ten years I worked in the neighborhood where Tangerine was set before gentrification began in earnest. For five years I lived in the neighborhood that had the liquor store from Teen Wolf, the Discount Inn from Memento, the quarry house from River’s Edge and the main street of Charming from Sons of Anarchy all within about a mile radius. Now I live in a San Fernando Valley neighborhood containing one of the actual washes in T2, the American Embassy in Tehran from Argo, and Seattle Grace Hospital from Gray’s Anatomy. Until a few years ago it also contained the bowling alley from The Big Lebowski...

...’s xxx parody. But that’s the Valley for you.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:23 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

At the moment, I live in somewhere from a book: Persuasion, which I'm ashamed to admit I've never read: I kind of feel personally attacked by Jane Austen whenever I've tried to read her, like she's personally pointing out my own flaws.

My actual relationship to the flat (I think the Elliot family had a whole house, but this particular number is split into 4 flats, one per storey) is decidedly tricky. It's nice enough, and fairly well appointed, but as a rental flat it doesn't attract a particular premium, and I ended up here as a last option due to a prevaricating flatmate who wouldn't commit to anywhere despite an impending end of tenancy, so I've not really appreciated the exceptionally pretty views of the whole of the south and centre of Bath that I have in front of me as we speak, and I'm trying to work out how to get out of it now.

As it turns out, that's not so far from Anne Elliot's experience either: Anne entered it with a sinking heart, anticipating an imprisonment of many months.
posted by ambrosen at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

in the movie "Pitch Perfect 2" they travelled to "very sunny Copenhagen!" but they really didn't (no surprise there) however they really twisted the city around and I will never forgive them for this....
posted by alchemist at 10:10 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sometimes when driving around San Francisco I'd see parts of the city closed down for a shoot, but in my neck of the woods? Never. We haven't been gentrified yet so the film crews leave us alone.

I'd really like the whitefly to leave me alone. It's a perennial problem that got really bad this year. Sticky traps and insecticidal soap is the solution, however annoying that is. I also planted my second favorite brassica, Brussels sprouts! I've never grown these so fingers crossed!

Getting off my meds has some pretty distinct upsides, but the general malaise is a pretty distinct downside. It's lifting, but I do feel like I'm moving through shitty depressive molasses in the mornings sometimes. It goes away after a few hours which is nice. My sleeping is also all messed up, as the way my last pill worked is you took it at night and it had a drowsy effect. So in essence I'm getting off a sleeping pill as well. I feel much more alert though and every day I'm off it my risk of heat stroke goes down so yay not getting heat stroke?

Lets all not get heat stroke.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:12 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

In the 90s I worked in the suburban office park where Ebola Reston was discovered. The former monkey lab had become a daycare center.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:34 AM on September 22, 2019

I'm from DC so you'd think there's lots. But fortunately, I managed to escape, to the West Coast. A classmate and dear friend made the big jump a few years previously, and I visited him in his oceanfront Venice apartment, to see what LA was like. Many nights, during that visit, I slept up on the roof. Great old brick building; gilt letters on the glass front door labeled it "Biltmore By The Sea." I was stunned many years later, watching the opening of "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" when the camera swooped in over the Pacific Ocean right up to this building and in through a window on the top floor! Romy and Michele's apartment! My friend's unit was also on the top floor, but around back.
posted by Rash at 10:49 AM on September 22, 2019

They shot a lot of 30 Rock in and around my neighborhood, but I never saw them filming. But about 6 months ago my stepson was binge-watching and said hey, that looks a lot like our car... and yeah, our (empty, parked) car was on 30 Rock.

They also shot a scene from Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty remake driving past our home, but while we saw them in the car with the film truck, I never did see the scene in the film.
posted by Mchelly at 10:49 AM on September 22, 2019

In the 1976 King Kong, he eventually falls off of one of the World Trade Center towers. There is a crowd around his body, being held back by a cordon of soldiers. I was in that crowd. The "soldiers" had cheap wooden rifles. The director kept calling for more blood on the corpse, it was being absorbed by the fur. So guys with ladders and buckets would arrive and make it bloodier. It was cool to watch.
posted by Splunge at 11:08 AM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Dead Poets society was filmed at a school about 45 minutes from mine , but they used a bunch of kids from my school as extras. Peter Weir also sent his younger kid to my school while they were there.

I was in Rudy. When they carry him off the field, my dad and I were sitting in the end zone. My dad went to ND and we went to college-visit for me and see a game. It was the funniest thing, the real team was playing BC, but walking on campus beforehand, we saw a bunch of cheerleaders with knee length skirts (uh, not the style in 1992...) and in the wrong colors. Lo, the half-time show was "the" game in Rudy.

! They also used a bunch of my classmates in that terrible Keanu/Morgan Freeman movie (I gave up after two hours of waiting in a corral), it was originally called Dead Drop or Dead zone, I think they changed the name. Oh, and FYI, when Harry and Sally first meet and drive away from U of C...the way they'd be going, the lake is on the wrong side

I've also been a Woman on the Street, interviewed on the news at least five times, in three cities. In DC about public surveillance and then about my view on some change in the DUI rules, in NYC about my daily routine (channel 1) and in Philly about the pope visit, Made in America, and the weather. Okay, so six!

I work in center city Philly (so, a lot of Trading Places stuff) and have lived in DC and Chicago (Dr. Detroit comes to mind), so there are a lot more, but those are the ones that I actually had a connection to.

posted by Pax at 11:14 AM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I went to college where Revenge of the Nerds was filmed. Later, I lived on the UWS of Manhattan (mid 90s to mid 00s); I was living there when they filmed You've Got Mail. It made the neighborhood look amazing.

The Barbra Streisand film The Mirror Has Two Faces filmed on my block for a while; the big apartment building at the corner was used (I think) as the building where Lauren Bacall's character lived. There were often generators and lights right outside our small brownstone. One day I came out of the building, and Ms. Streisand's name-embossed canvas director's chair was right there.

I also lived not far from the building used for the exterior of Will & Grace's apartment in... Will & Grace.

I moved to Baltimore; my neighborhood was a filmic stand-in for Georgetown in the Nicole Kidman - Daniel Craig movie Invasion. They had decorated a block for Halloween (I believe it was spring.) House of Cards also used the neighborhood for where the Underwoods lived. I knew some people who worked on the costume crew and they had some tales about Mr. Spacey...
posted by profreader at 11:16 AM on September 22, 2019

I walked past the ghostbusters firehouse inlower Manhattan several times a day for 11 years, for work. And I live on the island where Jaws was filmed, natch.
posted by vrakatar at 11:18 AM on September 22, 2019

For me, the big one was Terminator 2. I was born in the building from which Sarah Connor escapes. It was a derelict county hospital when they filmed. I watched the art department install barbed wire and fake guard towers and paint the dead ice plant green while waiting at the bus stop for school. I used to visit the ice cream truck in the parking lot of the bar the terminator first appears in. It really was a pretty rough and tumble place, more or less as depicted, though with somewhat fewer motorcycles and white people. It ceased to exist at almost exactly the same time the film was made. I never tried to find out whether they actually burned it down or not. Many chase scenes in the film are in places I used to hang out as a kid. Seeing the film as an eleven year old was kind of a trip. I think it may have been the first time I really understood that filming happens in the real world.

The Burning Bed is the other memorable one. I rode horses on the property used for filming and came out to stand around with a hundred people to see the fire as a preschool kid with my mom. It seems that most of the actual film was shot elsewhere. They must have just used the ranch for some of the nighttime fire scenes. (Or, possibly, I've mixed it up with another very similar film from the same era. . . now, I'm questioning my memory.) That, some of the LA hillsides used in MASH, and Vasquez Rocks are the specific filming locations I remember growing up with. As a star-trek infatuated teen, I always found the Vasquez Rocks scenes delightful. For a long time I kept a chunk of fake rock from the film version of the Flintstones that I picked up while they happened to be filming there and I was going for a hike. The guards wouldn't let me get close enough to explore the houses.

I also walked past an eight foot tall gorilla arm that was supposedly used in King Kong every day as a kid. I never looked into whether it was actually King Kong, or which version. But, it must at least have been used for a King Kong knock-off or an amusement park re-creation. The mechanical bits sticking out of the back were complicated and not at all useful as lawn sculpture. Growing up in LA is kind of strange, even if you have no connection to the film industry.
posted by eotvos at 11:33 AM on September 22, 2019

Back in the day (by which I mean the early 90's), The Euclid Tavern was the spark and the heart of the indie/alternative/post-punk/whatever-you-want-to-call-it live music scene in Cleveland - I spent a really astounding amount of time there, hanging out, playing in bands, and eventually working there as a soundguy. It wouldn't be out of line to suggest that that club and that scene and my time there had a lot to do with whoever-it-is I've become, for better or worse.

One of the underlying reasons The Euc worked as a loud-ass punk rock club was because they filmed Light of Day there back in ''86/'87, and the production paid for a major overhaul of the whole electrical system - which meant there was plenty of power available for a real sound system that could keep up with the likes of Helmet or Cop Shoot Cop.

Big chunks of The Avengers and Winter Soldier were shot in Cleveland. Mostly this didn't affect me - they were shooting The Avengers in August, which is a super busy time for me, so I didn't pay much attention - but one day in 2011 I actually had like a Wednesday off, so I took the bus to the downtown library and took the opportunity to wander around the fringes of the set on E 9th street (The Battle of New York.) It was fun to see Cleveland set-dressed as NYC and the huge chunks of building rubble that were expertly carved and painted styrofoam.

They weren't shooting there that day, so the security guard keeping an eye on things let me get closer than he probably should have, and I had a nice chat with him, during which he clued me in to something interesting - which is that a lot of times when you see stars arriving or leaving the set in limos or big black SUVs with a big huddle of people surrounding them, it's actually a decoy designed to throw off the press or autograph seekers. Stunt doubles or stand-ins get the "celebrity" treatment to draw all the attention, and the actual movie stars get quietly transported a few minutes later in more ordinary sedans.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:40 AM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I live not far from a bunch of Toronto locations where various scenes for The Handmaid's Tale have been shot, particularly a bunch of the "Little America" scenes.

Here's a slightly blurry and distant picture of Elizabeth Moss and other cast members that I took while I was having coffee at my local coffee shop last November while they were setting up for a scene. Note the corpse hanging from the lamp post in the upper background.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:19 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

The opening credits of House of Cards always give me a little frisson of familiarity because it captures the feel of DC so well (at least the downtown, photogenic parts). A breakdown of all the shots.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:44 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Grew up on the western side of Lincoln Park, neighbourhood of Chicago. This movie became an inadvertent photo album for me — High Fidelity. Nick Hornsby’s book is great and is the rare film where transferring the locale from London to Chicago didn’t diminish the story. Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Lincoln Park were all caught as I remember. Lounge Ax, in Lincoln Park, a truly great place where I drank too late on weeknights, was the final, big holdout of live music during the massive, boring gentrification of the northside.

I was crashing / flat sitting in Marina Towers, watching filming on lower Wacker Drive of a Batman movie. I was glad because I knew the yellow sodium lights were being retired. It was a rite of passage to whip around lower Wacker screeching, late night, driving as fast as you dared. Sometimes I just watch that bit and get nostalgic.
posted by lemon_icing at 12:52 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

We used to live in a tiny beach town in Marin county, northern California that, surprisingly to us anyway, turned out to be the location of a few movies, as well as numerous commercials. Also serving as locations for ads and movies was the nearest town, Tomales. Much of the 2001 movie Bandits was filmed in and around Tomales (and Dillon Beach), as were the opening shots of Mumford (1999), and parts of Scream (1996), and Village of the Damned (1995). Dillon Beach served and continues to serve as the setting of countless advertisements, mostly for cars, but we felt compelled to document the day that Fruit of the Loom shot an underwear commercial at the beach!
posted by Lynsey at 12:55 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I spent most of my 20s in SF/Oakland/Alameda, so I see a lot of familiar landmarks. But I left before the tech boom moved there, so I don't know the city anymore.

My own personal movie would be tough on the set people. SoCal, Bay Area, Florida, Idaho, Hawaii, and now PNW, with frequent Tokyo and more rural Japan. Lately though, you'd only need a couple of sets - my house, work, and maybe some grocery store and driving-a-car scenes.

I actually thought about that when I was considering moving to Hawaii. At first it was "but it's an island, what if I get claustrophobic? You can't GO anywhere!". And then I figured out an average radius of where I DO go, and welp...
posted by ctmf at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2019

I grew up in Vancouver,

also known as Hollywood North, so yeah, everywhere I lived from 1969 through to maybe three years go seems to fit the bill here, with the caveat being that it was generally pretending to be somewhere else, usually in America, often as not Seattle.

And then there's the teen rampage masterpiece Over The Edge which wasn't shot anywhere near Vancouver, but (spoiler alert) the school that ends up getting trashed looks to have come from the exact same blueprint as my elementary school for grades six and seven. Strangely familiar, and that includes all the anarchy.
posted by philip-random at 1:00 PM on September 22, 2019

Hannibal (the movie sequel to Silence of the Lambs, not the TV series) was filmed at a house near my university campus that I walked by everyday on my way to class. I didnt know what they were filming at the time, lots of movies got shot in the area so I didnt think much about it. There wasn't much security I ever saw, and no crowds.

The wardrobe folks eventually started to say hi to me over the weeks and we ended up shared many smokes and had fun chats. There was a nice older gentleman who would frequently join us who introduced himself as Tony. Tony was funny and personable, and once introduced me to a skittish dark haired woman he referred to as Jules. She said hi and looked nervous, then disappeared back into the house.

One day, about two months later, a group of girls came squealing into class talking about Anthony Hopkins filming a movie nearby. It took me a good while to realize they were talking about the house a few blocks away.

I now wonder what such a well-known actor thought about having near daily conversations with a college student who clearly either had no idea who he was or didnt care.
posted by ananci at 1:02 PM on September 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oh, and many Dubai trips spanning from when it was a dusty desert town to now. Sorry, set people.
posted by ctmf at 1:02 PM on September 22, 2019

Hannibal Lecter reminds me -- they shot a movie with Brian Cox on my college campus a couple years ago. I happened to be walking by some cameras and stuff on my way to lunch, and I was thinking "I wonder if he's anywhere around here?" When lo and behold, I walked right past him. He another guy were sitting on those Hollywood-type folding chairs, just off one of the paved paths outside the main library. I wanted to say "you were the best Hannibal Lecter!" as I walked by, but he was in a conversation, and I figured I'd do better by him if I left him alone.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2019

I live not far from the house from the second Pippi Longstocking movie.

My mom was an extra in the train station scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:37 PM on September 22, 2019

With all the movies filmed near me, I've never managed to run into any Hollywood types. Friends said that they'd see Cate Blancher jogging through the neighborhood while she was filming Bernadette but I never did. Another friend said that she was excited to see Ewan McGregor in the Starbucks but then was grossed out that he smelled like cigarettes.
posted by octothorpe at 1:52 PM on September 22, 2019

Oi, this is a long story and I have told it here before...

Step one: worked in Vancouver for an insurance restoration company, at one point did flood and painting work in this high end architecture office in Gastown. Old repurposed brick warehouse, very nice place.

Step two: my buddies owned a tow truck company that did a bit of movie business. This was the late 80s when Vancouver was just starting to become a film hub. So anyways me and my brother hung around there quite a bit, one day they had these cool old Mercedes convertibles, they were in some movie and were now for sale. We got to putt around in them a bit, up and down the street in front of the lot.

Step three: a few years later, and I am an English teacher in a small town in Poland, there are two other native speakers there so we tended to hang out a fair bit. The local Dom Kultury ran films every Wednesday night, you showed up and it was just this strange grab bag situation, they would show a Western film but no real advance notice what it was going to be.

So, this film starts, Interstections, and after a couple minutes I nudge them - "Hey, this film is in Vancouver!"... and I am mentioning "yeah that is blah blah area of town, oh you can almost see my house in that shot" etc etc.

A few minutes later "I was in that building where Richard Gere works! Oh wow, I painted all of those walls in his office!" By this point they are kind of rolling their eyes I guess.

"Hey, I drove that exact Mercedes Richard Gere is driving!"

They really must have thought I was a complete bullshit artist.

It is not a great film.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:58 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was born and raised in Wilmington NC and cannot even guess how many movies and TV things have been filmed there.

My sister in law's family home was used for some movie of the week gore film.

I just don't watch tv or go to films so I don't keep track, but know it's an important part of the local economy. All sorts of folks from set building to extras are fed by the industry. The tax breaks are a big political football as Republicans and Democrats give or take away incentives. Film equals jobs.
posted by mightshould at 3:26 PM on September 22, 2019

Harvard Square, Good Will Hunting, sigh.
posted by Melismata at 3:40 PM on September 22, 2019

On my old block:
Young Turks by Rod Stewart
My old building
Cheap Racist Gallery
posted by Ideefixe at 3:48 PM on September 22, 2019

Oh, and Harvard Square is clearly the location for the Handmaid's Tale. I had my suspicions, and then I read "the newsstand at the corner" and I KNEW. (That's not there anymore either, grrrr.)
posted by Melismata at 3:51 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

As a member of the East High School class of [redacted] , yes that East High, wellll. i'll never be free. They're making a spinoff series now, i think?

(I hope they have a song about how the building's constructed to break apart in an earthquake this time. that was a huge missed opportunity in the original)
posted by Tess of the d'Urkelvilles at 3:53 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

The area where I live now is used for lots of movies. A Quiet Place was filmed in my town, and I've heard rumors that a friend's property is being used for the sequel, and some episodes of Girls were shot up here and also there's this big Mark Ruffalo project currently filming and the car crash in the show Maniac was up the mountain a bit at a dangerous-seeming hairpin turn.

But the mall that was my mall growing up was totally the mall from the bad movie North, and in one scene they got to an amusement park and it was the amusement park where every birthday party was held and that seems much more special to me, for some reason.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:55 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mentioned my weird connection with Letterkenny in a TV related MeTa, but I had a couple funny connections lately. In my wife's hometown of Stratford, Ontario, we discovered, while visiting family, that the whole of the downtown (it is pretty small) was dressed to look like, of all places, Harlem at the turn of the 20th Century for the upcoming Netflix series Madam C. J. Walker. And on Saturday we watched a crew shoot a Coke commercial set to air in Europe with my Southern Ontario town filling in for, of all places, New York City!
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:29 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ernest Goes To Camp was filmed in Montgomery Bell State Park in Dickson, Tennessee where I grew up. The park now celebrates Ernest Day every year with a whole crazy festival. Some guys made a documentary. The visitor center there has a nice cabinet of memorabilia if you happen to be a big fan and are for some reason passing through.
posted by oomny at 6:24 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

A lot of the original Stepford Wives movie (1975) was shot in Darien, Connecticut, where I lived as a kid, around that time. I remember going all the time (with my mom in her orange Datsun!) to one shopping center that figures prominently in the movie.

Also, The Ice Storm (1997) was mostly filmed in nearby New Canaan, and I'm not as familiar with that town, but that ice storm is a real thing that happened in 1975 and I remember it well. No power for days, etc. We had to roll out our sleeping bags in front of the fireplace and my dad kept it going all night. If there were any key parties, I was not informed, being about six at the time.
posted by scratch at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I recognized about 80% of the locations in Boyhood, just because I’ve been all over this town/state. The final minutes in Alpine, Big Bend & driving by Mitre Peak were especially noticeable because I was weeks back from a trip out there when we saw it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2019

soundguy99, were you around when that one scene from Air Force One was shot on top of Severance Hall? I’m pretty sure that was the year before I came to town.
posted by eirias at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2019

The Atom Egoyan movie "The Sweet Hearafter" starts with a horrific school bus crash. Yeah, that was filmed between my hometown of Logan Lake BC, and the nearby town of Merritt. It was a hard movie to watch, due to the subject matter, and I think of it every time I drive that stretch.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

My parents had a shop on 86th street & 20th Ave in Brooklyn which was famously used for the opening intro to Saturday Night Fever. Sadly you don't see it in the shot but Travolta walks right past it. We were one block over from Lenny's Pizzeria.
posted by cazoo at 8:50 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

This section of the Federal Triangle in Washington, DC gets used in a lot of stuff set in DC, to stand in for a lot of different places. There is a Metro Station there which I use all the time, so I'm well familiar with it, and spot it in movies and tv shows regularly. I once walked by and saw James Garner filming there (one of my few celebrity sightings ever, since I'm bad at recognizing people normally).

Here are two from Mr. gudrun:
The movie Whirlygirl used his high school/boarding school as a stand in for the college setting. His high school, Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, happens to have a distinctive and ridiculously beautiful campus and buildings. I've never been to the school myself, just seen photos, but it is so distinctive that I was able to guess where the movie was filmed just by seeing the settings in the movie (not a great movie, by the way, just happened to stumble on it on cable one night ...).

Also, Mr. gudrun's family has strong connections to Garrison, NY, and he grew up visiting his grandparents at their house there. Garrison stood in for Yonkers in the movie version of Hello, Dolly!
posted by gudrun at 9:20 PM on September 22, 2019

I almost forgot that I was volunteering at the Free Clinic in Austin in 1971-72 and the head of the Free Clinic allowed the crew of Leatherface to film in his Victorian farmhouse out in the sticks near Round Rock. There was a party for the Clinic staff and volunteers out there before the sets were taken down. Dang, I missed that party but my coworkers told me ALL about it. They were impressed by all the bones.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:33 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

What We Do in the Shadows is an extremely Wellington movie. This shot has the vampires just passing the Paramount, where I saw literally hundreds of films before it shut down (it hosted the Film Society and a series of all-night movie marathons). The scene where they meet the werewolves on the waterfront is a few hundred metres from my office.

The graveyard scene in Peter Jackson's Brain Dead (aka Dead Alive) is just down the road from my house.

The tree where the hobbits hid from the Nazgul is on Mt Victoria, I go running there most weeks.
posted by Pink Frost at 10:15 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

soundguy99, were you around when that one scene from Air Force One was shot on top of Severance Hall? I’m pretty sure that was the year before I came to town.

Showing how much attention I sometimes pay to things, I had to Google it - facebook post from The Cleveland Orchestra - and heh, yeah, you can totally recognize Severance and a bunch of CWRU buildings.

By '97 I was living West Side, and while I'm sure I was making regular trips to The Euc and the Grog Shop, if I noticed the filming at all it was undoubtedly just to grumble about having to reroute my drive.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:17 PM on September 22, 2019

The big red and blue LOVE statue was* across the street from my apartment. Which is in quite a few movies, but mostly I saw it on some airlines welcome to new york thingy on screen when you land, which showed a good chunk of my building as well.

* - It disappeared a couple months ago, and has finally been replaced with a statue of a man with his finger on his face. Not sure how I feel about the new piece yet.
posted by Grither at 3:59 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

So many things were filmed in Toronto, and particularly University of Toronto, where I worked for several years. You can see Hart House, University College, Convocation Hall, etc. in a zillion movies, and my very own office door from those years was in an episode of Flashpoint, the one where a guy was holding hostages in a courtroom IIRC.
posted by wellred at 5:08 AM on September 23, 2019

Later, I lived on the UWS of Manhattan (mid 90s to mid 00s); I was living there when they filmed You've Got Mail. It made the neighborhood look amazing.

That reminds me - We were living next door to Café Lalo at the time they were shooting YGM and my then-SO called me fuming because he couldn't get into our building because they were "shooting some fucking movie outside"... only to show up at our apartment about 15 minutes all goofy and star-struck because he'd seen Tom Hanks.

Plus I'm pretty sure that that was also the movie they were shooting on the late-winter day I was walking down Broadway and saw people hanging red and orange leaves off of the trees in front of what's now the Staples store. Very pretty and surreal.
posted by Mchelly at 5:22 AM on September 23, 2019

The visitor center there has a nice cabinet of memorabilia if you happen to be a big fan

Is that ever the case?
posted by pracowity at 5:53 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Raised in BC so lots of places. Most personally significant the X-Files has been filmed many places I recognize from having been there. Not so much the GVRD stuff but the more wilderness locations. Darkness Falls was so familiar as a setting I practically didn't sleep for a week and for years afterwards I got chills in the forest.

And then the episode with the bees was partially filmed at a tiny little village where I owned property (you can see it in one of the establishing shots). The production company painted one of the houses and the Post Office for filming and then painted them back to the original colour after filming. All for about 60 seconds of screen time.

Now I work at a resort that has a couple film/TV show/Commercials as a setting but mostly for generic forest settings so nothing to tweak familiarity. Though Winter's Dream was filmed at our quite recognizable ski hill.

First Blood (the first R-Rated movie I saw (said rating is kind of crazy considering the general lack of blood, gore, or sex)) was filmed in Hope BC (they still celebrate every year). I drive there/through there all the time. The setting is still recognizable though the town has been recovering lately from the hit it took from being semi bypassed by a freeway. So some of the buildings have been replaced or painted/modified. First Blood is arguably the reason we have Hollywood North.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 AM on September 23, 2019

I lived in Toronto for 20+ years and my family is mostly in Vancouver, so basically every movie and TV show, at all times.

A couple of my favourites, tho:

Reindeer Games was filmed in the city where I went to high school. It's a terrible movie, but fun to play spot the local landmark. The opening of Double Jeopardy was also filmed there, but just the jail scenes and since I've never been to jail, that was less exciting.

We used to stay at the 2400 Motel in Vancouver when we visited when I was a kid, and now it's very, very commonly used in movies and TV shows.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:10 AM on September 23, 2019

When I was in grade school, they were filming the Afterschool Special High School Narc on location just outside of NYC. Word got out (I don't remember how) that they were looking for a basement with a pool table, which we had. Our basement was pretty rough with concrete floors and plaster directly over the rock walls. They came in and spray-painted up some graffiti/murals on the walls. Shooting day was pretty fun - they took over most of the rooms in the house as dressing rooms. We weren't allowed on set, but we watched the actors play basketball in our yard between takes, and I got some autographs which were hot commodities the next day at school. The big star everyone was excited about at the time was soap opera actor Michael E. Knight, but as it turns out it was Nancy Travis and Viggo Mortensen who would go on to bigger things. Looking forward to bumping into them some day so I can casually recall we met in my basement.

In the course of shooting they broke some water pipes while moving stuff around, so they paid to have those replaced in addition to whatever the fee was to use the house. Given that the pipes were probably eighty years old at minimum that worked out pretty well for my parents!
posted by mikepop at 7:11 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's not a hugely interesting story, but I loved the movie My Bodyguard as a kid growing up in middle-of-nowhere Illinois, and now I live a block from Lake View High School where much of it was filmed.

(The area has changed a lot since I moved to the city in 1998, and certainly much more since the movie was released in 1980.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:21 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

NYC and the usual colleges, so, a lot (there were trailers on my street just yesterday). Most recent personal encounter was earlier this year when some network show whose name I have already forgotten was filming in what was then my local diner, and I was indignant about how unrealistically they'd reconfigured the inside.

There was one recently reasonably successful novel set very near where I grew up, and despite having a great title it was so bad it felt like an act of aggression against the place, and from an outsider, to boot. I mean the racial politics were so questionable I doubt it would have been published even five years later.
posted by praemunire at 8:38 AM on September 23, 2019

I used to work in the SoMa area of San Francisco and ate lunch regularly at the McDonald's that, before it became a McD's, was the scene of Dirty Harry's "Go ahead, make my day" speech.

Growing up, my grandparents lived down the street from the Hurley Mountain Inn, made famous in a scene between Dustin Hoffman and Charles Durning in Tootsie.

I didn't go to UofMD, but many of my friends did, and I had often visited the dorms there that were the backdrop of the "Georgetown" graduation sequence in St. Elmo's Fire.
posted by hanov3r at 10:04 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, UMD reminds me -- I was rewatching The House on Sorority Row (the 1983 version) recently, and I was like "huh, I never noticed that the campus looks an awful lot like the University of Maryland." Turns out it was! Whole thing was filmed in Maryland. MD! MD! It's actually a much better movie than the title makes it out to be: strong characters, handily passes the Bechdel test, good story, filmed in Maryland. A+
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:36 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

my mom and my brother were extras in Bottle Shock

my kid's mother can be seen singing karaoke in an episode of VH1 FanClub

I was the skateboarding kid in the Life Through Time movie that played in an endless loop at the California Academy of Sciences before they remodeled it
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:40 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I live in Williamsburg Brooklyn and there's hardly an old apartment or neighborhood joint that hasn't been filmed. An episode during the last season of Girls was filmed nearly exclusively on the block where I run my errands - in my laundromat (although hardly interesting the show indicated that they were doing their own laundry in the scene but they actually filmed on the drop off side), in the local M Shanghai (where I stopped getting take out after the quality nosedived) and all up and down the block while they run after Loreen who has taken some edibles as I recall. Not for the first time I'm sure on that stretch of Metropolitan.

Scenes from Nick and Norah's Infinite playlist were filmed at my corner bar Union Pool which I have walked past every day of my life for the last decade. They used to film so much at Union Pool I had a hard time getting down the block to get to the train to get to work sometimes.

In an episode of Aziz Ansari's Netflix show they walked past my old door on Grand street and they film in the Four Horsemen down the block quite a bit - I know they filmed in or near there for the Ansari show and for High Maintenance.

The (cute) Netflix show "It's Bruno" appears to have been filmed nearly exclusively between the Morgan and Jefferson stops on the L. They probably walked past my old apt door - but I have a hard time remembering which was mine. I shop at that NYC Pet where there is an appreciable story line.

When I saw Garden State in the theater I noticed they filmed the entire opening scene of his employment which was supposed to be fancy high end LA restaurant in Sea Thai on N 6th - a place I used to go to while sweaty on a Saturday afternoon. Oddly Sea Thai did get insanely popular after that and we used to get the reverse bridge and tunnel crowd just to go there.

It's kind of nice actually - things change around here so often that I find myself wishing I knew more things that were filmed in the old (to me) days so I can catch a glimpse of something that closed so that all the new condos could go up.
posted by rdnnyc at 11:30 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Living in Toronto and now Vancouver, I've walked past so many film sets on the way to school or work. In Toronto it was feature films (though some TV, like Orphan Black); here in Vancouver it's usually TV.

My favourite is when they're making something period or futuristic. Just this morning, on the way to the library where I'm typing this, I walked past a bunch of 70s sedans dressed up as Seattle Police. Some crew guy was in the middle of screwing old tops onto the street meters.

Some other ones I liked: my neighbourhood in Toronto got turned into 60s Baltimore for the 2007 remake of Hairspray, and a few years later, the university campus downtown was deluged with these white pod-like flying cars for the remake of Total Recall.

And every time I went to the Toronto bus station or the now-defunct Silver Dollar Room, I'd think about Adventures in Babysitting.
posted by Beardman at 11:59 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

My parents live a few miles outside of Jackson, MS, where parts of The Help were filmed. I've been to Brent's Drugs and more generally the Fondren area plenty, we even did an AirBnB just up the road from it last Thanksgiving so we could fit more family than my parents' house can hold. If I managed the id tag in that link right, you're looking at the interior of the restaurant (if not, it's about two thirds down that page) - somehow I don't think they ever mention in the movie that if you go through that hallway at the back left you end up in a chichi cocktail bar called The Apothecary.
posted by solotoro at 12:27 PM on September 23, 2019

I went to the camp where they filmed Wet, Hot, American Summer.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:30 PM on September 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

Let's see... the outside of the bar two doors down from me was an exterior location for Constable Benton Fraser's apartment on Due South (which I only know from googling my address one day and finding it on a Due South fan site). When I was in grad school, a set designer came to visit our laboratory as inspiration for the movie "Mimic" -- the movie version was a lot more dramatic.

Less personally, it's always fun to see Toronto locations masquerading as other places. Designated Survivor, Titans, Umbrella Academy and Shazam! all had some fun moments of recognition.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:30 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I grew up in LA so this question is practically disorienting, reality breaking or even hallucinogenic.

Watching movies or fictional shows can be really jarring and suspension of disbelief-breaking, and this is a known phenomenon. There is, of course, actually a film about it but the name of the film escapes me, but it addresses the issue of how much stuff is filmed in and around LA and makes liberal and creative use of the local architecture to try to recreate places all over the world - often with remarkably horrible results.

Some of the more fun places I've been include the Trona Pinnacles, notable for original Star Trek scenes and westerns. I've probably surfed at any given "LA beach scene" you've seen in films if there was surfing to be had there, so I recognize a lot of beaches in film.

I've also recognized Mojave desert locations, often in old Westerns and John Wayne flicks and the like, and have been to outdoor raves or parties at some of them, or camped or hiked near them. Every so often I'll see a rock formation or canyon in film and know pretty much exactly where they are, but this works less and less reliably as digital scene replacement and mattes become much more commonplace.

Part of my family was based near Pasadena, and near there there's a very expensive neighborhood just west of the Rose Bowl up on the rim and hills of Arroyo Seco canyon that's famous for being in hundreds if not thousands of films and commercials whenever they need something that basically looks like the complete and total package of the American Dream. The quiet, bucolic and established aspirational fantasy world "middle class" sort of neighborhood tree lined streets and tidy but substantial houses with good lawns and setbacks, large but not gigantic parcel sizes, immaculate landscaping - often standing in for East coast or Midwestern cities or neighborhoods.

And I can't really think of a neighborhood that I've ever seen that more powerfully evokes the conflicting thoughts or feelings of "Oh, this is nice and seems attainable! I would like to live here! Wait, that average looking if pretty looking house last sold for HOW MUCH!? I will never be able to live here."

It's exactly the kind of set you need for a "That kind of stuff doesn't happen, here!" crime thriller, or to sell life insurance, or investment management, or even lawn and garden products. It is chock full of homes with the perfect driveway for exterior shots for a luxury sedan commercial, or to have a live set for a family home for interior and exterior shots. I would wager that many Lifetime dramas have used locations here, to put some specific color on it.

It's exactly the kind of film-friendly neighborhood that has an absolute minimum of visual clutter, be it billboards or street litter, a faded or weedy lawn, bad landscaping, obtrusive signage or a strangely painted or colored house that needed to be blocked out of the shot. In many places you can point the camera in just about any direction and it just looks like Middle Class With No Problems At All Town, USA, circa 1950 to now.

I would guess that this holds true to today but effectively every time I ever passed through the neighborhood as a kid there was something being filmed there, most often focused on a house or general residential street scene.

The reality is that it is indeed an uncommonly beautiful neighborhood full of incredibly beautiful homes. It is remarkably photogenic and picturesque. It's the kind of neighborhood where you can take a visitor on a nice Sunday drive and ramble, and when you climb up out of the more gritty, much drier looking LA of South Pasadena or Eagle Rock to get to it and start winding through the shady tree-lined streets and lush green lawns without a patch of brown anywhere it will reliably evoke responses like "Wow, this place is beauuutiful!" and even jaded locals feel a little edified and lifted just passing through, like a visit to an oasis.

It is also incredibly expensive and rather far from any actual useful definition of "middle class". It's probably more expensive than Beverly Hills or other known tropes of rich cities or neighborhoods. The water bills alone for irrigation would be stupendous, and nearly every last house likely has high caliber landscaping services.

And unlike some of LA's super photogenic and wealthy neighborhoods, this one has a lack of compound-like privacy walls or hedges and you can actually see the houses and it all looks normal. Whatever that is.

But as I understand it it was that way from the very beginning, one of the many housing or neighborhood enclaves of film industry people effectively built to taste - if organically - at considerable cost.

They were built to be photogenic by people who mainly worked in film - not specifically to become film sets but to please their own tastes and eyes, a little bit of fantasy becoming livable reality like so much of the landscape of LA.

They were built from high quality materials and craftsmanship, and have been cared for from the start to the present. Many of the trees were all imported and cared for by experts effectively from the beginning. The houses are of a range of styles from classic American homes of many styles to more modern or daring styles. The lots are varied in size from being a film friendly slightly oversized and appearing like it's in a relatively flat neighborhood or city to compact lots with hilly terrain and more twisty/narrow streets and walks.

And the interesting, conflicting reality is that these homes and these neighborhoods being used as stand ins so often for "middle class" neighborhoods were never really the boring, normal middle class places or backdrops that these locations are often representing in film.
posted by loquacious at 1:57 PM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

About six months after I left the job, Angelina Jolie moved into my old workplace for several months during the filming of Salt. It was strange to see so many places I was used to being in daily as the backdrop for a spy thriller.

The same place also served as a location site for The West Wing (I got to stay and monitor an overnight shoot once) and about 12 seconds of the movie National Treasure.
posted by PussKillian at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Just remembered another one. Parts of Spock's family home on ST:Discovery were filmed at Integral House. I've been there a few times for fundraisers.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 4:27 PM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

As I live just south of Waterloo Station in London I suppose "a lot", but to be honest the constant stream of film shoots is mostly an annoyance (and they don't usually say what movie it is, they just obstruct stuff).

The place I work is just around the corner from MI5, though, still standing in reality in a way it isn't in the James Bond franchise.

(Actually, my home town mostly appears in movies these days so Hollywood FX houses can destroy it. I'm not sure how I feel about that.)

My mother was a student in London in the late 50s, and hung out in Soho, so she was in the real life version of Absolute Beginners.
posted by Grangousier at 4:29 PM on September 23, 2019

The building I work in figures heavily in Wonder Boys. The theater used for the big awards ceremony wherein a very intoxicated Toby MaGuire giggles at Rip Torn’s pompous speech is one floor up, and in another scene Michael Douglas drops a bag of weed through a couple stories’ worth of stairwell to Alan Tudyk, who’s sweeping the floor outside my office. Sadly it was filmed before I got the job.
posted by jon1270 at 6:17 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Avalon filmed several scenes at the Baltimore Street Museum, which my father helped found and where I spent lots of Saturdays.

There's a literal (it is less than a second) blink and you'll miss it glimpse of my dad's face in one of the streetcar shots.
posted by FritoKAL at 6:42 PM on September 23, 2019

San Francisco, so pretty much every block of every street of every neighborhood has been in some movie or TV show.

But I lived just outside Santa Cruz when The Lost Boys was filmed. If you just squint your eyes you can barely make me out as an extra. I was the hot greased up guy playing saxophone on the beach.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:36 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

There was more than one greased-up sax player in the Lost Boys?
posted by jon1270 at 3:10 AM on September 24, 2019

The manor used for exterior scenes in The Haunting with Catherine Zeta-Jones (among other movies) is called Harlaxton Manor, and is owned by the University of Evansville in Indiana. They use it as a study abroad site, and the students both stay at the manor and take classes there. I got to spend a semester there while I was in school.

Harlaxton Manor
posted by markslack at 6:07 AM on September 24, 2019

Almost 45 years ago we took a motor boat trip from our beach house to Ft. Pickens, FL to see the Jaws set. Here was an old lighthouse on the beach which had not been there the year before. It was clear that this structure had been weathering for decades. The glass was broken, the rails rusty, and the concrete was rough. The closer I got to the structure the stranger it was. I was an arm's length from a concrete wall that had be blasted by decades of storms, and swept by wind-blown sand. I reached out and knocked on it. Hollow. It was rocks glued onto plywood.

I gained an understanding of the illusions that Hollywood was so good at creating.

Later on I saw the Jaws 2 movie. The kids were necking in the lighthouse, came down the steps, and found a dolphin with a huge bite taken out of it on the beach. This was foreshadowing the fact that there was Something Out There.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 9:12 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen the Lifetime movie "Wishin' and Hopin'," although I've read the book (and may well eventually try to see the movie, just for shits and grins). It was partially filmed in my town.

The author lives in the region; my closest brush with him occurred years ago when he misgendered my then-fiance while announcing a literary prize.

(Not even my trans spouse--just wasn't expecting a guy to have a weird first name ending in A.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:53 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

My mom let a local filmmaker shoot in our house once. The movie was unremarkable, and the experience of having people and equipment in our house all day was AWFUL, it was February in Winnipeg and they ran the power lines through our doors, so they were always cracked and the house was freezing. In order to get that "period" look the set decorators applied a layer of dirt to all the rooms they were using. They were supposed to be out of the house by the time I was home from school but they never were, and I hated feeling like I was intruding when all I wanted was to be in my own room, a teen in the quiet and safety of my own space.

The filmmaker (our neighbor across the back lane) was a clod. His wife was delightful, but she wasn't the one in my house. Mom agreed with me later that it had been a mistake, but that was the year we consciously Did New Things to compensate for the Big Changes we'd just been through.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:24 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Several times in the past few years, I’ve spent an afternoon watching Supergirl, the Arrow, and the Flash film together from my apartment window. It was surprising to me how tedious but also difficult acting seems to be. Mostly just standing around and everything is shot in this really disjointed way, especially if there’s any action. I’m impressed they’re able to maintain ANY emotional continuity for a scene, let alone an episode.
posted by congen at 11:32 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh! And I’m not sure what’s being filmed near my building now, but they’ve put out some street furniture to make it look more American. I almost put my letter in the fake USPS postbox! I’m clearly not as acclimated to Canada as I’d thought.
posted by congen at 11:36 AM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

My mother went to Rickmansworth Masonic School for Girls, where Indy's classroom scene was filmed in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. She was thrilled to see this.

When Benjamin Braddock runs out of the fraternity in The Graduate, you can see the Unit I dorms in the background and can, in fact, see the window of the room I lived in my freshman year (much later). Oddly, most of the campus shots of Berkeley were filmed at USC. That's one of the few shots set in Berkeley that was actually in Berkeley.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:39 AM on September 24, 2019

grampa's pickwick can be seen in the background in Harry and Tonto and Moment by Moment. the jim backus episode of this is your life also began there where backus was signing his book.
posted by brujita at 2:09 PM on September 24, 2019

The grindhouse actioner Kill Squad was filmed in and around San Jose in the late 1970's. The filming locations included the then-seedy downtown core.

I had the distinct pleasure of watching the movie on the last day of the Camera One theater in downtown San Jose. The viewing experience included seeing a scene in the movie filmed outside the theater I was watching the movie in. At the time of filming, the Camera One was an adult theater.
posted by JDC8 at 2:11 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I work in and near DC, so there are a lot of answers I could give here but the most specific is that I park my car at the Americana Hotel in Arlington, which was a major setting in the 2009 Affleck/Crowe film State of Play.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:21 PM on September 24, 2019

I just remembered that I used to hang out at the bar where the assassins are hired in I Love You To Death. It looked suitably shady in the movie and was a total dive by the time I was singing karaoke there.
posted by momus_window at 4:14 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Living and working in Oakland means that watching Sorry to Bother You was basically just a tour of the Town. My office building is in one shot, and the apartment the lead character gets halfway through the movie is in a building I walk past all the time.

Same for Blindspotting; they filmed a lot at Mountain View Cemetary, which is just up the street from the local art-house cinema, and one of my nieces is an extra in the scene at the Kwik-Way (which was not shot at the Kwik-Way in Grand/Lake for some reason, possibly it was already the Merritt Bakery).
posted by suelac at 4:54 PM on September 24, 2019

I used to live in Asheville NC, where parts of My Fellow Americans were filmed. It was kind of entertaining to see how the filming locations were used to portray places that were geographically nowhere near the actual locations.

I grew up in Asheville. They filmed "Last of the Mohicans" in and around the town. The place that was the British Fort was in my neighborhood and actually an old Gilded Age Inn that had (in those days--now it's apartments) fallen into disrepair (when I was a kid I took hippie ballet classes in the old ballroom and chased feral cats in the former smoking lounge). I lived a few blocks down the road, walking distance, and fifteen when they were filming. My friends and I would walk up and hang out around the set and watch the Redcoats muster in the park and try to spot DDL (he famously didn't hang). My mom got to know Wes Studi during the filming, because he hung out some nights at her best friend's restaurant. She said he was lovely.

Asheville was a big movie town for a while--less so now that our shithole General Assembly chased the movies out (they all went to Georgia, including/especially the franchises had been in production in NC--see: Hunger Games, Iron Man). I never ran into anyone except Anthony Hopkins in an elevator (on "Hannibal" shoot). He was polite. I was mostly bummed about not happening upon Gary Oldman, though I'm quite sure I would have done nothing but goggle.

I was in Wilmington, NC for a portion of the "Empire Records" shoot. Almost none of its locations correspond precisely to what they are supposed to be, but you can see my old roommate's ex and some kids I used to go to shows with in the crowd scene at the end.
posted by thivaia at 7:37 PM on September 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

....there are characters in Koyaanisqatsi?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:01 AM on September 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

I'm getting really nervous about the premiere of Sunnyside. I lived there for five years after grad school and for a variety reasons (including the general premise of the show), it was where NYC started to feel like home for me.

As an indicator of the American zeitgeist in 2019, as a showcase of all the awesome things about the neighborhood, as an opportunity for POC talent and a Mike Schur project, I want so SO badly for the show to be brilliant and successful and wildly popular. As someone trying to buy a home in the area in the near-term future though, I hope it doesn't become too popular...
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:17 AM on September 25, 2019

Footnote: Can you imagine what living in Mike-Schur's-interpretation-of-America would be like?
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:27 AM on September 25, 2019

Oh, yeahlikethat, Sunnyside is an ancestral neighborhood of mine. Both sets of paternal great-grandparents lived there. One of my great-grandfathers, Paul Crosbie, was the chairman of some kind of neighborhood council (we still have his gavel somewhere) and arranged to have all those plane trees planted.

I've lived in and around lots of sites but most notably I spent a couple of years in the same Chicago apartment building as John Cusack's character in High Fidelity. When he kicks at the lawn border chain in irritation, the camera swings up and you can see my old bedroom window.

The soon-to-be Mr. Tangerine Man grew up largely around Stamford in England where the BBC adaptation of Middlemarch was filmed.
posted by tangerine at 12:09 PM on September 25, 2019

Parts of season one of The Man in the HIgh Castle were filmed in Seattle. Specifically, the scenes shot near the "elevated train" - it was actually shot on a short section of Post, near the ferry terminal. I usually walked that way because it's away from traffic, and is picturesque. I saw the set before the shoot, and was able to walk right through - they had old newspapers on windows, vintage cars parked on the street, some modern stuff covered up, and props like wooden crates on the sidewalks. It was pretty cool and I took pictures. Seeing the set in the episodes was neat too - the stairs to the "train" were just to the walkway (no longer there) that goes to the ferry.
posted by dbmcd at 2:08 PM on September 25, 2019

If you’ve ever watched an Ohio State home football game, you’ve see my freshman dorm; it’s the football stadium. There used to be a dormitory under the west side stands, until the stadium was remodeled in 1999. I was a freshman in the 98-99 academic year, and I was one of the last five or ten students in the building before demolition. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how big major college football stadia are, there was enough room for a three-floor dorm (technically four, because you had to climb stairs to get to the first floor) sleeping 400 with a library, computer lab, and full cafeteria, and it was only maybe a quarter of the stadium. My two-year-old now says “Daddy lived in football”.

You’ve probably also seen my sophomore dorm, which is the giant tower next door. Not as cool, but by far the best, most desirable dorm in campus.

A stock photo of one of our main academic buildings, University Hall, was rebranded as Hollis College in Pretty Little Liars. I have a different photo of the building as my wallpaper at work, which has led to some funny moments during screenshares when people try to remember where they’ve seen that building before.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:47 PM on September 25, 2019

Parts of American Pie 2 were filmed in my small town of Seal Beach, CA. I wasn’t aware of that during filming, so I was quite surprised to see the characters on my main street on the big screen. Yes, I actually paid money to see that movie. Cringe.
posted by gryphonlover at 7:34 PM on September 25, 2019

Watching Koyaanisqatsi before and after a few years of commuting from Culver City to Long Beach, and realizing I was now best frenemies with one of the main characters.

A subway train? A major civil engineering conglomerate? Building implosions? The slow motion tumbling remains of a burning Atlas rocket?

Wait, was it Philip Glass?

Oh no, wait, it was the 405, wasn't it?
posted by loquacious at 7:35 PM on September 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Well, I live in London, so there are plenty of examples I can claim a vague connection to, but my best personal connection is to Educating Rita, which was set in Liverpool (a fairly distinctive-looking city) but filmed in Dublin (also pretty distinctive). It's very obviously Dublin, complete with green post-boxes and buses, and Michael Caine's character teaches at Trinity College. My connection is that the wedding of Rita's sister takes place at the church where I was christened, across the road from my grandmother's house.

One recent London connection - some scenes from Good Omens were filmed a couple of hundred yards down the road from where I live
posted by Fuchsoid at 8:01 PM on September 25, 2019

Watching Koyaanisqatsi before and after a few years of commuting from Culver City to Long Beach, and realizing I was now best frenemies with one of the main characters.

At the end of the Cities section (if I remember correctly), there's an astonishing series of shots of different people staring into the camera, moving only enough to show that they're not still photographs. I assumed haltingproblemsolved was referring to one of these people.

Good lord, it might be thirty years since I last saw Koyaanisqatsi. I should watch it again.
posted by Grangousier at 4:38 AM on September 30, 2019

I live near the National Cathedral and can see it from my apartment windows, and enjoyed the episode of West Wing that takes place there.
posted by wicked_sassy at 8:17 AM on October 4, 2019

I was working in a coffee shop at the Mall of America when they filmed Jingle All The Way and ended up making coffee for the cast & crew every morning. Arnold likes his cappucinos "wet".

Several years later, they filmed part of Joe Somebody in front of a coffee shop a block from my apartment.
posted by belladonna at 3:38 PM on October 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

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