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Sunday April 2nd 2023

Step Brothers | 2008

Step Brothers film location: Midwick Drive, Altadena
Step Brothers location: sharing the family home: Midwick Drive, Altadena

Sublime silliness as Robert Doback (Richard Jenkins) and Nancy Huff (Mary Steenburgen) get hitched, and their grown-up – but cringingly immature – sons, Dale (John C Reilly) and Brennan (Will Ferrell) find themselves reluctant step-brothers.

Made around Los Angeles, the film oddly shares a couple of locations with Halloween films, though Van Nuys Boulevard in Panorama City is happily slasher-free as Nancy and Brennan drive home after the wedding reception.

They move into the Doback house, which is 1987 Midwick Drive, off North Allen Avenue in Altadena, a pleasant suburb north of Pasadena.

Persuaded by their long-suffering parents to look for work, Brennan and Dale set off together to attend job interviews but, despite going to the trouble of donning formal evening dress, they’re unsuccessful.

Returning home, they get off the Metro Gold Line train at Mission/Meridian Station which, you’ll hardly be surprised to discover is at the junction of Meridian Avenue and Mission Street, in South Pasadena. And – yikes! – isn’t that ‘Nichol’s Hardware Store’ in the background, where Michael Myers picks up the essentials (you know, rope, knife, Halloween mask...) in the original 1978 Halloween?

As Dale comes up with the brilliant notion of starting up ‘Prestige Worldwide’, the biggest and the best international entertainment company, the pair stroll past the historic Meridian Iron Works Building, 913 Meridian Avenue (which is now home to the South Pasadena Historical Museum).

It’s a good four miles across Pasadena to their home in Altadena, but that’s nothing. When Dale wants to take the long way home to avoid bullies, and Brennan convinces him to take the direct route, this involves passing through North Hills, up in the San Fernando Valley.

The kids’ ‘playground’, where Brennan is forced to lick white dogshit by the terrifying pre-teens, is simply a plot of grass on the grounds of the US Veterans Hospital in North Hills, west of the San Diego Freeway. It’s between Montgomery and Gloria Avenues, just south of Lassen Street, on the northern fringe of the campus.

The hospital itself, entrance to the south at 16111 Plummer Street, became ‘Smith’s Grove Sanitarium’ in Rob Zombie’s 2007 reboot of Halloween.

Step Brothers film location: The Derby, East Huntington Drive, Arcadia
Step Brothers location: the birthday meal: The Derby, East Huntington Drive, Arcadia

The ‘World Famous RJ Posner’s’ restaurant, where the family celebrates the birthday of Brennan’s hot-shot go-getting brother Derek (Adam Scott) and get treated to ‘Prestige Worldwide’ presentation, is just a little closer to home.

It’s The Derby, 233 East Huntington Drive, in Arcadia, just east of the famous Santa Anita Racetrack, another familiar screen location (the Marx BrothersA Day At The Races, the 1954 A Star Is Born), though not yet seen in any Halloween movies. As you might guess by the little jockey figures gracing the frontage, the restaurant has a horse-racing theme, and even houses a display of equestrian memorabilia.

Brennan finally gets his chance to shine when he organises the ‘Catalina Wine Mixer’, supposedly on Catalina Island. Although there’s an establishing shot of the island’s Avalon Casino (which you can see also in Chinatown), the event is firmly landlocked, at the Trump National Golf Course, 1 Trump National Drive, overlooking the ocean at Rancho Palos Verdes, just east of Portuguese Bend.

The spectacular course, which also featured in 50 First Dates and The Lincoln Lawyer, claims “stunning views of the coastline and Catalina Island”. That’s the magic of the movies.