Superbad | 2007
The way characters stumble across each other, you’d think Los Angeles was little more than a village in Greg Mottola’s smart comedy, revolving around that US screen staple – the relentless teen quest to obtain party booze.
The gap between UK and US youth culture never gaped so wide, with LA kids seeming to get a car as soon as reaching puberty, yet having to wait until middle-age to buy alcohol.
‘Clark Secondary School’, where Seth (Jonah Hill) gets invited to that all-important party by Jules (Emma Stone), while Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) recklessly promises to get fake ID, is El Segundo High School, 640 Main Street, El Segundo, immediately to the south south of LAX. Something of a regular on both large and small screens, El Segundo was also Matthew Broderick’s ‘Washington State’ school in WarGames, as well as appearing in Rob Schneider bodyswap comedy The Hot Chick, Joe Dirt, Yours, Mine and Ours, and the clunky parody Epic Movie. On TV, it’s featured in The OC, Ally McBeal and Joan of Arcadia. It was also glimpsed (as the well-to-do school) in 1955 landmark Blackboard Jungle, which launched Bill Haley and the Comets to rock'n'roll stardom and thus began the decline of Western Civilisation.
The convenience store, where Seth and Evan (Michael Cera) ogle pin-up mags, either stocks a great line of publications or is offering serious discounts, since they’ve travelled north of LAX, to Culver City. It’s the Overland Mini Mart, 4273 Overland Avenue. Not too ‘convenient’ for the school, it is, though, pretty handy for Sony Studios, in Culver City, where the production was based.
Are there really so few grocery stores in LA? Armed with the famous ‘McLovin’ Hawaiian driving licence, the boys take the bus clear across the city to Glendale in the San Fernando Valley. ‘Good Shopper’, where various scenarios of buying/stealing alcohol are considered, is Jons Market, 1717 West Glenoaks Boulevard, in Glendale.
This seems to be good territory. It’s not too far to ‘TJ’s Liquor’, where Fogell-McLovin gets knocked out during an attempted robbery and hooks up with ever-so-slightly deranged cops Michael (Seth Rogen) and Slater (Bill Hader). The liquor store is 7 Days Food Store, 1700 Victory Boulevard, Glendale.
When the cops take McLovin for a ride, though, it’s back down south again. ‘Bailey’s Bar and Grill’, where they end up watching CCTV footage of the liquor store robbery over a few beers, was the Buggy Whip Restaurant, 7420 La Tijera Boulevard, at 74th Street, Westchester, again, just north of LAX. Oliver Stone’s The Doors, Blow and Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedy Date Night, also made use of its old-school ambience. Sadly, in 2013, the restaurant closed its doors for good.
Meanwhile, Seth and Evan remain in the Valley, as the flaky driver who knocks over Seth in front of the 7 Days liquor store, gives them a lift to a raucous party at 17111 Community Street, off White Oak Avenue, in Northridge.
Despite the distance, Seth, Evan and Fogell somehow manage run into each other and make a last attempt to reach their original destination.
The party turns out to be in the very classy neighbourhood of Brentwood, west Los Angeles. Although it’s at 140 North Cliffwood Avenue, north of the western reaches of Sunset Boulevard, it’s not beyond the wide-ranging beat of Officers Michael and Slater (see what I mean about ‘Smalltown LA?) . Their raid on the festivities secures McLovin’s reputation as a real badass once and for all when he’s marched off in handcuffs.
Loose ends are finally tied up the next day when the kids run into each other back in Culver City, at Westfield Culver City Mall, 6000 Sepulveda Boulevard, alongside the 405, San Diego Freeway. Small world, huh?