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Saturday October 16th 2021

Los Angeles for Film Fans: South Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Pedro 3

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the Ferris Bueller house, Country Club Drive, Long Beach
Ferris Bueller's 'Chicago' home – Country Club Drive, Long Beach

The South Bay area is Tarantino country, though his locations are fast disappearing.

Sadly gone are The Hawthorne Grill, which was the diner held up by Honey-Bunny and Pumpkin (Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth) in Pulp Fiction, which stood on Hawthorne Boulevard at 137th Street, and the Cockatoo Inn, on West Imperial Highway at Hawthorne Boulevard, where Samuel L Jackson – yes, again – and Robert de Niro hang out in Jackie Brown.

You can still browse around Jackie Brown’s shopping mall, though. The Del Amo Fashion Center, 3525 West Carson Street at Hawthorne Boulevard in Torrance – which also became ‘Saguaro Square’, the department store in which Billy Bob Thornton worked as a very Bad Santa. Even here, the curse of Tarantino has struck again as, in a major redevelopment, swathes of the Mall have recently been demolished.

Another vast indoor shopping mall which has fared less well than Del Amo stands shuttered and deserted between the sites of the Hawthorne Grill and the Cockatoo. The Hawthorne Plaza, Hawthorne Boulevard at West 120th Street opened during boom times in 1977, but suffered from a decline in the area’s fortunes. Looted in the 1992, it finally gave up and closed in 1999.

The plaza briefly sprang back to life as the mall to which Anderton (Tom Cruise) takes precog Agatha (Samantha Morton) in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, and as the vast 'Tokyo' garage with the spiral ramp where Sean (Lucas Black) gets to meet the kids in Justin Lin's The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift. The plaza is one of the few LA locations sneaked into David Fincher's 2014 'Missouri-set adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl – supplying the interior of the abandoned mall occupied by homeless people, where the cops discover that Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) had been trying to buy a gun.

Its quarter mile-long rooftop parking area was even transformed into an easily-controlled stretch of freeway for Michael Gondry’s The Green Hornet.

One lost location which, against all odds, made a surprise comeback is the 1958 coffee shop, Johnie’s Broiler, in Downey. After closing down, Johnie’s spent years as a car dealership before being illegally demolished in 2007. Amazingly, it has since been rebuilt and reopened as Bob’s Big Boy Broiler, 7447 Firestone Boulevard.

And deservedly so – the screen veteran has appeared in numerous productions, including Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It?, Heat, The Game, Can't Hardly Wait, Jawbreaker, Reality Bites, Short Cuts, Mission Impossible 2, and Bounce.

Heading further south toward Long Beach, the classy Country Club Drive is a regular stand-in for suburban America. The private house at 4160 Country Club Drive, just south of Virginia Country Club is particularly popular: it was not only the home of the murdered Leeds family in Red Dragon, and the home of Preston Wasserstein (Rob Benedict) in the Risky Business parody in Not Another Teen Movie, but was also the ‘Chicago’ house of Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

4252 Country Club Drive was both the home of ‘popular jock’ Jake Wyler (Chris Evans) in Not Another Teen Movie, as well as the mansion of sleazeball Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze) in Donnie Darko. Donnie’s house itself, where the jet engine unexpectedly crashes into his life, is just down the road at 4225 Country Club Drive.

Marine-Redondo Station, Los Angeles
Marine-Redondo Station – a Michael Mann favourite

The end of Michael Mann’s Collateral sees Max (Jamie Foxx) and Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) supposedly heading south on the Blue Line metro, though the train is actually a Green Line, heading west, to stop briefly at Harbor Freeway Station (itself, a spectacular stop, perched within a knot of freeways), before leaving behind Vincent (Tom Cruise) at the end of the line Marine-Redondo Station, 2406 Marine Avenue in Redondo Beach – the strikingly designed station at which Mann’s Heat opens.

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