So it looks like we have all been spending some quality time inside for our own good lately. Lots of people are now caught up on films and television shows they’ve been wanting to see, but what do you do when you have finished your list? Why not revisit some classic films with ties to right here on the Central Coast?
So we, here at the Central Coast Film Society, have put together a Top 10 list of things to watch while sheltering at home. And every one of them has a strong Central Coast connection. Here’s what you might want to dust off and enjoy.
10) Little Giants - Arroyo Grande
In the small village of Arroyo Grande came the feel good film with Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neil. They play brothers living in Urbania, Ohio. Only, it’s actually Arroyo Grande. Watch as the misfit team lead by Moranis train to go up against the big team. A perfect small town, home-grown family comedy.
9) Spartacus - San Simeon
At 190 minutes long, Spartacus is the type of movie to watch to make an event out of it, or when you’re stuck at home all day. Which makes pausing for bathroom breaks a little easier. This classic movie, with Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and directed by Stanley Kubrick, will have you transported back to the glory days of Rome by stopping at Hearst Castle as a backdrop.
8) The Spirit of St. Louis - Santa Maria
Billy Wilder’s production staring James Stewart was filmed all over the world following the story of Charles Lindbergh and his monumental flight from New York to Paris. However, in this movie, they were flying out of Allan Hancock Air Field (now site of Allan Hancock College) in Santa Maria. The film was released in 1957 and only a couple years later the airport closed as the US-101 was rerouted to it’s current location.
7) Pete’s Dragon - Point Buchon
This classic Disney film was set in Passamaquoddy, Maine but was filmed on this coast! The lighthouse seen in the film was built near Montana De Oro State Park, on Point Buchon, with special permission by the Coast Guard. You can still hike to that location, but you won’t find a lighthouse anymore. It was quickly dismantled after production to not confuse passing ships.
6) Of Mice And Men - Santa Ynez Valley
Directed and staring Gary Sinise, this film was filmed extensively in the Santa Ynez Valley. This classic John Steinbeck novel is a heavy drama was praised by critics but didn’t do that well in the box office. The 1939 version of the story was filmed a little further north in San Luis Obispo and the Hearst Ranch.
5) Outbreak - Santa Ynez Valley
What is a pandemic without watching a movie like this? With it’s huge ensemble cast, most of the movie takes place in Northern California. But watch carefully when Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr. are in a helicopter trying to divert an Air Force plane (that flew out from Vandenberg AFB). You can see they’re flying over the Santa Ynez Mountain Range.
4) The Rocketeer - Santa Maria
Walt Disney got their toes wet in comic book superhero films with The Rocketeer in 1991. Much of the film’s non-Los Angeles locations were shot at the Santa Maria Airport and surrounding areas. The film was well received, but plans for sequels were scrapped after the movie only performed “modestly” at the box office. Director Joe Johnston would go on to make another comic book film: Captain America: The First Avenger.
3) Batman: The Movie - Santa Barbara
Bam! Pow! Batman’s first big screen appearance showed the caped crusader running along Stern’s Wharf in Santa Barbara looking for the villain’s secret lair. While most everyone enjoys all the various and recent versions of Gotham City, it might be time to go revisit what started all the fun with this campy and fun movie.
2) Scarface - Santa Barbara
Al Pacino’s Tony Montana is a story that Walter White could only dream of. In the carnage infused climax at Tony’s Miami mansion, you may recognize that it’s actually in Santa Barbara. The scene also seems to have inspired part of the Harold Ramis comedy, Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser that had an action-packed drug lord compound scene that was also filmed in Santa Barbara.
1) HBO’s John Adams - Santa Maria
Yes, this isn’t a movie, but this Golden Globe winning series is a masterpiece from HBO and perfect to binge at home as we head into Memorial Day and Independence Day on an election year. Earlier this year was the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, which is depicted in the opening parts of this series. It follows Paul Giamatti as John Adams in a remarkable telling of the man’s life. What you may not know is a good portion of the visual effects were done in Santa Maria by CafeFX, also known for doing effects in movies like Pan’s Labyrinth or The Mist.
BUT WAIT... there's one more.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Touch of Satan - Santa Ynez Valley
Alright, this one is so special it needs it’s own category. Ever see movies that are so bad they’re funny? Well, that’s what Mystery Science Theater 3000 does all the time. You can binge bad movies until the cows come home, but if you want something with a local backdrop then watch this beauty. Filmed in 1971 Santa Ynez Valley, this horror film is worthy of the bad jokes that two robots and a trapped spaceman fire at it.
So if you've been inside for a really long time and feeling a little stir crazy, this may help fix your brain. You can actually watch Season 10, Episode 8 of the show online for free right now. Take a look below!
50 years ago today, those words were sent from a small spacecraft, 200,000 miles from the surface of the Earth. It was on its way to the moon, with plans to land on the surface and study it. Of course, that all changed after the explosion that happened, crippling the space craft. The 1995 film, Apollo 13 was an instant success and was praised for the film's faithful authenticity surrounding the incident. The film was released 25 years after the real incident, and this year the film turns 25 years old.
Instead of landing on the moon, the crew of Apollo 13 then has to endure trial after trial as they sling-shot around the moon and return home. The fate of the three men onboard captivated the world as they approached their home world. Finally, on April 17th, 1970, the crew safely landed in the South Pacific Ocean and were recovered by a nearby US Navy ship. The recreated splashdown from the 1995 film was shot near the Channel Islands, off the southern part of California's Central Coast, near Los Angeles.
Now, watch a fantastic short film that looks back on the incident. The film was created and released today by NASA and includes interviews with the crew of Apollo 13 as well as the original footage and the original delivery of "Houston, we've had a problem" by Jim Lovell. The start of a successful failure.
Send In Your Scripts!
While you are sheltering at home with recent COVID-19 activity, it doesn't mean your creativity needs to run dry! Now is the "write time" to work on your scripts, and local legend, David Hardberger is offering to help! He is willing to review short film scripts to help get projects off the ground once productions can restart.
David Hardberger is on the Board of Directors for the SLO Film Festival and is a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to his extensive career in special effects, he has written and directed two short films that were filmed in the San Luis Obispo area using many local crew members and talent.
Scripts should be 20 pages or less, with limited locations and characters. Each script should be registered with the WGA or copyright prior to submittal. If you do not register or copyright your script, send an attached document that lists the title of the film, who wrote it and in the body of the text say that this is being submitted for review and evaluation ONLY. The writer realizes that there is no promise of money, getting the film produced, or any other compensation.
Send scripts directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hear more about David and all the amazing projects he has worked on by listening to our podcast: Take 18. You can also listen by clicking below!
Play Take 18 Interview Here!