Hooray For Hollywood!

Can you believe it? The summer is almost half over? So far, I've gone on two vacations, but I'll try to do more with the rest of the summer if I can! First I went to Ohio and visited my sister, her husband and their new little guy, my nephew Thomas! But two weeks ago, I took the movie buffs' vacation and visited Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. I've always loved going to California, and I had been there several times in my life....but never to see the sights a movie lover wants to see. This time though...I was in the driver's seat on where we were going. Okay, not the literal drivers seat because I made Bethany do it since I was scared of driving in L.A, but you get the idea.

We were only there two days, but boy did we make the most of our time. The first day we visited Universal Studios, which I have been to a few times before...but not for several years. Last time I was there I was 16 or 17 I think. I did really want to go to Disneyland too so I could ride the newly updated Star Tours, but there wasn't time (I'll just have to save it for the next Cali trip.) However, Disneyland wasn't the only one making changes to their park because I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of new, fun changes at Universal.

The Backlot tour, as always, is definitely a highlight and one of the coolest things to see, as a movie lover. Most of the classics were there, minus the Back to the Future clock tower, but my friend Scott assures me it is probably still there, just being used for filming something else the day I saw it....so I had to settle for seeing the DeLorean instead. The new additions to the backlot tour were great. There's a new part called King Kong 360 that was nothing short of awesome. You just have to go to experience it, because I honestly can't describe how fun it was. There was a Fast and Furious special effects display that was also new and pretty cool. Another newer addition, since I'd last been there at least, was the War of the Worlds set...which I honestly still can't get over how cool and realistic that looked. It's funny, most of the stuff on the backlot tour kinda looks fake...yet photographs so real. But that set, looked unbelievably real. It was very impressive.

But my favorite will always be the Psycho house and motel. Funny story I heard about that according to Wikipedia:

When Man on the Moon, a film telling Andy Kaufman's life story was on production in 1999 and is shot at an area near the house, Jim Carrey, who portrayed Kaufman in the film, dressed up as "mother". He then leaped out from behind the 1960 Psycho house with a rubber knife and jumped on the tram, scaring the tourists, including the guides. The tour guides and tram operators reported the incident to the film crew nearby for an explanation. They said that the person in the costume was none other than Carrey himself and it was break time during filming and he got bored. They also said he was trying to channel the creative energy of Kaufman. Carrey wanted to repeat the stunt one year later while filming How The Grinch Stole Christmas (which was being filmed behind the house), but this time in full Grinch costume. However, he was stopped by the production that wanted to keep his costume and make-up under wraps until the film came out.

How funny/scary would that be?? The other rides were great too. I always love the Jurassic ic Park ride. The Simpsons ride replaced the Back to the Future...and was a replacement as far as the actual ride went. (Though I do prefer BTTF to Simpsons...though in the Simpsons glory days it was amazing.) The Mummy ride was really fun too...in fact probably my favorite...too bad it doesn't belong to a franchise with more staying power. I'm sure a few years from now it'll be refurbished into something else. After Universal, we drove along Sunset Boulevard and saw the houses of Beverly Hills. We saw some pretty awesome mansions, but I didn't have a map at that point to tell you who they belonged to (I got one on the side of the road the next day for kicks.)

The next day, I found a bunch of the locations from....you know it, my favorite...
(500) Days of Summer. I saw Tom's favorite spot in the city (the park he takes Summer to,) the theater they see movies at, many of the buildings he shows Summer, and the building where he meets Autumn (which was gorgeous), In fact, one of the buildings is used in tons of films...from Armageddon to As Good As It Gets AND a film that was filming as we drove by. Ha!

After that, we went to a place I've been wanting to see for a long, long time. First, the Hollywood sign, then Hollywood Blvd. with the Grauman's Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We got there as a movie premier was just ending: Mr. Popper's Penguins. Jim Carrey and a bunch of penguins were there (no really) apparently, but we didn't see them since it was basically over by the e time we got there. They were keeping people from seeing the handprints until it was done being cleaned up. But for this movie lover, it was worth the wait. Some of the biggest stars in the history of cinema stood there!

We finished our last day by seeing more mansions, this time with a map. We saw the apparent homes of Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, the late Jimmy Stewart, Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. Crazy. Then we headed to the beach. How often do you go to the beach at night? Ha well, I suppose if you lived near one it'd be a lot. But for me, it was a first.

Whew! That oughta do it. Sorry for the long post, but there was just so much to talk about. I'm so glad I had the chance to do this, and see all the things I did. The movie lover in me (which is quite prevalent as I'm sure you're aware) was in heaven :)


Johanna said...

So much fun and I've wanted to see all of those places.

We'll have to watch As Good As It Gets so you can show me the building in the movie.

And I hate driving in LA, too.

Sarah said...

I'm glad you got to go. You deserved a nice getaway. You fit a lot in on your trip!