Movies that feature the destruction of California: need your help for a story.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jack Briggs, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    One of my freelance clients, a paper devoted to the real estate industry in California, went for a pitch I made. I am to write a 600-800-word essay-style humor piece for the paper's "back page" column. My original idea was to do a humorous meditation on films that feature the destruction of Los Angeles landmarks--the 77-story Library Tower being incinerated in ID4; the mid-Wilshire district getting a) nuked (Miracle Mile) and b) vulcanized (Volcano); the Mojave Desert and downtown Los Angeles being invaded by giant ants (Them!); and the entire city being shaken and pummeled (Earthquake). I was also going to mention City Hall being destroyed twice by invading aliens--in War of the Worlds and in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.

    Fine. I can write that in my sleep--which is good, considering that my deadline is tomorrow and I haven't written a word yet.

    But my editor wants me to expand this theme to other parts of California. That's where I start to stumble. I can't think of any films offhand that show other areas of California being blown up or destroyed.

    I do recall that in--what was it called?--Aftermath (?--it had, among other things, a very young Kevin Costner) a Marin County town died off due to radiation poisoning when the nukes fell on Southern California.

    Anything else, though?

    Your help will be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Jack, I'm surprised that a long time Ray Harryhausen fan like you forgot the giant octopus that attacked San Francisco (including the Golden Gate bridge) in It came from Beneath the Sea. Another one is Panic in the Year Zero, which nuked LA. Oh, and Hitchcock's The Birds takes place in northern California. [​IMG]
     
  3. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    You might also want to include the thermite-plasma incineration of a portion of Alcatraz in The Rock.
    Then there is the whole plot of Escape from L.A., where an earthquake separated Los Angeles from the continental US.
     
  4. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    Well, Christopher Walken nearly managed it in A View To A Kill, if that helps.

    Mind you, if nearly counts, then the classic is Lex Luthor's plan in Superman to increase the price of his real estate (see? It even plays into your theme...)
     
  5. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    There's the film San Francisco with Clark Gable which shows the great San Francisco earthquake.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    D'oh! I knew I was setting myself up for humiliation when I posted this! [​IMG]
    Robert, imagine how I squirmed when I read your post. Talk about experiencing a classic "duh!" moment. Man, how could I have forgotten that one? Thanks, everyone!
    Any others?
     
  7. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    1941 [​IMG]
     
  8. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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  9. Russ Lucas

    Russ Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    Jack, the name of the Kevin Costner film about nuclear war's aftermath in a small town is Testament.

    While there isn't widespread destruction of property, there is some screen time of a deserted L.A. and some unnamed rural locale outside of L.A. in The Omega Man.
     
  10. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    Didn't 'Broken Arrow' take place in California?
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Does it have to be LA? If not, then Big Trouble in Little Trouble has the near destruction of Chinatown in SF (I believe) by angry Chinese gods. And it would give you an excuse to work in some Jack-Burtonisms [​IMG]
     
  12. MichaelPe

    MichaelPe Screenwriter

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  13. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    I know it's still LA, but how could everyone forget Sara Connor's nuclear nightmare in T2?
     
  14. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    The film "San Francisco"starring Clark Gable and Jeanette MacDonald inspired a song of the same name made popular by Judy Garland..... go here for the lyrics;
    http://www.sfheart.com/Songs/sfsong_I.html
    Funny lyrics. [​IMG]
     
  15. Kyle-K

    Kyle-K Stunt Coordinator

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    There's the Dino on the loose in San Diego from JP2...
     
  16. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    How about the conclusion of The Day of the Locust.
    That's a VHS tape I might buy, I'd just like to see the damn thing again.
    Jim
     
  17. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Thanks, everybody! I'm about midway through the little piece, and most of these titles are going in it.
     
  18. Stephen_Opipari

    Stephen_Opipari Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't seen the 1974's Earthquake mentioned yet. I know it takes place in LA, but it's still mass destruction. And hey, it was mixed in lovely Sensurround. [​IMG]
     
  19. Hakan Powers

    Hakan Powers Stunt Coordinator

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    Isn't there footage of large parts of LA on fire / blowin up in the beginning of Demolition Man?

    Also, the Fox Plaza (nakatomi plaza) explosion from Die Hard 1.
     
  20. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Second Unit

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    While not a movie, there's particularly relevant lyrics in a song by Tool called Ænema. Here's some snipets from the lyrics...
    Here in this hopeless f***ing hole we call LA
    The only way to fix it is to flush it all away.
    Any f***ing time. Any f***ing day.
    Learn to swim, I'll see you down in Arizona bay.

    Some say a comet will fall from the sky.
    Followed by meteor showers and tidal waves.
    Followed by faultlines that cannot sit still.

    One great big festering neon distraction,
    I've a suggestion to keep you all occupied.
    Learn to swim.

    One of my favorite songs...
    -Steve
     

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