Tag Archives: Sunset Blvd.

“The American Mall” billboards

OK, I know I probably sound like the world’s most self-involved goober right now, but after doing some business in Hollywood yesterday, I actually drove around looking for “American Mall” billboards.

I had heard from my brother Ryan and my friend Patty that there were several buses driving around greater Los Angeles with “American Mall” posters on them — Ryan said he even had the oddly surreal thrill of seeing my name scroll into view outside the window of the El Pollo Loco where he was eating breakfast! Ha! — but until yesterday I had not seen any of these posters for myself.

So, like all first-time screenwriters, I cruised Sunset Blvd. stalking buses and looking for billboards for my new movie. And to my amazement, I actually found three gigantic billboards within a few blocks of one another in the heart of downtown Hollywood.

The easiest one to spot was towering over a shockingly-clean Mobil gas station on the corner of Sunset and LaBrea. This was also the easiest billboard to take pictures of as they had a parking lot…yeah!

Next up was a billboard perched way up high on an office tower near Sunset and Las Palmas. This one was harder to shoot as I had to hurriedly park in a red zone, ignore the glaring Cholo gangbangers at the bus stop nearby and snap away. Yikes…don’t try this at home.

And finally, the last billboard I found on my adventure was placed right on top of a really lovely little “rooms-by-the-hour” motel about half a block from Las Palmas. Kind of a seedy locale for a squeaky-clean poster like ours, but hey, at least they had a parking lot!

So, as the mumbling homeless couple on the corner stared at me like I was crazy, I just smiled and thought to myself…hey, if you squint real hard, you can almost see my name! Yeah!

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Kitchen 24, Hollywood

Several of our east coast friends have complained over the years about the lack of truly great 24-hour cuisine here in L.A., and though old stand-by’s like Canter’s Deli and The Original Pantry are good in a pinch, we usually end up at Bob’s or one of the two “homeless Denny’s” in Hollywood.

So, when we heard that a spanking new all-nite eatery called Kitchen 24 was opening in the heart of Hollywood’s bustling “Cahuenga corridor”, man, were we excited! Unfortunately, Kitchen 24 leaves much to be desired…

Sure the ├╝ber hip dining room is cool — those crazy silverware lamps (below) are worth the price of admission in my book! — and the service was great, despite the fact that they had been open less than a week when we ate there, but some of the food we ordered was just plain bad.

My Ruben sandwich (below) was kind of skimpy on the meat, but decent, and the Seasoned French Fries were amazing, but Christine’s Turkey Pot Pie was straight-up disgusting. It might have looked awesome on the outside — pot pie served in a miniature cast iron skillet, ingenious! — but the inside of that pot pie looked and tasted like dried clay.

I’m not kidding, it was so bone dry that every bite was a chore. It was almost enough to turn you off pot pies for life…and if you know me at all, that is really saying something! Yikes…I don’t care how cheap that shit is, you can get tastier pot pies in the frozen foods aisle at the 99-cent store. So, I’m warning you now, avoid this culinary train wreck at all costs!

That said, the drinks were very good — they have a full bar in the rear of the restaurant — and the location could not be cooler. Surrounded by scads of hip new clubs on Cahuenga and neighboring Hollywood and Sunset Blvd., Kitchen 24 is literally walking distance from Amoeba Records and The Arclight.

So, at the end of the day, even though our food mostly sucked, Kitchen 24 is so cute and charming that I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt this time and try them out again in a few months. Christine wants to try breakfast next time, and to be fair, the breakfast menu sounds way better than most of what ate. And Lord knows it can’t be worse, so…I’m game.

Until then, see ya at Bob’s…

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“Indiana Jones” @ the Arclight

After all the Indiana Jones build-up last week, you’d think I would have written at least something about the experience of seeing the actual movie by now, right? Well, as much as I’d like to say that I loved “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” so much that I’ve been busy hurrying back nightly to see it again…sadly, that is not the case, amigos.

The main reason I haven’t written about the movie yet is that there is practically no movie to write about. No there…there, so to speak. More of a preview for what I’m sure will be some very cool video games and theme park attractions than an actual movie, “Crystal Skull” is everything I hoped it would not be.

After the movie ended, while stumbling numbly to the parking lot…wait, I take that back, “numbly” would imply that we actually had emotional feelings about this crapfest, I think a better word would be indifferently. So, while stumbling indifferently back to our car I said to my brother: “Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as “The Phantom Menace”, right?”

Shaking his head, Ryan pointed out something surprisingly wise considering the late hour. He said that while “Menace” was a huge disappointment, it at least had the promise of two other movies to come. And, the artistic value of the subsequent “Star Wars” prequels aside, that is totally true.

I mean, love it or hate it, “Menace” did have Darth Maul and the fascinating — and up to that point, never before mentioned! — concept of midi-cloriens: the little unseen mystical thingies that make up the Force.

And not only did Anakin Skywalker have a buttload of said midi-cloriens flowing through his body, but it was even alluded to that the annoying little “chosen one” from Tatooine was born of the Force itself. Wow! Now that is cool idea. And though he tried really hard at every turn, even musty old George Lucas couldn’t make that shit boring!

Unfortunately, “Crystal Skull” has none of those elements. And worst of all, it is really, really slooooow. At least “Raiders” started out big with the whole imploding temple bit. And that rock rolling after Indy? Kind of an iconic moment! But this movie opens with a groan and just keeps getting worse as it goes…

Of course, there were a few bright spots. Karen Allen looked great and it was really awesome to see her in a movie again. I thought Cate Blanchett was entertaining and despite the hisses from the rest of our party at her vicious scenery-chomping, it was very clear to me that she was having fun. And, hello…isn’t the queen of doom and gloom Oscar-bait allowed to have a little summer movie fun now and then? That’s right, you rock that crazy “Rocky and Bullwinkle” Russian accent, chica!

Speaking of over-acting, John Hurt — who I usually love — is also very strange in this. But hey, the summer blockbuster brigade isn’t exactly pounding on his door all the time either, so I cut him some slack.

On a positive note, Shia LaBeouf’s character, “Mutt”, didn’t totally suck. His Marlon Brando routine was lame and the fact that he had his name embroidered on his leather jacket was, well…kinda gay, but LaBeouf’s a great actor, and his chemistry with Harrison Ford was pretty nifty too, so it worked.

And while Ford still managed to work some of that Indiana Jones magic in spots — particularly during a scene involving Allen’s character and some quicksand! — overall, he felt more like a cartoon character than a real man.

I know, I know, the series isn’t exactly realistic, give Dr. Jones a break. But hey, realistic or not, audiences made some pretty big leaps of faith in the earlier movies too…I mean, come on, do you think anyone but Indiana Jones could hang onto the top of a Nazi submarine all the way to a secret island hideout? Please. But we were so into the movie back then that we bought it!

That is not the case in “Crystal Skull”. Here, the leaps of faith just seem bigger and way too hard to swallow. I won’t spoil it for you by going into detail, but there are at least two things that Indiana Jones does in this movie that defy the laws of physics in such a huge way that the audience actually laughed. And no, it was not in a good way.

Anyway, love to hear what the rest of you thought of the movie, so comment away. In the meantime, enjoy these pics I took of some of the cool promo posters and props they had strewn about the lobby of the Arclight. I know it’s hard to tell from the picture, but those giant banners above were actually draped down the entire length of an office tower on Sunset, cool, huh?

So, my advice is that if you live in Los Angles and you’re itching to see “Crystal Skull” on the big screen, see it at the Arclight. That way if you totally hate the movie — which you will — you can drown your sorrows by snapping some fun pics of Mutt’s groovy motorcycle in the lobby on your way out.

Hell, it worked for me…

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