Sunday, December 16, 2018

Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful (1992)

Madonna and her Truth or Dare documentary get lampooned in Julie Brown's mockumentary Dare To Be Truthful, which originally aired on Showtime.  Pop superstar Medusa sets out on her Blonde Leading the Blonde Tour, performing such hits as Vague, Expose Yourself and Like a Video.  She's invited a camera crew along to videotape all the shenanigans, like performing during the Japan volcano season, prepping for her Broadway debut and getting electrocuted on stage!

I'm a big Madonna fan but I found Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful to be freaking hilarious.  Apparently the Queen of Pop didn't take too kindly to the parody, sending Julie Brown a half drunken bottle of champagne.  A few months later when the comedienne played the heavier Wilson Phillips' member on Fox's short-lived sketch show The Edge, Carnie Wilson sent her flowers. Brown played Madonna again on that show, showing no mercy to her new Erotica song.  

Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful was filmed in Los Angeles, CA

Location: Medusa Strikes a Pose
Address: 120 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA

During her surgery montage at the end, Medusa is seen dancing around in front of the Frying Fish restaurant, making this location easy to track down. Today it is Honeymee...

Location Visited: October 2018

Still Need To Locate:

"Our Lady Will Pet Your Squirrel" High School
Medusa's Donut Shop
Boomer's Cemetery

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas With The Kranks (2004)

Luther and Nora Krank are skipping Christmas much to the chagrin of their neighbors.  Their daughter Blair leaves for the Peace Corps Thanksgiving weekend and won't be home for an entire year.  After relentless dodging of the Hemlock Street residents to conform, The Kranks are all set to leave for their cruise when Blair delivers the news that she's coming home for Christmas... with her fiancĂ©.  Nora and Luther perform a Christmas miracle with the help of their neighbors to pull off a perfect holiday.   

Based on John Grisham's Skipping Christmas novel, Christmas with The Kranks was universally panned by critics despite raking in a lot of Christmas cookie dough ;-)  I gradually warmed up to it, though it's no Christmas Vacation (1989).  It's nice to see Jamie Lee Curtis take on another holiday, carving hickory honey ham instead of pumpkins.  I wouldn't blame her if she wanted to skip Halloween (1978) ;-)

Christmas With The Kranks was filmed in Downey, Universal City, Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, CA

Location: Chips Market and The Pumpkin Seed Paperie & Press 
Address: Universal Studios - New York Street, Universal City, CA

Unfortunately this area burned down in the 2008 backlot fire.  A less charming New York Street has been erected since, seen in Gone Girl (2014)...

Location: Hemlock Street
Address: formerly Downey Studios 12214 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey, CA  

The location for the idyllic street The Kranks lived on was first scouted in Illinois and Minnesota.  After that proved unsuccessful, 16 houses were constructed at Downey Studios.  They have unfortunately joined other filming locations in the sky.  You can view pictures of the street over at before it was bulldozed in 2012...

Location: O'Leary's Pub
Address: 214 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 

Du Par's Restaurant and Bakery

Location: Cordon's Ranch Market
Address: 2920 Honolulu Avenue, Glendale, CA

In a rare case of the business sign in a film being the actual one in reality, tracking down Cordon's Ranch Market was a cinch.  Unfortunately it's closed at the moment so I couldn't go inside...

Location: The Liquor Store
Address: 10600 Riverside Drive, North Hollywood, CA

Location: Blair & Enrique's Police Escort/The Burglary
Address: Warner Brothers Studios - Hennessy 
Street, Burbank, CA

The third and final backlot used in Christmas With The Kranks was at Warner Brothers Studios.  I didn't realize when I took the tour that the movie was filmed here so I will try to get better matching shots next time around...

This street is also seen in Vacation (1983), when the Griswolds pass through St. Louis, MO and ask for directions and the famous upside down kiss in Spider-Man (2002)

Locations Visited: March 2016, October 2016, October 2018