New York Filming Locations: Superman (1978)

It may not get quite the same hype as Batman or Spider-Man but Superman is arguably the most famous super-hero and one that brings back memories of my early childhood and the last day of school term where we often seemed to watch a Superman movie. I can only remember certain scenes from the Christopher Reeve films and it is actually the mid 90′s TV series ‘Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman‘ which I remember more fondly and most of my Superman knowledge comes from that show.

The Daily Planet offices in the 1978 film where Clark Kent of course works is at 220 East 42nd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. It actually is a newspaper office as its known as the News Building. This place plays a pretty important part in the scheme of things as after leaving work one night Kent sees a helicopter crash on the building’s roof and from this night on he becomes known as Superman! His mission: “To fight for truth, justice and the American Way”

   

Lois Lane’s apartment (below left) is at 240 Central Park South. The statue of Liberty (below right) and Brooklyn Bridge (lower left) also feature in this Richard Donner directed movie with the former seeing Superman take Lois around the New York icon one night.

  

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New York Filming Locations: Coming To America (1988)

When my family finally caught up with the rest of Britain and got a video recorder in the late 80′s the first film we rented was ‘Coming To America‘ starring Eddie Murphy; a film I still have fond affection for now and it was (kind of) exciting for me to go to the apartment. Its on 392 South 5th St at Hooper St just a minute away from Hewes St Metro station. When African Prince Akeem (Murphy) and his servant Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in ‘Queens’ (below) they look for lodgings at the nearest apartment complex which just happened to be this place in Brooklyn. When Akeem first meets the landlord you can just about see the number of the building on the front door.

   

I was actually more interested in locating the McDowell’s restaurant (below) which featured heavily throughout with Akeem and Seemi working for Cleo McDowell at this converted restaurant. It is at 8507 Queens Blvd near Grand Av Newtown metro station in Queens but when I was in the vicinity (on my way to find a Spider-Man location or two) I couldn’t see it so I’ve taken this one from the excellent onthesetofnewyork.com site. It’s actually a ‘Wendy’s’ Hamburger restaurant at this location that doubled up as the fast-food chain which probably gave McDonalds lawyers a bit of a headache!

   

Another place I somehow missed (or rather forgot to photo! There’s a lot of things to take care of on these trips that its difficult to keep up with it all sometimes) was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (above right) at 301 Park Avenue. Akeem’s father King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) checks in here after receiving Semmi’s telegram.

The basketball match where Akeem goes on a double date with Patrice McDowell, Lisa McDowell and Darryl Jenks is at Madison Square Gardens (below) at 4 Penn Plaza.

 

Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘The Bad News Bears Go To Japan’ (1978)

We all know that when the writers of a TV show or film franchise (and I use that term in the loosest sense regarding this movie!) run out of ideas they take the project overseas. Now, I’m not too sure how relevant that idea is to ’Bad News Bears…‘ as I haven’t seen the two prequels to this film but it would seem that there were never any ideas in the first place!

Having spectacularly failed to see a baseball game last month whilst in New York I thought I’d slip this DVD into the player to see if I could enjoy another baseball film as much as I liked ‘Mr Baseball‘ starring Tom Selleck. Yes, I do own this ‘Bad News Bears…‘ DVD as indeed do I for almost all of the films set in Japan reviewed on this site. Sad indeed given the average Tokyo Fox Rating of them!

“Caught in a clash of cultures and ready to wreak more havoc on Japan than Godzilla” is the blurb on the back of the DVD which is an overly-used tagline but given that this film is from 1978 it seems like they were years ahead of their time!

In terms of kids films it makes the ‘3 Ninja’s Kick Back‘ movie seem like an Academy Award winner! There’s no doubt that this film is terrible but every film has some good in it and this one is no exception. Its only 92 minutes in length which we should be thankful about! It features some very nice Japanese scenery at times where filmed at various temples and shrines as we see the older kid Kelly dating a child Japanese geisha girl. She doesn’t speak any English yet she seems to understand everything he says. Such a love story is laughable yet is the kind of the story I have heard about happening here! My favourite scene is the fictional advert for a baseball bat which sees one of the young boys use the equipment to take out Godzilla on a miniature Japanese-scenery set.

 

The storyline? It’s bear-ly worth the effort but basically it centres around some vague plot to do with Martin Lazar (Tony Curtis) thinking he can earn big bucks by sending the Bears to Japan for a highly publicized exhibition game against some little league baseball team who were upset that no U.S. team had visited recently. That’s about it really. There’s some very dull baseball scenes at the end of the film as well as some practice in the first part but overall its fairly lacking in baseball action and is instead padded out with some completely irrelevant scenes of karate, sumo and variety show action.

 

Tokyo Fox Rating 3/10

New York Filming Locations: I Am Legend (2007)

Will Smith plays Robert Neville; a scientist unable to stop a deadly man-made virus spreading which he is immune to and the only human survivor in New York City and perhaps the world. His townhouse is at 11 Washington Square Park North and if my memory serves me correctly is where he sends out daily radio messages in the desperate hope of finding any other survivors who might be out there.

 

Just across the road from his apartment is Washington Square which he views from his window. This place would normally be a great place to chill out and relax but sadly when I was there it was absolutely bucketing it down with rain and the arch could offer only a slight respite from the downpour. I have since seen this area featured in a fair few other movies and TV programmes.

 

The flatiron building at 175 5th Avenue is later seen as he drives around the empty streets of New York. This is a cool looking construction which was completed in 1902 and the Flatiron district around it got its name from the building.

 

New York Filming Locations: Sex And The City (1998-2004)

When I first came to Japan all those years ago there weren’t (and indeed still aren’t) too many English language programmes on so I ended up watching episodes of all kinds of sh*te and that included a few episodes of ‘Sex and the City

Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) apartment is given as East 73rd Street in the TV series but is actually 66 Perry Street at West 4th Street in Greenwich Village. As expected the steps were chained off to stop fans from sitting on the steps or whatever. A black box asking for charity donations in return for the photos you take is a small price to pay for a photo op at one of TV”s most famous apartments.

 

I never saw the actual episode in which The Magnolia Bakery featured but research tells me it was season 3 episode 5 and was titled ”No Ifs, Ands, Or Butts.” The reason I knew about this place was thanks to a CNN news feature story about the place and the cup cake craze which started following its appearance in the series. The shop can be found at 401 Bleeker Street and is actually just round the corner from Carrie’s apartment. There may be no bench or seats outside but other than that it looks pretty much identical now.

 

Whilst on the subject of SATC I may as well use this opportunity to say that I did see some of the first film on a plane a few years ago. I say some as I fell asleep for most of it! The sequel ‘SATC 2′ gave me great pleasure too and thats without even seeing any of it! Mark Kermode’s rant about this film on the excellent ‘Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review’ show on BBC Radio 5 Live was fantastic radio. Watch it here.

New York Filming Locations: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

This is a first for me in that I have actually scouted out a very current film; one that I only saw at its World Premiere in Tokyo in June. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) lives with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) in Brooklyn at 36 Fuller Place (below) which is just a couple of minutes walk away from 15 St – Prospect Park (F, G lines) metro station.

 

The entrance and lobby of Dr Curt Connors’ (Rhys Ifans) high-tech lab at ‘Oscorp’ (below left) is the Hearst Building on 300 West 57th Street at 8th Avenue whilst Captain George Stacy’s (Denis Leary) workplace is the National Museum of the American Indian (below right) on 1 Bowling Green at Broadway which has a rich film history already having appeared in ‘Ghostbusters II‘ and ‘Batman Forever‘.

 

As for his apartment, that is at at 15 West 81st Street (below) and is pretty nice looking with some great views which can be seen in the film when Peter Parker and Stacy’s daughter Gwen (Emma Stone) kiss on the balcony after he reveals his true identity. That followed a tense conversation between Parker and Captain Stacey over Spider-Man’s motives.

Coming Soon: New York Filming Locations: Spider-Man (2002) & Spider-Man (2004)