2 years ago
Sunday, August 31, 2014
This is Phoenix! Real Life (1979)
Real Life. Written and directed by Albert Brooks (Finding Nemo, Taxi Driver, Drive), and starring Brooks as a fictionalized version of himself, Real Life is essentially an early "found footage" film in which we view the results of a failed attempt to document a year in the life of a typical American family.
Today, this is such a commonplace premise it hardly needs further explanation, but back in '79 the idea that cameras capturing the typical everyday interactions of regular people in their homes, warts and all, would be a source of entertainment, and perhaps provide insight into the human condition, was a pretty radical concept.
Charles Grodin and Frances Lee McCain as the parents, with a son and daughter), are the lucky family chosen for the project, beating out hundreds of other applicants in a grueling (and hilarious) screening process, which involves interviews, psychological evaluations, and embarrassing role-playing exercises (which, as Brooks notes dryly, "single-handedly discouraged 23 families from further participation.")
Vectrex game never made.
Despite Brooks' initial enthusiasm, things get off to a rocky start when the Yeagers' on-camera family dinner debut begins in uncomfortable silence and collapses into a loud argument that sends the children to their room while Mrs. Yeager complains about her menstrual cramps.
KPHO TV 5).
"snowbirds". A flyer advertising the Heard Museum is visible on the table.
Jaws, he provides his own dramatic climax by setting their house on fire.
We get to see a lot of Phoenix locations and landmarks during the course of the film (although I suspect at least some of it was filmed elsewhere) including long lost amusement park Legend City, the Phoenix Zoo, Goldwaters department store (owned by... yes, THOSE Goldwaters!) and the downtown area, as well as some local media institutions like The Arizona Republic newspaper, and TV stations KPHO and KAET, and radio station KDKB.
Here's some pics, and if any fellow Zonies want to help identify some of the locations or share your memories, please elucidate us in the comments section!
1.1 - Downtown Phoenix
The Wyndham Hotel (building with the half-circle windows) and Hyatt (with rotating restaurant The Compass Room on top)
The Hotel Luhrs
Supposedly the interior of the same building, but it could be another location.
Goldwaters Department Store
I believe this was the Scottsdale Fashion Square location, although there were several in town.
This appears to be somewhere in Papago Park, a range of distinct mountains near where The Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden are located.
The Phoenix Zoo, entrance
Not sure if this is the famed painting elephant Ruby or not...(?)
I'm guessing this is The Log Jammer, a ride at Legend City, an amusement park that used to be located near Papago Park. Can anyone confirm?
KPHO "Live Eye" Truck
Looks like this is somewhere downtown.
KAET mobile van and KDKB truck
KAET is the local Public Broadcasting station, and rock radio station KDKB is following in a truck. This appears to be in a residential area somewhere.
I'm not sure what mountain this is, presented in the film as the Yeagers' neighborhood in the newer "fifth district".
This school is identified as "Benjamin Franklin Grammar School", but I have no idea what school this actually is or if it is even in Phoenix.
Reflection in the glass places it adjacent to someplace called "CAL Automotive". I have no other clues as to its identity or location.
A sign reads "Thank You Call Again".
The Yeagers' house is at the end of a cul-de-sac and bears house number 10510. Albert Brooks took a house across the street with house number 10501. I'm not sure if this cul-de-sac is actually in Phoenix (the green trees visible in the undeveloped area at the end of the cul-de-sac don't look very "Phoenix" to me) but here are screen caps from four directions if any detectives want to try to find it.
UPDATE: Reader totallymorgan managed to track down the cul-de-sac at 10510 Laramie Pl., Los Angeles, CA. The houses have been remodeled a bit since the film but there are several identifying features that have survived, including the circular garden wall at the neighbors house which is still standing. Thanks totallymorgan!
Because this is a night scene its hard to make out any details identifying this movie theater entrance.
Finally there's this memorial park, site of a funeral scene. The mountains in the background might help locate it.