What's the Best San Francisco Movie? A (Sorta) Heated Debate

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from cutie. Hey everyone. i'm olivia alan price. And this is bay curious. Let's get right to it and meet this week's question asker ben kaiser and leave or not i live in atlanta georgia then visited san francisco for the first time four years ago and as soon as he got here he felt a connection. Sort of seemed. Like i'd been there before or that. I belong there and i just absolutely fell in love with it and i've been back in four years probably nine or ten times. That's a lot of flights between atlanta. And now when benn can't be here he's found a way to visit without leaving his living room. Because i don't live in san francisco. I want to be connected to it as much as i possibly can. One of the ways is watching movies. Shot there anything that can transport it here even if only for a few hours benzene a lot already but he wants more so he came to curious. I asked what were some of the movie. Set in san francisco. They were actually shot in san francisco. And which ones are your favorites or your recommendations support for bake curious comes from sierra nevada brewing company family owned operated and argued over since nineteen eighty proud supporter of independent thought whether that's online over the air or in a bottle. More at sierra nevada dot com. Now we don't often del into subjective matters here on the show but hey it's the holidays. Were all stuck inside way more than usual this year. And we thought maybe we could all use some solid recommendations. Today's episode will sound a little bit. Different from you. Usually here on bakeries. We've got a panel of local cultural experts. Here to convince ben and you how you should spend some time devouring the bay area in all. Its cinematic. Glory so throw some popcorn in the microwave. Who's yuck on your couch and press play all right. I have to start this episode with a confession. I olympia allen price and really bad at movies like possibly the last person that you would want on your trivia team during the movie round. So i called in some much needed. Backup on this one here to help me out. Today are peter. Hart lob is a bay area native a culture critic with the san francisco chronicle and co host of the total. Sf podcast welcome. Peter thank you so much for having me. Also i've got carly seven here. She's a bay curious reporter who you are probably familiar with. She's also a former co host of the cooler podcast and one of k cuties resident movie. Obsesses hey carli. Hey hey pita lovely to be here so before we get into recommendations. I'm curious. what do you guys think. Make san francisco a good spot to shoot a film internationally. Recognizable landmarks golden bridge alcatraz. The topography get up on a hill and see those landmarks. You can have a chase scene and get a little air. The biggest thing is the weather and it's sort of the secret ingredient because it allows the director to convey mood in the city sorta becomes the mood of the director. You have the fog coming in. You have the sun coming in subtle shifts. You can't do that in atlanta. You can't do it in houston. You can't even really do that in la. And i think that's a big reason. Why san francisco ends up being a top pick. If you're a director and you wanna shoot a thriller action film something like that. I would agree with all of that. And i must confess. I do have a similar cinematic relationship with san francisco as listener. Ben does i grew up watching san francisco. Onscreen as a kid in the middle of nowhere in england and it just seemed like the coolest place in the world to me so i get it. I get quest now despite all these things all these sort of great attributes that make san francisco place to shoot. You still. don't see it in films as often as a new york or la or maybe even an atlanta even though you don't necessarily know you're in atlanta when you are in atlanta a lotta movies are shot. They're why do you think that is. It's expensive to get a hotel here much less a bunch of hotels. If you've got a lot of people coming people are all crammed in together. And if you're gonna shoot sister act in nowy valley or if you're going to shoot a car chase scene going through russian hill. The neighbors are going to notice. And i think san francisco more than some of those other cities because it's sort of compact like that makes it harder to film expensive and compact logistically. You have all of these issues. But i do think this semantic problem with san francisco. It's so in your face. it is does end up being a character if you wanna just have like any town. Usa to set your story and like san francisco is not the place to come. It really isn't because you'll end up having to do all of this narrative work bending over backwards to kind of explain why it's a san francisco story. That's my take anyway. Well i do. Wanna get onto answering ben's question and get to some of your san francisco movie recommendations but i thought we'd actually start with his because he has seen a lot of movies and he has his own thoughts vertigos. Probably my my all time favorite movie. In the fact that it shot in san francisco But you know a lot of the real common ones you know. I'm not embarrassed to say the other night. I watched the rock and enjoy the rock but mrs doubtfire milk the room. Those are just some of the ones that i enjoy so it sounds like he's definitely seen some of the classics which i know. We aren't necessarily going talk as much about today. In your lists right vertigo. The conversation the hitchcock films the coppola films. If i'm teaching a film class about san francisco. They're going to be right in there if i'm turning on my tv. Right now. because i just need to chill and escape a little bit. I've got a whole different set of films. That i'm gonna pick my favorite films and that that's what i'm going to pick today. One hundred percent coastline. And may i just say to ban that he never has to be embarrassed about watching the rock. There is nothing to be embarrassed about that. It's totally cool to just love the rock and shouted from the rooftops all right so i ask each of you guys to bring you our top three recommendations and what we're going to do is through all of those and then let ben decide who has been the most convincing and which movie he is going to watch next. So let's dive in carly let us know what your number three pick and why first of all. I want to kind of set up my thinking. I wanted to pay homage to the classic. Tlc album crazy sexy cool with three picks that makes san francisco look either crazy sexy oracle and so. I'm going to start with cool. It is always be my maybe. It is the two thousand and nine thousand nine. Netflix movie directed by notch com. It's ali wong as a celebrity chef and she returns home to san francisco where she grew up and she reconnects with her childhood. Boyfriend randall park. Hey hi marcus. Yeah i saw i lo- i i love this movie so much. It makes san francisco look really cool but it also makes it look really normal. And it's not the kind of parade of golden gate bridge golden gate park ad nauseam like a lot of. It's set in the outer richmond like the farmers market that they go to. It's not some buji. Little farmers markets the civic center farmers market so as a resident of the bay area. There is such a pleasure in doing that. Thing where you're looking at the screaming like oh. I know that that's really cool. I should admit that so much but is filmed in san francisco at these amazing locations. That had like stupid. Normal stupid lived in but vancouver. Of course it's always vancouver. Vancouver actually doubles for a lot of the san francisco locations particularly good luck dimsum which is where ali one. It's one of her favorite restaurants in san francisco. She's inclement straight. She says it's where she grew up e saying she really wanted that set there. But they had to double the interior in vancouver. Can't believe this place is still in business can do here so terrible. Are you insane. I eat here twice a week here. Tribes oh i remember this. This is so bad. Because that's how you remember your entire childhood. You painted the whole thing with the ship freshman. Not true right. this is good. Doesn't change more than either. She thought that the restaurant would really love the fact that she had given the shoutout and it turns out they didn't cash. She put on instagram that she had gone to the restaurants. And this is her caption so the pitch is of her waiting in line at this place that she's just made super famous and a movie and she's like hello. I'm ali wong dim son scene in my movie always be. My baby is based on this very place where i grew up eating. Good luck. dim-sum staff we. Don't give a bleep. We have no idea who you are getting mine. I love that. Tough being famous in san francisco. There's a lot of little things in there. That are san francisco to allie wong. Got dan the automaker to do the the score and also write the music for the greatest san francisco band in a movie. Hello peril which do three songs in the movie including the closing credits. My only complaint carly mentioned it. And i don't wanna start like negative ad campaigns here but were winning benz vote and there's only one vote. They did the exterior on clement's street and they're walking down with supposed to be clement street in his so not clement street. It is so vancouver. I love the movie. But as a location san francisco location movie. I find it to be kinda hit. Miss miss all right. Well let's get onto your number three then mr heart. What do you got. Mine is invasion of the body snatchers. I think it's the most underrated san francisco movie Shot it came out in. Nineteen seventy eight of philip kaufman movie. He's a san francisco resident to this day and It was a remake of a nineteen fifties movie about alien pods that come in. They're replacing the human race slowly and you can't fall asleep And it's there's just a lot of intrigue in its thriller in its horror. I love it. Is the san francisco movie. Because a lot of directors come in and they love san francisco but they shoot from the same seven places. Telegraph hill golden gate bridge Policy fine arts philip. Kaufman shot in places. That i think he always wanted to shoot that that really add to the movie. The tenderloin is is a huge huge character in the movie civic center and there's a couple of really cool shots are obscure places like pierce seventy right here. We have donald sutherland and very famous scene where he is Revealing himself to be one of the pod people by screeching the screech is a pig squeal. I believe played backwards pointing he's pointing at you on the other side of the screen. He's in the civic center point. You great san francisco movie. Great horror movie invasion of the body. Snatchers i loved this movie. I actually was ashamed to say that had seen it before. I started practicing to have this conversation with you guys and it starts off a little bit cheesy and i was on what is chosen. I couldn't have been more wrong. It is such a great movie I could not agree more with everything he said about the way it used a san francisco. I'm particularly like a lotta civic buildings around civic center at the department of public health. Which i always like it when those guys are the good guys in the movie. I haven't seen this movie yet. It's now going to be on my list. I will say. But i am. I love the idea that there's a movie that really highlights. Some of the lesser used locations around san francisco. Because i think there is a divide between how taurus experience the city and how people who live in the city experiences city. Let's move on to your number. Two picks making our way up the list. Currently what do you have. Well i did say. I was going to do crazy sexy cool. And we're now into the sexy phase of this pick it is nine thousand nine hundred. Two's basic instinct and i thought long and hard before choosing this one because many parts of it have an age twelve. Let's be honest. But it is a prime example of the ninety s erotic thriller. It is made by paul. The hoven and the plot is ludicrous. Michael douglas is the shea san francisco. Detective is investigating this bombshell crime. Novelist sharon stone. Who definitely maybe almost certainly killed one of her boyfriends. It's a romp. It's a riot. It wants to be a hitchcock noir very very badly so it looks way better than it needs to and it sounds way better than it needs to. I tried long and hard to find a safe. The bay curious clip from this movie and failed miserably. So let's just listen to a little bit of the trailer. Thirty one stab wounds wasn't icepick. Speak to him as captain. Terrell please issue suspect a suspect. Dr learn about the murderer retired rock star. Does the boyfriend. Icepick intended the books of your alibi. I love the way it uses san francisco. It goes all the classic shots like north beach hill. One thing i should note. Is that san francisco. Like wasn't always thrilled about being the poster child for this movie. Sharon stone's character is bisexual and setting a movie with an lgbtq woman who has a lot of sex and kills the people that she sleeps with in san francisco in one thousand nine hundred ninety two at a time when aids was still so prevalent and claiming so many lives like. That's a definite choice and this isn't just like twenty twenty hindsight. The movie was picketed at the time by. Lgbtq groups for being kind of prejudice in its representation of that community. So i do feel like i should flag that a lot of the animosity. I feel like house gone away over time but it's definitely something to note. Also i think the reason people don't like this movie is that they take it quite seriously. And i think if you look at all the heavens back catalogue like starship troopers. Total recall like showgirls. I think he has a sense of humor about what he's doing. So i think that this movie should be taken a as a time. Capsule and with a hefty fistful of salt. I love this film. I think it's a great pick. I think it's underrated. There're more helicopter shots in this movie of san francisco of someone driving a car around a wine road road. His embracing san francisco making love to san francisco with his camera. Budget was off the charts. So i think it's a great pick. I really liked this movie a lot. Definitely that makes san francisco. Look sexy carly. don't you agree. Well okay so this is where i genuinely want you guys as opinion because i have spent the best part of a week thinking about this question is san francisco sexy city and i was trying to think of cities that are like off the charts. Sex new orleans sprang to mind. But then i'm thinking as it just about like sweating is just like the weather is. Is that all sexiness is to me. I gotta say the the the weather is it. You don't sweat and san francisco. La new orleans. sexy city. miami miami vice sexy city. Streets of san francisco is not a sexy. Tv show. i'm going to have to disagree with you guys and you are the cultural critics here so your your opinion has more weight than mine. But i don't know. I see fog and i want to cuddle. That's that's my take on it. Yeah i don't know. I i think peter and i say mind hair. Where would step one guys. It's a kodaly city. I don't know if it's a sexy city. Let's i cuddle my dog all right. Well let's get into peter. What's your number two pick. My number two is zodiac. It is a david fincher film. He shot the game first and then zodiac in san francisco and second to hitchcock. I think he's the one who Really is a great sensibility. For san francisco It is shot also in the san francisco chronicle newsroom. They shot in our publisher's office. I believe outside and they used our lobby and elevator The story goes that david fincher came up to our newsroom. Walked inside said an expletive and said this is too much of a mess walked outside they recreated our newsroom pillar for pillar you cannot tell the difference in los angeles but absolutely absolutely captures a place in time the music choices visual cues the production design. Nothing's wasted and honestly even though they didn't shoot in the chronicle newsroom. The newsroom banter is pitch perfect. Here's a little bit of it right now. august i. He wants his code in the afternoon edition. If the examiner doesn't have the balls to ride we scoop the bow. This man is talking about shooting twelve people and not running. This might make him do that. So that's the way we talk. That's the way we talk to each other. It's all like david. Fincher or aaron. Sorkin drama film janice date fund new party before from got naked. Now this is. This is a great film and the plot is a secondary in this film killer from the seventies and eighties who they never caught. And i'm giving away the ending but the ending isn't the important thing. The important thing is the mood the city what it felt like to be in the nineteen seventies and be scared. I was a little kid. I remember hearing about the zodiac killer. And this movie brought that back so well my favorite shot in the film. It is a visual effects. Shot of them in sped up time building the transamerica pyramid and again just david fincher using every little arrow in his quiver to capture that mood of san francisco at a particular time. It's a fantastic location movie. And i think it's the only one on this list that is based on true story. Unless there's something i need to know about invasion of the body snatchers. That's true and and and you know there's a little bit of myth in there but he stuck a lot closer than a lot of other people due to the facts. I will say as somebody who was not living in the bay area. At the time of zodiac i found zodiac to be really helpful. Just to kind of i guess get a sense of what it was like to be here during that time like you experienced peter yet and people remember if people were around. They know the myth when when people come to the chronicle and ask for a tour the two things they want to see our hurricanes typewriter and zodiac files. Can you show us zodiac files. All right let's get onto your top choices. These are Top of your list. Let's let's hear it carly. What do you got okay guys. I'm reaching the climax of my crazy sexy cool plan which i think paid off my number one pick. It's crazy san francisco it star trek four nine thousand nine hundred ninety six. It is directed by mr spock himself. Leonard nimoy i find it hard to talk about this film kind of critically because i love it so much just to quickly tell you about the plot. It picks up where nineteen eighty-four search for spark star trek. Three left off. So the earth of the future is being menaced by a big alien. Probe only kirk and the crew of the enterprise can save the planet by time travelling back to nine hundred eighty san to bring back to wales to talk to the alien probe and get it to leave a th alone. You have to go with it. That's the plot. And i can't change that okay. It's not the best star trek movie that's the wrath of khan. That's just undisputable. But it is the best movie set in san francisco with wales which is to say. It is the only one of that. Where do i start with. How wonderful this movie is. I'm joking when i say that it's the reason i moved to san francisco and i'm like percent joking about that but the other ninety five percent is really serious growing up with this movie and watching san francisco just looked so fun so warm so crazy so inviting like wants to be a part of that. It is totally joyous ban. If you're listening you haven't seen star trek for. Don't worry you don't need to watch any of the other star trek movies. It stands alone. It's perfect in that sense. The pleasures of watching like the quite serious crew of the enterprise traverse san francisco and just have a bold doing it. It's just great. So i really wanted to play you. One of the most iconic scenes which is kirk and spock on a muny bus. That is traveling over the golden gate. Bridge mr spock has to take out a young punk on the bus and get him to stop playing his music. And then this happens. What's your question of languages since our arrival is currently laced with shall i say more colorful metaphors double dumb ass on you and so forth giving the profanity. Yeah that's simply the way they talk. Nobody pays any attention to swear. Every other word you'll find it all the literature period for example while the collective works. Jacqueline susann is in novels. Are harold robbins Giants the gag. That of course. Being that jackson. Suzanne and harold robbins had to look harold robbins by the way like. They are not the giants if chip. It's just hilarious to think that the people of the future have deemed them to be. So i know of no movie that is like warmer and sweeter than star trek four. Pick me pick trek four. The choice is easy come on. I don't even want to argue against you. And i'm going to pick a number one but i love this film so much It is just a lovely movie. Funny movie finds all kinds of different ways to explore san francisco and make it part of the gag but in a funny warm way. It's one of the greats. One of the classics are up. There with one of the greats must be your number one choice. Peter what do you have for your number one. Two thousand fifteen pixar film inside-out it takes place. Inside the brain of a twin girl coming of age riley and then also outside in san francisco riley has moved from I believe a minnesota to san francisco and she's horrified and what the pixar people did with. Animation is so fantastic. They take san francisco and make it like to fifteen percent more. The streets are a little narrower. Parking's a little harder. Street signs are a little more incomprehensible Fantastic fantastic use of san francisco. It's more of a character in the movie than than any of their other movies. They had always kinda flirted around with the bay area and maybe dropped san pablo avenue in the incredible. This one they really talk about san francisco. And you don't see that often. You see a lot of mainstream set and san francisco and san francisco is a backdrop in. It's almost like a prop Very few films are a commentary on the city. Last black man in san francisco medicine for melancholy and inside out inside out. Is poking fun of the city. It is completely honest. If you live here you totally get it. If you're not from here you're going to Get some of the humor including taking just an absolute absolute dagger stab at our pizza. Hey ad saw place down the street. Maybe we could try that. Pizza sounds delicious castle. What the heck is rocky on pizza. That's it. I'm done her garage license. San francisco ron bates up faster hawaiians. And now you honestly. The first time i saw this film i didn't love it. I liked it a lot. I'm glad i didn't review it. Because i think i would have given it less than the highest rating upon rewatch. There's so many little things that Come out you. Learn more things in the san francisco parts become clearer and clearer. I just think it's a fantastic film. And it's a fantastic san francisco location film. Well i think that is going to have a really hard time. Deciding between all of those very compelling pitches for for movies. He should be watching this weekend. Peter hart lob native culture critic with chronicle co host of total sf podcast so much. Is there anywhere that listeners can connect with you further. Yeah my twitter at peter. Hart lob and then sf chronicle dot com slash total. Sf is our homepage. That's heather knight are San francisco columnist. And i do fun things around san francisco ben. If you're visiting we have all kinds of fun things for people to do hikes to take the tourist traps we love. That's all on our total. Sf page on sf chronicle dot com. Awesome and carly. You are my long-time pop culture. I don't know guru if you've really helped me with questions over the years. Thank you for coming on the show. Where can people connect with you. Thank you well. I should say all of the coolers episodes are still available to hear on eighteen. So if you wanna go back through the missive time and do that you can. You can also hear my worked for baker's with you in the podcast feed but you can also follow me on twitter at teacup in the bay. Where i'll be tweeting about a variety of things but mainly kiana reeves and michael matt movies. All right well thanks to you. Both episode by our question. Asker ben kaiser and he got back to us with his pick carleen. Peter i appreciate your suggestions for which san francisco movie. I should watch next full disclosure. Three of them. I've already seen those are always. Be my maybe basic instinct and zodiac. Which is one of my all time favorite movies so it comes down to the other three but i'm torn between inside out and star trek four but in the end my vote is going to go to star trek four. I've never seen a star trek movie but it seems to be sociable loved film and carly campaigned very very well so tonight. That's what i'll be watching as it just so happens. Carleen peter we talking more about star trek for on next week's total. Sf podcast go and subscribe now. So you don't miss it if you've got a favorite san francisco movie that we didn't talk about today or you just want to tell us which of these movies tops your list. Head to the k. Q. e. d. facebook page and join the discussion will include some of your thoughts and recommendations in a post going live next week on dot org big. Thanks to ben for asking this week's question. Big curious made in san francisco by katrina schwarz. Jim bennett and me. Olivia price cut a great week.

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