If you have sharp eyes and an observant mind, you're going to ruin a lot of movies for yourself. Mainly because you'll see a scene that takes place on some alien planet and notice that a mountain formation in the background is the same one you just saw in a movie set in the Old West. There's only a certain number of distinct filming locations within easy driving distance of Hollywood, so you see the same ones turn up again and again, if you look for them. So from now on, see if you can spot ...
5 Griffith Observatory -- That Sculpture on the Front Lawn Should Look Familiar ...
Remember at the beginning of The Terminator when Arnold materializes in a time ball dressed in nothing but, well, his balls? And remember the building and the monument behind him as he met those young thugs and stole their clothes?
When James Cameron told Arnold his penis wouldn't be visible, Arnold asked for the biggest phallic symbol available.
That's the Griffith Observatory, which is located, perhaps unsurprisingly, in LA's Griffith Park. It turns out that those astronomy-loving tough guys Arnold beat up got off easy, because they were actually hanging out in MacGyver's backyard (according to his show's pilot episode).
"I built the place myself using a box of paper clips and a pack of gum!"
"Stop it, Mac. Just stop it."
Thanks to its futuristic look, Griffith Park has been a preferred location for sci-fi movies since 1935, including pictures like The Phantom Empire, The Man from Planet X, and Not of This Earth. We could show you pictures of those films, but you've never heard of them, so here are some Autobots clambering over the observatory in Michael Bay's Transformers instead:
DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures
Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu just can't get enough of the big pillar in Charlie's Angels 2.
Herschel would later sue for sexual harassment.
This is the same place where Zooey Deschanel goes all Zooey Deschanel on some unsuspecting people in Yes Man.
Or Katy Perry goes all Katy Perry, we're not really sure.
Later, she makes out with Jim Carrey in front of everyone ...
... in the same part of the observatory where James Dean once got into a knife fight with a guy who called him "chicken" in Rebel Without a Cause.
"I'm going to turn you into the rebel without a spleen."
Someone else who resents being called a chicken is, of course, Marty McFly in Back to the Future. Well, as it happens, the observatory is right on top of Mount Hollywood -- and the Mount Hollywood Tunnel is where Marty got chased by Biff while trying to steal the sports almanac back in Back to the Future Part II.
Universal Studios, Universal Studios
"Almanac? I'm running him down 'cause of that fedora."
Where was Biff going in such a hurry, anyway? Toontown, apparently: This is the same tunnel Eddie Valiant went through to get there in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Cheer up, Bob Hoskins, there are way worse places you could be transported to.
The tunnel has also appeared in shows like Charmed and The O.C. If time travel, living cartoons, and dumb TV characters aren't enough for you, how about full scale nuclear war? It's also the tunnel that leads to NORAD in WarGames starring Matthew Broderick.
Begin writing your Marty McFly/Jessica Rabbit/Ferris Bueller fan fictions ... now.
4 Courthouse Square -- The Clock Tower from Back to the Future Appears in Dozens of Other Movies
Recognize the building above? No? Then simply picture Doc Brown swinging from a wire on top of it while Marty is about to reach 88 miles per hour in the DeLorean below, and it becomes one of the most recognizable settings from one of the greatest movies of the '80s.
That's right. Top Gun.
And while many of you probably know the locations from Back to the Future better than your own homes, what you might not be aware of is that this particular set was actually built in the '40s and has been used in dozens of movies and TV shows since then.
Courthouse Square is located at Universal Studios in California and, as you can see, it hasn't changed a whole lot over the last 60 or so years -- in fact, during the opening credits of Back to the Future, you can see Marty skateboard past the same steps where villagers rushed to see a black man be wrongfully sentenced to death in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Universal Studios, Universal Studios
Clearly, Hill Valley's mayor doesn't care about black people ... Wait.
The courthouse has also been used in shows like the original Twilight Zone, Magnum, P.I., Weird Science, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, Ghost Whisperer, and House M.D. After appearing in a few undesirable movie sequels (Psycho II, Escape from L.A., Batman & Robin), it showed up in several scenes key to the plot of Bruce Almighty.
Yup, there actually was a plot besides "Jim Carrey and Steve Carell make strange sounds."
The set was also used as the town center in Gremlins -- you can even see the courthouse on the right during the opening credits.
Apparently Doc Brown never did bother to take down that cable.
And hey, remember the movie theater where the Gremlins were watching Snow White?
Turns out it's on the same street where Biff Tannen was acting all rapey toward Marty's mom in Back to the Future Part II.
"This isn't over! You'll biff my tannen if it's the last thing I do!"
And where K.I.T.T. once drove in an episode of Knight Rider.
Another well-known sex offender.