Universally Acclaimed

Today we’re touring Universal Studios.

Courtney over at Cinema Axis wrote an interesting article recently about Universal’s surprising temerity and box office success despite the fact that they are one of few studios without a superhero franchise. They do, however, have thriving franchises in The Fast and The Furious, Jurassic Park, and The Minions (of Despicable Me fame), which all, not coincidentally, are featured heavily throughout the park.

And if you tour the backlot, so are some of their older hits, like Jaws, E.T., and Back to the Future. They’ve got props and costumes and even set pieces, like a plane crash from War of the Worlds and the house funiversalrom Psycho (where Jim Carrey once spent the day doing his best Norman Bates impression between shooting scenes for Man on the Moon). It is, after all, still a working film lot. You can see the cul-de-sac where The Burbs was shot and some rides are housed in old sound stages; the Transformers ride inhabits one used for Hitchcock’s The Birds. The tour also takes you through current productions – you may have seen a segment on the Conan O’Brien show back in the day where he and Andy would stage events specifically for the tour as it passed.

I’m kind of a chicken when it comes to rides, so I’ll let Matt and Sean  cover those. I have a moesfeeling I’ll be found wandering around Springfield – yup, the very one housing Homer and Marge. I might just find myself a Krusty Burger and put my tired feet up for a while. No, scratch that. Make it Moe’s. Oh my god, do you think they’ll have Duff beer???

Check out our Twitter for shots of the day ( @assholemovies ) and previous posts for the rest of our California adventure.

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16 thoughts on “Universally Acclaimed

  1. Courtney Small

    I am not big on rides either, so the backlot tour is something I would be interested in checking out. Plus the fact that there is a Springfield element is incentive enough for me to make the trip to California one day.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Courtney – the Springfield was awesome and quite extensive – there are donuts for sale at Lard Lad, and actual Duff Beer, and a Kwik-E Mart. Oh, and Krusty burgers! That was a lot of fun.

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  2. Christopher

    I’m intensely envious, especially having never been there. A friend of mine toured Universal Studios in high school and came back with a picture of himself posing with The Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney’s design, of course). Right before taking the picture someone asked, “What’s it like working here?” So The Phantom is giving a big thumbs-down and grimacing even more than usual.

    I must be weird. Wearing a hot, uncomfortable costume all day and hanging around tourists sounds like a dream job.

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  3. tubularsock

    Tubularsock is glad you are having fun on your quest. The last and only time I visited Universal Studios (almost as far back as the silent films) what I saw was how films were made and it ruined films for me. Prior to that I knew they weren’t “real”, of course but I’d never really thought how they were manufactured. Knowing the “secrets” changed my perception. Add the Truman Show and one realizes that life is truly an illusion, and the GMO pop corn is not as fresh!

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  4. StephLove

    How fun to see the sets. My favorite set story is about how Mel Brooks tracked down part of the set of Frankenstein in the garage of someone who’d worked on the film forty years earlier so he could use it in Young Frankenstein. (I’ve been trying to get my teenager to watch YF with me, but I insist he do it properly and watch Bride of Frankenstein first. He’s already seen the original Frankenstein a couple times.)

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    1. Jay Post author

      That’s a cool story! I liked seeing a lot of the older stuff, like Amity beach (from Jaws) and the hotel and house from Psycho!

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  6. mattasshole

    I loved all the rides and would definitely recommend getting the VIP pass if you can so you don’t have to wait forever in line. The 3D King Kong experience was a highlight for me.

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  7. diahannreyes

    I’ll have to say I liked the Universal Studios from years past. – less techno stuff but somehow, everything seemed more real. Even the now archaic seeming dinosaurs used to have a magic to them when I would go on the ride. Meantime, I know the newer rides are all technology.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, I know what you mean. They still have the Jaws shark, but it really doesn’t do the trick anymore, it seems so silly and fake. It’s hard to strike that balance I guess, but I do like that some movies like Mad Max are moving back toward more “practical effects” and away from all the CGI stuff.

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  8. Pingback: Jay’s Top Cinematic Moments of 2015 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

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