Often a specific film or movie can sear an image into our brains that leaves us longing to visit a certain destination at some point in our lives. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Rome after watching “Roman Holiday” with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Perhaps you’ve decided now that Iceland is on your bucket list after watching Ben Stiller in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” If you haven’t seen that movie, you should. The shots in Iceland were beautifully done and on the big screen they were breathtaking. But have you ever seen a movie and recognized a location that you’ve been to at some point in your travels?
This past weekend I watched “22 Jump Street,” a summer action/comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. The last scene of the movie has college students making their way to the nonexistent “Puerto, Mexico” for Spring Break. An important scene is set in a tourist bar called “Gringo Pendejo’s,” which can translate to “Idiot American,” “Stupid American,” or even “Dumbass American.” Besides the less than complimentary name, the location looked eerily familiar to me, but I wasn’t sure why.
After the guns started going off in the scene and the two main characters head outside into the street (don’t worry – I’m not giving anything away that you wouldn’t have been able to guess on your own from the predictable storyline), I immediately recognized where they were. They weren’t in Mexico at all! They were in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the bar was none other than the tourist bar of all tourist bars: Señor Frog’s! While looking online I learned that the hotel they shot the Lamborghini scene in was the Caribe Hilton. The hotel advised guests that there would be filming during their stay and they were allowed to watch as long as they were quiet. That must be why Jonah Hill was driving the car!
The only thing that could make any visit to San Juan better would be to see Channing Tatum running shirtless through the street while I’m in town. Am I right ladies?
Have you had an experience like this where you recognized a movie location from your travels? But better than that, does film inspire you to travel? What’s one movie you’ve seen that made you feel like you HAD to visit that location?