Once upon a time in San Francisco
Atualizado: Jan 31
Written by Alice Reis on 05.05.2019
There was one final errand to run before flying home overseas after a week-long work trip in San Francisco. I mean, it'd be incredibly rude of a nineties sitcom fan to skip a visit to the place where they filmed establishing shots of Full House. Stepping out of my hotel near Union Square, I Googled Painted Ladies to find the address. "Better hold on to a cheat sheet in case the Uber driver is new to the job," I thought, as I couldn't afford to pull a Kevin McCallister in an exclusive new feature: Lost in the West Coast. The results were in — apparently, if one wants to virtually meet Uncle Jesse, they should go straight to 1709 Broderick Street instead of those Painted Ladies. Silly me, my favorite TV family lived a freaking mile away from the famous set of Victorian houses paraded in the opening credits of Full House. There goes some screen magic, I guess.
My Uber driver turned out to be uber friendly. Once he was notified of my groupie-ish drop-off location, we engaged in a chat about television and movies to the extent that he admitted being a rom-com geek. (His #1 was When Harry Met Sally, which I fully approved.) A few minutes later, we reached the destination: the Tanners' red front door. Following a selfie to guarantee that that memory would never fade away (and to show off on Instagram), I realized... "Huh? How is it possible that the car never crossed the bridge en route to get here?" Sure, I might find it in my heart to forgive some misleading credits of Full House. But if filmography — and common sense, really — have taught me one thing about this city, well, that is the Golden Gate Bridge.
Had I been asked to depict San Francisco beforehand, it would've consisted of two fundamental steps: 1) scatter a few cable cars in the middle of wavy roads and skyscrapers; 2) grab a red crayon and proudly sketch a giant bridge on top of it all. "This fine artwork is exactly what San Francisco looks like," I would've insisted. In my defense, movie characters invariably drive across that beautiful chunk of steel to get anywhere in the city, regardless of massive disasters casually destroying it for the sake of popcorn industries. Everywhere you look (there's a heart!) there it is — Vertigo, A View to a Kill, X-Men: The Last Stand, Monsters vs. Aliens, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, San Andreas… Arguably, it is about time the Academy gave that Art Déco big screen celebrity an Oscar.
Next up in my reel of San Francisco is the intersection of Taylor and Broadway Streets, a dreamy spot for filmmakers overlooking the not-so-charming-because-it-ain't-red Bay Bridge. Remember the ending shot of The Pursuit of Happyness? That's the place. Thousands of brides running after Chris O'Donnell in The Bachelor? Also there. Troublemakers Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews' cable car accident in The Princess Diaries? Bingo. In fact, the royals explore the city like pros and even fight a vintage wrestling machine at the wonderful Musée Mécanique. Now — drum roll, please — behold another prime location from a SF classic. Should we follow the instructions Sally Field gives Robin Williams over the phone in Mrs. Doubtfire, it will lead us directly to the actual façade posed as Mrs. Doubtfire's family home. (Cue for avid fans and eye-rolling householders at "two six four o Steiner Street.")
What a city.
We all know Hollywood is the master of keeping up with stereotypes. Good grief, I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil thus have had my share of clichés in The Incredible Hulk and Fast Five to name just a couple. Even so, I must confess I love me some movie buff fairytale bubble. There's nothing quite like traveling to new cities and getting a nostalgic suspicion of lifetime acquaintance. Despite having some reality shoved in my face whilst discovering the streets of San Francisco, movie frames still pop inside my properly flower-haired head when I reminisce about that week. Ah, glimpsing the Golden Gate Bridge for the very first time was one for the books — my heart skipped a beat as if I were Joey Tribbiani in front of a large pizza. Truth be told, I've missed the sight of it ever since; but, hey, a girl can always go to the movies and revive her once-upon-a-time in San Francisco all over again.
Alice in San Francisco as a producer for TV show Mapa do Pop in 2018.