Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pomona on the Silver Screen

We all know that Pomona takes it's lumps in the local press, but now we're being slammed in film. Pomona shouldn't feel too bad, since even Claremont's squeaky clean image is sullied in a current movie:

"'Alpha Dog' may not be top dog in Claremont
Written by David Allen, Columnist, Daily Bulletin

A NEW CRIME MOVIE, "Alpha Dog," is inspired by a true story involving a 20-year-old San Fernando Valley drug dealer who allegedly had a 15-year-old boy kidnapped and killed to get revenge on a rival.
"Alpha Dog" changes the names, some details and the location, moving the drug dealers to...Claremont?
When the words "Claremont, CA" pop up onscreen, documentary-style, the audience I saw the movie with in Ontario let out an audible gasp.
The movie wasn't filmed here, but L.A.-area locales stand in for Claremont's tree-lined streets and Cahuilla Park, where the movie kidnapping occurs.
A very un-Claremont scene takes place on a decaying, Holt Boulevard-esque urban commercial strip made up of used car lots and a grungy mini-market named Circus Jr. Its oversized sign features a circus clown.
In other words, "Alpha Dog" does for Claremont what "The O.C." did for Chino.
There doesn't appear to be an outcry in Claremont. This could be because Claremont has no movie theater.
Mayor Peter Yao hadn't heard of the movie until I alerted him. But when I explained the plot and the Claremont connection, the mayor let out not an audible gasp, but a loud laugh.
"Well, we need more controversies. Bring 'em on," Yao quipped.
Alas, the movie has no Claremont dialogue, which I think would have been a cinema first. But a couple of scenes are set in Pomona, and as you know, no movie is complete without Pomona dialogue.
In this case, it's when the gangster played by Justin Timberlake tries to convince his girlfriend that rather than killing a boy in Palm Springs, he merely gave the boy a ride home.
Justin Timberlake: "Yeah, I dropped him off in Pomona."
Skeptical girlfriend: "Yeah? What street?"
Timberlake, angrily: "I dropped him off in Pomona!"
Maybe it's just me, but that was the best part.

FILMING BEGINS today in good ol' Pomona for the next "Die Hard" sequel, "Live Free or Die Hard," starring Bruce Willis (who is also in "Alpha Dog"). Shooting will take place in a Fairplex parking lot along White Avenue from today through Feb. 14.
"There will be stunt work including precision driving, explosions and helicopter work," says city spokeswoman Monique Valadez. Today's filming, kicking things off with a literal bang, will involve "a large explosion." "Some simulated gunfire" will occur other days.
Well, if there's going to be gunfire in Pomona, I prefer the simulated kind."

David Allen is a regular contributor to the Daily Bulletin and I always enjoy reading his columns.

FYI: Robert Redford will be in Claremont to film a movie at the colleges in late January.

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