Los Angeles bears no shortage of iconic hometown cinema, but our best-known movies are, for the most part, created with an adult audience in mind. Even if some of our local flicks aren't rated R, they lean squarely into a more mature PG-13 bracket.
We are, after all, the birthplace of noir and the moody movie experience.
But there are a few movies made for both the younger and not-so-younger set that capture our sunnier SoCal zeitgeist. They can even be moody, and atmospheric, but they're films made with the whole family at heart.
"E.T. the Extraterrestrial" qualifies as one such classic LA kid film, and many of the people who were kids back in 1982, when the Steven Spielberg-directed hit debuted, will be out with their kids at the Hollywood Bowl over Labor Day Weekend.
The film shall screen, three nights in a row, to the lilting sounds of the LA Phil. And Mr. John Williams, the composer who gave a raft of iconic '80s films their adventurous, aspirational scores, shall stop by to introduce the film each night (update: via a recorded message).
Arguing for the extreme LA-o-sity found in "E.T." is a cakewalk, truly (or a Reese's Pieces walk, if you prefer). Not only did the adorable, lengthy-of-neck title creature take up residence at a house in Tujunga, but Northridge also figures prominently, especially White Oak Boulevard, where the "flying bicycle" scene was filmed.
As for where the interiors were located? Well, those were pure studio, in Culver City. As for the forest where E.T. initially lands and where his pal Elliott bikes up to, in order to leave some tempting peanut butter candies for his new potential pal? Well... that's Redwood National Park, in Northern California, which is rather hard to pedal to, from Tujunga, in a matter of minutes.
We'll call that one movie magic.
The screenings, set for Friday, Sept. 4, Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6, shall also have a pinch of that magic. The stars will be above (where E.T. phoned home), John Williams will give a hello via a recorded message (the music legend), and, all around, the hills of Southern California, where the left-behind cosmic cutie first landed.
There's no way not to be a kid again, for a night. Though whether a bicycle can fly you home, over the traffic of the 101, after the credits roll, is another matter. Let's hope you have an interplanetary friend sitting in your bike's front basket.