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San Diego Based Movies to Watch While Self-Quarantined

If your San Diego travel plans have been disrupted by the current Coronavirus crisis, you may find yourself at home, dreaming of your next trip to our beloved city. Hold on to those dreams of planning your next vacation and take a trip from your couch, by watching some of these iconic movies or scenes that were filmed here in San Diego!

Some Like it Hot (1959)

The historic Hotel del Coronado, located just across the bay from downtown San Diego, was the backdrop of one of the original rom-coms, “Some Like it Hot” featured the powerhouse comedy duo of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. In it, the pair donned heels, eye shadow, and dresses in order to elude the mob after seeing something they shouldn’t have. The film is anything but a drag, however — with hilarious escapades and pacing that still hold up today. Oh, and lest we forget to mention it, “Some Like it Hot” is considered by many to be legendary sex-symbol Marilyn Monroe’s finest performance. You can watch this online with your HULU subscription!

Top Gun (1986)

Set in part at San Diego’s Naval Air Station Miramar, “Top Gun” famously tells the story of Navy Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise), a brash fighter pilot who rarely follows the rules, but always comes through in the clutch. The high-flying action, edge-of-your-seat aeronautics, and tense military drama have captivated generations of audiences. Kansas City Barbecue in downtown San Diego is also must-see spot for any Top Gun fan, as it served as the backdrop for some of the movie’s popular bar scenes The film has remained so popular that a sequel is scheduled for release later this year. Original cast members Cruise, Tom Skerritt, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer are all set to return. You can stream this online via Youtube, Amazon Prime or Google Play.

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Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)

This film is many things. It’s a comedy. It’s a horror flick. It’s a cult classic. But most importantly, it was one of the earliest “indies,” filmed for just under $100,000 in and around San Diego before going on to take the world by red, pulpy storm. For the uninitiated, the plot is almost as thin as the budget. The titular produce awakens to violent sentience via means that are never clearly explained, and proceeds to wreak havoc upon a humanity that would prefer to see them return to the salad bowl. It’s ridiculous, it’s amateurish, and it’s endlessly entertaining. Available to view on Amazon Prime.

Anchorman (2004)

Another cult classic, “Anchorman” is the brainchild of fan-favorite comic actor Will Ferrell. Ferrell stars as Ron Burgundy, an overconfident, none-too-sharp, and misogynist 70’s-era San Diego newscaster. He meets his match (and is forced to confront his rampant sexism) when the brilliant and driven Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) threatens to break up the station’s Old Boys Club via competence and ambition. Hilarity ensues on several levels as the boys in question (Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, and David Koechner) are forced to acknowledge her excellence. Endlessly quotable and full of impossibly silly moments, “Anchorman” spawned a sequel in 2013. Popular scenes from this film include locations such as the world-famous San Diego Zoo, popular tourist attraction Balboa Park, and SeaWorld San Diego. You can rent this on YouTube, Amazon Prime or Google Play.

Almost Famous (2000)

San Diego’s laidback beach community, Ocean Beach, and the San Diego Sports Arena (now Pechanga Arena) play leading roles in fan-favorite, Almost Famous. This comedy/drama written by former San Diegan Cameron Crowe, is a coming-of-age story about a teenage journalist for Rolling Stone who covers a fictitious rock band. Also starring a young Kate Hudson, it’s a great film to get lost in if you need an escape. Available to view on Google Play and Amazon Prime.


Citizen Kane (1941)

Frequently lauded by critics and audiences alike as the greatest film of all time, “Citizen Kane” was co-written, produced by, and features the titanic Orson Welles. He stars as Charles Foster Kane, a character heavily based on eccentric publishing icon William Randolph Hearst. Told largely in flashback, the story involves investigative reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) delving into Kane’s back pages in an attempt to discover the meaning of his cryptic deathbed utterance: “Rosebud.” As tense and gripping as the day it was released, “Citizen Kane” made copious use of San Diego’s natural beauty in several scenes including Balboa Parks beautiful gardens and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, as well as the parks historic Organ Pavillion. This classic film is available to view on Google Play and Amazon Prime.