Weekend Homework: Plan the L.A. Transit Movie


At the Huffington Post, Joel Epstein, who has done a heck of a job pushing 30/10, wrote a piece pondering the absolute lack of Hollywood star power in promoting transit as opposed to promoting things like electric-powered cars. Of course, that Hollywood movies present heroes driving muscle cars, saving the universe with cars that turn into robots, and motorcycles as the key to freedom doesn’t help.  And when a comet is about to crash into the earth, who is going to save us?  Oil drillers.  Jeesh.

Now if I’m going to assign weekend homework, I would prefer to tell you to find a Hollywood Star who wants to lend their name (and wallet) to promoting transportation options; but I thought I would go easy on you since L.A. Streetsblog is in transition mode itself.  But if you are a Hollywood Star and are interested in being the spokesperson for transit, drop me an email at damien@streetsblog.org.

So your homework is to outline the plot and cast your L.A. Transit Movie.  Leave your work in the comments section.  I’ll post mine a little later this weekend, and the best movie will get a "Best of Streetfilms" DVD.

  • Heather

    You should show that clip from Independence Day where the guy thanks Metro for the subway because it was riding that that prevented him from being killed in the alien attack.

  • Perhaps another version of Singles? There have been a few good movies that related tangentially to the subject in LA. 40 Year Old Virgin had Steve Carrell’s character biking everywhere, even showing the dangers of biking on the street.

  • Howard Payne

    Q: Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 30 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 30, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?

    NIMBYs: “Don’t build a bus-only lane so the bus can never go above 30 miles per hour.”

    Rail Transit Enthusiasts: “If you had built a subway or light rail line, you probably wouldn’t have this problem”

    Bus Riders Union: “Are there any standees on the bus? Why should those who can least afford it pay $1.50 to stand on a bus that is going to blow up?”

    LADOT: “We have calculated a high speed path for the bus and are tripping signals via ATSAC. The path will take the bus straight into the Bicycle District, where we will explode it to reduce criticism for our many failures”

    Michael Cahn: “Why aren’t we talking about bicycles here? … [paragraphs deleted] … Come and see the bias inherent in the system!”

    Springfield: “Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!”

    David Lazarus: “What’s a bus? Also, see above.”

    Pragmatists: “This seems highly unlikely to occur”

  • There was an episode of Chuck last season called “Chuck vs the subway”. It had some good scenes in the LA subway system.

  • wanderer

    In the less than perfect movie Crash one character moves from dissing the bus to being a proud transit rider.

    Way back when, in the late 70’s I think, Lily Tomlin’s movie The Late Show had her senior characters riding the (Fairfax Ave., I think) bus, nothing heroic, just A normal part of life, as transit is.

  • Spokker

    In Independence Day some guys are sitting around a fire after the alien invasion. Some guy says, “Thank God for the Red Line subway.” or something. Since he was underground he survived the blast.

    Maybe that should be FixExpo’s next argument. If we put Expo underground it would protect us from an alien invasion.

  • Jerard Wright

    I have two transit movies.

    The first one would be a satirical look of the “Taking of Pelham One Two Three” where a subway train is being hijacked in Hollywood, however this isn’t an ordinary hijaking it is a hijacking set-up by the workers union and staged by the Mayor of LA in preparation for his/her re-election. How the city is being taken hostage for political reasons. The heroin is a cynical dispacher who thinks that there’s more than meets the eye.

    The second Transit movie is a take-off on Metropolis, more visual and silent.

    Where we ride the city’s core rail line and each station or station extension is microcosm of a part of city-life.

    There’s a station called Downtown where at precisely 5:01 pm every one rushes out of all of the high rise office buildings into the subway station and board the train, when the train leaves the “Downtown” station signage immediately changes to “Ghosttown” and then dust, cob-webs and weeds are formed to where the passengers were. Another station would be “Yuppieville” which would be the newer piece of the line to where there’s all the usual cues of this becoming a gentrified area are present a Starbucks and bank branch on every corner, art galleries, posh resturants, etc. The train runs briefly at-grade at the under construction and never to be complete “NIMBY-land” station and where station art of pitchforks and white picket fences reign supreme.
    Then there’s the “Exurbia Park-Ride” station which would be elevated literally surrounded by a moat of asphalt and cars.
    “Suburbia station” would be elevated through a Wal-Mart supercenter or other big-box store.

  • I want to see Jerard’s movies!

  • @Joe – I want a combination of Jerard’s movies with whomever wrote the Howard Payne comment’s wit. Both seem very knowledgeable about the transportation scene in LA. BTW, Hope you are doing well!

  • Katie M.

    Don’t you think that what we really need here is a movie about pedestrians?

    I’m thinking an LA-style Romeo and Juliet of the Sidewalks flick. Romeo, the gourmet-grilled-korean-cheese-taco-flavored cupcake vendor, falls in love with Juliet, daughter of his brick-and-mortar-restaurant competition on Wilshire. They only place they can meet is on the sidewalk in between the restaurant and the truck. They spend countless hours walking, taking in the sights and sounds of LA, learning to love each other and the city. Finally Juliet convinces her parents to let her marry the man of her dreams.

    Then Romeo gets hit by a car trying to cross Sunset in Hollywood. Because that’s how things go when you have crappy pedestrian infrastructure.


  • I’m greenlighting Katie’s film.

    Disclosure: I don’t have the power to greenlight anything except maybe blog entries.

  • RJ

    How about having them arrive for the red carpet on bicycles at next years Oscars. They could bike up and they walk the bikes up the red carpet posing with them. Could be alot of fun. Adam Sandler and his co-stars from his new movie should ride large tricycles.

  • RJ

    How about a Sci Fi movie where in the future most of the population is on bicycles? Would make for some cool visuals. It could be a remake of the Fifth Element with Bruce Willis as a pedal cab driver.

  • I thought greenlighting was what the mob did to kill people?

  • Jerard Wright

    @ my Comment. This would be the soundtrack in the background, Spyro Gyra’s Incognito gives the city a Sunrise-Sunset feel.


    Also the bus, bike and ped elements could have a station named “Amsterdam” and other transit utopian named cities where you have that component.


ArtCycle Highlights This Week’s “Bike Weekend”

Longtime readers of L.A. Streetsblog may remember that the occasional post highlighting a variety of ride options as part of what we called "bike weekend."  In the lead-up to the bike summit, it seems a perfect time to highlight some of the great rides that will be going on this weekend to both plug more […]

Labor Day Homework: Play the Tom LaBonge Transit Game

Yesterday, the Daily News printed an odd opinion piece by 4th District City Councilman Tom LaBonge which outlined his views on how Metro should grow Los Angeles’ rail system in the coming years.  I say “odd” because the former Metro Board Member has to know that Measure R transit funds have to be spent on […]

Streetsblog Interview: Michael Woo

Michael Woo has a long history fighting for a cleaner Los Angeles.  In the late 1980’s, he was the rare City Councilman who was also a trained urban planner and had a strong showing in the 1993 Mayoral Election coming up short to Mayor Riordan.  He currently teaches urban planning at USC, and consultant to […]