Why does Hollywood like dystopian LAs and utopian SFs?




Whence the Dystopian LA? To quote a Learned Internet Acquaintance of Some Notoriety:

Just look at it.



Peterson!!! - recurring accidental gag line in 'The Forbin Project".

Maybe because LA is a dystopia, while SF is a utopia?

Seriously I once spent an hour looking at random google maps pictures around LA and around SF. The vast majority of the SF one are beautiful. Bridges, mountain, beach, pretty houses, gardens, sunsets, etc. The majority of the LA ones are ugly. Parked cars, slightly dingy looking buildings, streets, highways.

I’m sure there is lots of cool stuff in LA, its a huge city afterall… but at a glance it can be pretty horrid, while at a glance SF is pretty idyllic.


SF is often just the current world reflected through the prism of a possible future.

So LA has urban decay and a gang problem, suddenly the “future LA” is a gang run apocalyptic wasteland. This really isn’t that surprising.



I love SF. I loathe LA.


Maybe Hollywood hates where it lives, and wishes it had taken a different life path after college?


Then there’s the Star Trek into Darkness curveball. The utopian future in the film may have been set in San Francisco, but it was shot in Los Angeles, e.g. Starfleet Academy was shot at the Getty Center.


As a bay area native transplanted to Southern CA, I’ll have to agree with this, of course.
The big city north of me (I live in San Diego) has some pretty cool things in it, and I very much dig the winding streets that spill south from Mulholland Drive down to Sunset, but overall… not my favorite place.
Don’t get me started on OC.


Beautiful place. Love the architecture. Hate the art, though.


Howsabout “Her”? Quite Utopian, and definitely LA. Light Rail along the ridges, useful subway, pedestrian malls, and no cars.


That would be the 1949 novel Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. Ernest Callenbach wrote Ecotopia in '75.


Because LA is already full of people in a zombified state looking to cannibalize from the brains of their fellow human?

Or so I am told.


Hollywood also really, really loves fucking up the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a damn monster magnet. At least the Star Trek franchise lets it off with a near miss now and then (Nero’s tunneling beam and the Bird of Prey from Star Trek IV both missed it by feet).


I believe the author of Earth abides is George R. Stewart.


One word: trees.


Not sure I follow. I’ve lived in both cities, and the presence or absence of trees in both varies dramatically by neighborhood.


A better question is, why is California always the future? I understand that in film this is in big part due to Hollywood’s location, but this issue extends across media in general. It’s a really narrow conception of the future.


Southern California IS a hellscape. LA. Needles. Barstow. The only difference between it now and the Mad Max future is the number of spikes on the cars.

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Because movies are made by a bunch of jackoff narcissistic egomaniacs who burn and crumble to dust if they come into contact with reality.


I don’t mean just movies though. California is a common setting in written science fiction as well.