BAD HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND/ BAD HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND: SOME DAY, YOU'LL SEE MY NAME IN TILE EDITION
One of the harsh realizations we all faced after the opening of Hollywood & Highland was that the complex wasn't designed for us locals, but rather for the throngs of wide-eyed tourists who were tired of trekking all the way from Hokkaido to Hollywood Boulevard just to realize that what they thought was a glistening, celebrity-drenched wonderland was actually a filthy, festering slum no true celebrity would go anywhere near except to quickly drop off a Walk of Fame star and run. That explains why the design includes all those "quotes" from anonymous entertainment industry professionals laid out in ugly pink and charcoal gray floor tiles. Sure, as the traditional notion of Hollywood goes, anything beats stepping over a homeless drunk on the way to a shuttered pizza parlor, but even if the goal was to capture a sense of Classic Hollywood in a multi-million-dollar 21st Century mall, couldn't they have done any better than this?
For one thing, why are the quotes anonymous? Granted, getting a quote from Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion must've been quite a coup, but did Clarence really request anonymity? Couldn't he use the publicity these days? Or maybe no names were used because the quotes were made up. Okay. But why? Is there a shortage of actual movie star quotes these days? Was the project so over budget by the time they got around to the flooring that the designers couldn't afford to spring for a copy of People magazine? And wouldn't the tourists be more impressed reading quotes from Tom Cruise and Marilyn Monroe than, say, "Costume Designer"? Tourists aren't known for their appreciation of subtlety. Most of them probably spend hours wandering around the complex looking for an answer key. And it's not like there's anything informative, revelatory or -- don't make us laugh -- juicy in these quotes. Most of them might as well say "'Do you want butter on that?' -- Concession Stand Vendor." In fact, someone probably suggested that in the design meetings.
Ultimately, we can live with the tourist-baiting schmaltz of Hollywood & Highland's design. After all, the area desperately needed a shot in the arm, and the tourists deserve a destination worthy of their trip. Anything that makes 2004 Hollywood look more like 1940's Hollywood is good PR for LA. But it's hard not to see the movie quotes, among other things, as a missed opportunity. Maybe some day, they'll take the rest of us into account and add one that says "'This blows' -- Customer." Badness Rating (1 to 10): 9