Located at 9457 San Fernando Road in Sun Valley, California, The Pink Motel is an iconic site, used 50 to 60 times a year in films and television (e.g. Season Seven, Episode Two of MacGyver) according to owner Monty Thomulka. So there isn’t anything particularly odd about the motel appearing in The House Bunny, the new comedy starring Anna Farris as a Playboy Playmate who takes a job as a house mother at a SoCal sorority. What is odd is that when Farris’s character does a centerfold shoot at the motel’s pool, she’s holding a skateboard—a sure sign that someone who worked on The House Bunny knows that The Pink Motel is also a legendary spot for thrashing.
Recently, the motel’s pool was used to great effect in Fully Flared (2007), a film in which Rick Howard—one of this writer’s favorite pros—lands a pretty sick hurricane slide over the coping on the deep end. Fully Flared is the most significant skate video of this decade, and the product of a directing team—Ty Evans, Spike Jonze, and Cory Weincheque—that deserves more appreciation among non-skater cinephiles. (See here for some outtakes from that session).
Given that skateboarding extras ride by throughout The House Bunny (it’s set on a college campus), I’m going to chalk up The Pink Motel’s cameo to the rising tide of skateploitation. And while The House Bunny is no Lawrence of Arabia, at least its portrayal of skateboarding is relatively harmless. You can’t say the same for Life of Ryan and Rob and Big, MTV’s reality shows for those who still believe that skating is strictly for oafs. —Benjamin Strong