Updated: Oct 16
A trip through Boulder City Nevada meant another way to go around the world with movies, from classic Hoover Dam shots, to pondering the status of sheep in cinema.
Around the World in 80 Movies:
Into the Wild around Boulder City, Nevada
As the title of my second book says, I love to go around the world, both in person and with movies. Movie locations turn up in many places including Boulder City, Nevada, where I also find links to my first book which covers icons from various films shot in the state.
In Boulder City, one store sells life-size figures of Elvis and Marilyn. The space alien connection comes from nearby Hoover Dam, home to the Secret Sector storing extraterrestrial technology in The Transformers movie. Alien or human, Hoover Dam towers as an engineering marvel. Tour guides list all sorts of impressive statistics, but just looking at the masses of concrete in rugged rock demonstrates dam impressive work. The dam draws all sorts of movies and icons, from James Bond to Roy Rogers to Superman and even the Supertramp wanderer from Into the Wild. Terrorism and pandemics sometimes shut down visiting opportunities, but movies like Vegas Vacation allow armchair travel for a dam safe tour.
Since we took the dam tour years ago, Fred and I spent our 2020 stay there exploring other aspects of the project along a hiking trail made from the old railroad route that brought in construction supplies. Located right outside the Hoover Dam Lodge where we spent the night, we got out early in the morning to avoid the trail’s main drawback—hundred-degree temperatures during the day. The trail offers the unusual opportunity to go through five massive timbered tunnels carved through rock.
Tunnels provide welcome shade as light shines through to heighten drama. Flat and easy to walk or bike, the trail draws large groups including families with young kids. Signs promise potential of wildlife viewing, though we never saw any snakes, lizards or bighorns on the trail. We didn’t get all bent out of sheep about it because a quick trip into Boulder City itself leads to an amazing opportunity—wild Nevada bighorns, which come in all sheeps and sizes as they scamper into a park where they play, dine, and rest.
These sheep show star quality, but filmmakers flock more to Hoover Dam and outlying areas for their projects. Sure, a scene in La La Land shows Ryan Gosling chasing down Emma Stone in Boulder City, but the segment filmed somewhere else. As a sheep fan, I favor Boulder City.
Granted, not too many movies focus on sheep. I try to forget The Godmonster of Indian Flat where a lamb exposed to toxic gases mutates into a giant sheep that terrorizes Virginia City, Nevada. I vastly prefer the Oscar-nominated animated feature Shaun the Sheep. Not to ram the point too much, but Shaun validates sheep as worthy cinematic subjects, so perhaps someday a movie maker will come to celebrate the Boulder City locals at Hemenway Park. Not a baaaahd idea.