Not many people know this, but a historic restaurant along Route 66 in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles was used in a prominent scene in the 2004 movie “Surviving Christmas,” starring Ben Affleck.
According to Los Angeles Magazine:
Surviving Christmas is set in and around Chicago but some scenes were lensed right here in Los Angeles, like the ending shot in which Drew and the Valco family (played by James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Christina Applegate and 90210’s Josh Zuckerman) gather for Christmas dinner at a local diner. That diner was actually Cindy’s Eagle Rock Restaurant located at 1500 Colorado Boulevard.
The Eagle Rock landmark opened in 1948. Situated on the former Route 66, the eatery was designed in the Googie style common for roadside diners of the day. Despite a succession of different owners over the years, little of Cindy’s exterior or interior has been changed over its six decades of business.
The summary behind “Surviving Christmas”, according to IMDb.com, is: “A lonely, obnoxious young millionaire pays a family to spend Christmas with him.”
Despite a good cast, the film received bad reviews — IMDb rated it a 5.2 out of 10, and Rotten Tomatoes gave only a 7 percent freshness rating. So chances seem remote the film will rise in stature as a holiday favorite as “A Christmas Story” has.
That was about the time Affleck was dating singer/actress Jennifer Lopez and his career spiraled out of control — known as the reviled “Bennifer” era (which I suspect colored many people’s reviews of the film). Affleck broke off the relationship not long after “Surviving Christmas” wrapped, and he since has settled down into a stable marriage with Jennifer Garner and landed a nice mix of acting and directing gigs — including the Oscar-winning “Argo.”
The retro-looking Cindy’s also regularly has appeared in other television and movie productions. Earlier this year, Cindy’s got two new owners who updated a few things but kept its old-fashioned look. They also launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to renovate its historic sign.
(Image of a pre-renovated Cindy’s Eagle Rock Restaurant sign by calamity_hane via Flickr)