The Corncobs, The Wilco Towers, The Buildings You Walk Towards When You’re Trying To Get To A Show At The House Of Blues For Some Reason; however you refer to them, the iconic pair of uniquely shaped condo buildings that make up Marina City stand out within Chicago’s diverse skyline. Once a paragon of idealistic modernity, it’s now a beautiful retro-futuristic monument to a future that never quite came. The towers appear in album artwork (I mentioned Wilco before), as well as credit sequences, establishing shots, and more for countless pieces of media set in Chicago.
That said, there is perhaps no better use of this setting’s unique floorplan, which features nearly 20 stories’ worth of parking before you get to the real meat of the building, than in the film that featured Steve McQueen’s final performance, the underseen 1980 action trifle The Hunter. Before the Transformers came and stomped around the city, smashing everything in sight, The Hunter featured a long set piece chase scene with a climactic car crash that ended with a dude driving straight off the side of the damn Corncobs.
There’s another 80’s flick with a shockingly strong cast that shot a pivotal scene in Marina City’s photogenic parking structure, Garry Marshall’s 1986 Tom Hanks/Jackie Gleason picture Nothing in Common. Gleason and Hanks play a bickering father/son duo who, you guessed it, have NOTHING in common. Just watch how much Jackie hates getting in Tom’s big tall car. Tom doesn’t want a cigar. Tom stands moodily as he gazes out at the city skyline after hearing about his father’s recent string of bad luck, taking in the view from the 19th floor of the Marina City parking structure. Look at Chicago on film, isn’t it nice?