Sunday, August 31, 2008

LA Times Plays With Itself

Today's Los Angeles TImes had a entertaining multi page piece... The 25 Best L.A. Films Of The Last 25 Years.

Geoff Boucher says that they were compiling the films that best speak to the essential DNA of the Southland... The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience. So as not to say, what are the best films that take place in LA. (explaining Less Then Zero).

They had some rules, the films had to be made since 1983, so alas no Under the Rainbow (1981). 

And ... only one film per director was allowed on the list, which kept Pulp Fiction, Magnolia, Wild At Heart and Short Cuts off the list. Though most erroneously they chose Collateral over the more appropriate Heat (1995). Say what?

Let's not quibble over the picks. I mean, its a unscientific chirpy little list. It's kinda cute. Certainly L.A. Confidential is a perfect number one pick. 

The list continues with....

2. Boogie Nights (1997)

3. Jackie Brown (1997)

4. Boyz N the Hood (1991)

5. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

6. The Player (1992)

7. Clueless (1995)

8. Repo Man (1984)

9. Collateral (2004)

10. The Big Lebowski (1998)

11. Mulholland Drive (2001)

12. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

13. Training Day (1991)

14. Swingers (1996)

15. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

16. Friday (1995)

17. Speed (1994)

18. Valley Girl (1983)

19. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

20. L.A. Story (1991)

21. To Sleep With Anger (1990)

22. Less Than Zero (1987)

23. Fletch (1985)

24. Mi Vida Loca (1993)

25. Crash (2004)

OK. Not bad, 3, 14 and 15 are perfect picks. 

1, 2 and 15 are the only 'period pieces'.

I haven’t seen numbers 21 and 24 (revealing my possible white-boy bias) but I know they have their champions.

I dislike 20 and 25 and I never got into 4, 12 and 23 as much as others did. 

I would offer up as a definite alternative Ken Loach’s brilliant docudrama Bread and Roses (2000) about the janitor strike staged by heroic exploited immigrants. With a excellent performance by Adrien Brody as a union organizer. This is an important under-appreciated flick, that speaks more about the LA experience for more people then say, L.A. Story ever did.

And maybe I'd add one or two of these titles....

Body Double (1984), Bulworth (1998), Colors (1988), Deep Cover (1992), Echo Park (1986),  Face/Off (1997),  Get Shorty (1995), How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass (Baadasssss) (2003), Internal Affairs (1990), The Limey (1999), Miracle Mile (1988), Night of the Comet (1984), The Terminator (1984) and Thirteen (2003). At least they kept the lame Grand Canyon of the list.

Since no Documentaries appear on the list  Here’s my own...

The 10 Best L.A. Documentaries Of The Last 25 Years

Unfortunately the year requirement made me have to leave off the deserving The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) and Wattstax (1973). I feel like I’m leaving off something really good, something less movie centric and more political (lemme know in the comment section). 

But here goes... 

1.  Los Angeles Plays Itself (Andersen 2003)

2.  Dogtown and Z Boys (Peralta 2002)

3.  Hollywood: An Empire of Their Own  (Jacobovici 1998) 

4.  Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (1995 Was)

5.  The Kid Stays In the Picture, (2002 Burstein & Morgan)

6.  Overnight (Montana, Smith 2004)

7.  James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction (Jud 1997)

8.  The Mayor Of The Sunset Strip (Hickenlooper 2003) 

9. DiG! (Timoner 2004) 

10. A Decade Under the Influence (Demme, LaGravenese 2003) and Easy Riders/ Raging Bulls (Bowser 2003)  

Other possibilities: 

Bastards of the Party (Sloan 2005),  Biggie and Tupac (2002), Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story (Mechner 2003), Classified X (Daniels 1998), Full Tilt Boogie (Kelly 1997), The Last Mogul: Life and Times of Lew Wasserman (Avrich 2005), Sunset Story (Gabbert 2003), Tell Them Who You Are (Wexler 2004), Twilight: Los Angeles (Levin 2000).



Anonymous said...

Here are some for you...
Gods and Monsters
Die Hard
Ed Wood


A is for Amanuensis said...

Good call on Loach's "Bread and Roses."

shakespeares-cat said...

Great call on Bread and Roses. What about Sugartown????

shakespeares-cat said...

Why didn't ZChannel: A Magnificent Obsession make your list?

Rocket Video said...

Great call on Z channel for the Doc list.

I couldn't sit through all of Bobby

Yeah Ed Wood and Gods and Monsters and Go are interesting.
I pointed out that the times list only had 2 "period pieces".
Maybe contemp flicks say more about life now in LA.

Die Hard, I don't like to consider Century City part of LA. ever since Conquest Of the Planet of The Apes.

I never did see Sugar Town.
I'll check it out.

What about Jimmy Hollywood or Encino Man?


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