Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
Podcast: Talking Images (Episode 9 released July 7th)
Polls: 2010s (Results), 1974 (Results), 2019 awards (Jul 11th), 0 Official Lists (Jul 31st)
Challenges: Canada, Low Rated, Director
Film of the Week: Vinyan, August nominations (Jul 31st)
World Cup S4: Round 2 schedule, Match 2E: Georgia vs Ukraine (Jul 16th)

Los Angeles Plays Itself...Some More

Post Reply
User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4560
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

Los Angeles Plays Itself...Some More

#1

Post by OldAle1 » November 20th, 2019, 5:09 pm

I'm sure most everybody here is familiar with Thom Andersen's documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself, and a large percentage I suspect have seen it - I mean, it's on 4 lists! It's one of my ur-films, one of my huge influences in my film-viewing since first seeing it, in that it has really made me pay much more attention to the use of real locations and settings in film. One of my favorite pages on the ol' lamented IMDb forums was the one for this film, where among other forum posts there were quite a few lists of potential additions to the film, or to a theoretical sequel. So I thought it would be fun to continue this project myself, and I've created a page for this HERE. These are all films that aren't mentioned in the original film - about a quarter of them because they were released after the film was made, the rest just films that Andersen didn't include for one reason or another. Some of his omissions are curious - he's got Jackie Brown but doesn't mention Pulp Fiction? I'm sure there are other quite famous films that he missed - and that I have missed so far.

The first 13, through 1962, all qualify as film noir, and it's probably true that a lot of the early location work done in American film in large cities was of the crime/thriller/noir type, but I feel I'm missing some other kinds of films as well. I've seen all but one film on this list (Hollywoodland though it's a priority viewing) so I'm going more at this point on my own memories rather than actually looking up locations and such. Any additions would be appreciated - and I may well prioritize viewing of some of these, especially as I get closer to finishing the original list - and anything that doesn't seem to belong to you, feel free to point that out too. This is predicated on the quality of the location work, not the film overall, mind you, and while my favorite film of all time is on my list there are at least a half-dozen films that I dislike and many more that I think are fairly ordinary or forgettable - but use Los Angeles locations nicely. By and large I'd exclude shorts and documentaries - I'm thinking mostly about how the city is used in feature films - and films where L.A. is overtly pretending to be something else (one cheapo noir I saw recently for example was clearly shot in L.A. but it's supposed to be Havana), but I'll look at everything. Screenshots or other links with pics or more info are also cool - big lists of dozens of titles with no context are fairly useless; I'd like to have a comment or two on why the films might belong.

Here's the LIST of what's mentioned in the film, so obviously not to be included on my list.

Also if anybody else has started a forum thread on this in the past, or has other icm lists, lemme know, I don't mean to duplicate what anybody else is doing, but I did take a cursory look and found nothing.

blocho
Donator
Posts: 3257
Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Contact:

#2

Post by blocho » November 20th, 2019, 6:21 pm

I really like Los Angeles Plays Itself. I saw it when I was living in LA and hated the city, and though I still hated the city after I saw the movie I at least understood it a little better.

It seems like you're asking just for a list of movies filmed and set in LA that are not mentioned in Los Angeles Plays Itself. Is that right? If so, there are thousands of possibilities. Here are just a few: Speed, Harsh Times, Dark Blue, Training Day, SWAT, Point Break, Street Kings, End of Watch, Cry Danger.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4560
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#3

Post by OldAle1 » November 20th, 2019, 7:10 pm

Yes that's right - but I don't want it to get to be thousands, I'd like to keep it, for the most part, to films that have a real feel for the city or use locations in interesting ways. Speed, as I recall it anyway, probably doesn't qualify, though I'd have to see it again I suppose. Don't remember Point Break really and don't think I've seen any of the others. But anyway, that's why I said I'd prefer context - screenshots or some description of your own, or links, that give an idea why the film in question is an "L.A." film rather than one that just happens to be filmed there but could have as easily been filmed/set anywhere else that was convenient. Mind you my own list so far may have some films that I wouldn't include on a second look - ideally I'd like to end up with a list of no more than a couple hundred (about the number that Andersen mentions in his film as it turns out) films where Los Angeles is a major part of the film in some way.

In any case, thanks for being first out of the gate.

User avatar
insomnius
Posts: 762
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: Stockholm
Contact:

#4

Post by insomnius » November 21st, 2019, 12:26 am

Nice topic.

I'm thinking films that feature the LA River. Grease pops to mind, with that drag race scene, and I can't see it on either your or Andersen's list. And though I don't really remember them, this blog also mentions Drive and The Dark Knight Rises having scenes shot there. Looking at the clips on that site, I'm not sure how prominent it is in TDKR.

You didn't want documentaries, but I'm gonna mention Psychohydrography anyway, which has several beautiful shots of downtown LA, including the LA River.
screenshotsShow
Image
Image

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4560
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#5

Post by OldAle1 » November 21st, 2019, 12:38 am

Yeah I don't think TDKR works, because it's not supposed to be LA - like most superhero films (all the DC ones anyway) it's a fictional city - Gotham is really more New York, though I know lots of the The Dark Knight was shot in Chicago; the whole point of Andersen's film was to showcase films that are both set in and shot in L.A. Drive is probably a good choice, I'll look into that one; I thought I remembered Grease being a small-town film but I just disliked it so much I probably put it all out of my head. Looks like there is a lot of L.A. location work there.

Those screenshots are beautiful and that might be a doc that fits - I did include Varda's Mur Murs on my list and I think there are a couple of docs or pseudo-docs on the original list as well. But if I open it up to everything I end up with a gigantic list.

User avatar
maxwelldeux
Donator
Posts: 7967
Joined: Jun 07, 2016
Location: Seattle-ish, WA, USA
Contact:

#6

Post by maxwelldeux » November 21st, 2019, 2:10 am

LOVED the documentary - I watched it relatively recently and thought it was brilliant for how it talked about the location as a "character" in the film.

The first film that sprang to mind was City of Angels, though I see you have that included. But while I know it's not what you're going for, I would be remiss if I didn't mention LA 92, especially as a counterpoint to anything filmed in/set in ~mid-80s to mid-90s. That doc is a brutally honest portrayal of LA - it makes films like Boyz n the Hood make a tremendous amount of sense, while having the opposite effect for films like City of Angels.

Regardless, fascinating idea and I'll log this thread into my subconscious to think of more films as I watch them.

blocho
Donator
Posts: 3257
Joined: Jul 20, 2014
Contact:

#7

Post by blocho » November 21st, 2019, 4:37 am

OldAle1 wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 7:10 pm
Speed, as I recall it anyway, probably doesn't qualify, though I'd have to see it again I suppose.
Speed is about driving faster than you should on freeways and how no one should use public transport. I can't think of a movie with a more LA attitude. :D


I would also mention The Usual Suspects, which had some key scenes set in San Pedro harbor and also has a couple of key scenes set at the Korean Friendship Bell, which is also in San Pedro.

User avatar
rnilsson19
Posts: 656
Joined: Dec 01, 2016
Location: Sweden
Contact:

#8

Post by rnilsson19 » November 21st, 2019, 5:37 am

Tangerine
To Sleep with Anger
Los (Benning)

User avatar
insomnius
Posts: 762
Joined: Jan 10, 2013
Location: Stockholm
Contact:

#9

Post by insomnius » November 21st, 2019, 2:33 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 5:09 pm
By and large I'd exclude shorts and documentaries - I'm thinking mostly about how the city is used in feature films - and films where L.A. is overtly pretending to be something else
Sorry, I overlooked this part. Makes it a bit harder.
Yeah I don't think TDKR works, because it's not supposed to be LA - like most superhero films (all the DC ones anyway) it's a fictional city - Gotham is really more New York, though I know lots of the The Dark Knight was shot in Chicago; the whole point of Andersen's film was to showcase films that are both set in and shot in L.A. Drive is probably a good choice, I'll look into that one; I thought I remembered Grease being a small-town film but I just disliked it so much I probably put it all out of my head. Looks like there is a lot of L.A. location work there.

Those screenshots are beautiful and that might be a doc that fits - I did include Varda's Mur Murs on my list and I think there are a couple of docs or pseudo-docs on the original list as well. But if I open it up to everything I end up with a gigantic list.
I haven't seen Grease for 20-25 years, so I'm not sure it's supposed to be L.A. in the film.


There's also all the sleaze with streetwalkers often filmed along Hollywood Blvd, like Vice Squad (1982) and probably many more. Is Hardcore (1979) L.A.?

and downtown:
Whore (1991)
screenshotsShow
Image
Image

Inherent Vice (2014) should qualify, I guess.
Million Dollar Legs (1932) maybe. Some scenes filmed at the Memorial Coliseum, I think.

User avatar
Fergenaprido
Donator
Posts: 4046
Joined: Jun 03, 2014
Location: Malaysia
Contact:

#10

Post by Fergenaprido » November 26th, 2019, 5:27 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 5:09 pm
I'm sure most everybody here is familiar with Thom Andersen's documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself, and a large percentage I suspect have seen it - I mean, it's on 4 lists!
Funnily enough, it's now on 5 official lists, having just entered the bottom of the icm Most Favorited list at #247 yesterday.

And Speed definitely belongs on the list. It references the airport and the unfinished highway, and apparently Pershing Square and Hollywood Boulevard (according to Wikipedia). Plus, Reeves and Daniels are LAPD SWAT team members. Maybe not everything is in LA itself (possibly in other parts of the county), but it's always felt like an LA movie to me.

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 4560
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#11

Post by OldAle1 » November 27th, 2019, 2:34 pm

Fergenaprido wrote:
November 26th, 2019, 5:27 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 5:09 pm
I'm sure most everybody here is familiar with Thom Andersen's documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself, and a large percentage I suspect have seen it - I mean, it's on 4 lists!
Funnily enough, it's now on 5 official lists, having just entered the bottom of the icm Most Favorited list at #247 yesterday.

And Speed definitely belongs on the list. It references the airport and the unfinished highway, and apparently Pershing Square and Hollywood Boulevard (according to Wikipedia). Plus, Reeves and Daniels are LAPD SWAT team members. Maybe not everything is in LA itself (possibly in other parts of the county), but it's always felt like an LA movie to me.
OK, I guess Speed belongs. I'll probably watch it again before too long.

Thanks everybody for your input; I'm going to keep this thread going by posting reviews of anything I see in the future that has any real L.A. location bona fides; probably should have started this up earlier before Noirvember postings began but no biggie, I'm sure I'll still end up with a film or two to add most months. I wish my hometown of Chicago did 1/10th as well in films as L.A. and New York.

User avatar
albajos
Posts: 6881
Joined: May 24, 2016
Location: Norway
Contact:

#12

Post by albajos » November 27th, 2019, 3:21 pm

At least you get a parade every time you take a Day Off

lynchs
Posts: 346
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Portugal
Contact:

#13

Post by lynchs » November 27th, 2019, 4:34 pm

off the top of my head, Ryde (2017) highly classifies, methinks (if 'recent' films are allowed).

User avatar
albajos
Posts: 6881
Joined: May 24, 2016
Location: Norway
Contact:

#14

Post by albajos » November 27th, 2019, 7:47 pm

Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Beverly Hillbillies
Laurel Canyon
Birdemic
Birdemic 2

and you have of course movies set in Hollywood. The Player, Jay and Silent Bob Striles Back and several others set on the studio lots

Post Reply