CLOSE UP: The Los Angeles Times compiled a list of 25 films released in the last 25 years that, according to the editors, have an "inherent truth about the L.A. experience." While lists like these are subjective, it would be hard to disagree with "L.A. Confidential" topping the list at number one. I may have placed number 12–– "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"–– in the top ten just for creating Judge Doom of Cloverleaf Industries, a Los Angeles villain who rivals a thirsty Noah Cross in "Chinatown."
OFF THE CHART: America Ferrera's breakout film "Real Women Have Curves" is not listed, nor is "City of Angels," one of the few films that gives Angelenos a break from bombs, fires, aliens, gangs, or cultural displacement . . . –– LAO brings up "Quinceañera" and "10 Items or Less" as other missing gems. . . –– THE REEVES FACTOR: I don't know what inherent truth "Speed" carries to be listed at number 17, but it could easily be replaced by "Blue Thunder," "Die Hard," "Lethal Weapon," "Escape from L.A." or "T2."
LISTING THE NEIGHBORHOODS: The day before the Los Angeles Times list came out, Militant Angeleno posted about the billboard for the new film "Lakeview Terrace" and he pondered, then surmised, that it's peculiar for films to be named after Los Angeles communities . . .–– The L.A. operative pointed out "South
Central" and "Echo Park," "Encino Man," and "Chinatown" as entries in the community film watch, and it had me wonder how many films are named after L.A.'s regions. That list is after the jump, and as the Militant says, Beverly Hills doesn't count.
In the San Fernando Valley (1912) Western silent from the Nestro Film Company.
Hollywood (1923) Silent film with a story "cleverly conceived. It concerns a pretty girl in a small town who thinks that she should be in the movies." Variety
Little Tokyo, USA (1942) Not very subtle WW II propoganda film.
San Fernando Valley (1944) A Roy Rodgers western that gives Trigger top billing over Dale Evans.
Born in East LA (1987) East LA was the state of mind for unincorporated East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. As the song says: "Soto Street (We love it). Brooklyn Ave (We love it!)."
P.A.N.I.C in Griffith Park (1987) A play about 1980s L.A was videotaped and released as a fundraiser for the "No on Proposition 64" campaign. Gay.com
Miracle Mile (1988) ". . .there is real terror in a scene where word of the possible [nuclear] attack begins to spread through the city and there are riots in the streets." [Roger Ebert]
Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) Brandon Lee's first major film role.
Chavez Ravine (1992) 30 minute drama about a father and son fighting off development in the 1950s.
Mulholland Falls (1996) The story doesn't match up the the style. Still considered a solid film somewhere underneath all those hats.
Now Chinatown (2000) Indie film about a woman who emigrates from China to Los Angeles, and take a job in a Chinatown restaurant to help pay her ill mother's medical expenses. [Trailer] via youtube [Variety]
Mac Arthur Park (2001) Multi-character drama about crack addicts living in the park once known as Westlake. The story focuses on a former jazz musician who can't get his life back. [THR]
Venice Beach (2001) Unreleased feature. Added: 9.2
Laurel Canyon (2002): "Frances McDormand in 'Laurel Canyon"' may be the ultimate screen embodiment of a recently evolved species: Rock 'n' Roll Woman of a Certain Age," says the NYT
Koreatown (2007) The film portrays this up and coming L.A. neighborhood the most nefarious of them all. [Koreatown: The Movie]
Lakeview Terrace (2008) An interracial couple moves next door to a LAPD officer, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who wants them out. [Website]
East L.A. (2008)
Boyle Heights (2008)
MobiUS: A Little Tokyo Ghost Story (2008)
Silver Lake Life: The View from Here (1993) When Tom Joslin was diagnosed with AIDS, he decided to document his and his lover Mark Massi's experiences. Joslin, a one-time UCLA film professor, directed the film until his death. Friend Peter Friedman continued documenting the story. POV (H/T Variety's Pat Saperstein) Added: 9.2 *
Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story (2003) Don Normak spent 1949 in Chavez Ravine, and documented the community. Directed by Jordan Mechner. Chavez Ravine: The Film [PBS]
Sunset Junction (2003) The days leading up to the 2001 Festival that according to Variety; "depicts Sunset Junction as a little bit of heaven near some mean streets.
Skid Row (2007) "More vérité than cinema, the documentary “Skid Row” is so raw that it’s virtually unwatchable." says the NYT, adding that Midnight Mission's Orlando Ward is "engaging."
Leimert Park: The Story of a Village in South Central Los Angeles (2006) Richard Fulton opened Fifth Street Dick’s coffeehouse in Leimert Park just as the 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out. Dedicated merchants and artists stood guard to protect their village. Leimert Park: A Documentary Film
In no particular order or rank: TV shows with LA neighborhood names include "Baldwin Hills," "Melrose Place," "Pacific Palisades," "The San Pedro Beach Bums," "Silver Lake," "Melrose Place," "North Hollywood," "Lincoln Heights" and "Century City." Now in production is Echo Park (2008) "Malibu" (1983) TV movie
Optional Names: "Quinceañera was released in Europe as "Echo Park, L.A." and the working title for "The Shield" was Rampart.
On the Fence with WeHo: Films and TV with Sunset Strip in the name and subject tend to be based in 60s and 70s, back when that portion of Sunset Blvd was still Los Angeles County.