my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Los Angeles Plays Itself
Director:   Thom Anderson
Year:   2003
Genre:   Documentary
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   11.14.07

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
11.14.07Alamo Ritz I think I waited too long to write this up. Uh... ok, this is a doc about LA's history on film. That's a fairly big lake to draw from considering it's the most photographed city in cinema. I went in basically hoping to see tons and tons of clips pointing out similar buildings and areas of the city and some geographical linkage between films (if i was super rich i'd love to go on road trips hitting as many filming locations as i possibly could). I got that so I can't say I'm disappointed, but there are a few things about the movie I wish I had known going in.

Like how it's almost 3 hours long. And how it's not so much a film as an essay set to moving images. The director reads his script with all the excitement and emotion of a grad student defending his dissertation (for three hours) and after a while it just gets boring. Yes he does talk about the Bradbury building and shows clips from lots of the movies that have shot there and I admired how his samples ran the gamut from silents (needed more of these though) to high art to drive-in trash to modern day. Probably the most interesting bit for me was Bunker Hill and Angel's Flight, seeing the neighborhood in the old noirs and as it was decaying and its newborn-ness in Night of the Comet.

But (and I suppose this is the easiest argument to make about a subject so big), I also feel like a lot was left out. There's a tiny little bit of black cinema at the very end but he never mentions any of the blaxploitation films of the 70s showing off watts and compton and whatnot. Boyz in da Hood is barely touched upon as an example of movies stereotyping the city into ghettos and pleasure zones.

That's probably the biggest problem I had with the movie: I didn't really agree with most of what he was saying. All this crap about how movies have done LA wrong and even the acronym LA is a slight against the city and it's the only city that people abbreviate (cough DC cough KC cough NoLa cough dozens others) and blah blah blah. I suppose if you're gonna make a movie like this you HAVE to "say" something rather than just putting all the clips on screen and saying "that was shot there!" over and over again, but all this anthropomorphized city defending holds no water with me. Lake Arrowhead doubles as Switzerland because it's cheaper than going there, not because LA has no identity. The downtown skyline is almost as identifiable as DC or Paris at this point (and definitely on par with Chicago or Dallas) so don't give me any of this guff about the city being a ghost. Chase scenes are geographically incorrect because they're MOVIES adhering to schedules where locations need permits, not because the director doesn't know that the building in Century City doesn't lead directly to the docks. I guess if your point's just a shy cover to get away with saying "they shot that there!" without actually saying it, that's fine. Just don't be so snooty with it.

Anyway... long and boring but I got to see lots of clips of LA locations which is what I wanted so... whatever.
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