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Lesley Ann Warren
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This mosaic comedy-drama tells the story of a La Ronde-like circle of romantic adventures and failed affairs centered around a songwriter named Carroll Barber and his father Carl Barber. There is a trail of Carroll's past relationship spread throughout the city of Los Angeles. Barber is an aloof womanizer who cannot commit to any relationship, and is used to illustrate the loneliness of Los Angeles big-city life. Among the women in his life are Ann Goode, a lonely real estate agent, Karen Hood, a Valley housewife addicted to taxi rides, Linda Murray, a woman prone to vacuuming in the nude and Nona Bruce, the snapshot-taking mistress of a wealthy man. Written by
"Welcome To LA" is a dated film involving ten characters whose only shared trait seems to be loneliness. The movie plays like a moody tone poem, and there are no comedic, dramatic, or action-filled sequences... just a bunch of urban sun-bums looking lost and hopelessly mellow.
Keith Carradine redefines the term "slacker" for the Me Generation, as he wanders around LA with a soul patch having intercourse with a score of women while never once changing his expression. He's supposedly an artist, with troubles in his romantic life and familial relationships, but he is so centered, so serene, so placid, that he comes off more as a Buddhist monk or Jedi Knight.
He has occasional flashbacks to his former lover played by Diahnne Abbott, and I have to believe that no man would ever forget this woman. In her wordless seconds of screen time here, just like her tiny roles in "Taxi Driver" and "New York, New York," you can see that this is one of the most gorgeous, sexual women ever to walk the Earth... she's got the jungle in her, and this is the type of woman men kill other men to be with. She was my favorite part of the movie.
Between stories involving the grating Geraldine Chaplin and the sexy Sally Kellerman we keep cutting back to Richard Baskin as a singer/songwriter recording his album in a studio. These songs and the montages cut around them- which were presumably meant to be the heart of the film- are rendered unlistenable by the foul, nails-on-blackboard voice of Baskin. The fact that this man was ever allowed behind a microphone is a crime against the eardrum. Instead of the soulful, contemplative center of the story, we get a talentless drone warbling clichéd lyrics while the leads bemoan their fate. Nothing makes the heart ache like sunshine.
The only other bright spot is Sissy Spacek, a woman of unbelievable beauty and depth, who effortlessly steals the show whenever she's on screen. Ms. Spacek can be a naive little girl one minute, an intellectual adult the next, and a lusty sexpot only seconds later. If you love her like I do check out "Violets Are Blue" in which she plays a woman so irresistible you cannot help but fall in love.
"Welcome To LA" is supposed to show the isolation and loneliness that exists even in the hedonistic, superficial world of La-La Land... the trouble is we wind up with a movie that confirms our worst beliefs about the place: These characters have no right to be this bummed... it's shallow, narcissistic self-pity. But it makes for a great late-night movie.
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