With the help of a talking freeway billboard, a wacky weatherman tries to win the heart of an English newspaper reporter, who is struggling to make sense of the strange world of early 1990s Los Angeles.
Harris K Telemacher is a 'wacky weekend weatherman' for a local Los Angeles television station who is searching for meaning in his otherwise cliche ridden Los Angeles life. With the help of an insightful and talkative Freeway sign, Harris embarks on a journey through Los Angeles in pursuit of Sarah, an English reporter who has been sent to the City of Angels to research an article for the London Times. Written by
The last movie to be reviewed by legendary critic Pauline Kael before her retirement. (February 11, 1991 edition of The New Yorker.) See more »
In the credits Sarah Jessica Parker's character is listed as "Sandy" and not "SanDeE". See more »
Roland thinks L.A. is a place for the brain-dead. He says, if you turned off the sprinklers, it would turn into a desert. But I think - I don't know, it's not what I expected. It's a place where they've taken a desert and turned it into their dreams. I've seen a lot of L.A. and I think it's also a place of secrets: secret houses, secret lives, secret pleasures. And no one is looking to the outside for verification that what they're doing is all right. So what do you say, Roland?
I still say ...
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Just before the credits begin, the freeway sign flashes the message, "WHAT I REALLY WANT TO DO IS DIRECT" See more »
When Steve Martin is hot, he's really hot. L.A. Story, written by Steve Martin, is hot. The entire film keeps you in a state of constant chuckling. And, the movie has more than a few moments of comedic genius. It's the cumulative effect of little jokes littered throughout the film, both verbal and visual, that keeps you in stitches. On top of that, it piques your interest.
Here's what I mean: while Martin mercilessly it pokes fun of L.A. for it's flakiness, it's love and tolerance of idiosyncrasies, it's constant preoccupation with image, it's narcissism, the humor is never vulgar, crass, or shallow. For example, one scene takes place in the municipal art museum. We see Harry Telemacher (Steve Martin), with his friends, rapt in admiration for a painting. The camera angle comes from the canvas itself, where we watch Harry, deep in thought, dissertate on the subjects in the portrait, their motives, actions, and hidden agendas. He moves forward, backward, forward again, as if in active dialogue with the lacquer. At last, moving backward, he concludes his remarks by wrinkling his nose in disgust and saying `Look at the way he's holding her: it's almost filthy!' And then the camera moves around to Telemacher's perspective. The painting's a total abstraction. There isn't a distinct line in the entire rectangular frame. In the argot of Postmodernism, one might call it a `readerly' work of art.
It's the perfect metaphor for L.A., where you may interpret anything, any way you like. There's no standard, except one's own `personal reality.' No one can use social norms as a personal club to tell someone else, `You're wrong,' because there is none. It's all `what-E-verrrr.'
Best of all, L.A. Story is a love story, the kind of love that adores someone as much for their faults as for their virtues. Martin's satire is so effective because he loves the city so much.
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