7.9/10
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37 user 54 critic

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History | January 2004 (USA)
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A documentary on how Los Angeles has been used and depicted in the movies.

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Storyline

Of the cities in the world, few are depicted in and mythologized more in film and television than the city of Los Angeles. In this documentary, Thom Andersen examines in detail the ways the city has been depicted, both when it is meant to be anonymous and when itself is the focus. Along the way, he illustrates his concerns of how the real city and its people are misrepresented and distorted through the prism of popular film culture. Furthermore, he also chronicles the real stories of the city's modern history behind the notorious accounts of the great conspiracies that ravaged his city that reveal a more open and yet darker past than the casual viewer would suspect. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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January 2004 (USA)  »

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To Los Angeles paizei to rolo tou  »

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Did You Know?

Goofs

The narration describes architect John Lautner's famous Chemosphere house as "a hexagon of wood, steel, and glass." The Chemosphere is octagonal. See more »

Connections

Features Rising Sun (1993) See more »

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I <3 LA... but not this doc.
31 October 2014 | by (LA) – See all my reviews

I was intrigued by the premise, but lost my enthusiasm about 30 minutes in. For Act I, the clips he chose were from such obscure movies that I started to drift. To keep myself entertained, I started making a list of all the notable LA movies I knew and just waited to see if he was able to secure clearance rights to use them. (I was also confused, thinking the filmmaker was the narrator, but he wasn't and both of them work in the industry—which the voice-over rails against the public's conception that "everyone who lives in LA obviously works for Hollywood". So confused.) My list of movies that he missed (in favor of such gems as: The Glitter Dome, The Howling II, and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane) Speed, 2 Days in the Valley, Boogie Nights, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Beverly Hills Cop, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, City of Angels, Colors, Pulp Fiction, Training Day, Shampoo... I could go on...and on. I was angered by the random clip of Paris from "Armageddon" which netted :30 of random screen time and a clip from a Jerry Lewis movie in a grocery store that literally didn't have anything to do with Los Angeles. I was glad that he self-censored and didn't give away the ending to Chinatown...but not thirty seconds later he blew the ending of Sunset Blvd. (And then more damning, the ending of L.A. Confidential). Act III seems tacked on and overblown (why do some movies get :10 of commentary and "The Exiles" gets 8 minutes?) Overall, this whole thing seems like a college dissertation project.


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