Lost Angels (1989)
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It is the gentle attention that the director give to the characters that makes the movie for me. The two main characters are cast in a very typical ("Ordinary People") situation, but they transcend it with their performances. Sutherland could easily have coasted through this movie for the paycheck, but doesn't. Adam Horowitz could have just posed and postured - but doesn't.
Or I'm nuts - could be. There is no harm, however, in a feel-good story that doesn't cheat on the difficulties of the characters' situations or their needs. This plot may speed past them, but the performances give them depth.
Honest sentiment is no crime - and I would claim that Sutherland and Horowitz give nuanced performances (not exactly typical for either).
Location shooting in San Antonio hurts because that city does not resemble Los Angeles, the setting for the film. I worked for a psychiatric hospital that treated adolescents. This film depicts that ambiance well. It is accurate. This is an excellent choice for viewing.
It is about the complexities involved with living in the 80's in southern California.
The southern California area, this movie deals with, has those societal dynamics because of the different cultures involved.
Someone that is not a citizen of southern California might find the movie hard to relate to but it is still worth seeing.
If you want a window into what sometimes happens here in southern California you must see the movie.
How do I know? I lived a similar life.
Adam Horovitz (who went on to an extensive musical career since this movie) was 17-ish Tim 'Chino' Doolan. He gets in trouble, along with a teen girl, and this particular episode ends with the girl's family's car in the pool. They both end up in a juvenile facility. The girl is Amy Locane, really still in her teens, as Cheryl Anderson. This was her first movie role.
Donald Sutherland is one of the 'shrinks', Dr. Charles Loftis, and the only one who really cares about the kids and their potential rehabilitation. He and Chino end up in a love-hate relationship, where he keeps giving Chino chances and Chino fails to keep his word.
Don Bloomfield is the bad half-brother, Andy 'Natas' Doolan, who keeps getting Chino into trouble. Their rivals are the Latino population, they call themselves D.A.B. (dead at birth) Kids, and Loftis notes that it is 'B-A-D' spelled backwards.
It is a movie of teen angst and possible redemption. It kept my interest, and it was nice to see Amy Locane in her first movie role.