Billy Wilder’s classic proves that if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make your career come alive, then you can wind up dead. Who’s ready for their close-up now?
Blade Runner (1982)/Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Many films show L.A. as a futuristic hellhole, but Blade Runner and T2 are my absolute favorites. Blond-haired mad men, robots, androids, atomic bombs, fire and brimstone. Burn, baby, burn.
Less than Zero (1987)
Frank Ocean’s amazing track “Super Rich Kids” appropriately closes Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, but Ocean’s lyrics are equally as fitting here. Too many joy rides in daddy's jaguar/Too many white lies and white lines/Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends. That’s Frank Ocean bringing the warped world of Bret Easton Ellis to life.
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Boyz n the Hood depicts urban quicksand. If you try to leave, you only pull yourself in deeper. It’s best to give up and let the streets do what they will. Roll with the motions, and hope you make it out alive.
Barton Fink (1991)
The Coen brothers have always been up front about the notion of Hotel Earle in Barton Fink acting as a sort of gateway to Hell. Or possibly Hell itself. “Look upon me! I WILL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!”
Falling Down (1993)
Everyone knows the traffic in L.A. is horrendous. But what if it’s so bad that one day, you simply can’t take it and you Fucking. Snap.
Swimming with Sharks (1994)
In the vastly underrated Swimming with Sharks, a young Hollywood assistant kidnaps his oppressive boss because, well, he’s as mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. Tying your boss up and threatening to kill him… actually, for some, maybe that is their version of heaven.
American History X (1998)
In the world of American History X, there is black and there is white and not a whole hell of a lot in between. If you do managed to free yourself and find middle ground, then look out, no one you know is safe.
Training Day (2001)
You can’t trust anyone in Training Day’s cynical world. Can’t trust the cops or the cops’ bosses. Can’t trust the street, can’t trust the dealers or the pushers. Hell, the only people who have moral codes are bloodthirsty gang members. So maybe there’s hope after all.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Although David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. terrifies me, if I was forced to live out an actual cinematic nightmare, I’d probably choose the one in this film. Hey, at least it looks gorgeous.