Monday, July 29, 2013

Top 10 Movies that Make L.A. Look Like Hell

Over the years, countless films have been set in the big, star making streets of Los Angeles. So as I make my way across the country, with that city as my final destination, I thought I’d have a little fun with a particular group of films set in L.A.. Below are the 10 flicks that make L.A. resemble Hell. Tomorrow, I’ll bring Heaven to Earth, but today, it’s Hell in the City of Angels.

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
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.

Click here for more lists from And So it Begins…, including:
Top 10 Movies that Make L.A. Look Like Heaven

20 comments:

  1. And Sharknado! Just kidding, this is an excellent list. Perhaps the only inclusion I would add would be Chinatown, because in its neo-noir malaise it manages to really paint a picture of L.A. as absolutely dreary and depressing.

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    1. Not including Sharknado is a serious oversight on my part. What was I thinking? (sigh)

      Chinatown teetered right on the edge for me. I completely agree with your point - dreary and depressing all the way.

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  2. ^^LOL at the Sharknado comment. This is a great list, I look forward to the one tomorrow as well.

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    1. Sharknado was hell. I definitely should've had it as an honorable mention. But I suppose I can't be blamed for forgetting that one. Ha.

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  3. Not really a classic, but I'd throw Collateral on the list as well. Maybe even Drive, too.

    Good stuff, AW. Boyz scared the shit out of me back in the day. I always imagined I would get shot in the face immediately upon my arrival to South Central.

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    1. Collateral is a great choice. Drive (like Chinatown) was on the edge for me. Was really close to including it. Boyz... man. That's one of the most terrifying films I've ever seen. Just dreadful.

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  4. OH, that is a totally perfect list. I don't think I can add anything else to that list. I've seen all of these films and man... L.A. does look like hell in those films.

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    1. Thanks man. LA is totally hell in those flicks. Glad you liked the list!

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  5. A perfect list with some of my favourite choices (woo, Barton Fink!) and some really great, unexpected ones (nice to see some love for Falling Down). The only one that I'd add that immediately comes to mind is Lynch's Inland Empire, which paints a fantastically gruelling portrait of Hollywood as a place where the innocent can come naively and end up diseased, stabbed in the gut with a screwdriver and bleeding to death on the sidewalk, apathetic prostitutes the only thing close to what you could call friends. But Mulholland Dr. paints a similar picture, so you wouldn't really need both on the list, haha. Great work as usual mate.

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    1. Thanks man! In hindsight, I should've grouped Mulholland Dr./Inland Empire like I did Blade Runner/T2. Actually, I know that was my intention at some point, guess I forgot. Ha. But yeah, great choice there. That movie really makes Hollywood look like complete and utter hell.

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  6. If, as someone once said, "hell is other people", then let me add a film I'm working on a post for right now: Into the Night.

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    1. Into the Night... interesting. I've never seen that one. Just looked it up and it sounds very intriguing. Feel free to post your review here when you're done. I'd love to read it!

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    2. Alex, The review for "Into the Night" got posted today. Here is the link for you.
      http://fogsmoviereviews.com/2013/09/17/movies-i-want-everyone-to-see-into-the-night-1985/

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    3. GREAT review. Thanks for posting it here.

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  7. Brilliant list man. Love the Blade Runner/T2 mention, and Sunset Blvd. and Mulholland Drive are inspired picks.

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    1. Thanks dude. Glad you dig the list! Tried to have a little fun with this one.

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  8. Hey you finally got around giving Blade Runner a chance, I knew you would love it! Wasn't Scott great back then it's almost like a Kubrick piece in the aesthetics and tone. I heard even Philip Dick thought it was an improvement over his story. Really says so much about man and machine, the future of humanity and the nature of identity. And yes from the opening burning towers, it depicts LA as unforgivingly as near any movie.

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    1. Oh I've been a fan of Blade Runner for years. I just never know which version to watch. There are like... four director's cuts or something. But either way, I really dig it.

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  9. Pulp Fiction (1994) - the basement sceen was like HELL!

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