A co-worker suggested that I make a list of South Pasadena films, but after I came to quickly realize that the list would just be Step Brothers, Back to the Future and Halloween (the new one and the old one), I decided to write about Los Angeles.
It's not that I have anything against South Pasadena, but it'll always be overshadowed by it's big brother neighbor, Los Angeles. Not only that, despite working in South Pas, my heart, my apartment, and all my stuff belongs to Los Angeles. So here's the list, and try not to discriminate!
- Collateral : This is the film that provoked this list. I happened to be watching this last night and I forgot what a great film it is. I don't care if he's a Scientologist, Tom Cruise does a damn fine job of being a crazy guy (which some may argue comes naturally to the guy) and Jamie Foxx proves that he doesn't need to do movies like Booty Call to get paid. A customer came up and mentioned this is up there with best films in L.A. and he's right. You get plenty of great views of Korea Town, MacArthur Park apartments, and shady discotheques. (Apologies to all Heat fanatics)
- Inland Empire : Maybe David Lynch's most abstract but certainly most debated film. Those I've meet either hate the film with a passion or claim it to be Lynch's greatest work since Eraserhead. I'm not sure if I've met anyone with an opinion along the lines of "It's alright... I guess." This film is loaded with Los Angeles all the way up the wazoo. Lot's of Hollywood Blvd. (loaded with hookers, no less) and jerk-wad directors complaining about their coffee. If that's not Los Angeles, I don't know what is!
- The Big Lebowski : Do I even need to explain this one? Everyone has seen this and knows it's filmed all around the scummy parts of Los Angeles and is full of weirdos that only Los Angeles would create. I don't know what else to say about this one.
- Boogie Nights : Having had first hand experience in the pornography business, I can tell you that I wish my director has treated me as lovingly as Burt Reynolds treated his actors. Irregardless, this film is probably the happiest film about porn, a cocaine addicted John C. Reillyand Don Cheadle getting his nice white suit covered a blood right before Alfred Molina brags about his Chinese boy toy. If you've even been to the San Fernando Valley, you'll know that Boogie Nights does it justice. The whole area looks like it's stuck in a time warp from the seventies, so it fits the film like a glove (What I was originally going to say it fits like would fit with the theme of Boogie Nights well, but was maybe too suggestive for the kids).
- Pulp Fiction : This is how L.A. SHOULD be. I wish everyone around here wore cool suits, dance on heroin, and listen to Dick Dale on the radio. This is the only movie where you see the rare Los Angeles delicacy, the Chinese restaurant/Donut store. This is just like The Big Lebowski, everyone has seen it, so what's the point of continuing talking about it?
- Menace II Society : I was debating if this or Boyz in the Hood should be on this list, but I think I made the right choice. It has all the sights of South Central, including the Korean liquor store owners who sell loose cigarettes. It's only icing on the already delicious cake by having the characters drink fourties of Olde English and calling "Jack in the Box" Jack in the A** (censored to avoid burning the eyes of children). Avoid this film if you don't want bad memories of the L.A. Riots and when they stole the radio out of your Ford Yugo.
- Barfly : This is what dive bars use to be before the hipster infiltration of the mid-2000's. I remember living near a bar in the nineties where every weekend the police would pick up a body from the street (living or dead). That's pretty much how the bars are in Barfly. It's all filmed around Alvarado before people richer than Charles Bukowski decided to clean it up. This is how I remember L.A. best. Too bad I'll never get to see it like this again, unless those bars cease being fashionable.
- Porn Star: The Ron Jeremy Story : See how the L.A. porn industry REALLY runs. Only in this city can we turn a former math teacher into the biggest (in more than one way) porn star in the industry.
- Point Blank : Two things. 1) Someone gets sniped in the L.A. Reservoir. 2) A brand new car gets destroyed underneath a freeway overpass
- The Killing : I was ready to go with a far more established L.A. classic like Sunset Blvd. or The Big Sleep, but I started remembering what an amazing film this is. This doesn't have a handsome guy like Bill Holden and Bogie. Sterling Hayden is no pretty boy, the guy is an authetic tough guy, last of his kind, and something you rarely see in movies, and the rest of the cast looks like weirdos who drink and smoke all day. Just look at Timothy Carey! This film embraces the popular L.A. tradition of watching horse races and hiding guns in rose boxes.
I know I arbitrarily stopped at ten, but that shouldn't stop you! Do you, the reader, have any contributions?
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Hello! I'm Videotheque! You can find me at:
1005 Mission St. Ste. B
South Pasadena, CA 91030
I like to rent out rare, exotic, avant-garde, classic, and foreign films along with new releases and contemporary releases!