Bad Old Days

Mark Olsen has written an L.A. Times piece listing the Best L.A. Films of the Last 25 Years. Fine, but you know what? The last 25 years (1983 to the present) have been cool, interesting, diverting, etc., but nowhere near as soul-stirring as the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s — the true glory days of L.A. cinema.

And so Olsen’s list leaves off Kiss Me Deadly, The Long Goodbye, Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place, Point Blank, Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice, Play It As It Lays, Bloom in Love, No Down Payment, etc. What is the concept of “L.A. Film” without these? Olsen has done a good comprehensive job of summing up the ’80s, ’90s and 21st Century highlights — I’ll give him that.
“By creating the frame of the last 25 years, the idea was exactly to keep us from just rattling off Chinatown, Long Goodbye, etc.,” Olsen answers. “That list has been done. By sticking to the ‘modern classics’ or whatever you want to call them, we were trying to get at current representations of Los Angeles, what the town is now. The fact that, say, Fast Times or Blade Runner are forced off the list made us dig a little deeper and think a little harder. I, for one, think that’s a good thing.”

  • RaRun


  • George Prager

    REPO MAN #8. All right. Should be #1.

  • 22 – Less than Zero? This strongly implies that there haven’t been 25 best films over the last 25 years.

  • MariaMaria

    Even Kiss Kiss Bang Bang would be better than some of the picks on the list!

  • dangovich

    Pretty good list. Not sure about Roger Rabbit though. Maybe Falling Down? Colors?

  • cinefan

    I kind of like the inclusion of Less than Zero on the list. Despite its numerous flaws, the film is great to look at and visually conveys very well the vacuous, spiritually bankrupt world of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1980s Los Angeles.

  • Ummm Heat? Where’s Heat?
    The writer of the piece was clearly picking one film from a particular director’s canon to highlight (so he went with collateral), but that’s not excuse for you to forget about it Jeff.

  • Jimmycrackcorn

    Mark Olsen is just one of many people who contributed to this–as Geoff Boucher’s intro says, it was Times group consensus picks.

  • BurmaShave

    Yeah the lack of HEAT is pretty absurd. Also, despite it’s debatable merits as a film, HARSH TIMES was one of the better LA films I’ve seen recently. It took COLLATERAL’s look to some pretty strange places.

  • arturobandini2

    As much as I disliked it, Michael Tolkin’s THE NEW AGE is probably the most emotionally truthful film I’ve seen about L.A. Even though it’s about the wealthy entertainment-biz fringe, it paints a sobering picture of the hollow, empty-souled landscape behind the tinsel. Everyone who lives in L.A. can relate to that. But who the hell else would want to?
    I might’ve edged out SWINGERS for GO, only ‘cos I love the Christmas Sucks In L.A. sub-genre. Ever notice how many movies paint L.A. as the least spiritual place in the world to celebrate the birth of Baby J? There’s DIE HARD, ANNIE HALL, THE SURE THING, LETHAL WEAPON…

  • doobiedoo

    Thom Anderson’s awesome Los Angeles Plays Itself doesn’t count?

  • romeoisbleeding

    I agree that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang should be included!

  • Sefster

    No issue here with their pick for #1 – love love love LA Confidential.

  • the sordid sentinel

    Nice to see “To Live and Die in L.A.” get a mention. They are wrong about Wang Chung’s score, however. It works like crazy within the context of that film.

  • BurmaShave

    Gatrios I was willing to write your post off as really poorly chosen satire in one article, but you’re truly a scumbag.

  • h.krinkle

    Nice to see “To Live and Die in L.A.” get a mention. They are wrong about Wang Chung’s score, however. It works like crazy within the context of that film.

  • The Winchester

    No Strange Days? Surely that nudges out Fletch and/or Crash.

  • The Winchester

    And why no love for Showdown in Little Tokyo? The only movie I know that tackles the harsh reality of Yakuza-run nude sushi bars!

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