Welcome to L.A.: 7 Films Highlighting The City of Angels

Los Angeles’ heart and soul can be seen in the many films set in the city. Here are 7 favorite films that showcase the various, diverse aspects of the City of Angels.

1. Drive (2011)

One of my favorite Ryan Gosling films, this movie showcases the city at night with Gosling at the helm cruising through the streets of downtown L.A. With an epic soundtrack backing the nightly beautiful and gritty scenes that harken back to the films of the 80’s.

2. Rush Hour (1998)

This buddy cop action comedy gives viewers insight into Los Angeles from the perspectives of both an Angeleno and a tourist. Watching Jackie Chan become familiar with the city when he escapes from Carter’s (Chris Tucker) custody multiple times is great, and later when Carter gives him a personal tour after they team up, the touristy areas of L.A. get their time in the spotlight.

3. Collateral (2004)

In this film, Jamie Foxx plays cab driver Max who becomes the hostage of his fare Vincent, (played by Tom Cruise) a contract killer.  This crime thriller captures the scope and depth of the city in a way that other films haven’t. Collateral showcases L.A. at night and with director Michael Mann highlights the city’s evening visuals with his use of the Viper FilmStream High-Definition Camera a first for a major motion picture.

4. Training Day (2001)

The portrayal of the veteran corrupt cop (played by Denzel Washington who won an Oscar for his performance) whose showing the rookie (played by Ethan Hawke) the ropes in South Central L.A., highlights the distrust many citizens of Los Angeles feel toward the LAPD.

5. Clueless (1995)

A favorite 90s film of mine, this modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma depicts the stereotypical “valley girl” in all of her glory. Shotouts to the City of Angels included the showcasing of mall culture at the Westside Pavilion, as well as the Los Angeles freeway in the driver’s ed scene.

6. Die Hard (1988)

A must-watch every Christmas, this action hero film starring Bruce Willis as the now legendary John McClane, highlights Los Angeles’ media culture. The building where all the action takes place, Fox Plaza, has been featured in at least four major motion pictures released by Fox.

7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The city of Los Angeles is annihilated in a nuclear attack by Skynet, while landmarks such as the cement waterway of the L.A. River, and the Elysian Park are also featured in the film.

With that I end my list. What are some of your favorite films showcasing Los Angeles? Leave your comments below or on my Facebook page.  Also check out more films that give Los Angeles love at the following links:

http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/film/los-angeles-movies-50-films-that-best-capture-the-essence-of-la

http://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/movies-that-define-los-angeles#.sgPPDxAm

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5 OF MY FAVORITE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS

Originally published a version of this on my Moviepilot page. The site has closed down so enjoy this updated version of my article.

Last week summer arrived in all of its blazing glory and with it the arrival of more summer blockbusters (these type of films begin earlier and earlier each year).  While there are many notable blockbusters that come to mind, here are five of my favorite.

5. The Avengers

This was one of the few movies that I’ve returned to the theater to watch-in fact I visited the movies five more times to see earth’s mightiest heroes kicking Chitari butt. I love the film’s humor, camaraderie of our heroes, the villain Loki, and the action. Scenes such as the Hulk smashing Loki to the ground and the pan around scene showcasing the team as they take on the alien invasion are the most memorable. While some might disagree, The Avengers is way better than its sequel.

4.  Jurassic Park

While I love the sequels-even Jurassic World-they can’t capture everything that made the first film memorable. Every time I view this film, the nostalgia of watching it for the first time always returns. When I see the dinosaurs for the first time alongside Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler and company, my breath is taken away. Of course according to Dr. Ian Malcolm “…that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming.”

We get plenty of that, from the T-Rex, and of course the velociraptors who are the stars of the film. From the opening sequence where a park worker is killed, to Dr. Grant scaring a kid, to the disturbing cow feeding, moviegoers were already terrified of them before they were shown.Finally, the animatronics were astounding I mean the T-Rex alone was epic. God bless you Stan Winston Studio.

For more reasons on why I love Jurassic Park and its sequels, check out my previous post 5 Favorite Characters From The Jurassic Park Films.

3.  Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Out of all of the films in this franchise, this one is my favorite and in my opinion it’s the best one. We’ve got well developed characters, two dangerous robots, amazing visual effects for its time, and action; all coming together to make a great story. What I liked about this film was that whether or not  you saw the trailers you didn’t know which of the terminators was the bad guy. I loved the father-son relationship that John had with the Terminator and the film’s ending got me right here-*points to my heart.*

2. Independence Day

“Welcome to earth.”

This is one of my favorite lines from the movie. In addition to great lines, the filml has Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, aliens, action, and destruction all on the Fourth of July? Yes please. It’s tradition in my household to watch this film every July 4th. I’ve watched this movie so much that my VHS copy died (that’s right I still have films on VHS, hey if it still works why upgrade?) and I was forced to buy the DVD.

1. Jaws

I wasn’t born yet when this movie came out back in 1975 but I remember watching reruns of it on the TV and getting nightmares. I would imagine that big ole’ Bruce circling my bed and whenever we would go to the pool in the evenings I had to take a second look back at the deep end despite fully knowing that it was impossible for the shark to be in the pool (The Sharknado franchise disproved that right?). Now as a grownup every time I watch the movie, I cheer for the shark.

The opening scene where the young lady is killed by the shark is terrifying! You don’t see the shark until much later in the film. You get a  sense of Chief Brody’s dread as he watches beach goers play in the water, jumping at every noise because he knows that the shark’s still out there. You listen intently as actor Robert Shaw who plays shark hunter Quint give his monologue where he shares his story of surviving the sinking of the war ship the USS Indianapolis during the War in the Pacific in 1945 only to survive another horror that lurks in the deep blue sea and watch in terror a few scenes later as Quint is killed. I could go on, but it’s for these reasons and more that Jaws is one of my favorite all time films.

Now that I’ve given you five of my favorite all time summer blockbuster films… what are five of yours? Leave your list in the comment section below or on my Facebook page.