Crash
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The 25 best L.A. films about Los Angeles of the last 25 years

Crash
25. Crash (2004)

Opening with a monologue that declares Los Angeles unlike a “real city” because people spend too much time behind the “metal and glass” of their cars, “Crash” announces itself right from the start as a Big Statement about L.A., which it views as a roiling caldron of racial mistrust and enmity. READ MORE (Lorey Sebastian / Lionsgate)
Mi Vida Loca
24. Mi Vida Loca (1993)

Rather than the overheated drama one might expect of a story revolving around gang kids and drug dealers in Echo Park, writer-director Allison Anders‘ “Mi Vida Loca” is a surprisingly sweet romance, cannily pitched somewhere between rose-tinted melodrama and wide-eyed realism. READ MORE (Robin Holland)
Fletch
23. Fletch (1985)

“I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.” Well, these days he’s not really Chevy Chase either, but he was when he made this 1985 farce. READ MORE (Universal Studios)
Less Than Zero
22. Less Than Zero (1987)

With its neon-bathed shots of Melrose Avenue, decadent nightclub set-pieces and scenes plotted around the turquoise brilliance of swimming pools at night, “Less Than Zero” viscerally evokes the Big Empty -- the hedonism, superficiality and laissez-faire nihilism -- of ‘80s L.A. READ MORE (20th Century Fox Films)
To Sleep With Anger
21. To Sleep With Anger (1990)

Now that his classic “Killer of Sheep” has been handsomely reissued, this is perhaps the Charles Burnett theatrical feature most deserving of rediscovery. READ MORE ()
L.A. Story
20. L.A. Story (1991)

Steve Martin‘s love letter to his adopted hometown reveals the side of Los Angeles usually seen only by longtime residents and NPR supporters -- the cultural side. READ MORE (Carolco)
To Live and Die in L.A.
19. To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

Fourteen years after “The French Connection,” director William Friedkin came back with another street tale about a criminal mastermind being stalked by violent and morally compromised cops. READ MORE ()
Valley Girl
18. Valley Girl (1983)

The era of the Valley girl has passed. The Sherman Oaks Galleria, ground zero for all things “tubular” and “gnarly,” has been razed and rebuilt. But the heart of “Valley Girl” -- a time capsule of teenage dating rituals and Reagan-era L.A. night life -- still beats true on DVD. READ MORE (MGM)
Speed
17. Speed (1994)

A race against time? No, far worse, it’s a race against traffic. One out of every 31 Americans lives in Los Angeles County and, right now, somewhere in town, there’s a freeway that looks like a parking lot. READ MORE (Richard Foreman / 20th Century Fox)
Friday
16. Friday (1995)

Although rapper-actor Ice Cube and South-Central L.A. factor inextricably into both movies, don’t mistake “Friday” for “Boyz N the Hood Redux.” READ MORE (Nicole Goode / New Line)
Devil in a Blue Dress
15. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

It says something about the nature of things that the time and place of this superb crime drama -- the circa 1948 streets surrounding Los Angeles’ vibrant Central Avenue -- are as remote as Burkina Faso for mainstream movie audiences. READ MORE (Bruce W. Talamon)
Swingers
14. Swingers (1996)

For the 6.2% of actors in the Screen Actors Guild who earn more than $50,000 a year, there’s “Entourage.” For the other 93.8%, there’s “Swingers,” Doug Liman’s hip, indie comedy about the lives and loves of struggling actors written by a struggling actor, Jon Favreau (now the director of “Iron Man”) for his struggling actor buddies. READ MORE (Miramax Films)
Training Day
13. Training Day (1991)

Written by David Ayer, who grew up near the rough streets depicted in the film, and directed by Antoine Fuqua, “Training Day” presents a worst-case-scenario vision of law enforcement in Los Angeles, a nightmare phantasmagoria of a police procedural sprawled out on the hood of a car. READ MORE (Robert Zuckerman / Warner Bros. Pictures)
Roger Rabbit
12. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

This wacky homage to L.A. hard-boiled detective fiction, set in 1947 Los Angeles, blended live action and animation to tell the story of a washed-up Det. Valiant, trying to exonerate cartoon film star Roger Rabbit for a murder he did not commit, and in the process save Toontown, the neighborhood where the animated stars live. READ MORE (Touchstone Pictures)
Mulholland Drive
11. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Named for the street that runs the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood Hills, “Mulholland Drive” could just as easily be called “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” READ MORE (Melissa Moseley)
TheBigLebowski
10. The Big Lebowski (1998)

According to Coen brothers lore, the writer-directors’ rationale for setting their surrealistic comedy “The Big Lebowski” in Los Angeles was disappointingly simple: real-life friends who inspired its most vivid characters -- the White Russian-swigging slacker protagonist “the Dude” ( Jeff Bridges) and his Vietnam veteran bowling buddy Walter ( John Goodman) -- lived in the city at the time; it was reason enough for the understated filmmakers to shoot what has been called “the first cult film of the Internet age” here. READ MORE (Merrick Morton / Gramercy Pictures)
Collateral
9. Collateral (2004)

Michael Mann‘s cameras, and the director’s famously sleek shooting style, could probably make any city look good. . Here he transforms Los Angeles into a beautiful and otherworldly place, shot mostly at night in a color treatment very close to black and white, which includes both the sophisticated and the rustic -- the shimmering skin of Disney Hall as well as a sphinx-like coyote crossing the street. READ MORE (Frank Connor / DreamWorks Pictures)
Repo Man
8. Repo Man (1984)

Los Angeles has symbolized the end of civilization in a long list of films but rarely as memorably as in this sci-fi-inflected portrait of punk-era dead-enders. READ MORE ()
Clueless
7. Clueless (1995)

Filmmaker Amy Heckerling (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) spent several years studying the genus -- rich L.A. teen -- to get all the slang and clothes right (or at least memorable) in this retelling of Jane Austen‘s “Emma,” set in Beverly Hills, which she wrote and directed. READ MORE (Elliott Marks / Paramount)
The Player
6. The Player (1992)

The eight-minute opening tracking shot pays homage to Orson Welles‘ “Touch of Evil,” though now instead of focusing on a car carrying a bomb across the Mexican border, director Robert Altman highlights the banality of evil on an unnamed studio lot, as writers pitch witless ideas (including “The Graduate II”) to bored studio executives. READ MORE (Lorey Sebastian / New Line Cinema)
Beverly Hills Cop
5. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Who can forget Eddie Murphy tooling down Beverly Drive in his “crappy blue Chevy Nova,” flirting with a girl in a tan convertible? Or discussing art with a marbled-mouth gallerist (Bronson Pinchot)? READ MORE (Paramount)
Boyz n the Hood
4. Boyz N the Hood (1991)

Arriving with a shotgun blast in the same year as the Rodney King beating, “Boyz N the Hood” captures a uniquely Angeleno experience that no mainstream movie before it dared touch -- the first all-African American feature about South-Central L.A.'s urban strife to be bankrolled by a major studio. READ MORE (Columbia Pictures)
Jackie Brown
3. Jackie Brown (1997)

Go ahead, start drafting your angry e-mail. This is the spot where you expected to see Quentin Tarantino‘s adrenaline-to-the heart masterpiece “Pulp Fiction,” or maybe his bloodied caper film “Reservoir Dogs.” No, after plenty of debate (and by split vote), we’re going in a different direction. READ MORE (Darren Michaels / Miramax Films)
Boogie Nights
2. Boogie Nights (1997)

Even though it follows the rise, fall and survival of a boy from the Valley who discovers that his “one special thing” is the enormous bulge in his pants, “Boogie Nights” is not about porn. It is about the people who make porn. READ MORE (G. Lefkowitz / New Line Cinema)
L.A. Confidential
1. L.A. Confidential (1997)

She is as fitting a metaphor for the city as anything ever hatched by Hollywood: Kim Basinger‘s high-class call girl Lynn Bracken in the neo-noir potboiler “L.A. Confidential.” READ MORE (Merrick Morton / Warner Brothers)
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