Edgar Wright is a filmmaker who unabashedly loves movies. Having put together programs in the past in L.A., Wright recently curated a series of chase movies for the BFI in London and a series of heist movies for the BAMcinématek in Brooklyn. (Including some of the titles below.) For anyone taken with the action-musical-heist-romance ride of “Baby Driver,” here are a few additional titles to check out.
‘To Live and Die in L.A.’
A riveting mixture of crime, cars, tension, music and action, the 1985 movie “To Live and Die in L.A.” features early performances from the likes of William Petersen, Willem Dafoe and John Turturro. Though director William Friedkin’s earlier “The French Connection” is rightly hailed for its own breakneck car scene, “To Live and Die in L.A.” features a grab-your-seat sequence with cars going against the flow of traffic during a wild freeway chase.
Though a critical and commercial bust on its original release in 1978, Walter Hill’s moody crime drama “The Driver,” starring Ryan O’Neal, Bruce Dern and Isabelle Adjani, has gone on to become a cult favorite for the way it drains its gritty genre storytelling down to an elemental, existential core. “The Driver” was also a reference point for Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylish action-romance “Drive” and Hill himself makes a voice-over cameo in “Baby Driver.”
Music, cars and the counterculture collide in Richard C. Sarafian’s 1971 movie about a pill-addled loner speeding West who becomes locked into musical communication with a blind disc jockey. The movie has had a surprising pop-cultural afterlife, with English music group Primal Scream naming an album after it and Quentin Tarantino explicitly referencing it in his own “Death Proof.” The film will be playing at L.A.’s Billy Wilder Theater on Aug. 12 as part of UCLA’s series on the “shadow cinema” of the 1970s.
Though not directly related to “Baby Driver,” John Hillcoat’s 2016 release “Triple 9” was likewise shot in Atlanta and also pointedly set its story there too. A gritty crime drama with an ensemble of serious talents — including Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Gal Gadot — the film is a treat for location nerds as it uses some of the same overpasses and roadways that also appear in Wright’s movie.
Talk about tonally ambitious: Alan Parker’s 1976 film “Bugsy Malone” is a Prohibition-era musical-comedy with a cast of children that includes Scott Baio and Jodie Foster. Wright is an acknowledged fan of the film, which features music by Paul Williams, who has a small role in “Baby Driver”
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