I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…
To Live and Die in L.A.
A federal agent is dead. A killer is loose. And the City of Angels is about to explode.
In director William Friedkin's supercharged thriller, William L. Petersen plays a "hot dog" special agent of the Secret Service who's out to arrest and convict an arrogant counterfeiter (William Dafoe) who has eluded the law for years and who flaunts his success. Dafoe has been asking for a down payment on a sale of bogus bills, but the amount is larger than the secret can authorize Petersen, undercover, to pay to entrap Dafoe in a "sting" operation. Petersen is forced to set up a dangerous plan to steal the advance money from another crook (John Turturro) and use it to buy bogus bills and bust the counterfeiter.As the film winds to its dark and exciting resolution, the distinction between the pursuing law enforcers and the pursued criminals will continue to blur.
Decades Project: 2/8 of the 80's
"You're working for me now."
Los Angeles. They call it the city of angels, but when dedication turns into obsession the angels protecting the city from its demons begin to look like demons themselves. Richard Chance will do anything it takes to catch the criminal counterfeiter responsible for the death of his last partner—even if it means stealing the money he needs and becoming a criminal himself.
Impeccably minimalist photography (wide angle, long take) from Robby Muller, who would go on to work regularly with greats like Jim Jarmusch, Lars Von Trier, and Wim Wenders. Meticulously crafted montages (evocative cuts, artistic arrangements) which drive the action forward and highlight the contrast between cop and…
"Guess what? Uncle Sam don't give a shit about your expenses. You want bread, fuck a baker."
Removed from the partnering of the other stylish cop picture featuring William Petersen (Manhunter) and whatever feeling you have about Wang Chung (it's probably wrong), this sleaze jam is as deserving of the praise now being bestowed on the first film in tonight's Friedkin double bill: Sorcerer.
Friedkin's continual fascination of the internal struggle between good & evil roars through the grimy & steamy haze of Los Angeles. Petersen's Richard Chance is a thrill junkie, stretching each case, bust, and interpersonal relationship to a breaking point; his nemesis, Willem Dafoe's Rick Masters is an icy artist/counterfeiter who never makes a false move. The image of…
Wang Chung: a Chinese expression roughly translating to, "Impose your nihilistic world-view on a cliché-ridden 80s law enforcement procedural, punch-it up with shocking, arthouse cutting and artful use of sound."
Dafoe: Belgian-Congolese for "the foe"
William Petersen: who's he again?
Friedkin car chases > other car chases, because in a Friedkin film everyone's already careening wildly toward death; cars let them do it even faster.
It's taken me a while to get around to watching William Friedkin's L.A. set thriller. It started when I bought a DVD at a bargain basement store and got it home to find it was region 1. Eventually when I did find a copy it was scratched and kept sticking, so I reckoned I was cursed and destined to never to see it. However when another copy fell into my lap, it was fortunately third time lucky.
William Petersen may well have found real celebrity status as Gil Grissom on the universally popular CSI, but he did make some interesting films back in the eighties. Both this and Michael Mann's Manhunter gained cult status as being just that little bit…
Seeing this right after Sorcerer really makes it clear how different a career William Friedkin had in the 80s from what he was doing a decade earlier - this is pure commercial pulp, not just invoking the cliches of the genre but shouting them at the top of its lungs, but as commercial pulp goes it's pretty great. Brutal violence and neon-bright colors have pretty much equal pop, and there's nothing commercial about that ending, nor about Friedkin's still-intact refusal to believe in heroes and villains, even in a story about a hero chasing down a villain.
Such Grissom. Much 80s
Had to watch this one after having seen the compelling Los Angeles Plays Itself documentary. To Live and Die in L.A. film feels like a distilled version of a GTA V play through, with its absurd missions (robbing a dude to buy fake money to take revenge) and the sudden appearance of machine gun wielding henchmen along the highway.
The film is absolutely bogus, yet it is so tense, stylized and visceral that it stays compelling all the way through. The ending, especially, is a pure Friedkin nightmare.
Love this film!
Looks like I found a new film to add to my list of movies featuring great car chases. The scene is so enthralling that it more than makes up for all the gratuitous violence, corny dated 1980's score, and unnecessary nudity that exists seemingly just for nudity's sake.
In on 35mm before Billy Friedkin fucks with the colors (or so my friends tell me).
Dat heist/car chase sequence.
The French Connection meets Heat, and I loved it almost as much as that combo should suggest… until the last act, when I realized I just didn’t care. I was invested in the film-making, and what I was seeing, but not in the story, or in the characters.
(But the counterfeiting money sequence, and the two chase sequences- airport on foot, and the car chase: Friedkin at his best.)
First time watch for me and was pretty blown away. The six minute car chase scene alone deserves five stars.
Looks at road sign: WRONG WAY – DO NOT ENTER
"We're going this way."
More Reagan era capitalist hate coming from the minds of William Friedkin and Robby Muller. It's angry and macho, good to see Robert Downey, Sr. too. I felt like the crying Indian watching people use cash so frequently.
This has got to be more 80s than the Wedding Singer. How lethal weapon is so much better despite being made two years later is a reflection of the different leagues the filmmakers were in. Freidkin offers realism mixed with nauseous 80s art to little effect. The film hangs on a cool car chase, but that's it.
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- Assault on Precinct 13
- The Good, The Bad, The Weird
- Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
- Hard Boiled
- About Last Night...
- The Accidental Tourist
- Across the Universe
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.
- Out of the Past
- The Maltese Falcon
- Touch of Evil