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.
The director of "The French Connection" is on the streets again!
A Secret Service agent becomes obsessed with tracking down a notorious and dangerous Los Angeles counterfeitor.
A great L.A. movie, and one which avoids the obvious locations. This isn't the L.A. of wide boulevards, palm trees and glinting swimming pools, instead it's a dusty, sun-scorched world of warehouses, factories and dockland. The frequent shots of a blistering Californian landscape under wide, darkening skies of hazy ash-blue or orange, puts To Live and Die in L.A. firmly in Michael Mann territory, and this very 1985 cop thriller does come across like a grimier, Los Angeles cousin of Miami Vice.
William Friedkin clearly wanted to make a West Coast answer to the New York of his greatest work, The French Connection. A place drained of its glamour and romance; dirtied and rotting from within, and peopled with tough,…
William Friedkin shoots L.A. like you've never seen it. That's cool.
But this 80's cop thriller is actually a bit dull thanks to a messy plot and a overly long runtime.
The cops descent in to hell through obsession with their work is a leftover trait from those awesome gritty 70s crime flicks but the shiny glitzy wang chung of this movie is all 80s. It has the Men In Black opening with the old guy saying he's too old for this shit a full year before Lethal Weapon chose it as a catchphrase. There's some real gory violence and some enjoyable performances from Petersen, Turturro and Dafoe but it's not enough to sustain entertainment throughout.
To Live and Die in L.A. is William Friedkin's hardboiled crime noir about corruption & survival in the city of no angels. In the 80s, William L. Petersen was the sharpest looking badass cop since Dirty Harry. With his shirts left half open & kick ass leather jacket, he's one suave rebel. Willem Dafoe's villain is money in the bank, literally, as a counterfeiter. Sergio Leone once said that Dafoe had the face of a killer. I agree, his offbeat looks & heavily mannered voice make him perfect for playing villains. As far as sleazy cronies go, take your pick. Dean Stockwell as a devious lawyer & John Turturro brilliantly playing an incarcerated henchman. Only Friedkin could direct the 2nd best car chase ever…
Violent, classic fun 80s sleaze. Dafoe and Petersen are great and Feuer is sexy as hell. Freidkin's direction is in fine form. Brilliant score, too.
To Live and Die in L.A. left me feeling dead inside, yet entirely absorbed. The car chase was strangely entrancing, the casting great and the overall tone was like nothing else I’ve seen before.
The only bum note was the pre-credit sequence. It deceptively set the scene for a film that thankfully didn’t follow.
This is a quintessential 80s film, from a quintessential master of film.
Criminally underrated, To Live and Die in LA has some incredible acting, some amazing writing, and some of the best chase scenes ever put to screen. It also has a time capsule soundtrack, some beautifully non beautiful images and a couple of really interesting ideas crammed in there about death, art, sexuality and life in the city.
The script is a standout in the massively over populated genre of action cop movies. Not only because of Chance, the main character but also it's villian, played by Willem Dafoe. Dafoe's character is not evil, not really. He's a business man who has some strange taste in life style and…
Good for watching, the Wang Chung soundtrack fits perfectly. Defoe is fantastic. Better than Superman III.
2nd viewing -- the first time I saw this film was on its release in the theaters and I remember being stunned by some of the scenes/weirdness. It has aged well and is still a remarkable film (despite a few clunky aspects and stereotypes of the time that make one flinch)
This movie will take you down a twisting path. Certainly surprised me a bit. Cool score. There's also an insane car chase that reminded me of myself playing GTA. Some absolutely preposterous police behaviour that is inadvertently funny as well.
Criminally underrated crime film. Friedkin excels in the genre yet again with an 80's L.A noir. The soundtrack is great but my god does it make me want to play GTA V
A three star movie elevated by Robby Muller, the real star of the film. Absolutely incredible cinematography. Not entirely sure Friedkin's dark noir translates well to sunny L.A. And Wang Chung- even if he makes the city look as ugly as possible. Still though, lots of redeeming qualities and that car chase is totally unbelievable. When it comes to capturing moving vehicles on camera, Muller and Friedkin are a match made in heaven. Also hilarious to have seen enough LA crime movies at this point to start recognizing multiple places- that mural and the house where the gang members live we're both featured in the film Colors.
It's all rather a bit weird..
Aggressive, unsettling and cruel, some sporadic clunkiness precludes this movie from being near the same level with Friedkin's 1970s work, this West Coast overtooling of his gritty blueprint is still a visceral film of aberrations and obsessions: a Friedkin film.
The hottest of hot messes. Some great sequences -- the Mann-like counterfeiting tutorial at the beginning of the film, the car chase through the L.A. River (& the build-up to that chase), the burning workshop -- & the film is never less than gorgeous & there's plenty of quality squib work & even that Wang Chung soundtrack kinda works (apart from opening & closing tracks), but all that is continually undercut by a dopey cliche-ridden script (cf. a too-old-for-this-shit shout-out AND a couple-days-from-retirement send-off, both in the first 15 minutes!), a convoluted labyrinthine plot that leaves most of the principles stranded (though Dafoe, Petersen, & Turturro do what they can), Friedkin needing to repeatedly get his rocks off while losing sight of the moralistic thrill-junkie…
Bail, Bait, same thing.
- Once Upon a Time in the West
- Assault on Precinct 13
- The Good, The Bad, The Weird
- Down by Law
- Hard Boiled
- Out of the Past
- The Maltese Falcon
- Touch of Evil
aka The Big List of Noir Films and/or Films with Noir Elements
I decided to make a more comprehensive list…
- No Way Out
- Sea of Love
- Tequila Sunrise
- The Big Easy
Because "semi-erotic 80s / 90s crime / espionage thrillers / dramas where Dennis Quaid & Ellen Barkin & others were dead sexy…