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.
"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…
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…
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.
Petersen's inability to play a stone-cold badass makes his psychosis even more alarming,
the more ridiculous parts of the soundtrack make this feel even more creepy (rather than laughable),
I was thinking i'd give this 3.5 or 4 stars because some of the editing (especially in the first half) bothered me,
but then the last 10-15 minutes happened and I feel pretty
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…
Now I'm no cop, but even I know these cops aren't particularly good at their jobs.
Attempt #3 to watch Los Angeles Plays Itself ends predictably with the film being stopped to watch a movie I haven't seen that I suddenly must watch immediately. At this rate, I should finish in mid-2017.
Music by Wang Chung!
This was one of my favourite movies in the 80's.
William Petersen is great and you can see that it is from the same director as 'the french connection'!
John Pankow featured 2 years later in 'the secret of my success'.
great car pursuit in the streets of L.A.
Crazyville Kentucky. That free way scene, man. The gore. That score. Those one-liners. "Your taste is in your ass."
Very mean and very dated. Violent in a way I only associate with a certain type of 80's movie. Plot is full of twists and acting is good (look at an engaged William Petersen and baby Dafoe). Soundtrack is a huge cheese distraction. Gritty and deserves the term, if you're in the mood for that sort of thing.
The beginning of this movie is laughably bad... due in most part to the fact that it feels like ground zero for cop cliches. Every line is a one liner, and a bad one. In addition, a ridiculous 80's synthesizer score makes sure every scene and every idea in the film is undercut by a rhythm of tackiness.
But SOMEHOW the film redeems itself in the last third with out-of-nowhere plot twists, redirects and thematic fruition. It almost feels like this film should be remade, and the first two acts completely rewritten to allow the audience to arrive at that last act with less effort.
William Petersen is really bad at his job.
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.