Chinatown ★★★★★

"Sue people like that they're liable to be having dinner with the judge who's trying the suit."

Chinatown is class conflict writ large. No one can get to Noah Cross because he's too rich, he'll "be having dinner with the judge"; likewise, the bourgeoisie do not suffer the same repercussions or face the same consequences as the proletariat. They can afford to buy their way out of anything, whether directly by paying off whoever's trying to get them in trouble, or indirectly by paying off the authorities who would hold them accountable.

"Can you believe it? We're in the middle of a drought, and the water commissioner drowns. Only in L.A."

Not sure how common knowledge this is, but the plot here about water rights and corporate farming is a very real and ongoing problem that's contributing to the constant drought conditions in California. There's a concept in California law called "paper water," as the California Water Impact Network explains:

Water that exists as water rights claims in legal documents but not in the real world is known as "paper water". There is far more water promised "on paper" to stakeholders than there is in California's water ways.

The long story short is that corporations buy more "paper water" than there is actual water available so that they can justify building larger farms than the land can actually sustain, and then they pull in more than their fair share of water to irrigate that excess of land, causing the rest of the state to experience constant shortages — essentially the same thing Noah Cross is doing when he tries to annex the Northwest Valley in order to irrigate and develop it.

One company actively participating in this abuse of water rights is POM Wonderful, a popular brand of pistachios and pomegranate juices among other things, so if you want to do your small part to resist this corruption you could stop buying those products, and if you want to learn more about this practice I highly recommend episode 356 of The Dollop "The Resnicks: Water Monsters", and you can read more about this issue in Water Heist: How Corporations Are Cashing In On California's Water.

Top 10: 1970's | Best Picture Losers | Film Noir

PS. Also a pretty awful present-wrapping movie

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