How Movies Design Los Angeles (And Which One Got it Right)

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by José María Luna

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04.27.2023



For over a century, movies have been our window into Los Angeles, capturing a mean, superficial, car-infested city. How much if that is actually true, though?

Featuring the voice talents of:
– Vivian Strange @vivianstrange
– Zack Paslay @ZackPaslay
– Simón Gómez
– Rachel Duncan @ raetheforce on Twitter
– William White @thesecondglassbeachchannel

Other Video Essays:
Roger Rabbit and the Fall of Los Angeles Public Transit: https://youtu.be/TVNR24ZaLHk
Decolonizing Adventure: A Cinematic Road to El Dorado: https://youtu.be/uD4gWOpSvyQ
Encanto: One Hundred Minutes of Solitude: https://youtu.be/bEWVb2tY9SY
Walt Disney’s Politics: Farthest Star to the Right?: https://youtu.be/qcJHJhqx3J0
The Ancestral Storytelling of Over the Garden Wall: https://youtu.be/N9vbGjkpv_s
____________________________________
SECTIONS
0:00 – Prologue: My Idea of Cinema
02:22 – Part 1: The Loneliest and Most Brutal
05:12 – Part 2: Originary Sin
13:06 – Part 3: Worship Everything and Value Nothing
21:42 – Part 4: The Tar Pit
28:45 – Part 5: What Are the Possibilities?
34:54 – Credits
35:10 – Closing
____________________________________
SOURCES

Film
– 20th Century Women (2016)
– (500) Days of Summer (2009)
– Annie Hall (1977)
– Argo (2012)
– Babylon (2022)
– Blonde (2022)
– Boogie Nights (1997)
– Booksmart (2019)
– Boyz n the Hood (1991)
– Bugsy (1991)
– California Conquest (1952)
– Chinatown (1974)
– C’mon C’mon (2021)
– The Disaster Artist (2017)
– Dolor y Gloria (2019)
– Dope (2015)
– Double Indemnity (1942)
– E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
– El Norte (1983)
– Erin Brockovich (2000)
– Falling Down (1993)
– Hail, Caesar! (2016)
– Her (2013)
– The Holiday (2004)
– Ingrid Goes West (2017)
– Intolerance (1916)
– Kit Carson (1940)
– L.A. Confidential (1997)
– Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)
– La La Land (2016)
– Lady Bird (2016)
– The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)
– The Learning Curve (2001)
– Licorice Pizza (2021)
– The Long Goodbye (1973)
– Magnolia (1999)
– Mank (2020)
– Marriage Story (2019)
– Mean Girls (2004)
– Mi Vida Loca (1993)
– Midnight in Paris (2011)
– Mulholland Drive (2001)
– The Muppet Movie (1979)
– The Muppets (2011)
– The Nice Guys (2016)
– Nightcrawler (2014)
– Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
– Pulp Fiction (1994)
– Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
– Real Women Have Curves (2002)
– Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
– Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
– Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
– Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
– Somewhere (2010)
– A Star is Born (1937)
– Starstruck (2010)
– Sunset Boulevard (1950)
– Tangerine (2014)
– Vertigo (1958)
– Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

TV Shows
– Barry (2018-2023)
– Batman (1966-1968)
– Big Time Rush (2009-2013)
– BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)
– Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)
– Difficult People (2015-2017)
– Insecure (2016-2021)
– Transparent (2014-2019)
– Victorious (2010-2013)

Books
– Caro, Robert A. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (1974)
– Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)
– Kerouac, Jack. On the Road (1957)

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