To Live and Die in L.A. -- DAYUM!

I’d heard a lot of good things about this film, mostly on these boards, although nothing specific: just that it was well made. Bought a copy from a bargain bin a few weeks ago, and finally watched it yesterday.


First of all, it has aged really well. The only jarring anachronisms were all the smoking :eek: and “He was two days from retirement!” But IIRC, in 1985, that hadn’t become the annoying cliche it now is. Oh, and the big clunky sedans. Other than that, though, I’d say it holds up well today: it doesn’t have a big glaring “1985…1985…1985” flashing in every scene. In fact, the opening scene, with the terrorist shouting “Death to infidels! Praise Allah!” right before he blows himself up was a matter of things coming full circle.

Aesthetically, too, I’d expected a lot of cheesy hair and wardrobe, but no one was wearing anything too MTV. Dafoe’s love interest was so stunning, I could hardly keep my eyes from her. And the other dancer was Jane Leeves! :smack: The Wang Chung soundtrack was not annoying, as I’d thought it would be, and I’d never thought much of them, so that says a lot.

And the talent! Willem Dafoe was awesome as always, and I’m amazed that William Petersen still didn’t become a star until CSI. John Turturro rocked, and most of the minor characters had that “I know that guy” air about them.

In and of itself, I was just constantly impressed with how well it was written and filmed. It started out tight and got tighter. And really, there was a time when that was not to be expected. This is right up there with 48 Hours as one of the first “modern” action films. The freeway chase scene blew my mind. It killed me to see Petersen’s character just getting himself deeper and deeper, and I have to say, I didn’t fully sympathize with him. Get some counseling, dude! Also, think he got hit in the nuts enough?

Anyway, just want to thank all who recommended this.

I agree that it’s a very good movie. I haven’t seen it since it was in the theaters though. I need to watch it again. Glad to know that it hasn’t become too dated.

It was directed (and adapted screenplay written) by William Friedkin, who also gave us The French Connection and The Exorcist.

An anachronism is

  1. something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, esp. a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time: The sword is an anachronism in modern warfare.
  2. an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one: To assign Michelangelo to the 14th century is an anachronism.

Somebody in a film made in 1985 doing stuff that people did in 1985 isn’t anachronistic.

Dated elements, then.

I absolutely loved that movie and think that the Wang Chung soundtrack is one of the best things about it. It transports me!

Another “dated” item, if you want to call it that: an Arab (Arab? at least Islamic extremist) terrorists. It’s OK nowadays to have Norwegian, German, neo-Nazi, etc. terrorists, but most producers seem to be reluctant to show an Arab terrorist.

Best car chase evah!

Come on, that’s being a bit didactic don’t you think? (Or pedantic, I think pedantic is the better word. Let’s go with pedantic.) The implication of the sentence was that there were only two things that would seem anachronistic if used in a modern movie. Pick nits all you want, but pick good nits.

I can’t believe that I haven’t seen this movie yet. It has everything I like about movies, a great cast/director, and subject matter that appeals to me. Plus, LA! I am adding it to my netflix que.

Strange thing. For some reason, when I think of this movie, I keep thinking it was directed by Michael Mann.

I own that movie on VHS and I love it. Peterson is hideously bow-legged, though. :smiley: And he got whacked in the nuts at least three times…

WHAT?!? The totally hot, slutty Mediterranean chick? Checks IMDB… Well, I’ll be damned…

I just love the scene where Dean Stockwell is discussing the “weak” search warrant in his current case. Dude is such a sick shark.

That’s so funny! Before I posted earlier I was about to write that, of course it was well-directed, it was Michael Mann’s first feature film, but I wasn’t sure if it was his actual first, so I checked IMDB. :smack: Soooo glad I checked first before making a fool of myself!

Those aren’t nits. Words have meanings. If you see a movie set in 1870, and character is riding a horse instead of driving a car, is that an anachronism? Of course not. If he whips out a cellphone, that’s an anachronism.

I haven’t seen that movie since it came out, but I might rent it now. Willem Defoe made a very intense villain. William Petersen was also in Manhunter (which I think is kind of underrated) shortly after that.

And you should have gone with “didactic”. (And being didactic, by the way, is a good thing. It’s one of the primary purposes of the Straight Dope.)

ETA: EquipoiseManhunter was directed by Michael Mann; that might have been why you thought of him.

No, I’ve never seen Manhunter (but I knew it was directed by Mann), and I saw TLADILA in the theater when it first came out. I don’t know why, like NDP, I thought of it as a Michael Mann film. Just brain weirdness, I guess.

I’m glad you made this thread, if only to drop the needle on the theme song LP on the turntable in my head, I love this movie, and I wore out the soundtrack twice. It’s now on my Amazon wish list, waiting for the next gift certificate that falls into my hand (next week, I think - yay, promotional perks!

I haven’t seen this movie in a long time . . . but I’ll tell you. When he comes home and she’s sleeping, and she wakes up as he’s taking his shirt off, and she gets up and put his shirt on, and he get into bed and she walks out, that’s one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen.

Great movie! I finally caught up with it a couple of years ago and it blew me away. William Friedkin is a fantastic director.

Odd coincidence:

Gary Sinise initially auditioned for the role that William Petersen played. In fact, it was him that recommended Petersen to the director when he got turned down for the part.

Better than The French Connection?
Better than Bullitt?
Better than The Blues Brothers?

I may have to check this movie out…

Different, I think it was Roger Ebert who said the best chase scenes are really defined by where they take place.

To Live and Die in LA takes place on the freeway system, which is completely L.A.
Bullitt in the hills of San Francisico
French Connection of course is very New York.

It’s definitely up there. It’s a chase on

a busy elevated highway…going the wrong way!

Available on youtube.

Me too. I’m shocked he had nothing to do with this one, and now I’m left wondering whch movie I’m thinking of.