To Live and Die in LA

Precision Nostalgia

A pretty great film, that I didn't even nostalgically overrate
Reported on 8th of March, 2017

Editor’s Note: Whatever errors contained herein, this is being posted whilst on the bus between St. Malo and St. Briac. An historic, if boring, first.

To Live and Die in LA is exactly as I left it: a pretty great film, that I didn’t even nostalgically overrate. It wasn’t amazing when it came out, but I saw it a couple of times because it was cool, and I wanted to study that great car chase the only way we could at the time – in the revival house. Mr. William Friedkin was later to top it in Ronin, but we have yet to top that, largely because we just CGI everything instead of risking people’s lives for my entertainment.

To Live and Die in LA

14 February 2017 @ Le Grand Action

$28.00 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I saw TLADILA because it was playing and people who show 1980s cop thrillers need my money. People who make 1980s cop thrillers based, well, based pretty much just on the font of this film, they do not deserve my money. Thing about TLADILA, the title sequence, which is just people passing money from one place to another, has more energy than Drive can muster in an entire film. And again, it’s just good, not great.

But here’s why it’s great: the sequence of making the fake paper holds up beautifully, which it really shouldn’t. Full of Michael Mann like details, the poker chips in the washing machine, blowing on the print plate to make the image appear, the cutting machine, it’s the film that made me want to be a counterfeiter instead of just spending money like I was.

But what bears mentioning is the fact that nothing is explained. Somehow Mr. Friedkin knew that showing cool shit would be enough, and he was right.

Unlike Le Vauban 2, Le Grand Action has trailers, and I had the distinct misfortune of seeing the one for Ms. Kelly Reicardt’s latest. How do you know not to see it, other than seeing the trailer, which will utterly convince you? The critics use the word ‘portrait’. Never see a film that is described as ‘portrait’, ‘exploration’ or ‘examination’. Those words sound like a social theory class for a reason.

Given that, there are many things that should have been cut. ‘Stars are God’s eyes’ should be in no movie, let alone this movie, let alone twice in this movie. The film gets a bit floppy near the end. It was brave of them to improvise it. And to not have Mr. David Mamet write it.

That being said, the famed chase sequence, the deservedly famed chase sequence, isn’t just about the driving backwards on the freeway. That would be enough for a film today, and yet wasn’t even enough for Drive which only managed to have him…parking really well.

All right, I’ll shut up, I’ll shut up. He has a jacket, I know. We all like the jacket.

Getting to see the film years later, I was struck by the strong sense of geography that the film creates as the never named or detailed or characterized guys watch Mr. William Petersen and Mr. John Pankow from the bridge overlooking the LA river. As the our anti-leads drive away, their pursuers drive down the bridge, and then, seeing them going on a side street, backing up and following. It all takes place in a single shot, and you feel where everything is. The sense of place is throughout this scene, and it keeps you in.

Oh, and penis. I think this film was very influential on me, that if you have boobies, you have to have cock. It was one of those early moments in film watching, possibly post Life of Brian, where you’re watching the young lady take off her top, and you think, possibly over the shame of your hidden gratitude in a pre-rule 34 world, ‘Oh great. Here’s more cheap female nudity. If they were really cool, they’d show….oh. Huh. Well, there it…there it is again. Yep, that’s his penis.’

Floppy in the good way.

The Take

Total Profits!
‘Post three I’ve got a shake.’ is a nice bit of slang in a film full of very cool details.
We need more anti- in our anti-heroes.
The music should be dated. It is awesome, and matches the boundless energy of the film.
That being said, and take note everyone, there is almost no music during the chase, all foley. It gets this much on sound alone.
This may be the first film that contains the line: ‘I’m getting too old for this shit’, said by a character with three days to retire. Is this the movie that started it all ?
Total Profits
Is this the movie that started it all?
If stars are the eyes of God, do we really have to see tears on the TV?
Total Losses


Thoughts on To Live and Die in LA

  1. Mary says:

    I am totally ready to see this retro nouvelle film!!! Yes because pre CGI, and because it is now funny to see anything circa post 1984, after which all things 80s became very stupid and mainstream, like mandatory lipstick on young girls, shoulder pads, saxophone solos. I admit, I am looking forward to seeing the jacket you mentioned. Thank you Mr. Scott King, for sharing your talents and enlightening those who still simply buy what they are selling, for example “Night in the Museum 2.” Much love.

  2. Scott Scott says:

    See it! It certainly contains all the hallmarks of the era, performance art! Girls kissing, until one of them turns out to be a boy! John Turturro! Also see Ronin, which is kind of the Evil Dead 2 version of this film, i.e. the better, more insane, and identical remake.

    The jacket is actually from Drive, and, to be fair, it is the only thing from the film I remember.

    If you saw Night at the Museum 2, directed by my arch-nemesis, you should be writing this. Much love back and now I have to dance!

Annoyed? Prove it!

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.