Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A treat for cinephiles, this documentary is a comprehensive, academic, and enlightening film essay concerning Los Angeles and its depiction in the movies.


Movie Info

CalArts professor Thom Andersen directs the digital video essay film Los Angeles Plays Itself, titled after a gay porn classic by Fred Halsted (L.A. Plays Itself). Using clips from well-known mainstream movies to lesser-known obscurities, Andersen explores the myths and realities of the city as produced by Hollywood and as viewed by contemporary philosophy. He divides the film into three segments: "The City as Background," "The City as Character," and "The City as Subject." In addition to the … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Television, Musical & Performing Arts, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Thom Andersen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 13, 2014
Runtime:
Submarine Entertainment - Official Site

Cast


as Narrator

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Critic Reviews for Los Angeles Plays Itself

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (22)

Andersen's inspired ruminations about his city as a filming location and as a repository for other filmmakers' daydreams and nightmares.

Full Review… | September 18, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

One of the great films of the century to date, poignant and affecting.

Full Review… | January 1, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

CalArts professor Thom Andersen poured a lifetime of moviegoing (and his own complex affection for the city he calls home) into this revelatory two-part documentary, a film that trains you to look at things askew.

Full Review… | December 31, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

Using well-chosen clips from roughly 200 films, many of them obscure, Andersen makes a powerful and impassioned case for reassessing his beloved city.

Full Review… | October 14, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

It's like being squired through town by a wisecracking cabbie with a PhD in semiotics.

Full Review… | May 27, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Brilliantly discursive, filled with intriguing detours that follow connections only the director's mind could make, Los Angeles Plays Itself, will please natives of this city more than any other.

Full Review… | May 5, 2005
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Los Angeles Plays Itself

highly entertaining and full of fascinating information about films set in and around los angeles, it's a documentary made entirely from clips of other films (roughly 200 of them)! of course, this caused some licensing issues and so it's never been properly released, only playing festivals here and there, but guess what? it's on youtube in 12 parts, starting here: http://youtu.be/7SNc41zyLJ0

rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic][color=darkorange]"Los Angeles Plays Itself" was a great documentary that was released last year. It was on the surface an examination of how the city of Los Angeles has been portrayed in films over the years. But it's also a lesson in history, politics, geography and architecture.[/color][/font]

[color=#ff8c00]The reason I'm bringing up this film now is that the filmmaker was wondering why Los Angeles' Union Station has been the scene of so many kidnappings in movies, most notably in Nick of Time(1995). (I was in Union Station in September and I didn't notice any sort of nefarious activity going on.) Which brings me to...[/color][color=#ff8c00]Sunday night's season premiere of "24" which did also feature a kidnapping at Union Station.(And don't even get me started on the detour through Three Days of the Condor which led up to that...)[/color]

[color=#ff8c00](I won't try to bring up television in this journal unless it has some connection to movies.) [/color]

Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A love letter to the city of LA and the films that revolve around it. Director Thom Andersen brings a lot of knowledge and insight into how the reputation and image of LA has been translated on screen. It's probably only interesting for cinephiles, or maybe fans of Los Angeles, but for me this really worked.

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