Monday, October 12, 2009

My Top Ten Movies of All Time

Number 3:

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

Starring:  Russel Crowe, Guy Pierce, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny Devito, James Cromwell, David Straitharn

Oscars (winners in Bold):  9 nominations (2 wins) - Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Writing

Ranking on AFI's 100 Greatest Movie List (2007):  N/A 

Review:  Wow, I was blown away by this movie and it continues to be one of my all time favorites, as you can obviously see by it's position on this list.  This film gets my vote for best movie of the 1990's.  Pitch perfect, beautifully shot, expertly acted, written, directed, you name it, it was done right on this movie. 

The movie centers around the LA police department and the fallout from the biggets drug kingpin in the city being taken out and what happens next.  There are a few twists and turns, but the movie never relys on them as plot devices.  They are merely how the events went down, and I think this makes the whole thing much more believable. 

There are corrupt cops, good cops, bad cops, but never do we think anybody is a bad person.  In the vein of Scorcese these are all just people with large character flaws but are human nonetheless.  Everyone is, at the end of the day, a good person and they all have their reasons for doing what they do.  Most of all, these people are just trying to make their way the best way they know how in this crazy city. 

The profundities could run rampant on this movie if you let them, but to me the main point is much like most Scorcese movies.  People are human and we all have character flaws.  However, it seems these flaws are what make us who we are and this movie seems to relish that fact.  People who do good can still do bad things along the way.  It is an internal struggle we all deal with every day and this movie shows that although we may give in from time to time, in the end, we can overcome.

Why this made the list:

I remember when this movie came out and I had heard so much about it and wanted to see it so badly.  I begged my parents to let me see it and they would not allow me too (it was rated R and I was only 12 at the time).  When it came out on video I begged my parents again to let me rent it (I was much more mature now at age 13).  My dad said he would rent it, and watch it beforehand and then let me know if it was appropriate for me.  Again, as I have the coolest parents ever, it passed my dad's approval and I was able to watch it.

I loved it then and I love it now, but for two different reasons.  At that time, I didn't really understand it (I will admit, it was a little above the head of 13 year old Jeff) but I was able to appreciate it greatly because it was unlike anything I had scene before.  The movie was shot in a style I was not privy to, and although I may not been able to fully understand I was able to appreciate.

Now, when I watch the movie I appreiciate it for all the right reasons.  The way it is shot, acted, directed, etc., etc.  It is truly an amazing film.  The movie chooses not to display it's detectives as heroes, these are not CSI or Law and Order detectives who magically find the correct clue.  No, these are characters who are flawed and live in a real world in which they can even get punished for the doing the right thing, simply because it is not protocol.  This is a movie that shows the world the way it really is, flawed, but in the end, full of people that want to, and can, be heroes and do the right thing to make sure the world doesn't completely go down the drain.

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