Mandatory Staff Picks: Movies For When You Wish You Lived in LA
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who live in Los Angeles and those who wish they did. With its legendary sunsets, temperate weather, and lush foliage, it’s no wonder so many long to experience it. Hollywood has only helped perpetuate the City of Angels’ desirability. Movies depict attractive characters chasing stardom, soaking up the sun, and eating fresh, healthy food in this beautiful locale. No matter what era of LA’s history appears on the silver screen, the city always looks stunning. These are the films where LA really shines and sometimes, even steals the show. If you can’t get to “la-la land” today, watching these flicks is the next best thing.
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'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'
Tarantino's latest masterpiece revives '60s era LA with scenes at time-capsuled locations like Casa Vega, El Coyote, The Paramount Drive-In, and The Bruin and Village Theatres.
'The Big Lebowski'
This Coen brothers cult classic takes viewers from everyday locations like Ralph's to iconic ones like the (now-defunct) Hollywood Star Lanes, the Palace Theater, and Johnie's Coffee Shop.
It wasn't easy for director Paul Thomas Anderson to pull off his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's '70s-era private-eye novel. But somehow, he did it, shooting at vintage-looking locations like the downtown Hall of Justice and the Parker Center.
This neo-noir film recreates LA's '50s aesthetic with old-fashioned locations like the Pacific Electric building, Boardner's nightclub, and the Frolic Room cocktail bar.
This adrenaline-pumping action flick takes place primarily in a bus speeding through Los Angeles. Not only did it catapult Keanu Reeves to blockbuster stardom, but it also somehow made highway driving exciting and LAX sexy.
Like the eerie winding road of its title, this classic David Lynch film covers a wide range of LA vibes, from the seedy to the surreal as seen through the naive optimism of a newcomer.
This Steve Martin love story features comedic jabs at the vapidity and pettiness of LA, including highway signs that "speak" in platitudes, gun showdowns on the freeway, and a scene at a ridiculous restaurant called L'Idiot.
'La La Land'
This modern musical features classic LA landmarks like the Griffith Observatory and the "You Are the Star" mural in Hollywood.
Raining frogs. What more do you need to know? OK, a little bit more. This film was named for Magnolia Boulevard and captured the lives of 11 characters in the San Fernando Valley.
This hooker fairy tale was shot at ritzy locales across Los Angeles, from a Santa Monica Boulevard boutique to a swanky suite at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.
This Sundance Film Festival favorite was shot entirely on iPhones on and around Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Featured locations include the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Donut Time, and the Vermont/Santa Monica Red Line station. This is LA IRL.