Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
When I was a kid, I told my mom one day that I was going to walk to Hollywood. I wasn’t angry or running away – I just didn’t know how far away it was, and in my young mind, I thought I could walk there and be back by dinner. I was wrong.
Think of me what you will, but I’ve wanted to live in L.A. for most of my conscious life, and looking back, four movies stood out as having sounded the siren’s call from the City of Angels. I submit them for your approval.
This movie made a star of Sandra Bullock, all while confirming Keanu Reeves’ status as an action star and making a whole lot of money. It’s too bad it never got a good sequel, but the original still holds a lot of charm for its surprisingly loving portrayal of the L.A. freeways.
Director Jan de Bont, who helmed Twister and shot Die Hard, shows us a sunny and appealing L.A. that looks inviting even when it’s getting blown up. I think I’ve been to the Venice coffee shop seen near the beginning of the movie. The eclectic group of characters on the bus (including Alan “Cameron” Ruck!) makes me wish I took the bus more often.
Favorite quote: “Cans! It’s just … cans.”
Let’s take a moment to enjoy this movie’s original trailer, which has held up pretty well over the years.
Oh, man. An awful classic. My family had a zillion movie channels growing up, and this was one of the many, many vaguely inappropriate movies I caught as a kid. For the uninitiated, Midnight Madness is a rowdy collegiate comedy with aspirations of being an Animal House but a good-natured tone (and PG rating) that keeps it in kiddie-movie territory.
An eccentric nerd recruits five college cliques to compete against each other in an elaborate game. Among the competitors are nerds, jocks, babes, losers and the mandatory villains for any 80s teen comedy: rich jerks. Highlights include appearances by Eddie Deezen (War Games, Grease) as the leader of the nerds, Flounder from Revenge of the Nerds as the chief rich jerk, and a teenage Michael J. Fox in one of his first movies.
But the best part is the game itself, which takes the players on a shenanigan-filled trip Los Angeles, including visits to LAX and the Bonaventure Hotel.
Favorite quote: “If I’m lucky, I might get to see Venus’ two moons.”
Here are the first 10 minutes. Don’t judge me.
“[Bleep]ing California!” says John McClane whenever he encounters a bit of west coast craziness in the opening scenes for this classic, which to me is equal parts action flick, holiday heartwarmer and L.A. story.
The Christmas setting, while incidental, adds a lot to the experience, including the menacing jingle of bells in the movie’s score. But more than anything else, I remember thinking that L.A. looked like the coolest place on earth. When I first visited the city in eighth grade to go to Disneyland, I made my family drive me up to Century City, and I still get a kick out of seeing Nakatomi – I mean, Fox – Plaza.
Favorite quote: “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”
In honor of one of the greatest action franchises ever, here’s a very cool trailer for the first three movies, set to a rocking cover of the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 80s kill-a-thon was also the first R-rated movie I ever saw. As a Gen-X son raised by a single mom, it still inspires slack-jawed awe in me. He killed 100 men to save his daughter!
Joking aside, the movie follows a retired Delta Force operative who has to, shall we say, come out of retirement when bad guys kidnap his daughter (Alyssa Milano) and demand he assassinate the leader of a South American country.
But along the way, Schwarzenegger hooks up with Rae Dawn Chong, blows up some stuff with bazookas and generally wreaks havoc wherever he goes. Memorable scenes includes a brawl in a shopping mall and, of course, the final battle, in which Schwarzenegger kills 81 men. (Incidentally, two different groups of my friends confirmed this figure during different screenings.)
Favorite quote: “I let him go.”
Here are the first nine minutes of Commando, otherwise known as “the only nine minutes where Schwarzenegger isn’t chopping someone’s arm off with a machete.”
Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.