Los Angeles as both Protagonist and Theme for the Movies

Posted on November 30th, 2009 at 9:25 pm by Tom Jones


Los Angeles is the “Industry Town’ for all things movie and film related. Past TV series based out of LA include The Rockford Files, Police Woman and Quincy ME– to the present, including the incredibly popular series The Hills, The Unit, or Hannah Montana. Los Angeles has always been “the” filming location for the “small screen.”

But Los Angeles has been–and still continues to be–the place for the Big Screen.

LA is also a very popular spot for filmmakers. They benefit from lower costs, close proximity to the major studios, thousands of talented movie professionals, and a host of pre, post, and thousands of other motion picture related professional services. These reasons, and many more, are all core reasons why movies are made. Included in the decision making of a movie’s location, is the who’s, what’s, why’s, and where’s as to why they’re made, and they all come into play when a new movie is being created.

Over the course of the next few months, Travelin’ Local will be taking a closer look at some of the movies that have used, Los Angeles as part and parcel of the actual movies. In this multi-part series, I’ll be assembling an eclectic array of films that use Los Angeles as metaphor, protagonist, setting, story, backdrop, theme, and character.

Based on that, I’m going to review the following movies that use the motif of Los Angeles as being, or playing, a major role in that movie. They are, in no particular order:

L.A. ConfidentialBoyz in the Hood

Blade RunnerChinatown

The DoorsTraining Day

HeatThe Limey

The Informers

From sex to crime, greed to gangs, music, cops and robbers, and the present with the future, Los Angeles plays host to almost any type of movie genre, that Hollywood moguls can come up with.

Some roads are not to be crossed; others go only one way, or two; and some split, as Robert Frost aptly observed the in the Road Not Taken.

When it comes to cinema and Los Angeles, the roads to travel—metaphorically and figuratively—make for Los Angeles as the perfect protagonist, plot, theme, character, motif, and story.

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