Los Angeles Plays Itself Image
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Summary: This documentary examines how Los Angeles has been portrayed by Hollywood and the impact of the movie industry on the city.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Dec 31, 2013
    100
    Andersen makes humorous hay out of the stark home designs of Richard Neutra — only suitable, it seems, for drug dealers.
  2. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    90
    Los Angeles may be the most photographed city in the world, but it has never have been captured with such complex layers of meaning and fascination as in Thom Andersen's remarkable Los Angeles Plays Itself.
  3. A terrific cinematic essay that will have a very, very long shelf life.
  4. 80
    It is an essay in film form with near-universal interest and a remarkable degree of synthesis.
  5. Reviewed by: Nick De Semlyen
    40
    Andersen makes a far from inspiring guide, intoning his humourless points in a dry-as-powder monotone.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 9
  2. Negative: 3 out of 9
  1. KellyP.
    Mar 29, 2006
    10
    if you have any interest in film or cities you must see this film.
  2. Aug 25, 2014
    4
    Los Angeles Plays Itself is one of those films that made me ask, "I don't get it." A barrage of fun clips with uninteresting and quite vapidLos Angeles Plays Itself is one of those films that made me ask, "I don't get it." A barrage of fun clips with uninteresting and quite vapid commentary. A blank. Expand
  3. Nov 3, 2014
    3
    The whole idea of this 2.5 hr documentary-like film is to explore how Los Angeles is portrayed in movies. There was obviously some work putThe whole idea of this 2.5 hr documentary-like film is to explore how Los Angeles is portrayed in movies. There was obviously some work put into collecting and categorizing the countless clips from films, as well as matching the names, dates, and locations portrayed in them. That being said, there really isn't too much else here aside from a random run through historical film locations. I really wanted to like this film, but I got about an hour in before it just became frustrating. The whole time, the narrator seems like he is trying to set up some kind of profound message or theme about how Los Angeles is portrayed, but the narrator simply seems to loathe *everything* about movies, which is an odd characteristic for someone who has apparently made an entire 2.5 hour film about movies.

    The narration is extremely dry in a way that is an obvious attempt to sound intelligent, but comes across as depressed and bored. There is absolutely no joy or excitement in talking at you. Instead, it is an absolute chore to try and bring you up to speed about the obvious inadequacies of every movie everywhere. But, if you actually listen to what he has to say, there is so much contraction in the messages that one cannot help but become frustrated at it. At various times, the narrator complains about movies in the following ways: how they are too unrealistic, how they are too realistic, how they recycle the same locations, how they take creative liberties with their locations, how they don't portray ordinary everyday life but rather focus on exciting sequences and stories, how there is too much violence, and how they are sometimes exciting. Yes, there is a lot of complaining about how violence and sex and destruction are common topics of movies set in Los Angeles (as if these were not common topics in movies set anywhere in the world as well). The opinions just become obtuse and ridiculous. At one point, the narrator tried to convince me that Paris, unlike Los Angeles, has escaped the scourge of cinema portrayal (I mean, really?). The whole things feels like it is trying to have some kind of profound message from this collection of names, dates, and locations, but it all boils down to this: Movies suck because they don't accurately portray ordinary life and there is too much unrealistic violence, sex, and destruction in Movies filmed in Los Angeles. There is one interesting segment showing how various films used the same locations to portray different environments, but otherwise there is a lot of opinions being thrown around which are mostly absurd. .
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