Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

I've only seen a few of them, but this is my new favorite William Friedkin movie. I was obsessed with The Exorcist as a young kid, mostly because I had never seen anything like it before. The French Connection was surely groundbreaking, but I'm very skeptical of anyone who says it still blows them away almost four decades later. Besides, its car chase scene is put to shame by the one in To Live and Die in L.A. (a good deal of which takes place on the wrong side of a freeway). Willem Dafoe and John Turturro, at fairly early points in both of their careers, are as good as ever. I didn't immediately recognize William Petersen (above) but he's done a few movies and a lot of television work since his excellent performance as the loose cannon Richard Chance. This cop story is anything but formulaic, and with not an ounce of melodrama. I was very surprised to hear Chance's partner mutter "I'm getting too old for this shit" at the beginning of the film, more than a year before Danny Glover ever does! Did all four Lethal Weapon films include that line as an homage, or was it outright theft?

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