Four DVDs with a common theme of Los Angeles as both a backdrop and a subject for exploration and site of specific cultures.
All disks were tested to play, but are lightly scratched. These are ex-rentals.
Repo Man – classic Gen X punk arthouse by Alex Cox, produced by Mike Nesmith (of the Monkees), lots of 1980s LA scenery and driving around, punk and new wave music, and Harry Dean Stanton. Ultimately, like LA punk, middle class but sleazy, and full of anger. Also, this movie is a writer’s movie – it’s all about script.
Whassup Rockers – Larry Clark of kids did a teen exploitation flick in a pseudodocumentary style with non-actors. The theme is punk Latino guys from South Central LA, skateboarding, and going up into Beverly Hills for culture shock and mischief. I found the movie kind of annoying, and think Clark is creepy. The story obviously comes off as fake. The scenery is “authentic”, and more importantly, the musical selections are solid. The music really does sound like late 1990s LA underground punk.
Black Dahlia – a studio film about the Black Dahlia murder, but fictionalized. It starts out with the Zoot Suit (Sailor) riot, and gets into boxing. I lost interest, because it’s not my type of movie, but there’s a lot of LA scenery, and the overall visual feel is stylish. TBH, it’s pretty fake looking, and the riot scenes aren’t as good as the one in American Me.
Banda Girls – this is listed as comedy, but it’s not really funny. It’s about these hot Mexican American girls from the greater Eastside suburbs who live in a big mansion, seem to wear only underwear or bikini-like clothes, and party all the time going to banda clubs. It’s a teen-20-something chick exploitation flick. There’s only a little bit of nudity, but endless skin, nonetheless. It opens with a lot of Boyle Heights scenery, and throughout, there’s a lot of LA scenery and party culture (tacos, tattoos, drinking shots in a limo, clubs, cars, dudes). The camera and cinematography is surprisingly good, which must be because the whole point of this DVD is to watch nearly-naked girls in bikinis. The film is like a big joke, is poorly written, but it also has a very authentic heart, unlike Whassup Rockers.