Pick of the Week – August 11-17, 2014

A few weeks ago in this POST, I provided a list of what I considered to be the essential films of the 1990s.  I left out several movies that were not influential enough to have lingering effects on our pop culture but were personal favorites of mine. 

This week’s pick falls into that category, and it’s from a genre I don’t usually enjoy: the romantic comedy.  Stay with me, though.  This one is a bit different.  In 1991, Steve Martin wrote and starred in L.A. Story, which is the tale of Harris Telemacher, a TV meteorologist trying to find love in Los Angeles. 

On the surface, the plot doesn’t sound all that interesting, but, as in the case in…well…everything, it’s all about the execution.  The Los Angeles of L.A. Story is practically a character in the film, and the film makes the city both magical and ridiculous.  The script shifts deftly from Shakespearean references to testicle jokes (something Shakespeare himself probably would have appreciated), while never losing a tone that I could only describe as…sweet.

Martin is more subdued in the film than in a lot of his “wackier” work, which is absolutely necessary for the material.  The rest of the cast is great and filled with familiar faces.  I don’t want to spoil any of the cameos here, but definitely keep an eye out for the restaurant maître d’. 

To this day, L.A. Story is still my favorite romantic film, and I have to admit that the use of Enya’s “Exile” near the end of the film gives me chills every time I see it.  I watched the movie again a few days ago, and I think it speaks to me even more now than it did when I first saw in 1991.  It’s a fantastic (and fantastical) choice if you’re looking for something a bit different to watch while curled up on the couch with your significant other, or if you’re just in the mood for a light and quirky movie.

- Alan Decker

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