L.A. mayor goes “State of Emergency” to limit the places movies film

ImageIt’s a favorite gripe of mine — movies that all are set in or look to have been shot in greater Los Angeles.

As if corrupt cops, cute couples, daring detectives, adorable dogs or whatever genre, plotline or situation is in vogue at the moment don’t exist anywhere but between the I-5 and Venice, Santa Monica or Malibu Beach.

If there’s anything worse than the tide of movies that are oddly set in or were too-obviously shot in Louisiana, New Mexico, Toronto, Vancouver or (these days), Atlanta, it’s that tiresome amber early morning L.A. light that shows up in film after film, and has for almost 100 years.

“Runaway production” to me means “Studios finally spending the money to shoot on location again.” But in Los Angeles, it’s been a “crisis” to people who long to live there, work in the industry  and sleep in their own beds after work.

And now the new Angelino mayor is making noise like he’s going to focus on this problem of jobs going to whichever state is giving away the most incentive money this year.

I’m not keen on incentive cash going to any private business. The car plant that leaves town the minute that money runs out, the “Film Studio” in Fort Pierce that fled the moment they didn’t get state money to prop up their business further — no difference. It’s a con job played by a lot of industries, and Louisiana is simply too corrupt to do the math to figure out how they’ve been played for suckers for much of the last decade — giving away money so that horror, action, sci-fi  (“Battle: Los Angeles”) pictures can come in, shoot, collect a check and leave.

But “runaway production” hurts the way movies look, the reality, the novelty of a “Prince Avalanche” or “Drinking Buddies” or “The Internship” or “World War Z” or “The To Do List” or “The Way, Way Back” — movies with a palpable sense of place. L.A.? We’ve seen it. Rare is the film (“Cyrus,” “The Big Lebowski”, “To Live and Die in L.A.”) that discovers a corner of the city that hasn’t been film permitted to death.

Long live the revolution, and God bless runaway production!

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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