March 15, 2024

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)

Just like the “Because You Watched…” lane that pops up on your favorite streaming service, Now Playing Podcast wants to help you find the perfect companion flicks. Each week, contributor Chris Bravo brings you fresh recommends that tie in with one of our reviews.

A few things we’ve seen a lot of these past few weeks on the Now Playing Podcast are dirty cops, frantic shootouts, and intense car chases. The French Connection retrospective is no exception, including the sequel, placing Popeye Doyle in the deep, criminal underbelly of Marseilles, France.

Swap out Gene Hackman for William Petersen, and swap out Marseilles for Los Angeles in the 80s, and you get the gritty, dirty, frantic cop thriller To Live and Die in L.A. Also directed by William Friedkin, it makes sense that this feels like a spiritual successor to The French Connection. Petersen plays the obsessed cop well, good at his job, but overly focused on results instead of the process. He burns his bridges all too easily, and watching his journey is riveting.

Plus, if you’re a fan of Michael Mann films and all of their bombastic stylings, I think you’ll appreciate Friedkin’s attempt at injecting this film with vibrancy and energy that only Los Angeles in 1985 could provide. Thumping club beats, neon costumes, short shorts, and big hair, it’s all here in its full glory. And then there’s that chase scene. As good or maybe even better than the one in The French Connection. Look, if you’re a fan of the seediness of French Connection II, I hope you’ve already seen To Live and Die in L.A. But if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and watch it.

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