Posted by: steveonfilm | September 30, 2009

L.A. Story

I’ve been a big Steve Martin fan since about as long as I can remember watching TV and movies. Don’t ask me how, but even at 5 years old I just got Steve Martin and his comedy. Maybe it was watching old SNL episodes with my father and seeing the “Wild and Crazy Guys” sketch, who knows? But Steve Martin will always have a soft spot in my heart.

I recently read his autobiography “Born Standing Up” in about six hours. It was a great read. And if you find learning about where comedians or actors come from, their life, their experiences, all that stuff, this is a great book to read. And more importantly, it explains why, at the peak of his stardom as a standup, when there was no one bigger, he left… and ended his stand up career.

I don’t remember when I saw L.A. Story for the first time, but I’m sure it was when it was on HBO or Cinemax every other day one summer when I was a kid. Something about that movie just enthralled me. Not only does it star Steve Martin, it was written by him too, a double bonus in my book.

Plus, it took place in L.A., a place as foreign to a kid growing up in Detroit as possible. But it wasn’t just another movie that takes place in L.A., it actually was about “life” in L.A., or at least a cynical view of it. I just thought everything about it was brilliant (and remember I was maybe twelve at the time), and it characterized my view of L.A. to this day. And from my one visit there, it was pretty spot on with it’s observations.

If you haven’t seen the movie, here is a clip that rounds up the “artistic license” that Martin takes with day to day life in L.A.:

And this scene about ordering coffee in L.A. was WAY AHEAD OF IT’S TIME to the type of pretentious bullshit everyone has to deal with when ordering coffee now:

There’s also this exchange from earlier in the same scene:

Trudi: Sheila has been studying the art of conversation.
Harris: Oh, you’re taking a course in conversation?
Sheila: Yes.

And that’s it. That’s all she says. “Yes.” Yeah, well, that doesn’t come across on the page as it does on screen, you’ll have to trust me on that.

Anyway, I saw this movie on sale at Target for like $5.69 or something so I had to pick it up. If you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favor and do so. Some of the cultural stuff is a bit dated, but most of the themes aren’t. Also, there’s a VERY young Sarah Jessica Parker in it as Martin’s love interest, sort of, at one point. Just go with me on that, it’s not as odd as it sounds.

Until next time, keep writing!


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