Top 25 Countdown — No. 17


Today I continue my top 25 countdown with a late 1990s classic.

No. 17 — LA Confidential (1997)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, Guy Pearce, and Kim Basinger
Director: Curtis Hanson
Quote: "Some men get the world. Others get ex-hookers and a trip to Arizona." — Lynn Bracken
About: Sometimes you're just destined to get over shadowed. When we look back, you can make an argument that "LA Confidential" was the best film of 1997. But it came out the same year as "Titanic," which had incredibly unique filmmaking techniques and, at the time, was the highest grossing film in history. So "Titanic" won Best Picture. Not a terrible choice, but not the right choice, in my opinion. Of course, I loved "LA Confidential" at the time, too, which is probably the kiss of death for a film's award chances. This isn't the only film on this list that I put that stink on the year it competed. But 19 years later, I still think this was the best film the year it came out, and it remains one of my favorite films of all time. And it's a film whose plot consistently gets ripped off. Just in the last year "True Detective" ripped off elements of the plot during its second season and, of course, "The Blacklist" ripped off part of the plot in the last episode on Thursday night. That's because there's so much of this film that's iconic. Not the least of which is the performances. This was a time, remember, when we were just realizing Russell Crowe was a great actor. And Spacey was only two years removed from "The Usual Suspects" and "Se7en," and was in the midst of a historic run of performances and films. And Pearce and Cromwell are under rated, as is the deep supporting cast — which includes David Straithairn, Danny DeVito and Kim Basinger. I love the story, the period setting, and the way the film comes together. And it has an iconic closing action sequence. If you haven't seen "LA Confidential" and you love these kind of films, you're missing out.
Rating: R for strong violence and language, and for sexuality. Enter with caution.

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