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Casting L.A. in a starring role

September 07, 2008

YOU OVERLOOKED "Laurel Canyon," set in the heart of L.A. The story, direction, acting and production are all amazingly well done. It's almost as if the hot femininity of Frances McDormand and Kate Beckinsale churns the water in all the swimming pools in the city.

Also, where you have deservingly selected at least four African American features, where are the ones with Latino stories and actors? A place to start is with "Tortilla Soup." And there are many more to consider.

As for those titles that do not deserve to be on your list, start with "Fletch" (like, let's set up a camera by the Santa Monica Pier and make a movie), "Mulholland Drive" (what was that about again?) and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (not much more than a gimmick).

Ron Salmons

Pacific Palisades

You WERE clearly reluctant to list "Crash" among "the Top 25 of the last 25," and you should have followed your instinct. There's a perfectly good substitute film that achieved everything "Crash" wanted to with much less fussiness nearly 10 years earlier. "Volcano" (1997) takes place in a spatially segregated Los Angeles and takes a twisting path to racial reconciliation.

It comes not via tortured coincidences and Oscar-baiting performances but by Tommy Lee Jones kicking the pants off the title character.

Josh Kamensky

Jon Zerolnick

Los Angeles

I HOPE you don't mean to imply that your No. 1 pick ["L.A. Confidential"] is a better film than your No. 25 pick, or that "Boogie Nights" and "Beverly Hills Cop" are also "better" than "Crash."

Two glaring oversights: "Grand Canyon" is a brilliant film, one of the most underrated flicks of all time. Ditto "Life as a House."

And if throw-away comedies such as "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Fletch" are included, what about "Down and Out in Beverly Hills"?

Rich Naughton

Fountain Valley

We received a healthy response to this piece and were chastised for omitting crowd favorites "Heat," "Chinatown" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" among many titles. All noteworthy films but, as we stated, they did not meet our ground rules of only one film per director (we chose Michael Mann's "Collateral") or the 25-year cutoff date ("Chinatown" was released in 1974 and "Fast Times . . . " in 1982) -- but they'd be perfect for the Top 50 of the last 50 years.

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