Movies about Los Angeles have been about cars to the point of caricature. Whether it's James Dean's 1949 Mercury Coup or the drive-by shootings from Boyz n the Hood, we are led to believe that life in LA happens from within a car. In Annie Hall, Woody Allen's character Alvy whines the whole time he's in LA:
"Hey, don't tell me we're gonna hafta walk from the car to the house. Geez, my feet haven't touched pavement since I reached Los Angeles."Steve Martin also joked about the LA and NY comparison in LA Story:
"Whatever you do, don't get dumped in L.A. I mean, it's not like New York, where you can meet someone walking down the street. In L.A. you practically have to hit someone with your car."And then Mulholland Drive and Crash explore the darker side of the ubiquitous driving culture.
|A still from 500 days of Summer|
|A still from 500 Days of Summer|
This deeply urban portrayal of Los Angeles is embedded within the characters and storyline as well. Tom's true passion is to be an architect, and he loves walking around downtown and appreciating the life of the sidewalks and historic buildings. He takes Summer to a downtown park to point out the cityscape, noting that the only blemish is two parking lots. Summer asks him to draw a picture on her arm of how the city can be infilled with more buildings.
Of course, in retrospect it's ridiculous to assume that a city of almost four million would have no urban fabric whatsoever. 500 Days of Summer does the service of telling the rest of us that it really does exist.