L.A. Story (1991) (1991)
January 11, 2023 12:36 AM - Subscribe

T.V. weather man Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin) is unsatisfied with his job and stuck in a failing relationship - but thanks to the intervention of a sentient freeway sign, his life is about to change.

Written by Martin, directed by Mick Jackson, and co-starring Martin's then wife Victoria Tennant as the main romantic interest, L.A. Story plays like a series of comic pieces tied together into a light romantic comedy as solid performances from the leads are boosted by great bits from players in supporting roles, including the always enjoyable Richard E. Grant and a surprisingly comic turn from Patrick Stewart as the arrogant maitre'd of a fashionable eatery.

Also featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, Marilu Henner, Rick Moranis, Kevin Pollak, Woody Harrelson, Chevy Chase, and others.

93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
posted by Nerd of the North (12 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Inspired by miss-lapin's recent FanFare post for All of Me, I decided that L.A. Story deserved a post as well.

This is a favorite for my brother and we never seem to run into anyone else who enjoys it as we do.

Not every joke sticks the landing, some parts of the movie are definitely still stuck in the early 90s, and the Enya-filled soundtrack hasn't tracked well with the times (though neither is it horribly jarring) but I still laugh every time at "With a portfolio like this, you think you can have the duck?"
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:45 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]

It's not just you, this has been a favourite of mine for a long time. Even if some of the scenes haven't aged well, especially parts of the deleted ones.
posted by Paragon at 2:41 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

To this day, whenever I hear the word "pointy," I think of the "Pointy Birds" poem.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:05 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]

plays like a series of comic pieces tied together

This movie really exposes how much Martin's movies are generally like this -- even the best of them (not to say that there are any bad Steve Martin movies) has at least a couple of scenes that read like an SNL sketch or a standup wrapper from early-season Seinfeld. Not that it's bad, necessarily. It's not distracting or jarring or even out of place (most of the time). It's just a thing that, once you see it, you can practically sense Martin getting ready to turn to camera and say "Live! From New York!"
posted by Etrigan at 6:14 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

I think of the "Pointy Birds" poem

Anoint my head, anointy-nointy.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:24 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]

Oh yes, one of my favorite Steve Martin things - and he's done a lot of things.
posted by Naberius at 6:29 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

Big S, small a, small n, big D, small e, big E. And there's a little star at the end.
posted by mefireader at 7:55 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]

The ballet-like 4-way car collision. I think of it often when I'm at 4-way stops. And, really, this quote: "There's someone out there for everyone - even if you need a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find them."
posted by rmd1023 at 8:03 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Mr. Perdue, Maître d' at L'Idiot [Patrick Stewart]: Your usual table, Mr. Christopher?

Carlo Christopher [Chevy Chase]: No, I'd like a good one this time.

Mr. Perdue, Maître d' at L'Idiot: I'm sorry, that is impossible.

Carlo Christopher: Part of the new cruelty?

Mr. Perdue, Maître d' at L'Idiot: I'm afraid so.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:19 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]

What's that clanging sound?
posted by JohnFromGR at 10:47 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]

Part of the New Cruelty?
I'm a huge fan of the short stories of the British humorist H. H. Munro, who wrote under the name Saki, and "the New Cruelty" is the sort of thing I can imagine being debated by his characters as he mocks the highly fashion-obsessed milieu many of them inhabit. Or possibly discussed by Stella Gibbons' Flora Poste and Mary Smiling after they finish going over "The Higher Common Sense"..
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:15 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

The bit with Stewart is genius. As is Martin's search for a dry cleaner that charges $20 to launder a shirt. That was hyperbole then, I bet there are places like that now.
posted by wnissen at 5:42 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

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