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Arts and Entertainment

Everybody Wang Chung tonight

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We assume that you have places to go and things to do. You are undaunted by rain. You will not, we're sure, be staying home for a double feature of '80s DVD. Like, say, To Live and Die in LA (complete with theme song by the incomparable Wang Chung) and Beverly Hills Cop (with theme song by the Pointer Sisters).

But just in case, we have to tell you that these two movies, awful in their 80s-ness, totally deserve to be on your LA-movies-to-see list.

First of all, if you're a fan of CSI and have never seen To Live and Die in LA, don't wait another minute. William L. Petersen is the movie's star, and he was a lean mean 28 32 (thanks, fstasu53, we've fired our fact-checker) at the time. The movie was directed by the talented William Friedkin, who won an Oscar for The French Connection; by the 80s, Friedkin was doing so much coke that he had a heart attack while driving the Harbor Freeway. Does To Live and Die in LA reflect a coke-fueled manic meanness? If so, it's in the villanous character played by Willem Defoe. The landscape of LA has changed since the movie was made, so it's neat to look for what still exists and what might be gone (the strip joint has been razed).

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Eddie Murphy may have deserved his fall from grace, but the fact is that he used to be damn funny, like Chris Rock funny. Beverly Hills Cop is best when he just gets to hog the screen. Did we mention manic before? Murphy is definitely manic, but it's a mania that always stays just this side of zinging out of control. There are some priceless 80s styles in this film: shoulderpads, hair — and take a look at how tight Eddie's jeans are in the picture. And there are car chases, which give those crazy perspectives of 20-years-ago-LA whizzing by. Check for scary shop facades and the outdated skyline.

If you try this vintage LA DVD double feature, tell us what you think. What LA movies are on your must-see list?

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