Kali (_thirty2flavors) wrote,

LA Without a Map, or: Nothing Says Love Like Stalking

So, last night Hannah and I decided to watch Love and Other Disasters for our ginger queen Catherine Tate, but then Netflix wasn't working for Hannah and there was a change in plans. Instead we ended up watching LA Without a Map, which is a 90s movie starring bb David Tennant, with cameos from Lisa Edelestein and, inexplicably, Johnny Depp.


This movie is primarily about this guy Richard, played (obviously) by David Tennant. Richard works as an undertaker for about two seconds of the movie, until he sees the hot girl who will serve as the love interest.

This movie came out in like '98, so David Tennant is approximately twelve.

She is just hanging out in the cemetery, taking pictures and generally being a tourist right next to an actual funeral. Her name is Barbara, and she is played by someone named Vinessa Shaw whom you've probably never heard of, judging by her IMDB page. Barbara is AMERICAN! Barbara explains that she was on a nondescript train through this nondescript British village and it looked cute so she decided to get out and take pictures of gravestones, or something. Richard offers to show her around, and Barbara accepts, because picking up a date in a cemetery is totally normal.

Around now is when Hannah said, "this doesn't look like LA." lol Hannah

Unfortunately for Richard, Barbara is an ~actress~ and she must return to LA. So she does. I guess their five hours together made a pretty big impression, because after she leaves Richard promptly decides he is TOTALLY MISERABLE without her and that he is going to move to LA to be with her. Just so we're clear, this is after she leaves. She does not invite him, or anything. He just decides this is a good idea, and figures he can track down her workplace based on the matchbox she left behind. Because I guess she couldn't possibly have just had a random matchbox, it must be from her place of employment.

Hannah tells me he also has a girlfriend in Britain at this time, but I wasn't really paying attention so I guess I missed that. In any case, what a douche.

So Richard flies to LA to be with this girl he met for five hours, despite not having her phone number or talking to her about this or any of that. He shows up at the restaurant and asks one of the waitresses if she can get Barbara. Apparently the waitress friend recognizes him and gets all excited and thinks this is TOTALLY SWEET and not at all presumptuous or stalkery, so she goes to get Barbara for him.

Barbara is thrilled to see him.

After the "WTF r u doin here" conversation, in which Richard seems to have no awareness of the creeped-out vibes Barbara is projecting, Barbara throws him a bone and tells him he can come on this photoshoot she's doing, if he wants. The photographer on this photoshoot is one of the highlights of the movie, because his dialogue is so stunningly bad. He is basically an over-the-top caricature of a sleezy photographer, and his opening speech is about how there are lots of dogs in Paris and so there's dog shit everywhere. Like, no joke, this gets a good two minutes of screentime.

Richard's face basically matches my face.

Anyway, they drive out into the desert, because I guess the photoshoot entails posing with a statue of Jesus. The photographer is all COME ON BE SEXY YOU'RE NOT THE VIRGIN MARY HUR HUR HUR and Richard is all "Mary Magdelene" and the photographer is like WHATEVER HERMIONE.

The photographer is a man with a vision.

At the end of the shoot, in addition to a seemingly pointless anecdote where Richard sees a rattlesnake, the photographer starts harassing Barbara, being all HEY BABY COME BACK TO MY PLACE HUR HUR while Barbara is like "ew get off". Richard attempts to defend her honour by throwing a punch, missing, and then getting his ass handed to him, until Barbara scares away the photographer by hitting him with her shoe and telling him to fuck off as Richard, like, groans on the ground. After the photographer leaves Barbara looks at Richard and is like "what the fuck is wrong with you". It is hysterical, NEGL.

Basically how I imagine the Doctor getting in a fight would go, tbh.

They hitch-hike back into town and there's a montage of them ~laughing and bonding~ in the back of this Hispanic family's vehicle. When they get back into town, Richard is like WE SHOULD GET MARRIED, because he is Ted Mosby. Barbara is like "....lol", but spared the process of answering because HERE COMES THE FILM'S MAIN ANTAGONIST OH FUCK YEAH.

The main antagonist is a guy named Patterson, but whom I will call Ken for his resemblance to Cool Shaving Ken. He is a director or actor or someone who instantly comes over to Barbara and starts flirting. Barbara says their relationship is "strictly professional", in a standard sexual harassment-y sort of way I guess.

Cool Shave Ken has a leather jacket and an earring because he is a badass.

Barbara goes off with Cool Shave Ken to do... something work-related I guess, and gives Richard the keys to her car to drive it ...home? I don't know. Richard is like "I can't drive" and Barbara is like LOL RICHARD U SO FUNNY and walks away, but we the viewer know that Richard was being quite serious. So anyway despite not knowing how to drive and despite being on a continent where you drive on the opposite side of the road, Richard decides to give it a shot. Predictably he fails, gets pulled over, and has to leave the car in a sketchy neighborhood. When he goes back to the car the next day, the wheels are gone and the car is pretty trashed, because I guess that's what happens in ~the hood~.

The best part about this scene is that it marks the introduction of the greatest character. A dude looking like Jon Snow comes out of the house and utters the greatest dialogue written in the universe:

Actual dialogue, on my life: "Yo, dude. Yo. Dude. Yo bro. Yo, bro. Just chill out bro. Let me give you a piece of advice, bro. Never, and I mean never, park your wheels on this block, bro. It's not that kinda hood, bro. Yo, look what they did. Yo."

Yo Snow goes on to explain that he's the landlord, and in about ten minutes Richard has decided to rent from him, despite finding a dead possum in the toilet and despite the fact that ten minutes ago he found the wheels to his not-girlfriend's car stolen. When he tells Barbara he started renting a place she's like "WTF", and we get a montage of him cleaning up a bit and also putting up the Johnny Depp poster that he talks to, no word of a lie.

He also starts a fire while trying to cook a hot dog. He's like a Sim.

Soon enough he goes on the world's awkwardest date with both Barbara and Ken (ha ha! I didn't even notice that until just now tbh), because Barbara's dead dad told her it was a good idea. Again, no word of a lie. Ken and Richard are clearly jealous of each other, and Ken tells them about this movie idea he has where there's the Hero, the Hot Girl ("that could be you, Barbara!") and the Loser and they all go rock climbing but the Hero shoves the Loser of the cliff and then leaves the Hot Girl to die as well. At the end, just in case you didn't get it, he's like RICHARD YOU COULD PLAY THE LOSER.


This is super long and there is still LOTS OF EXCITING ACTION LEFT so I'll speed up. Richard takes Barbara to Jon Bro's concert, and Barbara brings her friend Julie, who hits it off with Bro Snow immediately. They have a lovely double-date, until Barbara oversees Ken making out with Lisa Edelstein. She flips out, even though their relationship is "strictly professional", and the four of them have a conflict in the parking lot. Ken is all BUT BARBARA BABY YOU'RE THE BEST AND LISA EDELSTEIN IS A CHEAP WHORE or something, I don't remember.


Once again Richard tries to defend Barbara's honour and gets in a conflict and has his ass handed to him. lol before they throw punches Ken is all OHHH MR CUTE ENGLISH ACCENT and Richard is like "I'm from Scotland".

So you ain't English, then.

And then Ken kicks his ass, basically. The whole sequence, once again, is amazing. Luckily for Richard, Jon Bro and his band arrive and hold Ken back so Richard can pick himself off the ground and act way more smug than anyone who just got saved by a bunch of dudes dressed as clowns has any right to be.

Never fear, the Night Watch has arrived.

Long story short, their trials and tribulations bring them together. After explaining that she doesn't want to be like her oft-divorced mom, Barbara asks Richard to marry her while they're parked outside a convenience store. True romance. So they do, at some Vegas chapel, by some guy who looks like Jack Nicholson. TL;DR Barbara eventually gets an audition that goes really really well. She says the producer loved her, and she only has to meet with the director at some party. So they go to the party and the director is -- YOU GUESSED IT! -- Cool Shave Ken. Richard is visibly jealous and a crazy person, and decides to get utterly shitfaced and embarrass her at the party.

There's a subplot involving Richard's writing aspirations but w/e no1curr tbh. Except that his manuscript is called "Oozy Suicide", what the fuck.

Anyway, Barbara doesn't get the part and is super depressed. Richard finds out from Bro Snow that the reason Barbara didn't get the part is because Ken told her she could only have the part if she had sex with him. Like all goodnatured husbands, Richard is totally horrified by his wife being the victim of such hideous sexism and sexual harassment! Oh wait, no he's not, instead he throws a tantrum in a bar and is like OMG U THOUGHT ABOUT IT DIDN'T U OMG H0R.


A couple days later Barbara gets a call from Ken apologizing and saying he should've offered her the part, and he totally will if she'll just come over to his apartment! Richard is all OMG U CAN'T, not so much because he is worried about his wife's safety but primarily because he is insanely jealous. Barbara is like "fuck you I do wut I want ALSO WORK ON YOUR JEALOUSY BECAUSE YOU ARE CRAZY". Richard, to prove her wrong, hides in the trunk of her car while she tries to go to Ken's.

Possibly a more accomplished stalker than Crazy Ten.

Barbara, rightly, leaves him at this point, though she leaves him for Ken so I'm not sure she really moved up so much as moved horizontally. Anyway, Richard mopes a lot, and eventually has a big fight with Jon Bro after Yo Snow is like "yo bro you gotta move on bro". MOVING ON WOULD BE TOO SENSIBLE, so instead Richard keeps calling her and showing up at her place of employment until she changes her number and her boss tells him to fuck off. At one point, while sulking in a graveyard (as one does), he sees someone sitting on a bench.

And thus begins the most baffling scene in the entire film: Richard sits next to Johnny Depp, playing Johnny Depp, and they share a bucket of fried chicken while Richard laments Barbara and to comfort him Johnny Depp talks about how he was in love with a stripper in Vancouver who could balance salt and pepper shakers on her boobs. This is 100% actually what happens in this sequence you guys.

This is the greatest movie in the world.

I can't do this justice so I'm just going to include a lot of photographic evidence:

Did Johnny Depp seriously have nothing else going on in 1998?

After his talk with Johnny Depp... I guess... Richard decides he has to win Barbara back. His plan for doing this involves crashing a party she's at with a hideous shirt, a pompadour and a bottle of chloroform. The plan could LITERALLY not get any worse.

I assume the shirt was from David Tennant's personal wardrobe, though.

He crashes the party, where he meets Johnny Depp, again, who seems to have no idea who he is ...so... was he hallucinating? or was Johnny Depp saving face by not associating himself with someone looking like the death of the 70s? God only knows.

He's also talking loudly during a movie screening. DOUCHE.

Then approaches Barbara, who wants nothing to do with him at all. He tells her it's not their relationship that's wrong, it's LA! LA ruins everything! Come live in London with me! She's like "it's not LA, it's the fact that you're fucking insane" and walks away from him and he tries to chloroform her.

Guys, he tries to chloroform her.

But she elbows him in the face, lmao, and he falls backwards, and then the chloroform spills (I think?) and someone's cigarette lights a sofa on fire. It's like a Rube Goldberg machine of the worst plan ever.

Doctor, you need to stop setting things on fire when you are upset.

He gets arrested and his wife wants to press charges as well but for some reason nothing really happens? Something to do with his literary agent, who is now impressed with him? I don't know, none of this made sense to me. But he goes back to Britain to be an undertaker again, and there is this great newspaper headline:

Well done, sir.

So we see him at another funeral. But then, who's that in the distance? COULD IT BE--? IT IS! Barbara came over to Britain! Awww she mutually stalked him! TRUE LOVE. He apologizes for being batshit insane and admits that he was in love with the "idea" of her. Surprisingly honest, but apparently not off-putting to Barbara, who tells him his Oozy Suicide manuscript sold for 50 grand (what) and then tells him she'd like to live in England with him and THEY MAKE MOVIES IN BRITAIN, RIGHT? Even though he just finished saying he didn't really view her as a human being, but an exotic ideal, he is thrilled by this news and they make out.

Hey guys, remember that time he TRIED TO CHLOROFORM YOU? ...No?

The movie ends with them holding hands and skipping merrily through a cemetery. I can only assume they divorce in like a month, she moves back to LA after being disenchanted with the miniseries scene, and he eventually changes his name to Peter Carlisle and becomes a DI.
Tags: david tennant is pretty okay i guess, do i need to make actor tags?, hannah leads a double life, project watch all the things
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