Gods of Los Angeles (2003) – By Duane L. Martin

Gods of Los Angeles is a story about a girl with some mental issues that ends up going to college and touching the lives of nearly everyone she meets. It’s also the story of a couple who love each other and yet are unsure about their relationship is going and if they’ll be able to make it. It’s also the story of a guy who just broke up with his girlfriend and is feeling completely low, yet hides it behind jokes and a smiling face. It’s about all these things, and more. Yet it manages to pull all the different story tangents into one coherent story that also has a bit of a paranormal aspect to it.

The whole story is way to involved with way too many tangents to get into here. Coming in at a whopping 155 minutes, this film is extremely long, and yet manges to hold itself together and progress the story throughout it’s entirety. My only real complaint is that there were several montage type scenes that just had a song playing in the background that could have been cut from the film. That would have shortened the run time and kept the pacing nice and smooth.

The acting in this film ranged from horrible to really great. Fortunately, almost all of the main characters fall into the really great category, whereas the only really horrible ones were the extras that were hangin’ around in this guy’s apartment that everyone seemed to like to hang out at. The only one of the main characters I’m going to really ding here (and nothing personal on this) is David Ashe who played Bruce Tree in this film. His acting wasn’t horrible, but a lot of his line delivery was. He has an unbelievably hot girlfriend (played by Katherine Hoagland) and he’s constantly telling her, "I love you." The problem is not in the fact that he says it a lot, but more in the fact that it sounds completely flat and unemotional when he does. There wasn’t a single time he said it that I actually believed he meant it, and it never had any feeling of love in it at all. Mostly it sounded like someone who was saying it because they felt like they had to but didn’t really mean it. Also, the scenes where he kissed his girlfriend were basically passionless. Anyone who gets a chance to kiss a girl that hot should just go for it and do it right. Now this isn’t to say that he was a horrible actor. He wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t feel or believe the emotional aspects of his character. The only other one I’d have any bit of a complaint about is Marianna McConnell who played Lily’s roommate Jules. Her acting sort of went in the opposite direction in that she was kind of overdoing it and overly emotional, and yet still not believable because it just didn’t seem like she was really feeling what she was doing.

Now on the flip side of that, Katherine Hoagland (oh my god she’s hot) who played Bruce’s girlfriend Rhonda, did a great job in playing the jealous and yet loving girlfriend. Her character felt a bit uneven at times but that can be attributed to the unevenness of some of her dialogue rather than to anything she did. Also, major kudos to David Maddox who played Bruce’s friend Clifford. He was absolutely brilliant and a joy to watch. He has a wonderful acting talent and I really think that if he wants to, he could be a major star someday. Of everyone in this film, he was the most natural and funny and he just did a fantastic job.

Now with a film this long, you have to worry about the story falling apart. Fortunately, it didn’t. Every time it felt like, "Hey there could be an ending here," there was another section that continued the story rather than making it feel like it was just being dragged out for the sake of length. As I was watching it, about half way through I checked the remain time and thought to myself, "Oh my god this is long! That can’t be right!" But it was. And yet, the way it played out, just worked. As I said, some of the lengthy scenes of nothing with a song behind it could have been cut for the sake of length, but other than that it all worked out rather nicely.

Speaking of the music, there’s a LOT of it in this film, and it’s all really good. It’s some of the best music I’ve heard in an independent film to date.

Basically, although this movie is long, it works. There are a few problems with the story and some unevenness in various bits of dialogue, but you can say that about most movies. Fortunately, the problems in this one aren’t anything major and what we’re left with is an interesting film with lots of great characters that you’ll find yourself pulling for and hoping that things work out for them so they can all find happiness. It’s definitely a movie worth seeing.

If you’d like to get yourself a copy of this film or check out any of director Garret Gilchrist’s other films, you can visit the Orange Cow Productions website at http://www.orangecow.org.