Sunset Strip [1992]

Sunset Strip would like nothing more than to become a sex, drugs, and rock & roll American Graffiti for the 1972 Los Angeles scene, right down to the flashy "where are they now?" coda. The film follows the lives of fringe players in the music industry who crisscross paths over a 24-hour period. Funky fashion designer Anna Friel and colorblind photographer Michael Baker are the ostensible leads, best friends whose hopeless affairs and quickies blind them to the growing attraction between them. Orbiting around these two are naive young rock & roll dreamer Nick Stahl; cynical, substance-abusing songwriter Rory Cochrane; Afro-wearing, jive-talking would-be impresario Adam Goldberg; country-fried rocker Jared Leto; and Scottish art-rock superstar Tommy J. Flanagan. Director Adam Collis, working from a script cowritten by Randall Jahnson, who penned The Doors for Oliver Stone, tries to capture the easygoing, offhanded quality George Lucas brought to American Graffiti. It's an entertaining piece with a restless undercurrent of characters stumbling around for their place in this hyped-up, hopped-up world, but Collis has little of Lucas's deft touch and the film ultimately has little to say about the characters or the period. This lightweight flashback, however, does come accessorized with groovy fashions, hip haircuts, and loads of rock music (some of it the real thing, the rest modern retro compositions). --Sean Axmaker

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