Filmmaker Laura Gabbert shows us the city in familiar ways -- from overhead, or through the windows of cars, mostly -- but each shot feels like it's in love with its location, whether it's a quadcopter shot whooshing over Fairfax or a window shot of Gold describing each specialty along a road in the San Gabriel Valley.
Unlike just about every movie about our city, this movie doesn't want to paint LA as glamorous or even navigable: each map it shows gives a true sense of the massiveness of the city's scope, demonstrating Gold's geographic breadth, and yours, too. And the food the movie features is food you'll want to eat, ASAP, and feel very lucky that it's available in your hometown: the toothpick lamb at Chengdu Taste, the seafood tacos at Mariscos Jalisco, the injera at Meals by Genet, all within a short drive from wherever you are, right now, with their creators often featured on screen describing their own versions of the American dream -- and their hard-fought method of achieving it. Never does the movie become about Gold's impact on their businesses, but rather how their hard work paid off. It's the immigrant experience seen through food -- and through Los Angeles itself.
Is it sort of feel-goody? Damn straight. It makes you feel good about not just its direct subject, but its assumed one, as well. And next time someone's hating on LA, just make them watch it... preferably, on an empty stomach.
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Jeff Miller is probably eating somewhere featured in City of Gold right now. Find out at @jeffmillerla on Instagram or @thrillistla on Twitter.