We’re Adding to Our California Movie List

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Looking for a movie to watch this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

For the past several months we’ve been building a California movie list, a collection of films that readers say best reflect our fascinating state. We kicked off the list with the perennially popular classics “Chinatown” and “Vertigo,” and more recently added standouts from the 1990s like “The Big Lebowski” and “Boyz N the Hood.” You can browse the list here, here and here.

Today we’re adding six more, ranging in release date from way back in the 1940s to just before the pandemic.

Feel free to email me at CAtoday@nytimes.com with your own choices and why you think they deserve to be included. Happy viewing.

“The Long Goodbye” (1973)

“I am always thrilled to see the Pacific Coast Highway, and this movie has several scenes set in Malibu. Something about the California light is perfectly captured here. It’s bleached out, but sinister at the same time. Sleazy, cool and dark, and mostly in daylight. Also, no one can match the appeal of a young Elliott Gould in a suit and cigarette. It’s a fact.” — Natella Kataev, Los Angeles

“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963)

“The popular madcap adventure with Spencer Tracy was filmed all over California, from Newbury Park to Sonoma to Palm Springs, Orange County to Camarillo, Thousand Oaks to Santa Monica. When I first saw it in a theater in the late 1970s in Santa Monica, it was fun to be in an audience of locals, all making noises when the film showed the actors driving south on the Pacific Coast Highway, and we all knew it was actually showing them going south, and oohing in recognition at the scenes filmed in the well-known Pacific Palisades Park nearby.” — Elizabeth Good, Aptos

“Sunset Boulevard” (1950) and “The Player” (1992)

“It’s a tossup between these two films. Both films go into the personal stories and tragedies that arise from Hollywood and moviemaking, and the setting of each film is so L.A. The films were made 40-plus years apart, yet so much is the same.” — Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Corona del Mar

“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” (2019)

“Lived my 69 years in California and no movie has captured an era as well as this one. It was remarkable. I felt like I was back in L.A. at that time. I have watched it three times, and every detail is so perfect.” — Robin McDuff, Santa Cruz

“Double Indemnity” (1944)

“This is a quintessential film noir, written by Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain. The lighting and play of shadow (love the black and white approach), terse dialogue, Barbara Stanwyck’s femme fatale who exposes Fred McMurray’s inner darkness and the inexorable descent from good guy to murderer makes this a gem of the genre.” — Laura Berthold Monteros, Los Angeles


The water polo star and Olympic gold medalist Maggie Steffens was raised in Danville in a family of notable aquatics athletes. Her father started playing water polo back when he still lived in Puerto Rico, and her sister was one of her teammates at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Steffens was a junior at Stanford when she was invited to a party at the Old Pro, a bar in Palo Alto, in December 2016 (after she’d won two Olympic gold medals). It was at this party that she met Robert Conner, her future husband.

Conner was determined to see Steffens again after he’d left the party, even if that meant meeting hundreds of miles away.

“Maggie was the first person in my life I was immediately drawn to,” he said.

Steffens was interested in Conner, too, after he treated her to a Cuba libre. “It’s the drink of Puerto Rico,” Steffens said. “I was like, this guy knows me.”

The instant chemistry remained during their first date at a Cuban restaurant. Years later, they got married at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Halina Bennet and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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