An Alan Smithee Film : Burn Hollywood Burn
I ended up watching Burn Hollywood Burni through its inclusion in a "worst films ever made" list of dubious provenance.ii This only goes to show what a fabulous counter-predictor "public opinion" aka fecal matter actually is -- the film is nothing short of fabulous.iii
The documentary style works exceptionally well for the purpose, because it allows luxurious indirect characterisation, a celebration of the comedic as well as enjoyment potential of diversity the likes of which are rarely seen plus ample space to fill every nook and cranny with visual gags. In fact, it would be correct to say that the documentary style is only adequate for this purpose and none other -- whether you allow nature itself to provide the tropical abundance of indirect characterisation, bedazzling variety and avalanche of visual gags as in a "real" documentary or you construct them deliberately as in "news" programming or this exceptional comedy is entirely irrelevant.
The script is the worst part of the film. It's the 90s, so people still seriously think blacks may in principle be as good as whites, ridiculous as the notion may appear in light of human history. Even more comedically golden, the selfsame people imagine that the manner through which blacks may end up actually being as good as whites is through writing "liar" and "scumbag" on the profile of the white men in power but "cool" and "dude" on the profile of a coupla monkeys lost on the set. That'll make it true! Fight the oppressionarchy!!1
Twenty years later, the experience of an inept monkey posturing as a "constitutional law scholar" on the dubious credentials of breaking the law on occasion having taken the country through the worst presidential term in its recorded history has thrown enough cold water on the idiocy to sink the Titanic. It hopefully put the nonsense to bed permanently, but in any case makes it ring hollow right now. Really, da Cussack-American brothers brothers cavalryiv charge sets things right ? Nigga... puhleeze.
The cast is also not up to the task. Ex-Monty Python brainz Idle barely makes the cut. Barely. Richard Jeni is a shockingly unconvincing Rod Steigerv. Ryan O'Neal manages to be even more wooden than Alec Baldwin would have been in the role. Stiff, unexamined, inept privilege is just about all the US has produced in its brief but irrelevant cultural history, how the fuck is it that the USian has yet to be born who can play it for the camera ? A mystery for the ages, I guess, although in the plain statement above suddenly also very self-explanatory. The waitress trying to play Madonna sucks at playing Madonna. On it goes.
The film is great. A better audience, cast, and team of writers would have benefitted it greatly ; but even the spherical chickens involved do not manage to ruin it.
And oh my gawds the Variety insider gags just keep on coming and coming!———
- 1997, by Arthur Hitler (as Alan Smithee), with Eric Idle, Naomi Campbell, Slyvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, Jackie Chan plus a bunch of utterly irrelevant bus boys and waitresses not worthy of being given names. I don't mean of having their names given here ; I mean of having been given a name in the first place. "Hey, boy, get here!" is entirely enough appelation for all the possible needs of one Artis Leon Ivey Jr and his ilk. [↩]
- The opinion is widespread, imdb for instance lists it as 3.5 based on 3`015 user ratings. That's not 3.5 out of 5, it's 3.5 out of 10. [↩]
- In fairness, it was also the first film in many years where I actually had to slow it down so I could follow. I had to take a ten minute break after the first five minutes so my brain could switch gears. It was a party for the senses, finally my 64 bit bus getting to talk to a world that's wider than 64 bits rather than narrower! [↩]
- Geddit ? [↩]
- Have you seen Bogart's last film ? [↩]
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
That's your 2/10 right there, coming loud and clear from flyover country/Trump's America over AoL. MAGA!
Sunday, 5 February 2017
Friday, 7 April 2017
Hiller's decision to use the Alan Smithee credit was "very transparently not a stupid, stupid gimmick to raise interest in a terrible film". A witless Hollywood satire whose hammy, obvious jokes are neither funny nor insightful of the movie business.
Friday, 7 April 2017