October 10, 2006

Truth, Justice, and...Whatever

A few months ago, several of you begged and pleaded for me not to watch Catwoman on DVD, citing that it was a bad film. In that spirit, I would like to recommend a film to avoid...even the guy who wanted me to see the Halle Berry film in the first place.

I really wanted to like Hollywoodland, the movie that focused on the career and mysterious death of George Reeves, aka television's first Superman. Part cautionary tale, part docudrama, this movie should have had all the makings of a good movie - not a classic, but an insightful examination of the dangers of typecasting.

So what went wrong? Why was this film ultimately disappointing?

Part of it is the screenplay, which all too often goes for cliche...or at the very least, by-the-numbers writing. We get that the main protagonist - a down-and-out private investigator (Adrian Brody) is just as ambitious and willing to do anything as George Reeves (Ben Afflect) was in acquiring acting jobs. Instead of being tight, this film looks like part noir thriller, part E! The True Hollywood Story. It actually takes interesting material and managers to make it seem, well, dull.

In addition, none of the characters are likeable - the men all seem to be portrayed as ambitious and power-hungry; the women (except for the detective's ex-wife) seem shrewish and manipulative. I'm not asking for everyone to be sweet, and maybe this group was unlikeable, but when you're making a movie, you want to pull the audience in, not alienate them.

Maybe it's my current mood, but I found this film to be a little too depressing, even with all the various theories surrounding Reeves' death. My advice is to watch this documentary on Superman - it provides an excellent, even moving account of how people were affected by Reeves' death. It's truly what he deserves.

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