Look if this is what counts as insightful and witty Hollywood whimsy then Burn the fucker down indeed. And don’t scrimp on the accelerants.
Allegedly a tongue in cheek look at how Hollywood politics systematically dumbs down even the most visionary work and smooths out anything that could possibly be misconstrued as a ‘controversial’ sharp edge. All Burn Hollywood, Burn actually represents is a grandiose work of pretention hiding behind a self deprecating smokescreen.
The ‘joke’ here is that film directors who are so against their own finished product can choose to operate under the pseudonym ‘Alan Smithee’ instead of having their good name and CV tainted by inferior films or an end result that they feel somehow misrepresents their ‘vision’. Only the lead director in this film is really named Alan Smithee (Eric Idle).
Chuckle. Snort. Let me out of here.
But seriously there’s another 80 minutes of this crap to go.
Smithee is making his dream pic, an action film to end all action films starring Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone and Whoopi Goldberg – all playing themselves as egocentric pricks. (I particularly loathed the bits where they ad-lib to screen trying to sound all ironic, self aware and meta – but came across as dicks – even chronically image conscious Jackie Chan.)
Anyway thanks to Hollywood’s patented studio interference – personified by Ryan O’Neal as a smarmy producer and numerous real Hollywood identities playing minor roles – the big budget masterpiece ‘Trio’ is not what Smithee envisioned. Worse it has also seen its budget blow out and the stars disavow themselves of the project.
Bad advance buzz is apparently death for a film regardless of the budget or quality, so Ryan O’Neal and co try their best to put a positive spin on things and dull the roar that Trio is set to be a Waterworld sized busteroo.
With such a fake doco interviews with the puppet masters, bullshit artists and manipulators are apparently mandatory, regardless of the fact that the nudge-nudge, wink-wink stuff gets old before… oh let’s say the opening credits.
Eventually Smithee steals the final print of the finished film and vanishes, and the studio reps must negotiate with a duo of ‘real street smart filmmakers’ (read: black) to get it back without compromising their or Smithee’s integrity. Chuck D plays one of the directors, Coolio the other. Neither will be happy to have this on their acting CVs, though in fairness Coolio hasn’t got much of a CV of worth period.
At least they had the sense to pepper the soundtrack with Public Enemy songs and not Coolio’s…
Burn Hollywood, Burn does no-one involved any favours. It is not nearly as clever as it thinks it is (and wouldn’t be even if it didn’t think it was clever). It’s also hideously unfunny and wankier and greasier than a million episodes of E! News, which considering it is trying to lampoon those very traits in the entertainment industry should be unforgivable.
Final Rating – 3 / 10. Many years ago I read Jackie Chan’s autobiography in which he bagged this film mercilessly and stated clearly that he only did it to star alongside buddy Sly Stallone. I now know why. In retrospect Jackie would have been better served missing the chance and preserving his reputation. Actually everyone involved with this crap should have.
Burn Hollywood, Burn. Or at least those responsible for this.