Hollywoodland

  • Review Date: February 5, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 126 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Bloody, complex '50s-set noir for adults only.
  • Review Date: February 5, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 126 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters lie, cheat, and undermine one another in order to pursue wealth and power.

Violence

Repeated images of Reeves' dead body, with blood on the bed, wall, and ceiling.

Sex

Some sex scenes, partially clothed, with activity indicated by sound (sighs and moans), by body motion, or (post-sex) by zipping up a fly; kissing; adultery; sexual language.

Language

Frequent uses of the f-word; "s--t," and other curse words; disparaging slang for ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation; sexual slang.

Consumerism

George worries about "Superman" being marketed on lunchboxes and elsewhere; Etch-a-Sketch, other 1950s products on display.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent cigarette and cigar smoking by major characters; drinking at parties and in clubs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this noir-themed film isn't appropriate for kids. It includes violence in the form of several reenactments of a central character's death (as murder or suicide, all possibilities featuring gunshot to his head), as well as repeated images of the crime scene (blood on wall and bed). Another dead body appears on a floor, shot by her husband. A detective is beaten by thugs, resulting in a bruised/bloodied face. Characters appear in bed, though sexual activity is more implied than visible. Major characters smoke incessantly, drink frequently (to the point of drunkenness). Characters use frequent profanity, including multiple "f--k"s and disparaging slang for ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

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What's the story?

HOLLYWOODLAND depicts an investigation of the 1959 death of TV's Superman, George Reeves (played by Ben Affleck). The investigation of the death -- revealed in bloody aftermath and even replayed a couple of times during the film, in different configurations, including suicide, accident, and assault by vengeful lover -- is conducted by private eye Louis Simo (Adrien Brody). Flashbacks reveal that Reeves had a longtime relationship with Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), ex-showgirl and unhappy wife of thuggish MGM executive Edward J. Mannix (Bob Hoskins). As Reeves ages, he starts an affair with the younger, gold-digging Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney). Simo's possible scenarios of the death as murder are fed by his considerations of the crime scene, lackadaisical efforts by the local detectives, and his own imagination. Recently estranged from his own wife Laurie (Molly Parker) and young, hero-seeking son (Zach Mills), Simo appreciates the need for Superman, as concept, icon, and role model. He wants to do right by the "American Way," and wants to make his own name, beyond the other dismal cases in his purview.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The questions posed by Hollywoodland are perennial and endlessly interesting, both trivialized and enhanced by Simo's own sense of tragedy: He's as self-inflating and lost as Reeves, his heroism as flimsy and sad. When he watches Reeves' homemade karate film -- an unconvincing "audition" to show his physical skills -- Simo's eyes soften. He recognizes in Reeves' pathetically gallant figure a certain desperation and self-delusion, as well as a childish faith. He can "make it," if only he's earnest and devoted enough.

But the trouble, according to Hollywoodland, is that there is no "enough." There's only luck and connections. As much as it is affecting and intriguing, and gestures toward unpacking myths and deceptions, Hollywoodland remains rather mired in a conventional moral scheme. Superman was done in by a system designed to do him in... and then remade him in multiple, ever lucrative forms.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about George Reeves' death, as it raises questions about ambition and depression, suicide, murder, and cover-up, in the context of the movie/TV industry. How do heroes serve as role models on TV or in other mass media? How can we understand these figures as performers, and as humans with frailties?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 8, 2006
DVD release date:February 6, 2007
Cast:Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane
Director:Allen Coulter
Studio:Focus Features
Genre:Drama
Run time:126 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, some violence and sexual content

This review of Hollywoodland was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bymarketing April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Adult Written byRevolver147 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Should have been a made for TV movie.

A great cast wasted on a poor script. In order for a movie to be received well the viewer must be able to relate and sympathize with at least one of the characters. Hollywoodland did not present anyone that I could develop an afinity for so I ended up thinking "so what". Too drawn out, too slow paced. A waste of time and money.
Teen, 14 years old Written byaleppoman April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Better than the Black Dahlia but worse than L.A. Confidential

Pretty good movie. Worth seeing.

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