Hollywood North (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I think it was Mr. Cranky, discussing another film, who pointed out that filmmakers seem to be obsessed with making films about the filmmaking process, even though nobody really cares about the fucking filmmaking process except other filmmakers.

Of course, given the number of people in the world who now consider themselves filmmakers, that still leaves a sizeable audience.


Jennifer Tilly shows her breasts when she removes her robe before the sex scene in the film-within-a-film.

This particular one is about a successful, sensitive lawyer who quits his practice, circa 1980, to produce a Canadian film adapted from one of his favorite novels. He is able to obtain substantial financing from some private investors, provided that he can deliver some big-time Hollywood names to lend box-office appeal. He manages to persuade an aging American idol to make the film, but has to make a number of concessions to his big star in order to recruit him. The most important compromise involves throwing out the entire sensitive story, which resembled a Cuban version of To Sir With Love, and replacing it with a ludicrous action plot about an American ambassador single-handedly defending the embassy against revolutionaries in Bogota. Of course, swapping scripts will get the film made, but at the cost of selling out the beloved book, the interpretation of which was the reason our hero got into film production in the first place.

As always happens in this sort of film, everything goes wrong.

  • The American leading man is nuts, his paranoia further fueled by cocaine. Sadly, this role is played very broadly, and very poorly, by the iconic British actor Alan Bates, who was to die shortly after the release of Hollywood North. His performance is completely lacking in subtlety, and he was manifestly unable even to approximate an American accent. You should avoid this movie if for no other reason than to honor Bates's memory. Rent Zorba the Greek and watch that instead, and brush a tear from your cheek when Bates delivers one of the great closing lines in film history - "Zorba, teach me to dance".

  • The number two male star wants to do his own stunts, and breaks his leg.

  • The leading lady insists on seducing her co-stars at any expense.

  • The film is being made in Canada, and the snow storms prevent filming outdoor scenes that are supposed to be in Bogota.

  • And so on.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

The jokes are all completely predictable, and the farcical plot is curiously and inappropriately mixed with a romantic sub-plot about the producer's inchoate affair with a woman who is filming "The Making Of ..." his movie. The producer and his director girlfriend are played as realistic true-to-life characters who have deep personal discussions, while the supporting roles are farcical caricatures all yukked up for lowbrow laughs. Strange combination, and not really very effective. It's as if Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore played out The End of the Affair in the middle of an episode of Gilligan's Island.

The Critics Vote ...

  • filmcritic.com 3/5

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. I found it barely watchable. Barely.

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