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Hollywoodland (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 10, 2022



Starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Lois Smith, Robin Tunney, Molly Parker, Zach Mills, Caroline Dhavernas, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dash Mihok, Kevin Hare, Joe Spano, Kathleen Robertson, Phillip MacKenzie, Larry Cedar, Neil Crone, Gareth Williams, Lorry Ayers and Jason Spevack.

Screenplay by Paul Bernbaum.

Directed by Allen Coulter.

Distributed by Focus Features.  126 minutes.  Rated R.

It took real guts for Ben Affleck to take the role of George Reeves – the former TV Superman who died in 1959 of a gunshot wound to the head.  At the time it was determined that Reeves killed himself, however ever since there has been much speculation as to whether it was murder.

Of course, the young death is not what was brave of Affleck to portray, it was the old actor’s life before that fatal night.  For George Reeves’ career has all too many parallels to Affleck’s own.  He started off with untapped potential in Gone with the Wind, but due to life and bad breaks and a series of unimpressive roles his career soon fizzled.  Eventually, he was given the role that made him famous – and also one that he found a bit demeaning and silly – but he was never taken seriously again, even when he finally made it back into the cast of From Here To Eternity, a major, critically acclaimed film.

All the J.Lo stuff and the Armageddons and the Giglis and the Jersey Girls have also dimmed Affleck’s star.  So he steps into this film as the third lead – a character who only appears in flashback, playing an actor whose best days are long past him.  In the process, he has done his best role in years and may have single-handedly revived his career, which before this was starting to seem like a stagnant joke. Hollywoodland reminds us of his potential and his charm, and if he is not nominated as Best Supporting Actor, then something is wrong.

If you go into Hollywoodland expecting a definitive statement on what happened that night, you will be disappointed.  The film offers three potential solutions and allows the audience to decide what they believe.  However, if you are looking for a fascinating biopic about a nearly forgotten classic Hollywood mystery, then you are in for a treat.   (9/06)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2006  All rights reserved.  Posted: September 8, 2006.

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