April 14, 2024

HOLLYWOOD (2020) – Once Upon A Time in La La Land

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Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Hollywood is yet another glossy and scandalous Ryan Murphy mini series set in the post World War II era. It offers a compelling if not rather implausible plot involving a bunch of aspiring actors and film makers struggling to make it big in Hollywood. The series appears to have heavy ambitions to tackle fashionable issues like racism, sexism, homophobia and sexual harassments which is portrayed as being heavily prevalent in the industry during that time. This heavy dose of social ills and drama has to me, led the believability of the series to suffer which gave the series a sort of fairy tale like quality. That’s a bit of a pity because like so many Ryan Murphy series, the sets, costumes, dynamic script and performances are infectious and a joy to watch, even with the over the top scenarios thrown in. The cast has some familiar Ryan Murphy favourites but for me the roles by some of the more senior members of the cast for some supporting characters stood out more than the younger set of main characters. Some were made to play and look much older than they are but they pulled it off very well. Case in point Dylan McDermott as the pimp cum gas station owner Ernie West, and Mira Sorvino as an ageing and fading superstar Jeanne Crandall.

Like the recent Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, real life events and personalities are mixed up with the fictitious. While most of the real life personalities were merely mentioned or have cameo appearances, one particular star had a more defined supporting role which was Rock Hudson. However, his story here is such a distortion of the truth that I am sure his family and fans would find it mostly offensive. This is not unlike the backlash with Quentin’s disrespectful portrayal of the legendary Bruce Lee in his movie. Again, I did not see the merit of doing this and it only served as a distraction rather than an intricate part of the overall story. Like all Ryan Murphy shows, the series has its fair share of gay characters and in some ways, he seem to suggest that most of Hollywood people are gay!! As such this may not go down well with people who are homophobia.

Fortunately there are still much to enjoy in Hollywood despite its shortcomings and it offers an interesting insight to the Hollywood of the 1940’s and 50’s era. The glamour, the awards, the cut throat deals, and scandals, scandals and more scandals, all adds up to one colourful and entertaining series. This was most apparent in the extended coverage of the Academy Awards ceremony towards the end complete with presentations and acceptance speeches which captured the the excitement of the evening very well. Even its happily ever after ending is typical of the Hollywood movies of yesteryears. Not Ryan Murphy’s best offering but still a Ryan Murphy treat nevertheless.

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