Thursday, July 12, 2007

Week 5: Hollywoodland

Diane Lane! Someone put a horse head in your bed! Oh, wait. It's just Ben Affleck.

Hollywoodland, for those of you who don't know (and I presume that to be all of you since this movie had zero press) is the story of the mysterious death of George Reeves, the actor who played Superman on TV in the fifties.

While watching this film, one has plenty of time to consider which is larger, Ben Affleck's gum line or his forehead. The man has a large noggin. I do too, Ben. It's not a crime. It's just that you're a film actor and I'm not, so nobody really spends a good hour and fifty minutes staring hard at mine.

I can even see why ol' horsehead got cast as the actor who played Superman in this movie. He's tall, has broad shoulders and a very Superman-like hairline (although in later scenes in the movie he is wearing a wig so cheap and obvious it looks like it was fished out of a discount bin at Toupees 'r Us). Did I mention that you see Affleck naked in this movie? If you haven't fled from your computer screen yet, you should knjow that he was much more jiggly than one would think. It was one of those naked scenes that make you tilt your head really far to the side as you ponder where the jiggles came from.

I really liked the story of this movie and it's told in an interesting way with Adrian Brody playing the oozy, oily private investigator hired to probe Reeve's death, which is ruled as a suicide while all the clues point to his murder.

But here's the big rub with this movie. Yes, there is something even bigger than Affleck's forehead here. It's the casting of Diane Lane as his mistress. Rather, he plays her mistress. Mistor? I don't know what the male word is for that. The point is, Lane plays the older wife of a powerful studio executive who takes on Benny as her little side dish of man-puddin'. Or Mistor.

I could say a lot of lovely things about Diane Lane. In the game "who would you turn lesbian for", she is right up there for me in the top three (next to Scarlett Johansson and Salma Hayek, if you really must know). I think she's a fine actress and is generally lovely to look at, but her chemistry with Ben Affleck is way, way off in this film. Maybe it's because she's made up to look like she's sixty-five and it makes the site of her canoodling with Ben Affleck look like an uncensored version of the Golden Girls Gone Wild. Or maybe it's the incredibly stiff, stilted dialogue they speak with weird accents that make them both sound like film noir versions of real people.

Whatever it is, it doesn't work. And so instead of paying attention to their scenes, you find yourself studying her features and trying to figure out how the hair and make-up people in this movie managed to make her look so dull and lusterless. And then you are blinded by the size of Affleck's forehead again and you forget all about Diane Lane. And suddenly you have an itch to visit the racetrack.

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