On July 1 of that year, four people were savagely beaten to death in a Laurel Canyon apartment that had long been a party hangout and drug-dealing haven; a fifth person was put into intensive care. Holmes (Val Kilmer) was at the center of the tangle of paranoia, greed, and confusion that led to the massacre. Always hanging out at the apartment scamming drugs for his vacuum-like habit, Holmes incurs the enmity of the hard cases living there (played by Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan McDermott in a frighteningly unconvincing biker beard, and Josh Lucas). To make it up to them, Holmes acts as their inside man for a robbery of the palatial home of his buddy Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), who just happens to be one of the biggest club-owners in Southern California and a bona-fide gangster, to boot. Things go poorly after the robbery, to say the least.
Continue reading: Wonderland (2003) Review
Who cares!? This movie is so bad that the ending (which, by the way, is just about the worst part of the film) slips out of mind as soon as the disc pops out of your DVD player. Made for TV way back in 1994 and only now getting its DVD and home video release because Wagner and Cruz have become minor stars, you won't see any hint of the performing ability you might find from them today, simply because the story is so poorly written it couldn't have been saved by Cary Grant. Just about the only joy to be found in the film is from a grizzled Traci Lords, playing the hooker next door whom our scruffy hero likes to spy on through the enormous hole in the wall.
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From first-time writer/director Danny Comden, an erstwhile actor who has starred in some of Hollywood's biggest duds (Fast Sofa, Highway, Urban Legend), comes the oh-so-cleverly-titled Sol Goode, with Getty starring as an unemployed actor type by the titular name. Say it out loud.
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John Cusack plays the bitterness of being dumped with droll aplomb in "High Fidelity," an observant and acerbic dark comedy in which he is our overly-reflective tour guide through the farcical misery of a bad breakup.
Cusack adapted the screenplay himself from Nick Hornsby's underground best-seller about a London slacker who opened a used record store in his 20s and has employed it as an excuse to never grow up.
For the film, the action is moved to Chicago (the star/screenwriter's old stomping grounds), where Rob Gordon (Cusack) hangs out all day in his shop full of tattered record bins plastered with radio station stickers, composing musically pretentious Top Five lists (Top Five Side-One First Tracks, Top Five Formerly Great Sell-Out Musicians) with his equally idle and smug clerks (Todd Louiso and Jack Black).
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Part "Rashomon"-like roundelay of dubious recollections, part "Boogie Nights" flashback, "Wonderland" recounts, with drug-addled stylishness, events leading to a brutal 1981 mass-murder in the Los Angeles hills made famous by its link to washed-up, strung-out ex-porn legend John Holmes.
Starring the charismatically glazy-eyed and understated Val Kilmer as Holmes and "Blue Crush" cutie Kate Bosworth as Dawn, his newly legal, foolishly co-dependent girlfriend, this film has a big comparison hurdle to overcome -- the riveting "Boogie" was loosely based on Holmes and some of these events. But for the most part it succeeds because sophomore director James Cox (his unreleased "Highway" premiered on video last year) bypasses the self-destructive smack-head's severed sex-trade ties except as they relate to his celebrity among lowlifes who supply him with drugs.
In fact, Holmes is just one of four characters around whom Cox constructs his story from several points of view in single-perspective segments.
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