An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997)

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 15, 2021 22:07
VIEWED: 2343
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Monday, February 8, 2021 11:25 AM


Critics HATED this movie. Most people never heard about it. Those that saw it, generally seemed to hate it.

Rotten Tomatoes Scores

Critics: 8% / Audience: 14%

I went into it completely blind, and I'd rather not say any more about it to anybody else than I knew going into it. I'll try to do that here:

PLOT: Alan Smithee, if you didn't already know, is the fake director who's name was used on any film that the director of a movie would refuse to put his name on after he or she felt that they lost complete creative control.

But what happens when your directing a movie you've lost complete creative control of the feature and your name already is Alan Smithee?

You probably have seen at least a hand full of Smithee flicks in your life and not even been aware of it.

ACTORS: Eric Idle is Alan Smithee. Richard Jeni and Ryan O'Neil play my two favorite characters... Hollywood Producers. I have vague recollections of seeing the late Jeni in some minor acting roles when I was a kid and I remember enjoying his standup. I loved him in this flick.

"Special Guest Stars" are the billing given to Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan.

But I think the REAL special guest star for the movie is a young-ish Harvey Weinstein as the Private Detective. Honestly, I didn't even know that was him (quite a bit skinnier back in '97), but I do remember thinking to myself "Poor guy has Harvey Weinstien face". But that thought was buried immediately since you really have to be paying attention to the dialog in this movie when it's being thrown at you at a lightning fast pace.

The rest of the cast is littered with a whole bunch of people you probably saw a lot in the late 90's and early 2000's and haven't given much thought to since then.

Other than my personal thoughts and rating, I won't say any more about the movie for now, in hopes that maybe a few of you who have never seen it or likely never even heard about it give it a watch and let me know what you'd think. I'd love to discuss this film and I'm even open to watching it again and maybe even doing some analysis of the film itself, why it was destroyed in the box office and how come nobody has really ever heard of it before.

My spoiler free personal thoughts?

I loved every minute of it. Though comedy is subjective, I think perhaps it wasn't as side-splittingly funny as it was supposed to be, but there were quite a few moments where I laughed out loud to myself.

It was one of the more engaging movies I remember seeing. It's probably a movie that you should watch alone, at least for the first viewing. You really can't have any distractions going on. If you like beer or weed, I'd recommend passing on that before firing this flick up too. You're going to want a clear head for it.

I really can't see why it gets such abysmal reviews. Even IMDB has it only at 3.5/10. I did notice in the reviews that several people from the UK seem to think that Americans don't get the irony of the flick and the reason the movie failed and didn't even make it anywhere internationally is because the US audience is dumb. Maybe there's truth to that? (They probably only even know about it because of Eric Idle).

I also can't really talk about the way it was filmed without ruining part of the experience either, but I have to say I think it was just ahead of its time. If you think back to 97 when watching this you'll realize that even though we've seen this quite a bit since then, it was fairly novel for the time.

I think in the post Me-Too movement, and after having watched Hollywood go full SJW for a few years before the Plandemic all but tore Hollywood down, this movie should be due for a revival.

My call: 9 out of 10; Would recommend, would watch again.

22 years is a long time. Maybe the audience has grown up a little bit and they'd get it now?


Sunday, December 12, 2021 9:22 AM


Never seen this, might give it a watch, seems to be a so bad its crap not 'So Bad its Good' but sometimes I do enjoy a trash film or B-movie


Monday, December 13, 2021 11:06 AM


Let me know if you see it. I rather enjoyed it. I didn't think it was a bad flick, so bad it's good or otherwise. I'm SURE it's not for everybody though.

I can see why critics hated it. It really was a massive turd on the entire industry.

A lot of things that come up in the movie are things you'd take for granted knowing about Hollywood in 2021, but in 1997 before most people even had internet in their homes and social media wasn't even a term, I think it was pretty on the nose.

You can even get a taste of how a lot of the mainstream woke bullshit that just swamps everything was already brewing in Hollywood 30 years ago. and just how self-serving those with the supposed beliefs really were.

There are so many small jokes within it that I'm sure if I were to watch it again I'd pick up all sorts of things I missed the first time. They really fire the dialogue at you like a machine gun and they're constantly bouncing from person to person and scene to scene.

It's like the scenes from the TV show The Office when they were interviewing one of the workers candidly, but that's basically the entire movie with all of Tinseltown as the backdrop instead of a single office in a building.

Definitely ahead of its time by quite a bit. I think if it came out now and wasn't "wokified" it would have played a lot better than it did in 1997.

In fact, I think it's one of those rare movies that is going to POP one day and become something that is regarded as a great flick that went entirely unnoticed when it originally came out. You'd just need the right people to see it and promote it.

My circle of influence is far too small for that. But I think one day it will happen.


Vaccinated People: "You need to get muh vaccination shots that don't work because I got muh vaccination shots that don't work and I'm afraid of people that didn't get muh vaccination shots that don't work because muh vaccination shots that don't work don't work."


Wednesday, December 15, 2021 10:07 PM


I had to go to a download streaming site to find this one

Somthing very wrong with this movie, maybe it should have been done like 'The Office' or 'Spinal Tap' or 'Trailer Park'
or maybe it should have been done more serious like some drama documentary like Surviving Jeffrey Epstein Behind Façade of Filthy Rich or Hemingway or One of those Narcos shows or Reasonable Doubt A Tale of Two Kidnappings or Tiger Kings Murder, Mayhem and Madness...for whatever reasons it does not work for me.

The woirst crime of this film is while it uses the film medium there is nothing of visual interest to me in this movie, during the entire 'Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn' I was is incredibly boring as a visual spectacle...that does not mean you have to spend billions on special fx, a simple movie can still be great. Some very old films from the silent era and old eras of film could make movie master pieces just by the way they were shot and edited, Locke a recent movie with Tom Hardy is an incredible psychological drama film filmed inside a car but is driven by a good story . This film also is too absurb, it is badly cut and full of Surreal humour without any true creative direction to be good, it also kinda tries to be at times to be a little serious in its comedy and witty and provoking but without an audience knowing which actor or scandal or director they are talking about most of the humor is beyond me...maybe they are joking about no person or everyone or some jokes might be going over my head.... maybe its all an inside joke for people on the insides of Hollyweirdo

Agree that Hollywood should be laughed at not with, it sucks, it is a sleaze crap place with no imagination and its a shithole but... I can't finish this film, if it is to be done well the concept should be remade
Gave it 30 or 40 mins before I quit
I think they used the wrong medium and should have made it a cartoon or animation or something... you could even keep Weinstein's nasty face and mixed animation and real life film and just made a new 'Roger Rabbit' or 'Cool World' or Happy! TV series or something?
An adult cartoon thing, remake it into an animation, Surreal absurdist humour might be best

Even the most insane crazy comedy idea of a film can work if done correctly for example 'Airplane!' or 'Run Lola Run' or '. Pirates of the Caribbean' or 'Fantastic Planet 'or 'Fitzcarraldo' or the 'Scary Movie' spoofs or National Lampoons or '2046' or 'Wild at Heart' or 'Oldboy' or 'Mars Attacks!' or 'Daisies' or 'Beetlejuice' or 'Kung Fu Hustle' or 'Ready Player One' or 'Delicatessen' or 'Godzillia' the series of 'Naked Gun' or 'Police Academy' or 'Brazil' or 'Rocky Horror' Dr. Strangelove aka How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb'
the issue with this film however is it seems to be directionless

I feel this is a concept that never become a real finished film. There is an unrealized good creation of movie in here, a good film buried some where inside this 'mess' it can be good but at the same time its true this movie is bad, it is not a good movie. Joe Eszterhas is known for trashy sexpoiltauion spoof comedy movies in tinseltown like Flashdance, Showgirls or Basic Instinct, Arthur Hiller the writer is simply from a different era of film making like 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' or 'Love Story'. I did here the term 'Burn Hollywood Burn' many times in other shows and radio, in pop songs I think the punk rocker John Lydon of Sex Pistols did a weird techno song screaming out Burn Hollywood in some 'Leftfield' electronic album and the guys “Burn Hollywood Burn,” on Public Enemy’s 1990 album and there were many otehr Rock and Heravy Metal Songs calling for Hollywood to the mainstream nobody in their right mind would ask for Hollywood to burn, it was a multi-Billion Dollar Economy and a place of Employment....this movie/film was supposed to deliver something but I just didn't really like this film. I liked the work of Sandra Bernhard, Ryan O'Neal, Billy Bob, this 'Richard Jeni' I had no idea who he was, he sadly seem to have blown his brains out while living with a girlfriend who worked on news, he did some National Lampoon's thing, the platypus man and the Mask, I might download something of his...'The Mask' was pretty good.

However it is not the worst movie and probably didnt deserve a raspberry award

I didnt like it, I got 30 to 40 mins in before I quit. Tastes are subjective and everyone has an opinion like everyone has an asshole so there's that.
I think I would need a few beers or weed to finish this movie. I kinda am familiar with some of the old comedy that came before this but I don't really recognize it all, I understand there are trash people in Hollywood the Rappers and Rockers and Pop stars linked to scandals, actual rapistsand people who murdered or done jail time. Personally I like Sly Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, Jackie Chan I think they play their spoof parts well although I didnt finsih the film, the big actors do good comedy roles about their own self I think these people have good stage presence even inside a five minutes role they are given they can do great work as actors, I don't believe they are truly type cast, I think they can play many roles. For people who say Stallone can't act I say there are far worse actors out there and go back and watch the first Rocky or watch Copland.

I think this is probably Harvey Weinstein's only acting role in a movie, its kind of amazing how they did get him to star in the movie, a movie about violent film stars, a spoof film on corrupted Directors and comedy about sleazy Rapist Producers and its kinda funny how this film exposed pseudonym used by Hollywood when someone does not want to have their name attached to a bad film, the guy who doesnt want his film out steals the film and flees, ends up almost drugged out of his mind in a mental hospital and is threatening to destroy the film by burning it...probably Weinstein's ego was so big and stupid enough that he actually thought of himself as an 'Actor' his acting in this film is so terribly shit it would be funny if he were not exposed as some criminal sleaze bag blackmailing rapist.

So let's go back on these years
The Year 1997... the internet gossip sites dint exist. in France an unknown bombing Deaths 4 people Injured clues, no person...motive unknown....some suspect 'jihads' like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing but it becomes a cold case, a real terrorist crime but it all fades into memory....the U.S.A re-elects Clinton blowjob scandals in the Whitehouse were coming and America was getting ready to bomb somewhere in Eastern Europe or do more no fly zones in Iraq, actors in the back of their mind might have worried about getting replaced by the first-ever completely computer-generated ‘Toy Story’ type character, the Soviet Russia had totally collapsed, the comicbook studio Marvel went bankrupt, O.J. Simpson had murdered people, South America was still a mess and Peruvian militia guerrillas took hundreds of people hostage at the residence of Japan's ambassador to Peru, Michael Jordan was doing his basketball thing but nody was taking a knee, Playstation and Nintendo 64 had kids addicted to games. Yahoo and MySpace slowly came online, Netscape AOL online bulletin boards and chat rooms and forums were slowly going to start becoming a thing, before 911 truthers there was the gossip and chat about Crash of TWA Flight 800, the Russian Soviet MIR space station was still a thing, tv like ER Seinfeld and Friends were the biggest shows on tv, young women were shaking their ass in nightclubs and pubs to a song called ‘The Macarena’ Jerry Garcia, the guitarist for the ‘Grateful Dead’ was dead ending an area. In a far off town on the other side of the world in Australia, there was a story coming out about a Low IQ White psycho retard named Martin Bryant, this Lawnower man type guy a guy in Aus who had trouble reading or writing he meets this old lady Helen Mary Elizabeth Harvey, Harvey was killed when her car veered onto the wrong side of the road and hit an oncoming car directly. The Aussie Bryant was inside the vehicle at the time of the accident and was know to tug on people's wheels while they drove their car, then in April a mass shooting in 1996, a date that will go down as a pivotal moment for gun control in Australia. Home Improvement was on as a TV Series in film culturally 12 monkeys, La Haine, Scream, ID4 independence day, the film Twister was a thing, Marvel is not a brand not a single movie to their name while Joel Schumacher started to almost destory the Batman Warner Bros brand of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, a largely unknown Terry Gilliam was becoming a thing he was known for 12 Monkeys 1995, he did The Fisher King Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams...he would later do Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998 ... 'Eric Idle' the main actor you see in this movie is from the same Absurdist Surreal British humor school as 'Terry Gilliam' while the BBC in England collapsed under fakenews and scandals 'Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile' they in comedy survived with this crazy humor did that whole Monty Pyton thing from the 1960s to 2014 , 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' edgy humor way before its time when the British were in danger of enterting a world of political correctness and religious zealotry and what else in news back in 1996-1997 maybe more bombs ....a US base was bombed in Saudi Arabia.

and along comes this film, it makes no sense, even in the crazy world of 1995, 1996, 1997 slowly entering an internet sense at me today it still makes no sense.

For some reason this movie fails, the fake Comedy Documentary Spoof can work, take for example The Office or 'This Is Spinal Tap' the Aus show The Games or 'Trailer Park Boys' but for some reason this movie does not work.

Imagine for a sec I'm in some out of the way off the grid place, maybe I sell Juices from a place in South Africa or maybe I sell t-shirts in HK collector cards from HongKong, maybe I'm living in NZ or a fisher village in Samoa or doing motorbike engine in a small tourist town in Argentina...I understand this movie is a docu spoof or mocumentary but it makes reference to real life stuff, I as an ordrinary person have no connection to this film, if I'm fresh of the boat from Eastern Europe I know little of Hollywood gossip, I might have heard some rumors of gossip on Hollwyood or maybe I get this ' docucomedy' is taking about real stuff but I still have no fucking idea what the fuck this film is talking about.
I feel the 'Jokes' are for people with inside knowledge of the industry.

We know today the news reports of scandals back stage now and news of rapes and the MeToo movement and Alec Baldwin shootings but back then few peole knew of the drama behind-the-scenes. Mainstream people know Hollywood sucks now, for years nobody would believe Conspiracy rumors or nobody would take stuff like 'Pirate News' serious. Today California has lost its propaganda power, its dying and people can not survive in California and working there its a dead down You Won't Make Enough, no time to even survive, No Money to Live. The problem with this film is I find a lot of jokes difficult to really 'get' the movie references some violent type a producer or an actor or maybe a director but these days there are so many scandals its difficult to know what personality type they are or were taking about is it Bruce Willis or Shia LeBeouf, Gibson, NeDiro, Ruseel Crowe, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, Steven Seagal, Charlie Sheen....stuff has been going on in Hollywood for years, rapes and even murders some say on jerry lewis actor he was a rude asshole, that stuff finally leaks out...a dead body shows up and Robert Wagner got away with it, lazy difficult to work with artist and another legal trail Marlon Brando? Miles told investigators that she asked the woman to “Get Burt,” anotehr death... Reynolds was on his way, Whiting, scandals cover-ups “Hollywood Madam” gossip curses Dominique Dunne, they would control newspapers, probably owned police that covered up the pedophile stuff and poor old Unlce Ben from spider-Man Cliff Robertson Blows The Whistle On Studio Embezzlement... Whiting’s cause of death was initially believed to be a drug overdose...all a big cover up. Black Dahlia, Wrestlers, musicians, pornograph stars, O J Simpson, Hugh Grant, Eddie Murphy with the Tranny, heidi fleiss prostitute pimp madame ring, Catherine Zeta-Jone marrying an old Michael Kirk Douglas for his money...with the cameras getting cheapr there came a new era of 'Paparazzi'...less control more scandals leak. Now the Casting couch asnd rape and control of people entrapment blackmail, they say there are more regular events like Harry Cohn one of the orginal Co-Founders of studios was a known rapist, you had women do their thing and sometimes put up with stuff to climb the ladder, other tunred a blind eye or played the game and would marry into Royalty the Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Olivia Wilde, Hollywood had plenty of divas and bitches and nasty loud mouth women the Jennifer Lopez, Rosie O'Donnell, Charlize Theron, Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Beyonce SharonStone, Liz Hurley Lindsay Lohan, not always nice people once you read the gossip behind the scenes. I don't really get the jokes. Maybe they are not making reference to any one real actor or director or producer, maybe they are making a generic mockery of Hollywood in a general way.

and that's why I quit, it has to many cuts, badly edited and stop start, no musical score flowing though it.
I understand it is trying to say something but I just don't get it and it could have been done betetr.
The film has no theme or genre or thread running though it, You could have made it a who-did-it...follow a goofy weird reporter tripping over his own shoe laces as he flies back and forth in exhaustion between Commiefornia, London and NYC... give it weird character with a Nurse Ratched trying to drug up the film maker until he finally escapes, you could add any number of things to it to improve it but as it stands it does not work for me.
Most movies most books and stories and films out there follow a simple formulae and that's why they always work, while its true Hollywood has no originality sometimes we do repeat ourselves for example almost every story can be traced back to 20 or so stories, or there might be as little as five stories or five genres about who-did it or monsters or tragedy or overcoming obstacles or crazy comedy stories, as little as five greek tragedy or shakespearean story everything, all murder and romance and monsters and scandals, evebn stuff with space ships is just these stories told again and again. The problem this film has no idea what it wants to be, other than a very badly done Mocumentary.

The great art of cartoony fanatsy scifi animation can allow a writer to go into strange place, comedy and story comes out in things like Simpsons or Family Guy or The Orville South Park is by following one idiot character for example 'Homer Simpson' it allows you to follow a thread, there is a topic, a person and theme and just follow this guy in his house or his spaceship or his Homer Simpson car you can go on these crazy journeys and explore many different areas, maybe it should have been a toon instead of a Mocumentary? This 'Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn' was so badly wrote and edited I had no real idea what it wanted to be or who it talked about...I quit 30 or 40 mins in and I'm not sure if I will go back.

However it has potential as a remake

Maybe when Hollwyood finally does burn to the ground maybe they will remake a film like this in Texas or NewYork or Washington State or maybe Florida and it will have a big honest production, it will give us some real gossip and names and the mocu-film-spoof-documentry will have figured out its basic plot element and know what story it truly wants to tell.






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