Last week Benjamin and I accompanied Cara (eternal_wonder) to see Hollywoodland at the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar. In truth, I had no interest in seeing the movie but Benjamin really wanted to and I always enjoy Cara’s company so I acquiesced. The movie was surprisingly good considering I wasn’t interested in seeing it :)
Possible spoilers below cut, you have been warned.
One thing I found very fascinating is at the end of the movie, and only the end of the movie, does Simo ever think of George as aged and that was only after Joe lent him the reels showing George doing the karate workout. It is as if Simo viewed George through the “Superman” lens throughout the entire movie and only until faced with the realization that he was, in fact, simply a man did he even consider that George may really have killed himself. If you keep this concept in mind and look back over the movie, you realize that George’s character conveyed many Superman-like qualities, ones that we might not expect from a mere mortal: standing up seemingly unharmed after falling several feet flat on his face during his first scene ‘flying’; looking like a very young man throughout the entire movie even during the several ‘night of the murder’ playback scenes when he was obviously an older man. Simo even conveyed these super-human qualities to Toni as well – she never looked old in any of his mental recreations, always looking like a young woman up until the point we see her in modern time at the end of the movie.
There are also a couple of weird bits that I’m not sure what to make of that I’ll eventually Google:
- According to the movie, George Reeves was the original Superman. Is it a coincidence that Superman was later played by Christopher Reeves?
- Superman’s love interest has always been the very feisty Lois Lane. Toni, George’s feisty love interest, was played by Diane Lane.
3 thoughts on “Hollywoodland”
Sometimes I wish I had the ability to see links like that. Interesting comparisons!
Your comments about how Simo viewed George through a Superman filter tied a lot of things together for me. I didn’t realize it through the movie but in retrospect, you are entirely correct. What I found most poignant about the movie is that George never settled into his life – what he had was never enough and he seemed to have this underlying mentality that he was a victim of the Hollywood game, and Simo began to unravel that hidden truth and see it prevalent in his own life. He wasn’t happy with what he had, his blaise’ attitude and desire for money contributed to the death of another human being (while George’s quest for fame and fortune killed his own essence), and he was letting the best years of his life slip by him. It seemed to me that he really began to connect George’s story to his own so when we reached the end of the movie, the focus wasn’t so much on whether George killed himself or not, but that Simo was saved from a metaphorically , maybe even literally, similar fate.
At least that’s what I came away with. =)
I was so thrilled you two accompanied me (and thank you again!) to the movie. Even hanging out in silence with people you enjoy being around is a great thing. I took your review of Little Miss Sunshine to heart and dragged Terri out to see it yesterday (Sunday afternoon). I’ve not laughed that hard at a movie in a very long time. The story had amazingly complex and familiar undertones and the acting was stunningly brilliant.
<nods all around> I like your idea of Simo realizing the rat-race that he was in but only after looking at George’s perspective. In fact, if you tie the two ideas together, maybe it really hit home to Simo when he realizes that Superman, the person his son so looked up to and one of the sub-stories I never really attached to, was mortal and still ended up unhappy despite what he obtained.
It’s possible that the realization was the imputus to turn his own life around and become the person that his son looked up to — maybe Simo realized the person he was trying to replace in his son’s eyes wasn’t so impossible to replace?
Yes, that ties the end of the movie together nicely for me. I admit to not appreciating the final scene when Simo pulling up to the house until reading your perspective.
I think Little Miss Sunshine is a “sleeper movie,” something I’m told Napoleon Dynamite was as well – although I haven’t seen that yet. I loved the family dynamics in L.M.S. and how everyone was trying so hard, failing miserably at virtually everything they were trying, yet succeeding in everything they weren’t trying to do but should have.
We should go see more movies together; we play off each other well.
The first time I saw Napoleon Dynamite, I left the theater thinking “That was either the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen or it was the most horrid movie ever made.” Though I ended up buying the movie, laugh through much of it, and quote it more than I should, I still remain very undecided about it. It definitely has a cult-like following, much like Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is one God-awful, though incredibly entertaining, piece of cinematography.