User Reviews (6)

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  • ferguson-627 September 2019
    Greetings again from the darkness. In this age of comic book movies and remakes, creative and artistic filmmakers are to be commended for sticking to their vision, no matter how cloudy. James Franco has put together a most unusual career as both actor and director. Here he takes on both in this adaptation of Steve Erickson's novel, with a screenplay by Paul Felten and Ian Olds. It's a movie seemingly made for movie nerds, but this particular movie nerd, while enjoying some of the homages, mostly found this to be too messy to recommend.

    James Franco plays Vikar, a socially inept loner with a shaved head and permanent scowl. On that head is a tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift from A PLACE IN THE SUN, the first movie the sheltered Vikar ever saw (11 months ago), and the one that initiated his obsession with movies. Vikar finagles his way into the industry - first as a set builder, and then under the tutelage of veteran film editor Dotty (Jacki Weaver) - reaching award winning status as a filmmaker. Along the way, the character of Vikar recalls Chauncey Gardner in BEING THERE. Is he a genius, or so simple-minded that his thoughts are accepted as brilliant?

    It's 1969, and in an early scene, Vikar is interrogated by police regarding the murder of Sharon Tate. This is our first indication that fact and fiction will be blended here to make whatever points the film is trying to make. Vikar befriends Viking Man on the set of LOVE STORY, and we soon realize John Ford wannabe Viking Man (played by Seth Rogen) is a stand-in for John Milius ... a Hollywood legend worthy of his own film. The two new friends attend a beach house party where a group of up-and-coming filmmakers are brainstorming in the living room. Represented are Steven Spielberg, spit-balling a shark movie; George Lucas, yammering about robots; and a young Scorsese and Coppola.

    Vikar is soon attracted to and dreaming of a beautiful actress named Soledad Paladin (Megan Fox). This shift of gears to romance from industry commentary does the film no favors. The film is at its best when Vikar is navigating the waters of a Hollywood in transition, including an old school power producer played by Will Ferrell. One of his scenes has him singing "Lum-de-lum-de-lai" in an odd show of power as he attempts to win the girl. Others making an appearance include Danny McBride, Dave Franco, and Craig Robinson - as a burglar who educates Vikar on the nuances of SUNSET BOULEVARD, Erich Von Stroheim, and MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Joey King has a key role as Soledad's daughter Zazi, and she even sings on stage.

    There are so many nods to Hollywood, that the film plays more like an experimental art project or trivia game than an actual story. The famed Roosevelt Hotel is featured, as is Frances Ford Coppola's (played by Horatio Sanz) out-of-control film set of APOCALYPSE NOW. A quite colorful description of John Wayne is offered up, and the silent classic THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST takes center stage. We even get Iggy Pop and The Stooges at CBGB, and the first song we hear is "It's My Life" by Eric Burdon and The Animals. A key note here is that this was filmed in 2014, and has been caught up in a quagmire of bankrupt distributors ever since. That could explain the questionable flow and editing, but we can assume the wild camera angles were all part of Franco's plan. It really plays like an experimental film and it covers a few years, though we are never really sure how many. The twist at the end is pretty easy to predict, and unfortunately, it leaves us wondering where an obsession with cinema is likely to lead us.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ranco's reinterpretation of Erickson 's 2007 novel, "Zeroville" is good entry for an art-house film festival! It tries to follow the novel's initial story of Vikar, played by Franco as a young architect, turned film editor in the late 1960s. Hollywood turning its head to 1970s movie production, funny performances by Jackie Weaver, Seth Rogan and Will Ferell as its industry community!

    Vikar, obsessed with Elizabeth Taylor, afixes his disillusion onto Soledad, a struggling actor/mother, played by Megan Fox. She is Vikar's lookalike to Taylor and the rest of the film tries to reflect late 60s subcultures. Although many scenes feature a catchy techno, somewhat 80s synth-sounding tracks that only break that suspension of belief. But Franco's delivery of Viker's descent into madness is quite fun... his performance almost makes Vikar like an out of time, or even a kind of multidimensional character.

    Some of the film's imagery is somewhat surreal using archived footage, split-screen shots, it seemed like an art project. Overall it is not a classic (has several weak spots) but for die-hard fans of Franco's talents as an actor and director should get a kick out of it! Maybe this was a warm up exercise for Franco to start working on the biopic of the cult film, "The Room" since this film 's production was in between 2014-2015.
  • deadpirates-8947117 September 2019
    Fantastic cast and the movie is true to the book!

    Brings you back to a transitional time for the movie industry and Hollywood.

    Will Ferrell is a convincing studio executive and he brings home the battle between the love of money and the love of the art called film making.

    Of course you cannot go wrong with Megan Fox and Seth Rogen.

    Jackie Weaver shines
  • Dark look at depression, loneliness, mental illness, living life through the fantasy lens of movies. Strange casting because all these folks usually make comedies together but interesting to see them in different material.
  • First off, kudos to Franco for taking creative risks films rarely take in 2019. The film is full of hauntingly beautiful references to Hollywood's past, and the actors are so committed to their respective roles that they pull it off. Walk in with an open mind; if you are a fan of David Lynch and surrealist filmmaking then you won't be disappointed.
  • This is the love letter to Hollywood I wish once upon a time was. It falls somewhere between francofenia and the disaster artist. Seeing the ins and outs of the film industry at a turning point. Celebrating the past, studying the current and giving a peak into the future with amazing references. It's like he's editing the film as it's being shown to you. When he sees lynch in the theater he shows you the next scene through Lynch's lens. Its metra on the same level as adaptation. Brilliant.