25 May 2015 | bkoganbing
Ode to narcissism
Hollywood never looks to kindly at itself when doing films about the lives of folks who make movies. But the Weiss family in Maps To The Stars are a really outstanding collection of freaks and weirdos.
Meet the Weisses. Father is John Cusack who is one of those self help promoting gurus making a fast buck on the lecture circuit and writing. His wife Olivia Williams is hardly a stay at home mom, she's out managing the career of their son Evan Bird who after time in a rehab is looking to make a comeback as a teen. That in itself is a sad new Hollywood tradition. From the time of Jackie Coogan child stars who emerge as chief breadwinners in their families have had unique and tragic stories. Bird gives his parents standing that they might never acquire on their own at the cost of a faintly normal childhood.
There's a fourth Weiss, another child played by Mia Wasikowska whose arrival by train sets the stage for the story. She's ordered a limousine and has the money to pay for it. Wasikowska chats up the driver, a hunky aspiring actor himself played by Robert Pattinson.
As the story unfolds we learn that Wasikowska has been living in Florida in an asylum, put there by her family after she set a fire. All this done with the prime object of keeping news of it away from the tabloid press. Can't have her brother's career and her father's racket be the subject of scandal.
Carrie Fisher makes a brief appearance as herself and Wasikowska has struck up a relationship with her via the Internet. Probably looking to palm off an eager, but obtrusive fan she suggest that actress Julianne Moore take her on as a 'personal assistant'.
Moore is a piece of work herself. She's a great lesson that Bird might not have the maturity to comprehend. It's the direction he's well on the way to. A totally self absorbed, self indulgent creature who thinks the whole world revolves around her. She's obsessed with playing her mother who was a great star who died in a fire like Linda Darnell back in the day. In her own imaginings she talks with her mother who puts her down for not having the talent to back up the ego.
Bird who is a Moore in training also has visions. His visitor is a little girl who was terminally ill whom he made a hospital visit for. No doubt he cheered her up in those last hours, but his psyche knows that maybe she sees him for what he is. Bird is also bright enough to see the path he's on, but can't do anything about it.
I suppose a certain amount of narcissism in show business is necessary to succeed. But Maps To The Stars is an ode to narcissism like I've never seen before on the big screen.
If I had to pick out someone who stood out in Maps To The Stars for me it's Evan Bird. I hope he's nothing like his character in the film in real life because anyone who's got to associate with him is in for one bumpy ride. But God only knows he's got any number of examples in real life to have studied for this role.
Another nasty bit of self analysis Maps To The Stars from Tinseltown.