Hollywood Dreams

Hollywood Dreams is a small independent comedy about a down-on-her-luck actress from Iowa named Margie Chizek (Tanna Frederick). The film opens with a funny (in a cringe-worthy way) scene of her auditioning for a part that she wants so badly she keeps breaking down in tears. After a funny (in a strange way) segment on a dieting secret you may not want to know about, Margie ends up essentially homeless, and is discovered by a man named Kaz who says he’s a producer.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into much more plot detail. I will say that the sexual preferences and gender roles of one or more characters are key themes in the film. I also found myself thinking of similarities with Being There on a couple of occasions.

I did enjoy the film and thought it was well done, especially considering its small budget. The performances were good but not extraordinary. I would recommend it.

The lead actress was at the screening at the Camera Cinema Club in Campbell, CA. The director (Henry Jaglom) had also planned to attend but was sick, so he was on the phone. Here are a few things I wrote down from the discussion (which may contain some minor spoilers):

  • The actress said that this was her first film, and that like her character she is from Iowa [It turns out that she lied about this being her first film. According to IMDb, she was actually in a soft-core lesbian film called Inescapable, which was directed by Helen Lesnick, who also directed a cute little lesbian romantic comedy called A Family Affair that I saw at some film festival.]
  • The director wanted the feel of old movies like All About Eve, so he made Tanna watch lots of old movies for a year
  • The director actually put Tanna under contract, which no one does anymore (and he hadn’t previously done either)
  • The film was fully scripted, but there was an opportunity to play around like in acting class
  • According to the director, acting is lying, so better liars are better actors
  • Tanna heard from another actor that writing to Jaglom and praising his movies might get you a part, so she did; she later admitted to him that she hadn’t actually seen the movie she was praising, which got her the part
  • The actress says the director loves a good hustle
  • The actress studied her actor friends’ ambition for fame and found that most had a traumatic event in their past
  • The director didn’t fit in as a child, and was a misfit and class clown, which he feels leads to a drive to be seen
  • The director has known people whose entire personality was created to fake straightness; this was part of contracts and was managed by the studios; and this has not entirely changed, as demonstrated only 12 years ago when straight stars were unwilling to publicly support a gay-tolerant ballot proposition
  • The bed scene was all done in one take, and the dog licked without provocation
  • The house in the movie belongs to Zack Norman (who plays Kaz, the producer) in real life, and the artwork is really there
  • The Mallomar chew and spit idea came from the director: he did it himself, and he knew others who did, but Tanna disavowed knowing about it before the movie
  • The movie opens in May

I’ll give it 3 stars out of 4 stars.

Seen 3/18/2007.

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