Death of a director

Joe Eszterhas has been one of the highest paid writers that Hollywood has ever seen. He's also a fierce character in his own regard. From hits like Flashdance to Basic Instinct, and the abysmal bomb of Showgirls, he racked up some serious time in the biz, and people were anxious to hear what he had to say about it all. Alas, it would be a better idea to read his memoirs, out just this year, called Hollywood Animal.

What appears to be billed as a scathing tearing down of Hollywood turns out to be a light comedy of in jokes and wry observations, a mockumentary no less. The premise of a director stealing his own film suggests more of an impact than we ever see. The director's name is Alan Smithee, an unfortunate coincidence, as that's been the only official pseudonym the DGA has allowed their members to use in order to disassociate themselves from a film.

The cameos of actual Hollywood figures, from Eszterhas himself to notorious womanizing producer Robert Evans (subject of the documentary The Kid Stays In The Picture), are probably the best part of the film. The plot itself is paper thin, and nothing exists here to make up for it.

This film will forever be a footnote in Hollywood history, not just for its abysmal reviews, but for the fact that the DGA changed its policy, and retired the pseudonym Alan Smithee from use. Not that the name was a closely guarded secret, but Burn Hollywood Burn gave the general population a little too much of a clue for anyone to really hide behind that name in the future. From here on, these pseudonyms will be chosen on a case by case basis. Take that, Hollywood.

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