What Just Happened,
directed by Barry Levinson
(Magnolia, 2008)

There's not much of a plot to Barry Levinson's Hollywood insider movie. Everyone in producer Ben's (Robert DeNiro's) life is making him miserable (except maybe that chick who comes on to him in the men's room).

But it has it's moments:

• The Variety headline about an agent's suicide has an underliner that says, "Ten percenter goes into turnaround."

• Then the comment about said suicide: "People in Colombia are mourning."

• Michael Wincott, playing a British director, was clearly instructed to act like a crazier Keith Richards, even wearing Indian feathers in his hair.

• The "edgy" moment in the movie-within-a-movie when not only do an adorable dog's brains get blown out, but the blood spatters right on the screen.

• The test audience comment cards after said movie that Ben reads afterwards, including "My wife is still crying" and, in one case, a big drawing of a raised middle finger.

• Bruce Willis' speech at the funeral.

• What happens to John Turturro at the cemetery.

• Bruce's tantrum.

• The director's tantrum.

• At the end, the fate of the world resting on what Bruce Willis looks like when he comes out of his trailer.

• Studio boss Catherine Keener showing the demeanor of an assassin all through the movie.

• DeNiro switching sides back and forth during the argument between the studio head and the director over whether the dog shooting can remain in the movie.

It's not The Player or even SOB, both of whom anyone who liked this movie should check out. It's just a snarky take that captures the absurdity of Hollywood.

review by
Dave Sturm

30 October 2010

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