An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn
The enduring success of screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (Jade, Showgirls, Basic Instinct) is inexplicable: He's somehow become one of filmdom's most sought-after scribes, commanding up to $4 million per screenplay, despite the spotty commercial performances of his films, and despite his lack of any apparent talent for anything other than self-promotion. Eszterhas' new Burn Hollywood Burn (a.k.a. An Alan Smithee Film) may be his worst yet, no small feat for a man whose oeuvre ranges from competent (Jagged Edge) to hilariously awful (Showgirls) to soul-deadeningly awful (Jade). Burn Hollywood Burn, which Eszterhas apparently had a hand in editing following the departure of original director Arthur Hiller, is an amateurish, self-indulgent, cameo-packed would-be satire following the travails of a film director (Eric Idle) who kidnaps the only remaining master print of a $200 million blockbuster action film starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jackie Chan after artistic control is wrested from him by an evil studio. Aggressively sophomoric, infantile, and jaw-droppingly inane, Burn Hollywood Burn does represent a sort of summarization of Eszterhas' pet themes. His insider take on Hollywood is largely populated by three conflicting groups: racist, sex-crazed, money-grubbing Jewish producers; hip, cool, with-it African Americans; and pneumatic hookers who are constantly at the beck and call of sleazy showbiz types. A smug, self-indulgent trainwreck, Burn Hollywood Burn will likely turn out to the worst film of 1998.