Freeze Frame #120: Hollywood Homicide

Movies about odd couple cops trying to solve a crime and bonding in the process are a dime a dozen. For that dime, you could even specify that eleven of them need to try and be funny and you’d get your wish. Ask for actual humor and you might need to fork out a bit extra, though.

Hollywood Homicide is a movie about two cops investigating a multiple homicide that takes place in a Hollywood nightclub. One of them moonlights as a real estate agent. The other moonlights as a yoga instructor and wants to be an actor. The younger one is played by Josh Hartnett, supposedly a dreamboat although I don’t quite see the attraction. He does, however, manage to project a certain likeability as an actor, and especially as the bad one he plays in this movie. The older one is played by Harrison Ford who, if he could bottle and sell whatever it is that makes him achieve so much sardonic effect with so little effort, would be the richest man in any multiverse. That the cast also contains Lena Olin, possibly the only woman who grows exponentially sexier as she grows older, is a nice bonus.

While the movie is consistently funny, the piece de resistance is the ending, which must rank as the worst performance of A Streetcar Named Desire that one could ever hope to see. Josh Hartnett does the Marlon Brando role, and the audience contains some of the surviving characters from the murder investigation that has just played out. Hartnett is so awesomely bad at this that you have to admire the talent it takes to look so convincingly hopeless. While most of the reaction shots range from muted horror (from those who have seen the original) to disinterest, the one that really stood out for me was Harrison Ford quietly mouthing the line “Stella!” along with Hartnett while Lena Olin looks on in surprise.

Ron Shelton sets this up beautifully with an earlier scene where Ford reads the play at Hartnett’s request and wonders, “Who wrote this shit?” It seems exactly like the way that character would react to Streetcar, so you share Olin’s surprise and amusement when he says “Stella!”

And to top it all off, a cellphone rings in the middle of the scene. Then another. And you wonder what exactly they were referring to when they titled the movie Hollywood Homicide.

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3 thoughts on “Freeze Frame #120: Hollywood Homicide

  1. I wonder why more people haven’t seen this movie. It’s not the greatest or anything but it’s a fun, timepass kind of movie and it’s one of those few movies that’s very gentle in its humor. or so I felt anyway. Possibly that was because Hartnett was so gentle in his portrayal.

  2. ” Josh Hartnett, supposedly a dreamboat although I don’t quite see the attraction” – I agree, but as a person who was at the premiere of this movie, I must say there were a horde of teeny boppers who would bay for your blood if they read this. I’ve also never wanted to buy anyone a sandwich as much as I did when I saw Calista Flockhart.

  3. Amrita>> Most people haven’t seen any of the really good movies, I think 🙂

    complicateur>> I’m not surprised. When Pearl Harbor came out, I remember all this talk about how amazing the guy looked. He’s a decent actor, though — I quite liked him in the Iago role in O (the high school version of Othello with Mekhi Phifer and Julia Stiles) and even in the otherwise unremarkable 40 days and 40 nights.

    I agree with you on the Calista Flockhart comment. Her response to this sort of thing has been, and I quote her verbatim, “They can kiss my skinny a**!”

    Me, I’d rather buy Lena Olin a sandwich. She’s more likely to eat it, and I get a sandwich date with her in the bargain 😀

    ~r

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