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Welcome to Hollywood

Selection for the Weekend of
January 5 - 7, 2001

Hollywood history is full of legends about how stars got their big break or ascended to stardom overnight. Often, the studio (in the old days) or press handlers and agents (modern day) gin these tales up. Wouldn't it be interesting to how a star truly emerges? That's the idea behind this mock documentary from Tony Markes and Adam Rifkin.

Rifkin has decided that he wants his next project to be a documentary that follows a young, unknown actor from his first big break to stardom. In particular, Rifkin thinks the film should end with that new star walking down the red carpet at the Oscars on his way to collect his first award.

After searching far and wide to find just the right person, Rifkin narrows his choices down to two. David Lake (David Andriole) seems to have all the qualities Rifkin wants. He's good looking, has a good agent and works hard. The other possibility is an older, unknown, inexperienced, new-to-Hollywood actor (Tony Markes), who doesn't have any of those positives in his favor. After Lake turns down the opportunity, Rifkin is stuck with the newcomer.

Rifkin changes the upstart's name to Nick Decker, gets him an agent, even works hard to set up some auditions. The director tries to make the best of a bad situation, but Decker is just awful. When none of it works, Rifkin decides it's time for desperate measures because he wants his film to be a success.

Will Nick Decker become a major star? Is Rifkin taking this all too far?

Rifkin is best known for directing Mousehunt, but shows some comedic acting talent in this film. Obviously, the movie is a spoof about chasing celebrity and the crazy things actors will do to make it. However, Welcome to Hollywood is also a spoof of directors. Rifkin gets to play a stereotypical desperate director trying to create the perfect movie, no matter how bad it is. Even though the film or situation might be silly, the director is always serious about his art. This leads to some of the funniest moments in the film.

Writer/director Tony Markes makes an admirable showing as the naïve kid trying to make it in the cold world of acting, but also shows how the character grows (or should I say, negatively adapts). Nick Decker slowly becomes an animal who is willing to do whatever it takes to become successful. That's why we laugh.

Forget about all those horrible new video releases (you know what I mean if you read this week's review of Autumn in New York). Rent a little gem called Welcome to Hollywood. It gets silly towards the end, but it's a fun ride.

Watch for many funny cameos from famous Hollywood celebrities, who really didn't know why they were being interviewed.

Grade: B+

Directed by Tony Markes and Adam Rifkin

Written by Shawn Ryan and Tony Markes


Adam Rifkin …………………….. Himself

Tony Markes ……………………. Nick Decker

Angie Everhart ………………….. Angie Everhart

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