and redemption. I loved the contrast of Pitt and Buscemi. I loved the artsy scene of first being in love with the rain of pedals.
The story ostensibly is about their relationship - that of a loser who gets a chance to play Svengali to a naive yet grounded young man who had come to New York hoping to find an acting gig. While this story is interesting what makes the film compelling is that it really gets inside the media/stardom riff. Buscemi's character "Les" (hint hint) points out that those that take the picture are just as important as the stars themselves, because without the pictures there'd be no magazines and without the magazines there'd be very little to keep the stars in the spotlight.
The film further exposes the stardom hierarchy (as perceived by the stars themselves). There's A list and B lists galore, and even an "all access" press pass has levels of true access. It's this farcical nature and twisted reality that Les rails against (in Buscemi's own brash, yet wounded soul way); although his tough exterior hiding a pitiful guy with low esteem riff does get a bit tired by the end of the film. He keeps telling Pitt that the stars are no different from you and me, but yet gets completely tongue tied when he gets the chance to meet Elvis Costello. Yep, Les is a sad loser, one of those who exist on the fringe of society - wanting to be noticed, but without the charm and charisma to make it happen. Even his small victories seem hollow as his parents totally dismiss the fact that one of his pictures got a quarter page spread in one of the trash weeklies.
The film also features Alison Lohman doing a nice turn as a coddled Britneyesque music star that the story of Toby and Les revolves around. The film pokes fun at this type of character by showing a compellingly bad music video of her latest "hit", and then later as she and Costello discuss doing a musical about the life of Brittney Spears - life imitating art, imitating crap. Gotta love it!
Overall I felt that the film could have been tighter. There were scenes that went on too long as if searching for some magical riff that never occurred, and at times the pacing dragged, but overall, while stylized, it did give an intriguing look into the star machine while also offering solid performances by the two leads.
He prefers the term "licensed professional", but it is obvious that Les Galantine (Buscemi) is just an obsessive compulsive and desperate member of the oft-loathed paparazzi. One day he crosses paths with an odd homeless actor named Toby (Pitt) who is genuine, maybe a little off, and aimless. Les takes Toby under his wing, providing him with food and shelter, and a job as his assistant.
Along the way, Toby gets a break, and his friendship with Les goes downhill. I thought I knew where this film was headed, but then became surprised when it started to take a dark turn. I was even more surprised when the ending took where I thought it was going and suddenly turned the other way. Good job, DiCillo. I salute you.
Buscemi and Pitt are amazing, and the support cast, including Kevin Corrigan, Gina Gerson, and Alison Lohman are likewise fantastic. This has indie film plastered all over it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's insightful and engaging without being pretentious, and it doesn't feel forced or fake like a Hollywood version might.
Give this one a shot. It's pretty good, and kind of puts things into perspective as far as celebrity photographers go. I'm not saying I totally respect those people now, but it makes me not hate them as much.
It's about a good looking homeless guy played by Michael Pitt who one day comes across a group of paparazzi's who want to get pictures of this famous singer K'Harma Leeds. The homeless guy interferes and ends up befriending one of the paparazzi's played by the fastest swaring actor in the world Steve Buscemi who acts the same as he does in every other movie that he's in. Steve makes Michael Pitt his assistant in the paparazzi business because he also really wants to become an actor and he thinks that this might be a good start. Following Steve around everywhere taking pictures of people eventually leads to Michael and K'Harma meeting up again and eventually become a couple. Them becoming a couple then leads to both Michael and Steve getting invited to a party filled with a bunch of famous celebrities. Steve can't control the erg to take pictures of celebrities however so they both end up getting get kicked out. Stuff similar to this happens later in the film and Michael Pitt gets so pissed off at him that he eventually just leaves him and runs off to become an actor, a successful one. Steve eventually gets extremely jealous at what a big celebrity he's become and comes up with a plan to kill him as he's walking down the red carpet. But then just as he's about to pull the trigger something happens in that scene that touches me in a way that just thinking about it warms my heart every time.
What holds this whole movie together are the excellent performances, terrific casting, and sharp writing which is why it's one of the best movies of 2006, I think so anyway.