An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1998)

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1998)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A witless Hollywood satire whose hammy, obvious jokes are neither funny nor insightful of the movie business.

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn Photos

Movie Info

The existence of Alan Smithee is one of Hollywood's biggest non secrets. The director of over 30 feature films, he was born, or rather created, as a pseudonym in 1967 for the film Death of a Gunfighter (which was not released until 1969). He owes his creation to Hollywood directors (and sometimes actors and others involved in the creative process) who feel that a project has been wrongfully over-edited, or is just too embarrassingly bad to merit their names upon it. The Director's Guild carefully regulates the usage of the famous pseudonym. Some believe the name is an anagram of The Alias Men, while others contend that the name was chosen because of its uniqueness -- no one in the world could possibly be named Alan Smithee, right? Wrong. The premise of this filmed attempt, by screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, to rake Hollywood over the coals is that there really is a Smithee (Eric Idle) and he has just finished his latest epic actioner Trio, which stars Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan (these three are the first of several star cameos occurring throughout). Unhappy that domineering, egomaniacal producer James Edmunds (Ryan O'Neal) -- who only hired Smithee because he thinks the director's an easily-manipulated sap -- has ruined Trio by over-editing it, Smithee goes to the Director's Guild to see about having his name removed from the credits. This proves problematic, for how can "Alan Smithee" be used if that is the director's real name. In desperation, the filmmaker kidnaps the negative of the $22-million movie and ultimately burns it. This act lands Smithee a spot in the Keith Moon Psychiatric Institute in England. It is from there that Smithee tells his version of the tale to investigators assigned to "autopsy" the film. His account is what comprises the bulk of the plot. One of the film's treats is to look for stars such as Billy Bob Thornton and Sandra Bernhard, and Hollywood honchos, notably Miramax big-wig Harvey Weinstein, in cameo roles. There are also numerous inside jokes for film buffs. Ironically, the film's real-life director Arthur Hiller had his name removed from An Alan Smithee Film because he didn't like the way in which Eszterhas recut the film. Eszterhas and Hiller swear that this was not a publicity stunt, but it does make one wonder.
Rating:
R (For strong language and some sexual humor)
Genre:
Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Hollywood Pictures

Cast

Ryan O'Neal
as James Edmunds
Eric Idle
as Alan Smithee
Chuck D.
as Leon Brothers
Richard Jeni
as Jerry Glover
Coolio
as Dion Brothers
Jackie Chan
as Himself
Leslie Stefanson
as Michelle Rafferty
Gavin Polone
as Gary Samuels
Sandra Bernhard
as Ann Glover
Harvey Weinstein
as Sam Rizzo
MC Lyte
as Sister Lumumba
Cherie Lunghi
as Myrna Smithee
Gavin Palone
as Gary Samuels
MC Lite
as Sister Il Lumumba
Marcello Thedford
as Stagger Lee
Nicole Nagel
as Aloe Vera
Stephen Tobolowsky
as Bill Bardo
Erik King
as Wayne Jackson
Jim Piddock
as Attendant No. 1
Naomi Campbell
as Attendant No. 2
Marianne Muellerleile
as Sheila Caslin
Dina Spybey
as Allessandra
Robert Littman
as Cousin Andrew
Doug Walker
as Photographer
Leslie Segar
as Big Lez
Duane Davis
as Black Policeman
Hideo Kimura
as Japanese Businessman
Earl Kim Shiroma
as Japanese Businessman
Jesse Rambis
as Lakers Fan
Christopher Kelley
as British Bartender
Robert Evans
as Himself
Robert Shapiro
as Himself
Grant Shapiro
as Himself
Brent Shapiro
as Himself
Shane Black
as Himself
Jeremy Baka
as Himself
Mario Machado
as Himself
Lisa Canning
as Herself
Gary Franklin
as Himself
John Corcoran
as Himself
Joe Eszterhas
as Himself
Larry King
as Himself
Peter Bart
as Himself
Dominick Dunne
as Himself
Billy Barty
as Himself
Norman Jewison
as Himself
Victor Drai
as Himself
Alan Smith
as Himself
Robin Chivers
as Bonnie
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (10)

The level of humor could be called sophomoric, but that would insult most sophomores.

Full Review… | March 25, 2013
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A comedy without laughs, an expose without point.

Full Review… | March 25, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

What turns the witlessness rancid is the way the movie is saturated in the very corruption it thinks it's ridiculing.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

A caustic but under-funny "expose" of the venality of the motion picture business.

Full Review… | July 20, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

If you harbor an interest in watching so-called "industry smarts" autodestruct, this carries a certain morbid appeal, but that's about the extent of it.

Full Review… | July 20, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Burning is too good for such a wretched fiasco; only a surgical nuclear strike could suitably destroy what has to be one of the most enervating comedies ever made.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn

Unfunny mockumentary.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Fairly funny faux-doc about a fake movie. Also contains an insane amount of cameos.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

A so-so soundtrack can't keep "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" from being unmemorable, uneventful, repetative, thrown together and dull with unfunny jokes that range from obvious to offensive, leaving it to be an absolutely expendable concauction and an unbearbly boring, offensively unfunny and above all, disgustingly pretentious disaster of one at that.

Cameron Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

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