The Big Picture - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Big Picture Reviews

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February 20, 2016
I really liked this movie because it faithfully represents the struggle a lot of film students go through while trying to get a place in Hollywood, however I hated the ending because it was very unrealistic, they should've ended with a darker tone, like most of this real life stories end.
February 18, 2016
I think the making of a Hollywood satire is tricker than most filmmakers expect it to be. A high number (though I won't name names) expect that a couple of star cameos, the repetition of the Hollywood Will Chew You Up and Spit You Right Out thematic device, and a satirical edge, will be enough. But unless you're unafraid to go dreary, or unafraid to let realism roam free rather than let accidental parody run lose, it's next to impossible to have the zings, or the supreme bite, of "The Player," of "Sunset Boulevard."
1989's "The Big Picture," directed by later-to-be mockumentary great Christopher Guest ("Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind"), is everything a Hollywood lampoon should and shouldn't be. It makes strides with the way it touches upon the town's way of manipulating young filmmakers for the purpose of making money, the way temptation lurks around every corner, and the way it is proven to be easy to lose humility in a land where everybody consistently tells you that you're the best at what you do. But it squanders much of its footing (and potential) due to the way it so often trifles around with the surreal, the way it can't decide if it wants to be an ersatz screwball comedy or a telling black comedy, and the way it always seems to be pleased with itself in a less-than-agreeable manner. We want to like it, as its Tinsel Town observations are reasonably astute. But it's too overconfident for a film that only incites mild laughter - we want it to be darker, more unforgiving, and yet it feels transparent and frivolous.
In "The Big Picture," Kevin Bacon portrays Nick Chapman, a young filmmaker who goes from amateur to topic of interest after one of his student films wins a prestigious award. Immediately a piece of meat for agents around Hollywood to feast their eyes on, everyone, everyone, wants him to direct a hopefully bankable feature in their name. Obviously, Nick is ecstatic, in shock that his childhood dream of making movies is becoming a reality with relative overnight success. Jumping from executive to executive, he repeatedly shares his plans to create an art house masterwork (filmed in black-and-white, without music, and with a principal cast of forty-somethings); but, being the audience obsessed industry that it is, his ideas are met with major tweaks, most of his youthful creativity compromised in the process.
Being a hot commodity soon makes an impact on his personal life, too. Despite being in a committed relationship with Susan (Emily Longstreth), another Hollywood hopeful, he is struck with the idea of risking it all for a bimbo (a laughably big-haired Teri Hatcher) whose physical attractiveness is enough to make him lose the remaining bits of his moral standards. He is also ready to betray his best friend (Michael McKean), a cinematographer, for a renowned professional, knowing full well that he desperately needs the work. And yet, Nick always seems to be slightly aware that getting wrapped up in the phoniness of it all is no way to live - will he eventually be able to stand up to the glamour and maintain his personal and professional integrity?
The answer, unsurprisingly, is yes. Somehow, though, I wish it weren't, as "The Big Picture" is at its most complex, its most amusing, when overtaken by cynicism. But for most of its length, it all feels very Hollywood Satire 101, predictable in how it tries to convince us that attempting to be an artist in such a shallow town can cause one to lose themselves, predictable in its characters and their motivations. And is it an unfunny comedy, or a curiously wacky show-biz drama? Responses are never easy, and the film feels like the product of clever planning without enough substance to make everything stick together. It's a good enough directorial debut from Guest, but most are well aware of the hits he'd later achieve, and I'd rather put my attention onto those.
November 24, 2014
another insider hollywood pic
August 18, 2014
A flawed but charming comedy about the politics of Hollywood, Guest shows that he has a director's eye without losing his touch for what's funny. A decent way for a director to debut.
April 9, 2014
A decent eighties movie, but it is also quite dated. (First and only viewing - In my early twenties)
½ March 25, 2014
one of those things from the 80's that make you thing not everything was lost.
December 8, 2013
another movie that will only appeal to film nerds and people interested in Hollywood. This movie is solid but there are better examples of this exact type of film out there. Certain story elements are rushed and scenes contain awkward pauses. not a mockumentary like most guest films.
April 16, 2013
Quirky and very dated, but quite fun. Off beat humour that is perhaps not that far from the craziness of the real Hollywood. But nice splashes of sentimentality.
March 13, 2013
Simpática pero predecible.
March 9, 2013
I wanted to see this when I was a kid because it was about filmmaking. It was pretty boring though.
February 21, 2013
This follows a director who after receiving an award for his last movie now is moving on to his next and is trying to decide what the story is about and what is going to occur in it. He is getting help with this other guy and they try to come up with the next big movie. He also tries to keep his love life in tact with his girlfriend which he is having difficult with. Kevin bacon plays the main character and does a decent job here but the movie on some spots gets boring. The movie has e few good laughs but not many. A would see it just to see what it is like and after that I would probably not view it again.
September 18, 2012
Fun silly movie about being true to yourself and not selling yourself when true happiness is with your family and friends. Lots of cameos to boot.
July 19, 2012
A hilarious take on the struggles of Hollywood Good direction and performances....esp Kevin Bacon
April 21, 2012
A dull affair, contrived and not particularly funny. There are much better Hollywood satires out there.
March 18, 2012
Not remarkable in any way, this is an invitation to the Hollywood world and a story how movie business is done. A young aspiring movie director wins a prise for his short, and gets an invitation to film a major movie, everybody imposes their views on him and makes him change the main characters, script, camera man, actors, and also betray all of his friends, break up with his his girlfriend, until, one day the whole thing fails and he loses prospects for a promising career and shatters his personal life. He starts anew, asks his friends of forgiveness, help them film a music video and leaves for a long vacation with his former girlfriend. The music video brings him back to the focus of the movie industry, and as he is not available on the phone, his popularity starts to build up progressively. By the time he comes back, he is the most wanted man in Hollywood, only this time he wants to stay true to his convictions. Rather an obvious idea spread for one hour and a half with a rather poor performance of the actors.
December 28, 2011
Short moments of a new grad director's imagination played out like shorts, while the over-arching plot was about how the movie industry works and how it works him over.
½ October 18, 2011
Christopher Guest's debut feature 'The Big Picture' is a satirical look at Hollywood which tells the story of Nick Chapman, a recent film school graduate who is a hot commodity after winning a major student award. As he goes into Hollywood, he quickly learns that it isn't as easy at it seemed, and that making movies is just a small piece of the puzzle which is Tinsel town. This is a very funny film, that really pokes fun at how Hollywood is run by the studio execs and how ridiculous it all is. The film succeeds because its funny and outlandish but it never goes over the top to become slandering but actually presents a rather honest portrayal of Hollywood, believe it or not. The Big Picture is full of some fun performances by people like John Cleese, Martin Short, and J.T. Walsh who all play fun exaggerated Hollywood stereotypes. Definitely a film that anyone interested in working int he film industry would enjoy, but that's not to say the average viewer wouldn't enjoy this too.
½ July 6, 2011
Starts out quite hilarious and I loved the "sketches" in main character's imagination. Unfortunately it gets a bit too silly towards the end, and Martin Short is a major distraction. He acted like it was an SNL sketch rather than a movie role.
Super Reviewer
½ June 25, 2011
Kind of like the Player and The Scret Life of Walter Mitty, but not nearly as good as either.
½ May 1, 2011
This film was not as good as I thought it was. Badly outdated satire on the Hollywood Film Industry. The acting was bad, and most of the jokes went stale. Just the idea of mocking stereotypical movie scripts makes it worth watching. At least, it kept my attention throughout the film.
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