Critics Consensus

A sordid and pointless movie with some good preformances.



Total Count: 101


Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,047
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Wonderland Photos

Movie Info

A chronicle of the spectacular fall of infamous porn star John C. "Johnny Wadd" Holmes. Based on a true story, the biopic explores the multiple murders that took place high atop Wonderland Avenue in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon, in the summer of 1981. At first the victims were thought to be mere drug dealers and party hounds, but the case became elevated to a classic L.A. noir when they were discovered to be connected to the infamous porn star. By the time the story begins, Holmes had already fallen from perhaps the biggest and most famous star in the hardcore industry, to a state of financial and pharmaceutical ruin. Holmes juggles two women: he is devoted to his jailbait teenage girlfriend Dawn, while still married to his wife Sharon--and the three form a most unique love triangle, particularly as the two women have a better relationship with each other, than either has with him. Holmes befriends local drug dealers Ron and Susan Launius, but soon gets himself 'neck deep' into debt and desperation. He starts playing both sides against the middle as he desperately tries to stay out of jail and stay alive. To save himself from the wrath of notorious gangster Eddie Nash, did Holmes set up his best friends for murder? It all depends on whose story you believe.

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Val Kilmer
as John C. Holmes
Lisa Kudrow
as Sharon Holmes
Kate Bosworth
as Dawn Schiller
Dylan McDermott
as David Lind
Josh Lucas
as Ron Launius
Franky G
as Louis Cruz
Tim Blake Nelson
as Bill Deverell
Carrie Fisher
as Sally Hansen
Eric Bogosian
as Eddie Nash
Ted Levine
as Sam Nico
M.C. Gainey
as Bill Ward
Faizon Love
as Greg Diles
Christina Applegate
as Susan Launius
Natasha Gregson Wagner
as Barbara Richardson
Janeane Garofalo
as Joy Miller
Chris Cioffi
as Letterman Meathead
Chris Ellis
as Captain Nimzaki
Tess Parker
as Chrissy
Kim Mariner
as reporter
Joel Michaely
as Druggie No. 1
Stephanie Roth
as Biker Girl
Letterman Meathead
as Chris Cioffi
Russell Sams
as Cherokee
David Solomini
as Guy At Party
Alexis Dziena
as Gopher's Girlfriend
Karen Lakritz
as Bartender
Steve Cox
as Guy At Bar
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Critic Reviews for Wonderland

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (34)

  • From a distance, Val Kilmer still passes as beautiful... But close up, his is the face of corruption: an intense mass of beforehis-time lines. There is certainly a great role out there for him, but reallife former porn star John C Holmes isn't it.

    Dec 14, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Rarely has so much of so little consequence been so closely examined.

    Oct 24, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Sometimes Wonderland does make you wonder why you're wasting your time with these losers. But there's also a lot here that stays with you.

    Oct 24, 2003 | Rating: 3/5
  • The main interest here is the acting, which is, by turns, entertaining or just entertainingly bad, with lots of grungy seriousness and Method-trained twitching, but also some moments of real gusto.

    Oct 24, 2003 | Rating: 2/4
  • A film whose effects are as hard to wash away as blood.

    Oct 17, 2003
  • Overblown, overheated, overdirected, overacted, overlong and over here, in the local bijoux.

    Oct 17, 2003

Audience Reviews for Wonderland

  • Jun 10, 2012
    The movie is almost as messy as the murders it is about. The script is terrible, especially any lines that are given to the female characters, it is just so awfully written. Lisa Kurow plays her character really well, but no matter how good she is it can not save sincere dialogue such as "remember that time I caught you measuring yourself in the bathroom, what did I tell you!?" and I think Kate Bosworth's character says baby about 30 times in the first 10 minutes. The central performance by Val Kilmer is also flawed, he ain't no Dirk Diggler, he doesn't have the charisma to keep up with the role; but that said, he hasn't much to work with because the script is so bad. On a good note, the narrative, jumpy style is done well, keeping it lively and cocaine fuled til the end, but this itself I found a problem, because the premise is fascinating and by rushing it, you have no sense of proper investigation of the mystery.
    Hassan V Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2012
    val kilmer makes for an interesting john holmes but he seems to be acting a lot like jim morrison again. very graphic and heavy handed but the journey and multi view points help to shape what is still to this day a mystery.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 12, 2011
    Wonderland in my opinion is fairly underrated. Based on the true story of John Holmes, a famed porn star. This film is about the Wonderland murders and John Holmes' involvement. I really don't understand why this film has gotten so much flack. I thought it was a very good film with a good cast. I'm not normally one to care for Val Kilmer, but at times he can deliver a good performance. Wonderland in my opinion is his best performance since 1995's Heat. In Wonderland, director James Cox crafts a very good dramatic thriller. The films plot is engaging and the performances of the cast are very good. Wonderland is an engaging drama film and there's plenty to enjoy from such a film. Wonderland is for me, an intense film that shows the downfall of one of the most famed porn actors at the height of his lowest point. This film is very interesting, entertaining and well put together. Director James Cox has made a good drama film. I very much enjoyed the film for what it was, and I think it's much underrated. Sure, the film isn't as strong as Boogie Nights, but it's worth watching nonetheless. If you enjoy a good real life inspired drama film, Wonderland is the film you should see. This film is much better than what most critics have said about the film. Wonderland has its faults, but for the most part, it succeeds at being a very entertaining drama with a good cast to boot. Along with a good story, what's not to like?
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Despite some rough editing (which can make the film a bit incomprehensible at times), Wonderland is a riveting look at the sleazy LA drug underworld. There are so many temptations that famed people endure that it eventually gets to them and their lives just spiral out of control, straight downwards, and Wonderland captures it very realistically. At times, it can even get a little scary. I often found myself lingering on the very edge of my seat. Besides a great story, Wonderland is riddled with good performances from an ensemble cast and good-enough direction from James Cox to make it an entertaining and interesting watch.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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