Flawed, but still entertaining and quite funny in parts.
skunktrain | So. California, USA | 12/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If I could give this 3 1/2 stars, I probably would. It was flawed--the plot was far-fetched, and our main characters make some nonsensical or dumb decisions at times. But I still found myself laughing at quite a lot of scenes in this movie. Three washed-out actors (Tom Berenger, Burt Reynolds and Rod Stieger) become involved (through a series of bizarre events and unbelievable coincidences) in trying to scam some wiseguys out of stolen Vegas money. They hope to use the money to finance their own movie, so they can finally get some acting work again.The plot is pretty lightweight, and mostly done for laughs. It is mostly (in my opinion) a wicked and sometimes dark send-up of the Hollywood system, and how fickle and shallow it usually is. As a native of L.A., I guess I appreciated these pokes at the system, and felt they were deserved. I've seen many people struggle to make a go in Hollywood.The movie's pace is adequate, but lags a few times. The actors sometimes chew the scenery a bit too much. But the last portion of the film is quite amusing. These three actors have to play the part of a lifetime--they have to convince some real-life gangsters that they are cops. This part of the film has some truly hilarious moments, as each actor takes their turn "improvising" and almost blowing it, over-acting, acting badly, and hoping the gangsters don't catch on. Pretty funny stuff.I liked all three of the main actors in this movie. Tom Berenger is closest to being the "straight man" in this story--he does a good job reacting (with horror, astonishment, etc.) to the antics of the other two guys. Burt Reynolds overdoes his part at times, but he's still quite funny and his character is amusingly bumbling and poignant. Rod Steiger (in one of his last roles, alas) is outstanding, in my opinion. He's got an excellent comic sense and I really enjoyed seeing him shine in this role.Jacqueline Kim plays a cohort in crime (and Berenger's ex girlfriend) and she was likeable in her part. The rest of the supporting cast was good and effective in their roles as well.I guess because I didn't expect too much from this film (a few of the reviews I'd read were lukewarm) I was very pleasantly surprised. It is funny. Perhaps derivative, perhaps with a flawed script, but still, it has more than a few funny moments. Tom Berenger, Burt Reynolds and especially Rod Steiger are very good and worked really well together. I think this movie is worth seeing just to see them all interact with each other--I have a feeling they had a lot of fun making this movie. I feel that I can recommend this film, as long as it is understood that it is flawed, but worth it for the good parts."
Poorly put together
skunktrain | 01/28/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Although it's a plot that has seen plenty of recycling (more or less conning a con) I was looking forward to The Hollywood Sign because it features three of my favorite actors: Tom Berenger, Rod Steiger, and Burt Reynolds. What a disappointment. Berenger appears at first to be recycling his character from Eddie & The Cruisers and then lapses into what has to be one of the worst performances he's ever given. Steiger mumbles his way through scenes like Marlon Brando - a terrible shame that this had to be one of his last screen performances. The only one who acquits himself if Reynolds, who does a fine turn as a washed-up actor, although it does make you wonder just how much "acting" he was really doing. He's very funny, but the scene where he watches a film from his younger days was poignant but bordered on becoming precious.The DVD I received had some of the worst sound quality I've ever encountered and when I replaced it, experienced the same problems. I tried two different players as well in case it was a mechanical flaw, but apparently it's the way the disc was mixed. God awful. Berenger sounds like he's in an echo chamber half the time and the soundtrack more often than not competes with the dialogue. I'm sure that interfered with my judgement of the film overall but it's hard to ignore."