#87-- The Player (1992)
I grew up in a suburb of L.A., but I have very little experience of Hollywood. During the LA Olympics in 1984, I was on Hollywood Blvd. overnight and it was like a party all night, and dirty and the people were odd, but that’s about it.
Robert Altman, however, should know. He’d been involved with Hollywood from 1957, when he directed a documentary about James Dean until his death in 2006. And in his film about Hollywood, The Player, all he can deal with is hypocrisy. The main character, Griffin Mill, is smarmy and weak and thinks that money and script approval can buy him anything. And by the end of the film, he is basically proven right. People will bend over backwards to get success, no matter what the moral cost.
However, it must be said that Hollywood isn’t alone in this regard. In every building block of society, those who get ahead are those who set aside whatever moral qualms they have in order to look out for number one. Wall Street, politics, corporations, -- these are obvious examples. But also hospitals, international relief organizations and churches are also filled with power plays, money moves and back room deals.
Not everyone is like Griffin Mill. But it only takes a small number of men like this to corrupt an organization or a society. The problem is when a society supports and encourages such low approaches to life.
Fun Fact: The Player is a lighthearted poking of Hollywood, and a number of Hollywood heavies agreed to make unpaid cameos, including Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Cher, Burt Reynolds and more than 60 others. What I love most about the film are the many knowing hypocrisies within itself, where it speak of long tracking shots in the middle of a huge, complicated one, and about the wrong of unnecessary nudity, just before a topless woman rushes past. I love such knowing pokes.