The Fractured Mirror

Created by Nathan Rabin

Nathan Rabin's Happy Place's Definitive Guide to American Movies about the Film Industry

Latest Updates from Our Project:

The Fractured Mirror entry: In a World...
22 days ago – Sat, Nov 11, 2023 at 07:43:51 AM

In a World… (2013) FM

Hollywood has been making movies about making movies for well over a century. The movie world never stops admiring itself in the mirror while scouring for imperfections. The movie world satire has been done to death so it’s rare to see a comedy attack this well-worn subject matter from a fresh angle.

Actor turned filmmaker Lake Bell finds two fresh angles on the glorious insanity of the movie business with her critically acclaimed 2013 writing and directorial debut, …In a World. Instead of focussing on actors and actresses, producers or directors In a World… explores the fascinating subculture of voiceover artists, sonorous narcissists literally in love with the sound of their own voices.

The film’s other novel take involves centering on the hyperbolic realm of movie trailers more than movies themselves. It’s a weird, insular world ruled for decades by Don LaFontaine, whose name is synonymous with the three magical words that give the film its title.

LaFontaine is not immortal, however, and when he dies a battle ensues among the leading lights of the voiceover industry over who will take his place and get to utter “In a world” in the trailer for a Hunger Games-style series of action blockbusters.

The top contender is Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed), a virtuoso with an ego as big as his bank account. The chauvinist doesn’t think women belong in the voiceover world, particularly his ambitious daughter Carol (Lake Bell).

In a World… follows its lovable heroine as she competes for the gig of a lifetime against her own father and his protege Gustav Mahler (Ken Marino), a millionaire heir she makes the mistake of sleeping with.

Bell is breathtakingly gorgeous yet unexpectedly relatable as well as an accomplished physical and verbal comedienne. She’s supported by a dazzling cast full of ringers, including Demetri Martin as Bell’s love interest, Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro and Geena Davis in a small but crucial role.

In a movie world where seemingly everything has been said and done Bell’s charming directorial debut represents something new and wonderful: the emergence of a true original.

The Fractured Mirror: Somewhere (2010)
22 days ago – Fri, Nov 10, 2023 at 08:25:04 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit and log in to read.

The Fractured Mirror entry: Too Much Too Soon (1958)
about 1 month ago – Wed, Oct 25, 2023 at 08:34:58 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit and log in to read.

The Fractured Mirror entry: Top Five (2014)
about 1 month ago – Sun, Oct 22, 2023 at 08:43:23 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit and log in to read.

The Fractured Mirror entry: Wired (1989)
about 1 month ago – Sun, Oct 22, 2023 at 07:47:06 AM

I'm not sure this comes through in the piece itself but I REALLY did not care for this motion picture. 

I found it to be in questionable taste. 

Wired (1989)

For many unknown actors getting cast as a legendary icon in a controversial biopic would be the break of a lifetime. For Michael Chiklis, playing John Belushi in 1989’s Wired was a disaster he was lucky to survive. In a rare, uncharacteristic fit of good judgment Hollywood turned its back on the seedy, sensationalistic and cruel feature-film adaptation of Bob Woodward’s money-grubbing best-seller for moral as well as creative reasons. Director Larry Peerce never directed another feature film. This was similarly screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch’s final credit. Yet Wired would have flopped even if the entirety of the film business was behind it. It’s not just as bad as its abysmal reputation suggests; it’s worse.

Wired at least deserves credit for being egregiously awful in a novel fashion. Rauch’s screenplay piles on pointless post-modern wankery with a tasteless framing device in which Belushi’s confused and horrified ghost is led through a surreal journey through his life by a cab-driving guardian angel played by Ray Sharkey.

Wired portrays its subject as a drug addict first and foremost, a fatal overdose second, a monster of id and ego third and a comic performer of rare ability and distinction a distant third. Wired depicts Belushi as someone whose adult life was one long drug binge littered with intermittent moments of comic greatness.

Wired never lets audiences forget for a moment that John Belushi was a drug addict who died young of a fatal drug overdose. The film is morbidly obsessed with the condition of Belushi’s corpse and the mechanics of injecting speedballs.

The rightly notorious, reviled biopic features recreations of Belushi’s performances on Saturday Night Live and Animal House that aren’t just unfunny: they’re anti-funny. The filmmakers don’t understand the comic mind, at all, yet they feel obligated to unsuccessfully attempt comedy all the same.

Wired's unfortunate existence is a giant glob of spit in the face of Belushi, Belushi’s memory and everyone who loved him because he was a comic genius and a great man and not the grotesque, hateful caricature of a junky he is here.