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: Hollywood Ending (2002)
over 1 year ago – Fri, Jun 24, 2022 at 09:16:01 PM

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The Fractured Mirror entry: Hurlyburly (1998)
over 1 year ago – Mon, Jun 20, 2022 at 10:16:55 PM

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The Fractured Mirror entry: The Hollywood Sign (2002)
over 1 year ago – Sat, Jun 18, 2022 at 04:58:07 PM

I don't like to go more than a few days without a new Fractured Mirror entry so I had to hit y'all off with a thunderingly inessential entry. 

Up next: Hollywood Ending and Hurlyburly. Very excited to explore the comedy of Woody Allen and drama of Kevin Spacey. 

The Hollywood Sign (2002)

Throughout the course of his film career Burt Reynolds played a disproportionate number of movie world players: stunt men, directors, producers and screenwriters. But more than anything, Reynolds played actors. That made sense given his movie star good looks, easy charm and status as one of the most popular leading men in film history.

Reynolds played yet another actor in 2002’s The Hollywood Sign, an adaptation of a 2001 novel by Dutch author Leon de Winter. Putting his light comic touch and understated dramatic chops to good use, Reynolds steals the film as Kage Mulligan, an inept veteran whose career has nosedived due to drunkenness and unreliability.

The struggling actor’s life changes when he reconnects with old costar Tom Greener (Tom Berenger), a one-time Emmy nominee reduced to seeking work selling cars. The down on their luck pair join forces with fellow has been actor, shameless ham and Academy Award winner Floyd Benson (Rod Steiger) to rip off some gangsters using the skills Hollywood is no longer interested in.

The Hollywood Sign works much better as a comedy of failure, sadness and desperation than it does as a drama or crime movie but it’s never laugh out loud funny until a comic climax where the three leads, each played by an Oscar winner and/or nominee put on a masterclass in bad/over-acting while nervously, unconvincingly pretending to be cops to work over understandably skeptical bad guys.

It’s a wholly successful scene in a mediocrity that otherwise only works in fits and starts. The Hollywood Sign is a decidedly minor entry in the surprisingly voluminous pantheon of Burt Reynolds movies about the film industry but it is not without its breezy pleasures, chief among them another fine, funny and moving performance from Reynolds and one knockout scene in an otherwise underwhelming, low-energy endeavor.

as you may or may not be aware, the Backerkit campaign is up, baby!
over 1 year ago – Wed, Jun 15, 2022 at 09:46:48 PM

It took me WAY too long to set it up but the Backerkit is up now so you can relive the Kickstarter campaign as often as you'd like and literally buy THOUSANDS, even MILLIONS of books from me? 

Is that unrealistic? Probably but literally ANYthING would be great over at

The Fractured Mirror: Good Times (1967)
over 1 year ago – Sun, Jun 12, 2022 at 10:01:14 PM

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