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Paul Snider is a narcissistic, small time hustler who fancies himself a ladies man. His life changes when he meets Dorothy Stratten working behind the counter of a Dairy Queen. Dorothy is a pretty but naive high school senior. Paul immediately falls for Dorothy, who sees in Paul a wise, worldly person unlike herself. Paul believes Dorothy is Playboy material, the magazine he sees as only a springboard to bigger and better things. Paul's dream does become a reality: not only does Dorothy eventually marry him, she becomes the August 1979 Playboy Playmate and ultimately Playboy Playmate of 1979, which does indeed lead to the start of an acting career. As Dorothy's star rises, Paul's life is one of a hanger-on as those in Dorothy's new circle, including Playboy publisher Hugh M. Hefner and movie director Aram Nicholas, don't much like Paul. Paul is unable to eke out a life of his own without using Dorothy's name, which she increasingly is reluctant to provide to her husband. Those that ... Written by
This was probably Eric Roberts' best movie. He steals the show as the sleazy, small-time hustler Paul Snider. Snider aches to be the big-shot, the real "Star 80" but is a failure at everything he tries---except when he gets Dorothy Stratten recognized by Playboy. Then, just as things might break through for them, Dorothy dumps him for a film director (in real life, Peter Bogdanovich). Of course we know the rest---sleazeball Snider kills Dorothy and himself.
Bogdanovich wrote a scathing book about the case, "Death of the Unicorn" in which he lam basts Hugh Hefner (no more invitations to the mansion for him). What is really weird is that Bogdanovich later married Dorothy Stratten's younger sister, who was in junior high when Dorothy was killed.
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