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Caesar is a would-be rock star. But for now, he works at a pencil eraser factory. Soon he falls in love with the owner's daughter. In order to get her, he bets with the old man that he can make a hundred thousand dollars in six months. Written by
Steve Richer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lame, amateurish piece meant to be kept in the can
I still can't point out what it is about "Hail Caesar" that I hated so much. On the surface, it feels like a harmless comedy. Obviously lame but harmless. But it keeps gnawing at you from the insides to the point where you just have difficulty watching it straight-through. I had to watch it in three or four separate viewings. I just couldn't sit through this lamebrain fluff for longer than thirty minutes!
I found this movie in the $4.88 bin, so naturally I wasn't expecting the Best Picture Winner for 1993, but I was curious about "HC" ever since I first heard about it. So I decided "What the heck?" and bought it along with a bunch of other discount videos at my local wholesale market. I'm sure Anthony Michael Hall gets cracked on a lot, and many consider him a "has-been." I still think he's a cool actor. I liked him a lot in "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club." And recently, he showed off his talents as an adult actor in "The Caveman's Valentine." He's definitely a man with potential, but as for carrying on a starring role and directing? I don't think so. This directorial debut, and thankfully his only time directing, screams "amateur" from start to finish. Almost like a mediocre student film, meant to be enjoyed strictly by fellow students.
The big stars don't help much either. Sam Jackson is one of my favorite actors, and he appears briefly as a postman constantly getting chased by Julius' (Hall) dog. He's good in this small, supporting role, but he's not on screen enough to save the film. Old brat pack buddy Judd Nelson also has a supporting role and so does Robert Downey Jr. in his most hammy performance as a hyperkinetic wannabe music agent. Jackson, Nelson and Downey all appear very shortly but since marketing always finds ways to capitalize on the success of now-big stars, all three of them appear on the video cover.
The attempts at humor are totally lame, though I have to thank Hall a little bit for not being annoying about it. There's too many overdone, annoying comedies nowadays and that's the only reason why I'm going to thank him--even though the humor is way below par and only intermittently funny. The plot is very disorganized. It keeps on hopping from one subplot to another, and I can never get thoroughly involved. In the beginning, we're psyched up to thinking this is going to be about Julius and his dream to make the perfect band. But that gets pushed off to the side way too often. It mostly composes of an outlandishly predictable pseudo-love story between Julius and his would-be girlfriend (Bobbie Phillips), and her snobby, white-collar father who will do anything to make sure nothing happens between the two of them. The problem is, like all these stories go, the girl he's in love with...is a total bizotch!!!! There's not one appealing quality about her, other than the looks. Throughout the film, they don't do as much as come close to each other. How did the two of them get together in the first place? Yet he's in the band with this beautiful girl (Leslie Danon) who obviously been wanting him since they first met eyes. And here's the bonus: she's not a total bizotch!
Every once in a while, there comes a lost movie that happens to be really good. And you think to yourself, "Why has this movie been hidden for all these years?" This is not one of those movies. It has its (very brief) moments. That's all I have to say. All you Brat Pack fanatics eager to see more of Anthony Michael Hall's work better off buying the original B.P. features or rent them again. I'm hoping he will totally revive his career one of these days, but if this was an attempt for a revival--Sorry, try again.
My score: 3 (out of 10)
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