Hurlyburly (1998)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  25 December 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 8,914 users  
Reviews: 180 user | 57 critic

Hollywood movers and shakers dissect their own personal lives when everything seems to clash together.



(play), (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Darlene (as Robin Wright Penn)
Susie (as Gianna Renaudo)
Store Manager
Kenny Vance ...
Michaline Babich ...
TV Anchor (as Elaine Corral)
Sharon Tay ...
TV Reporter
Frank Somerville ...
TV Anchor
Bob Jimenez ...


Hurly-burly is an adaptation of David Rabe's well known play about the intersecting lives of several Hollywood players and wannabes who's personal lives threaten to veer into a catastrophe more interesting than anything they're peddling to the studios. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for constant drug use, pervasive strong language and sexual material | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

25 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ano kato  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$164,826 (USA) (25 December 1998)


$1,796,328 (USA) (2 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Hurlyburly" by David Rabe opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York on August 7, 1984, ran for 343 performances and was nominated for the 1985 Tony Award for the Best Play. See more »


When Eddie lies under the glass table while Mickey and Artie talk to him, the location (and amount) of cocaine changes between shots. See more »


Artie: He's got this thing.
Phil: It's a vibrator I carry around with me.
Mickey: You carry a vibrator around with you?
Phil: Yeah. As a form of come-on. So the girls can see I'm up for anything right away. Sometimes as a sort of, uh, mood-setter I turn it on. But, uh, today there was, uh, extenuating circumstances.
Artie: You forgot about the weights.
Phil: Yeah.
Artie: He forgot about the weights.
Mickey: You forgot about the weights?
Phil: Yeah. Forgot about the weights. Unbelievable.
Mickey: Unbelievable! You forgot about the weights?
See more »


Features Mario Kart 64 (1996) See more »


Aldritch Sauce
(music video)
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User Reviews

Brilliant writing, marvelous and memorable performances round out the craftsmanship of this film
6 June 2006 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

For many movie fans who truly love the art of film, a good screenplay is the jeweled movement on which marvelous films turn and pivot. They remain with you as memorable experiences, be they like Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, Gandhi, or The Maltese Falcon. The genre hardly matters; good screen play is an essential in even the action movie. Too bad so much mediocre screen writing abounds when good talent seems so obtainable.

'Hurlyburly' was adapted from the play for the screen by the author. In a word, it is brilliant. The acting is superb in every character, and the casting was perfect. Once again, Sean Penn gives a performance that is indicative of his paramount position as one of the very best actors of his generation — a superlative star given any generation.

I can just imagine that this film has made some pretty bad friends in some quarters — and in both genders. There is no hiding the fact that this sort of world exists to some extent anywhere a group of hedonistic, single males (or men who think that they are still single) gather to hang out, relax or party. But a viewer will be missing the point if she/he thinks that 's all there is — gratuitous, reckless living.

Marshall McLuan's theory of amputation kept occurring to me after watching the film — the idea that with each additional machine in our culture we are being cut off from our humanity. This is a psychodrama that does not resort to the unspoken, latent trauma that lurks in the past to trouble our characters. Something in Eddie is more truncated than broken, and although he doesn't know what it is, he is intensely aware that it is causing him despair, loneliness and pain. The drugs maybe both cause and effect. Beyond the pain itself, he is completely unsure about what he thinks he is supposed to feel. Some considerable irony floats around this issue, and to the director's credit it is revealed with cunning grace.

This film demonstrates that amidst all the lowest common denominating crud, American mainstream cinema is occasionally distributing intriguing works of art. This may not be the film to purposely chose on a sad evening of angst and regret, but if you were to catch it at such a moment, the performances might sweep you up, and the film that was a play could beguile you.

I gave it an unequivocal 10 for the same reasons your movie guide gives 5's for the films that I would love to have in my tape and disk library.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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