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The Million Dollar Hotel follows the supposed murder of Izzy Goldkiss. FBI Agent Skinner is sent into investigate the crime, and to weed out the killer. When he reaches the 'hotel', he comes across many of the forgotten types of people living in the city. You have Geronimo, who is a self proclaimed Native American artist. Dixie, played with great gusto by Peter Stormare, as the 'fifth' Beetle that is still waiting for his royalty payments, as well as recognition. Eloise, who is the neighborhood 'whore'. And then there is Tom-Tom, played by Jeremy Davies. He's the center of the story, being that he's the 'village idiot' of the bunch, and has the trust of everyone in the Hotel. Agent Skinner has a few days to find out who the killer is, while the residents of the hotel devise a scheme to sell off Izzy's fabled 'Tar Paintings'. Written by
Mel Gibson was so ashamed of the film, that he fought to prevent it from being released to theaters in the U.S. See more »
The positions of the pool balls change during the voting scene. See more »
Wow, after I jumped it occurred to me, life is perfect, life is the best. It's full of magic, beauty, opportunity, and television, and surprises, lots of surprises, yeah. And then there's that stuff that everybody longs for, but they only real feel when it's gone. All that just kinda hit me. I guess you don't really see it all clearly when you're - ya know - alive.
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It is a love story, social commentary, crime drama and personal narrative all wrapped up in one film. It all works but the personal narrative which almost works.
The movie begins with the narrator jumping off the building. It sets the bar high for making sure the film provides enough motivation to support that act. It sets a high bar for the viewer to care when he leaps. It fails on both counts. The leap bookends the rest of the action. Bookends are functional but not necessary to keep books together. This leap is not necessary to keep the film together. It functions to allow you entry into and exit out of the story. In this it is very effective making its lack of motivation forgivable.
This is about life on the edges. Most characters are on the edges of society, high and low. Most characters are at the edges of sanity. Some approach the edge, from both directions. It takes the Network envisioned world showing how that world impacts people at the edges. One character's desire to keep an event from getting to TV in an unfavorable light drives Detective Skinner's involvement. The involvement of TV is courted by another group of characters to enhance their economic status. All the time TV is pushing to get a taste of the scandal in order to profit itself.
The love story is inescapably intertwined with the crime story. Detective Skinner plays cupid to discover the truth. What begins as an uncomfortable failure to reject by Eloise turns into a warm and caring relationship. The pain it causes Tom's love interest provides the only compelling reason, aside from general principle, for caring about the narrator leaping.
Social commentary is on several levels. On top are "we need better health care" and "marginalization of the mentally ill". Underneath is the issue of power. The media mogul, the detective, Eloise, and the collective residents all make use of power to influence outcomes. Political influence, personal attraction, the lure of a better life, physical and verbal abuse are all in play. A small irony is that the `powerful' media mogul is probably less effective in exercising power than the `marginal' residents of the hotel.
The crime story works well. That a crime was committed is up for grabs as much as who did it. A dark joke is that someone from the LAPD is assigned to the FBI agent to make sure he follows procedures. The LAPD liaison is totally ineffective and the only truly powerless character in the entire movie.
This movie is a visual treat. Editing is unusual and effective. It is smooth when that works and it is jumpy and ragged when that works. From the opening shot to the end each scene is an eyeful.
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