Peter Appleton is an ambitious young screenwriter working for HHS Studios during Hollywood's Golden Age, 1951 in particular. "Ashes to Ashes" is about to be released, and he's dating the attractive movie star, Sandra Sinclair. Just when everything seems to be going his way, it is discovered he (unwittingly) attended a Communist meeting during college when pulled there by his girlfriend at the time, and thus heavy suspicion settles over him and he'll have to stand before Congress. Afraid of what might happen if they don't, HHS cancels Appleton's contract and aborts the release date of the film. Appleton promptly begins to wallow in self-pity and spends nearly an entire night at a bar, then drives intoxicated through the streets of the California course until plummeting into a stormy river and getting knocked unconscious. Washing up on the beaches of a small town called Lawson. Although the people there are pleasant and likable, the town is depressed and lifeless due to having lost 62 ... Written by
Jim Carey is a man who literally re-defines himself in the mold of the small-town hero. A recently black-listed Hollywood screenwriter, Carey, is leaving Tinseltown on a feel-sorry-for-yourself drunk drive and winds up washed up (literally and figuratively) on a beach having suffered amnesia. He's taken to a picturesque coastal California town and is mistaken (or is he?) for one of their boys lost in WWII. And what a boy he was--handsome, caring, talented... and engaged to the local Drs. daughter. Carey's character is confused and taken in by the love given by this town for their supposed returning war hero. But is he that man? Will he marry the girl "he" left behind? Will the commie chasers from J. Edgar Hooverland find him and make him face the music? Who is he, really! This is a throw back to the Kapra-Korn of earlier years. This is a movie that unabashedly creates a small town America that never was so polished and gleaming. But despite the cornball-ity of the whole thing, the sincerity of Mr. Carey's acting along with a fine ensemble cast pulls it off. It successfully explores the questions of just who are we, as inviduals and as a society? Can we measure up to the ideals that we hold for ourselves and for our nation? When is expediency--discretion, the better part of valor? Is there a nobility in self-sacrifice and in the angels of our naive and better natures? I like movies (and books and things) that ask questions and explore territory that is often neglected in this fast-cut, MTV film't age. Sure it's corny. More than a bit unrealistic, but the sincerity of script and cast pulls it off. What is the greatest generation? Any one where enough of us face the music... and dance.
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