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
Several names in the movie are connected to real-life persons involved in Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch hunt" investigations. The town of Lawson is named for screenwriter John Howard Lawson who stood up to HUAC and ended the Red Scare. Another writer, Lester Cole, gives his surname to the mayor. Luke Trimble is named for blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Appleton is named for Senator McCarthy's Wisconsin home town. The movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), seen briefly in the epilogue, is considered a metaphor for the McCarthy policies. See more »
In Mabel's Diner, the catsup bottles have the rounded metal, quick twist tops. In the early fifties, the tops were a cylindrical design with vertical ridges to aid with grip. See more »
Like most people I know, I've seen Jim Carey preform in movies where the writers expected him to have a warped sense of humor or outlook on life, or a zany personality - or both. Sometimes I appreciated it, such as in Batman Forever or Bruce Almighty; other times I didn't, like when he preformed a butchered Grinch or when Ace Ventura made me sick with his humor. Still, whether I liked the movie's story, I admired the way his acting brought the crazies to life. The only exception I'd ever seen was him as the quiet, grown narrator in Simon Birch - until I found The Majestic. Here he doesn't have an outburst of anger, or a goofy-acting moment. He plays a Hollywood screenwriter, Peter - or Pete
Appleton, who thinks life is good and lives it normally. He's on the
verge of making 1st-rate films, has an actress girlfriend, and is respected by all. But all that changes when he's blacklisted for attending a communist meeting, unawares, with his college girlfriend. He's now stripped of his girlfriend, who dumps him, and his career when his latest screenplay is examined by the FBI to see whether he is indeed a communist. Having too much to drink at the local bar, he makes the mistake of going out to drive afterward and crash-lands in a river, managing to escape the car but knocking his head so when discovered on the beach of Lawson the next morning by resident Stan Keller (James Whitmore, The Shawshank Redemption) he doesn't have a clue who he is or why he's there. The townspeople find him familiar, and shortly after he arrives former theater owner Harry Trimble (Martin Landau) is convinced that this is his son Luke, MIA almost a decade ago in WWII. The people, still grieving over the lost of 60 others, are delighted to welcome "Luke" home. He is content to live surrounded by people who admire him, Luke's girlfriend Adele, and work in the Majestic movie theater, unaware that he has both another life and a government agency waiting to catch up to him. This movie itself really is majestic. Someone I know who's always thought Carey overdid his roles saw this, and loved it and called him a good actor. I loved it myself. I thought it was odd how we barely met Pete's original girlfriend, who wasn't even shown breaking up with him, and the fact that the government suddenly had doubts that he was the communist spy they'd thought the day his trial was set, especially after they rejected his movie script as communist work and wrote his vehicle as belonging to a commie in the papers when it was found (and with the wallet picture found with it, why did nobody see its resemblance to "Luke"?). but I enjoyed everything about this anyway. This is by far the best Jim Carey movie I've seen.
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