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The Kid Stays in the Picture
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Kid Stays in the Picture More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Stars, sleaze, sex - and something close to brilliance

9/10
Author: Tim Hodgson (tkwh@hotmail.com) from Bermuda
15 March 2003

Admit it. You're only interested in seeing this film because you think it's an A-list answer to an E! Hollywood True Story episode. Stars. Sleaze. Sex. Who could ask for anything more? The gossip quotient notwithstanding (and there's an awful lot of it), this turns out to be a thoughtful and intelligent profile of a man who is among the most thoughtful and intelligent producers ever to have helmed a major Hollywood studio. His biography reads like the synopsis of a Harold Robbins potboiler - former garment industry executive is cast in a movie when Irving Thalberg's widow spots him at a swimming pool, launching him on a life of success and excess in the film industry. But, as KID makes abundantly clear, Evans' spectacular if unlikely career path owes far more to the well-established link between the manic depressive temperament and creativity than CARPETBAGGERS-type pulp fiction. His seemingly boundless reserves of energy, when constructively channelled, can create works of cinematic art; when employed in less salubrious ways, the self-destructive results usually end up in the National Enquirer. Evans comes across as an admirable albeit eccentric character who, despite devastating illnesses and a slew of professional and personal setbacks, still retains the wit, charm and high-octane enthusiasm that once propelled him to the top of the greased pole that is Hollywood. Evans is probably better known today for his cocaine conviction, blink-and-you-missed-it marriage to Catherine Oxenberg and the tell-all bestselling autobiography this documentary is loosely based on. While he would be the first to admit that his epically scaled lapses have been grist for the tabloid mill, Evans also deserves to be remembered as the man who midwived such classics as ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE GODFATHER and that definitive Chandlerian dissection of Los Angeles, CHINATOWN. Evans is direct and honest about the creative tensions that helped to shape all of these films, acknowledging that he played the grain of sand to Polanski and Coppola's oysters - trying to irritate those directors into producing pearls. His reminiscences about the hot-and-cold wars that were waged behind the scenes on these and other pictures underscore the collaborative nature of filmmaking - and expose as the nonsense that it is the widely accepted fiction of director-as-author. You'll get gossip aplenty but you'll also get insight in this is a warts-and-all portrait of a unique Hollywood personality, a kid who, deservedly, still remains in the picture.

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

like Evans himself, this documentary isn't as great as it thinks it is, but it is watchable throughout

8/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
10 May 2006

Robert Evans's book version of this documentary, The Kid Stays in the Picture, is still un-read by me. But I have read much about him from other movie books from the 70's, and so this film does illuminate certain aspects of him that I already knew- his huge ego, his drug addiction, his proclivity to lots and lots of women, and having some part in the more outstanding films of the 1970's. Sometimes with Evans himself narrating throughout two things become apparent as peculiarities that keep it from being great- 1) the filmmaker's style is rather repetitive and, aside from some flourishes of talent, isn't anything too grand for the material, and 2) the three sides to the story that Evans is quoted with at the beginning become rather blurred as one full-on nostalgia (for bad and good) comes out. What makes it captivating, however, is that Evans is the kind of guy who will be honest about being full of crap and will even call on himself for his past troubles. Rarely has one man's achievements gone neck and neck with his flaws, and let out in a filmic, grandiose style such as this.

Evans is shown to have, basically, a lot of luck as someone getting into Hollywood (as many of these stories go). He starts out as a so-so actor and tries desperately to establish himself as a producer. He becomes more apart of the development side of the pictures, and ushers through Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, and even the Godfather to an extent. As his story includes the personal side (his rise and fall in the relationship to Ali McGraw, the cocaine, the other tabloid stuff), the other side of his professional accomplishments still gears in for room. By the end, one can see that the man has gone through enough to have his rightful reputation as Paramount's longest remaining producer, and will likely hold onto his ego of being the head-cheese kind of 'creative producer' so many directors like or dread till the grave. If anything, the film is actually too short, as at 93 minutes (a brilliant Dustin Hoffman imitation over the credits included) we only get glimpses that are further expounded in the book. Therefore its already subjective viewpoint becomes even more crunched into one all-too-simple story on such an interesting case study.

The Kid Stays in the Picture, despite not being as terrific as the filmmakers might think it is by their sleek camera angles and typical interludes of montage, is as close to being as honest as it could be. Honest, in the sense that Evans doesn't hide much in his story and how his own way of speaking about it, in its deep-sounding and straight-forward Hollywood way, is what film buffs look for. He may have been and done a lot of things, but as he says at the end, "I enjoy what I do, which most people can't say that they do."

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Fascinating

Author: Benedict_Cumberbatch from Los Angeles, CA
12 January 2007

"The Kid Stays in the Picture" is a must-see for any person who's interested in movies and their making. This funny and exciting documentary tells the larger than life story of Robert Evans, "discovered" by Norma Shearer swimming in a hotel pool in 1956, who went to become a ham actor and soon afterwards, an extremely successful producer, who took Paramount studios from 9th to first in Hollywood in less than a decade. The man behind legendary films such as "The Godfather", "Chinatown", "Harold and Maude", "Love Story", "Marathon Man" and "Rosemary's Baby", Evans dated beautiful women (he was once married to "Love Story" star Ali MacGraw) and was obsessed with his goals (and he often succeeded, being responsible for some of the biggest hits of his time), what turned him Hollywood royalty and voted the world's most eligible bachelor. With one scandal involving his name, drugs and a murder, though, his career was ruined and he lost almost everything he had. But he came back, and "The Kid Stays in the Picture" explores his fascinating saga with the witty, cynical narration of Evans himself, never being too self-indulgent. Evans himself admits he was no angel. But then again, who is? Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" deserved to win the Best Documentary Oscar back in 2002, but the absence of "The Kid Stays in the Picture" among the nominees is more outrageous than Evans' story itself. 9.5 out of 10.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

a must-see for movie lovers

Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
19 August 2003

`The Kid Stays in the Picture,' a documentary about famed movie producer and studio head Robert Evans, begins like `The Great Gatsby,' a film Evans produced in 1974. To the wistful strains of `What'll I Do?' playing in the background, the camera glides lovingly over the furnishings, pictures and memorabilia that adorn Evans' Bel Air mansion and estate. The comparison is an apt one, for, like Gatsby, Evans was a wunderkind, a handsome young go-getter who knew early on the kind of life he wanted to lead and who willed himself to attain it. With a combination of good looks, charm, ambition and just a bit of plain old-fashioned good luck, he managed to go from being a mediocre movie actor to becoming the head of Paramount Studios in the course of a mere decade. And what a decade it was! Evans had a major hand in not only lifting Paramount from ninth to first place among Hollywood's major studios, but in bringing such films as `Rosemary's Baby,' `True Grit,' `Love Story,' `Chinatown' and, of course, `The Godfather' to movie screens everywhere.

`The Kid Stays in the Picture' is a dream-come-true for hardcore cinephiles, providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the true Golden Ages of Hollywood filmmaking. Evans' story is, in fact, the story of that time, for truly he hobnobbed with virtually every one of the key players responsible for that era. Evans' tale follows a fairly conventional arc for men of his type: the ambitious kid with dreams of larger-than-life glory achieves meteoric success in the entertainment business only to have his ambitions dashed on the shores of rampant egotism, overconfidence and drug addiction. In fact, Evans' life would make perfect fodder for a film of its own, as this documentary and the positive response to it demonstrates. Evans himself narrates the film, and although he tends to be a bit easier on himself than an outsider might have been, he is still willing to chastise himself when he feels it's called for and to render some rather startlingly unflattering assessments of certain major players on the Hollywood scene. He is, also, however, utterly devoted to those he feels have stuck by him through good times and bad, and he is not averse to lavishing praise on others when it is due. One objection to Evans' narration is that he doesn't always speak with the utmost clarity, sometimes making what he says come out garbled and incomprehensible.

As a piece of filmmaking, `The Kid Stays in the Picture' offers a kaleidoscopic array of stills, film clips and reenactments that reflect the temper and mood of the time. Directors Brett Morgan and Nanette Burstein obviously pored through a wealth of material on the subject, culling from it a comprehensive, streamlined and fast-moving narrative that grips the audience with its humor, its sadness and its tribute to the indomitableness of the human spirit. For if Evans' story is about anything, it is about how important it is for each individual to achieve his dreams and how equally vital it is for that same person, once he has fallen down, to pick himself up off the floor so that he can continue pursuing that dream.

`The Kid Stays in the Picture' is a wonderful time capsule for those who love movies. No true film fan should miss it.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

An excellent telling of a great Hollywood story

8/10
Author: FilmOtaku (ssampon@hotmail.com) from Milwaukee, WI
22 May 2003

Documentaries are a dime a dozen, and I've seen my share. Being the type of person who would watch a documentary on anything, I was excited to catch this film about a man who has had one hell of a career in Hollywood. I knew I would find the subject matter interesting, but was completely surprised at how much I enjoyed the way the story was presented.

The Kid Stays In The Picture is the story of Robert Evans, told in Evans' words and narrated by Evans himself. His amazing career highs and lows are detailed in fantastic cinematic fashion, utilizing photographs and film clips from Evans' acting, then producing career while accompanied by Evans' enrapturing narration. The stories told by Evans were so effective and interesting that it could have been overlaying a blank screen and would have riveting. He is truthful, arrogant and most importantly, self-deprecating. He isn't afraid to admit the mistakes he made in his career, which is a refreshing turn from so many self-serving documentaries.

If anything, this film is worth watching for two scenes: When Evans tells the story of his near-suicidal moments that are harrowing in itself, but is accompanied by appropriate images from some of the films he produced. The other is during the final credits, when you see Dustin Hoffman do an incredible and hilarious impersonation of Evans on the phone. I certainly hope that Evans was proud of the way this documentary portrayed him, and should be commended in the way he portrayed himself.

--Shelly

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A REAL-LIFE CITIZEN KANE

Author: george.schmidt (gpschmidt67@gmail.com) from fairview, nj
30 July 2002

THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE (2002) **** Fascinating and wildly entertaining documentary by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen on legendary Hollywood film producer Robert Evans – based on his notorious best-selling autobiography – of his rise from poolside discovery by Norma Shearer as a fledgling B actor to his successful climb atop Paramount Studios upper echelon and responsible for green lighting many of The Golden Age of the Seventies blockbusters (i.e. `Love Story', `The Godfather', & `Chinatown' to name three) to his disdain as an industry pariah involving cocaine and murder. Evans' unique sangfroid mixed with charm, chutzpah and a movie lovers' contempt for those who ‘just don't get it' wields a strong hold in his story and the wonderful cinematic ingenuity of making photo stills into diorama-like animation is used smartly as well as allowing its subject to pontificate without utterly destroying his self-made rakish image. One of the best indie docus down the pike in some time and a valentine for those who like their gossip with popcorn.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The Eyes Stay Glued to the Screen

Author: rrgriffith from Baton Rouge, LA
28 September 2002

This is an exceptionally fine, creative documentary about the man who was behind most of the great films of the 70's and 80's. What an terrific use of still photos and music, done in such a way (and using a technique that seems to make some of the stills "move" and appear 3-D)as to make Ken Burns' style appear downright antique. For anyone who grew up with the movies, especially the great ones of the last 20-30 years, this is an absolute must-see.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Glossy and Superficial, But Still Quite Interesting

Author: richard winters (rwint) from Chicago, Illinois
20 March 2004

7 out of 10

It is hard to resist this documentary even though it seems more like self promotion. The fact that this man has attained what others could only dream about makes it a must see itself. Robert Evans certainly does seem to embody every stereotype one could imagine when they think of a Hollywood producer. He is rich and suave, he wears big, tinted glasses, dresses in gaudy suits, hosts wild parties, dates beautiful women, and lives in a beautiful, serene Hollywood home. You would think that he would almost have to be a caricature, but he isn't. His stories involving famous Hollywood celebs, both past and present, could alone fill a movie if not several.

Of course that is the problem with the documentary. It all seems a bit too Hollywood. Everything seems a bit phoney and too far removed from the average person. He seems, in a way, to have made a production out of himself. The film, like the man, is very deliberate and highly glossy. It depends almost exclusively on some very well transferred old photographs and elaborate stills. At no time do we ever get someone else's viewpoint or perspective. Evans shows no ability at having any self depreciating humor or humbleness. His determination and gutsiness is inspiring yet it would have been nice to see Evans as a child and a little bit more on his upbringing. Also the dialogue between him and his then wife Ali Macgraw seems really weird and only adds to the mythical quality of the thing.

Evans does all the narrating and proves to be quite a character and showman. His ability to do different accents and voices is impressive. The whole thing is very fluid and it gets you involved in a hypnotic sort of way. You also gotta love his saying, which was taken from an old Chinese proverb "Luck is when opportunity meets good preparation."

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A look into the life of a Hollywood legend.

7/10
Author: senortuffy from Glen Ellen, CA
6 September 2003

This is an interesting documentary about one of Hollywood's legendary producers, Robert Evans. Directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen, it mostly uses film clips from movies he produced at Paramount plus a narration taken from the audio cassette Evans made for his autobiography.

There's so much material to draw on that it's impossible to really do justice to his life in just 90 minutes. I wanted to hear more details about the films he made and the people he knew, not just a quick synopsis, but then I suppose that's what the book is for. It would also have helped if they'd interviewed people like Jack Nicholson or the people who worked on the film productions, just to get another perspective.

Some people have complained that Robert Evans is pleading for sympathy, having gone from wonder boy to disgraced druggie, but I thought he was simply asking for some understanding and some respect. He seems to feel he was wrongly maligned, more than he deserved, for his drug use and troubles with the law, and I'd have to agree. Abusing yourself is hardly news in Hollywood.

Does Robert Evans have an ego? Sure, but if I'd brought "Chinatown" and "The Godfather" to the screen, I would too. You can tell there's a lot more to the man than just his films, but unfortunately, we only get to scratch the surface here.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Robert Evans Celebrates Robert Evans, to the Benefit of Robert Evans

5/10
Author: bosochima from Chicago, IL
28 December 2011

Somewhere in this grating, self-congratulatory exercise in ego-mania is a fascinating documentary about one of the most talented and successful players in the history of Hollywood. By sealing it all up in a stiffing first-person bubble, though, Robert Evans and the film makers turn what could have been a great journey into the equivalent of being stuck on an airplane with someone who can't shut up about himself. All biographies have a point of view. I've never seen one, though, that insists on giving the viewer ONLY one perspective to the point that the main character is the only one allowed to speak, quoting other people in irritating (and in some cases racist) caricatures while continuously employing false modesty, name dropping, and hackneyed "homespun" quips meant to sound like hard-earned wisdom. They should have printed 15 copies of this film and passed them around to friends and family of "The Kid" in the title. Considering the flood of quality documentaries that have been released in the last decade, the general Viewing public deserves something better.

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