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Disillusioned quippy alcoholic, Al Mackey, and emotionally distraught family man, Marty Wellborn, are homicide cops in Hollywood hot on the trail of the murderer of a movie mogul who was moonlighting by making child porno pictures. While Marty deals with his failed marriage and a snitch turned surrogate son he's put in danger, Mackey focuses on the case and his main woman of interest, in more ways than one, becomes a feisty actress called Willie, one of several suspects with motive, opportunity and the evil means to carry out this act. The investigation takes the police duo straight into the viper's pit that is the city's seedy underbelly, and the real question quickly becomes would a medal be in order for the killer instead of being arrested. The movie's title refers to the name of the bar where Mackey spends his evenings.Written by
Richard Jones <email@example.com>
Take the worst of 1980's excess, sprinkle every murder mystery/cop drama cliche on top, and toss in phoned-in performances and awful direction, and you've found your way to The Glitter Dome.
James Garner (Al Mackey) is a street-wise "seen-it-all" detective. He drinks hard, brings home whatever he can get at bars, and wanders his way through crime scenes making smart-aleck remarks.
John Lithgow (Marty) is the cop with a conscience. Plagued with nightmares about a child he couldn't save, the straight-laced detective just can't play in Mackey's world of drama.
Together, they are confronted with solving the murder of a studio head tangled in Hollywood excess. Along the way, they confront the seedy side of Hollywood and the people who make it their life.
Mackey pairs up with "Willie" (Margot Kidder), an actress with an attitude and a love of being tied up by detectives like Mackey.
Everything about The Glitter Dome smells "made for TV" at a time when the networks were trying to match pay cable's ability to throw sex, violence and more sex on screen for a TV audience unaccustomed to such fare. But you won't care for a minute.
Nothing about The Glitter Dome is redeemable. The movie quickly becomes confusing to the point where Garner's narration is the only way you can be prepared for the scenes that follow. But you'll be dropping the popcorn after hearing ridiculous narrative like:
"The only thing that has deteriorated faster than the earth's atmosphere is Hollywood Boulevard, which on any given night is a great place to take the family if you want to sell your kids."
Additionally, Kidder's performance as "Willie" is an embarrassment. Kidder can play controversial characters, but you feel the frustration at what appears to be the director's need to have his characters emote.
Nothing illustrates that more than the ridiculous performance by director AND actor Stuart Margolin, who camps it up as heir to the studio Herman Sinclair. Was no one willing to throw him against a wall and say, "stop this right now!" Anyone watching this has to wonder if perhaps the film was a documentary about how movies like The Glitter Dome get made in the first place.
Garner, Lithgow, and Kidder must have known The Glitter Dome was essentially a Hollywood mortgage payment after checking out a script that includes the "seen it in every crime drama ever made" mad as hell Captain Woofer who wants this murder solved NOW and the surreal nighttime skating rink that serves as a nexus for information about what really happened to the murder victim.
Avoid this film at all costs, unless you want a nostalgic look back at 1980's era bad TV movies littered with extras with enormous 80's hair. Any Law & Order episode will give you more depth and satisfaction than a trip to The Glitter Dome.
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