Hacks (1997) Poster

(I) (1997)

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An hysterical look at the lives of Hollywood hacks
Mike22 April 2001
I love this movie. The dialogue, the situations, the acting, the ensemble cast, are all top-rate. I particularly enjoy the scenes of writing partners trying to come up with TV story lines, and the ridiculous ideas they come up with. In addition to the main cast, there are several excellent actors in smaller parts, such as Tom Arnold as the sleazy double-dealing Hollywood agent, Ryan O'Neal as the psychiatrist to the stars, and Lisa Kudrow as the cynical insomniac script reader. If you like movies about the inside business of Hollywood, you'll love this one. If you like good ensemble acting, great dialogue, and a comedic story line that does not involve murder or some other gratuitous violence, you will like this movie.
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The boring life of Brian
bryan000091 June 2006
There's an old maxim that movies about making movies never work and that may very well apply to this one about making TV shows. It's the type of movie where the writer sat around struggling for ideas and said, "I know, I'll write a movie about a writer struggling for ideas." I don't want to sound too dismissive. There's a bit of fun living vicariously in the world of these creative types strolling the palm-lined streets and striving for inspiration, but it just doesn't go anywhere. For example, there is a Hitchcockian 'Rear Window'-type mystery set up at the beginning that is abandoned half way through the movie with no payoff, and even the little "twist" at the end seems arbitrary and added on just to wrap up the story. Despite the interesting cast, it all comes down to a group of middle-aged guys fighting for something of no consequence. It might be interesting to watch people running around a colorful milieu like Hollywood, but if they have nothing interesting to say and their struggle doesn't touch upon some universal themes or real emotions, why bother?
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Saw this as "The Big Twist"
silentgmusic23 December 2003
I saw this a few weeks back on HBO and was: a) suprised I hadn't heard of it before, with such a strong cast and all. b) thoroughly entertained. The dialogue and performances were great. c) wondering how it managed to get two other titles...

The late John Ritter works well with Dave Foley, both skilled comedic actors who seem very relaxed and into the material.

Richard Kind plays a typical type of character for him, but he's good (that's why he plays this type).

I am a Stephen Rea fan (he has made some mediocre films bearable) and thought his performance here was particularly good. He's playing all dopey and whatnot...well, I won't give much of the plot away, but the title "The Big Twist" seems appropriate.

"Sink or Swim"! What kind of title is that?! It's like saying "Swimming with Sharks Part Two!" "Hacks" is more appropriate, and as mentioned before, I like the title "The Big Twist." So, why change the name so many times? Was the idea to sell the film like some sort of retitled Independent International picture, giving it a new title to trick people into seeing the same film more than once?

Darned if I know. I do know this is a good film, not great (it should have been longer) but it is good. All the other performances are sharp, the director is in control, and the dialogue simply crackles.

Recommended (especially to writers)...
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Not a bad watch!
bagman1924 October 2001
Saw it on HBO or Cinemax a while back, twice mind you. Starts off kind of slow but even then has enough one-liners to keep one interested. When the gloves come off between these writers the laughs are numerous as the viscous world of Hollywood gets exposed. Dave Foley and John Ritter are great together as a duo of screenwriters hoping to get a coveted job. The other teams also have memorable moments, such as Richard Kind sucking up to the producer by offering him Chococinnos. While not a phenomenal movie, there have been worse that are released widely. Just another example of what mainstream audiences are missing.
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Why the many title changes?
MarieGabrielle11 May 2006
"The Big Twist" was a good title- recently shown on HBO. This is well-constructed, creative comedy, that doesn't rely on slapstick.

Stephen Rea and Ileana Douglas are very good (she was also excellent in "Ghost World") John Ritter and Dave Foley hysterical- as two desperate TV writers, trying to come up with a new gimmick.Wish Ritter got better film offers in his short career- instead of films like Kindergarten Cop or whatever it was called.

There are some funny scenes- where they have to take a bus in LA- and remark how Hollywood used to be glamorous, now it looks like Guatemala.

There are also scenes with Douglas at the Château Marmont- Ryan O'Neal portrays Rea's psychiatrist. Lisa Kudrow and Jason Priestley also have bit parts. Some scenes work better than others, all in all this is a decent comedy that is worth a try.
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love those inside jokes
paulet14 January 2004
Two scriptwriters are talking privately (they think) while, from across a coffee shop, an agent reads their lips, each speaker in turn, like HAL eavesdropping in "2001"... this is a movie about TV professionals trying to stay afloat as they feed the medium's insatiable appetite for material "dark... but not too dark... how dark depends on whether we get Sunday at 7 or Thursday at 10." Either you like this kind of insider-y stuff or you don't--I confess I have a weakness for it. And Illeana Douglas can do absolutely no wrong.
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Dazzling script of unusual ingenuity .
Grover-1530 August 2002
The script of Gary Rosen is the real star of this satiric depth-charge with Hollywood as the prime target, obviously written from the inside by Someone Who Knows. A genuine sleeper, it boasts a boss cast adept at Altmanesque overlapping dialogue: Stephen Rea and the underrated Illeana Douglas. Here's a gem that slipped between the cracks with a plot with more twists than a pretzel.
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Not really "Mystery," but Satiric Comedy.
Craig Larson24 February 1999
I'm not sure why this is categorized as a mystery. It's really more of a jaundiced look at Hollywood, ala "Swimming With Sharks" or, a bit of a stretch, "Sunset Boulevard." There is the mystery of just what happened on that balcony, but it is never really followed-up on. Instead, it serves as the starting point for three writing duos to put together ideas for a new television series that one of them, a seasoned writer, has been offered. It took a while for this one to get going--too many disparate plot lines, etc.--but once it did, it was pretty good. I was surprised by the relatively well-known cast, since this was, apparently, a direct-to-video release. You could certainly do worse for a one-night rental.
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