John Holmes was a legend of the porn industry and revered in circles as a stud. But in 1981, years after his successful career and star fading, Holmes was a desperate man with his own internal demons to live up to. He's estranged from his wife, holding onto a relationship with his teenage mistress, and living as a junkie in search of his next fix. But one fateful night left four people dead and John as a key suspect in one of the most grisly murders in Los Angeles. Was he partly responsible for what happened at Wonderland Avenue?Written by
Both Val Kilmer and Kate Bosworth have played famous DC Comics character. Kilmer played Bruce Wayne/Batman in ''Batman Forever (1995)'' and Bosworth played Lois Lane, long-time partner of Batman's close friend and ally Clark Kent/Superman, in ''Superman Returns (2006)''. See more »
When John is being interviewed/questioned by Billy Ward, the cigarette's length actually keeps changing from long to shorter then back again. See more »
I Work the Whole City
from the motion picture "Taxi Driver"
Written by and Composed by Bernard Herrmann
Arranged and Conducted by Dave Blume
Used by permission of Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc.
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures, A Division of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. See more »
Only Val Kilmer could have portrayed John Holmes properly
"Wonderland" is an ugly, hard to watch film that gives us so many bad people ruining their lives with drugs that you have to wonder why it's an important crime story. Probably because the acting is so intense, it's the cinematic equivalent of a crack pipe you can't put down, even though it's burning your hands and you can't get "high" anymore. Be thankful when this is over that you don't have a drug habit. And if you're using, get help now!
Val Kilmer is so in tune with the broken down wreck of a porn legend who can't do much more than destroy himself and cut his ties with the straight world that his portrayal is truly horrifying. He meets his criminal match for out of control indulgence in the gang of dealers and robbers that live in or visit the house on Wonderland Avenue. Josh Lucas, Dylan McDermott and Tim Blake Nelson are the brazen trio willing to rip off anyone for a fix and the great Eric Bogosian is the ultimate prince of darkness gangster they foolishly cross. What happens next is not good!
Detective characters based on Bob Souza and Tom Lange, the two men that had the dead end assignment of trying to solve this hell on earth of a case, try to separate the lies from the brutal facts. Ted Levine, playing the older partner, is especially intense, as in the words of director James Cox. "Look at that guy, man. That guy can make gum chewing interesting!" Yes, he does. If anyone plays a cop who's seen too much better than Levine does here, give them the award for best performance as an LAPD Robbery-Homicide veteran.
Much of the script is verbatim from Holmes' and David Lind's (McDermott) own words. It becomes a duel of two sociopaths each trying to establish their version of events as the on the record account of what "really" happened back in the summer of '81.
Holmes' one redeeming link to the truth is his soon to be ex-wife, Sharon, where Lisa Kudrow turns in her best work ever. She's a woman in a predicament. The man she still loves emotionally needs her to save him from his cocaine based purgatory and finds she won't end her life in normal society to enter the witness protection program with him and his girlfriend, Kate Bosworth. (Before Tina Fey became forever linked with Sarah Palin, I thought the role of Sharon would have suited her! She has a resemblance to the photos of the former Mrs. Holmes shown in the documentary "Wadd".)
Why did Holmes live when so many others didn't? He didn't really escape, as AIDS related illnesses and his continuing drug abuse finished off the remaining years (he died at age 43 in 1988). An amusing urban legend about Holmes actually being "Leave It To Beaver" actor Ken Osmond was debunked many years ago by Osmond himself, who ironically became a cop after his acting days ended. But if Holmes ever had a "legit" acting career, "Eddie Haskell" is exactly the kind of role he would have naturally fallen into, the congenital liar who knew how to pacify authority figures with a gleam in his eye and dishonesty in his heart.
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