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What Just Happened

3 Ratings: 3.3
A movie


Director: Barry Levinson
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Date: October 3, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about What Just Happened

A clever comedy about Hollywood

  • May 13, 2009
  • by
It's amazing how many times we've watched this in our house in the last two months - it's becoming one of the titles we reach for when we're waiting for the Netflix queue to catch up. We're been going through a period of watching movies about Hollywood, spurred by rewatching The Player. I read some of the book during a long lunch break at Borders, and Art Linson has some very amusing anecdotes which he's translated-not-very-faithfully into the movie screenplay.
Robert De Niro is perfectly-cast in the this role (good to see him in a great part for once), and Bruce Willis does a great job of mocking himself as an egocentric celebrity. Once of the central plots is about an overly violent movie that the studio wants tamed down, and in the book this was Fight Club. In the film, it's called Fiercely by a British director (great performance from Michael Wincott), where they shoot a dog in the final scene. I won't reveal what happens but it's very funny.

Several of the other plot threads are keep the pace moving right on, including a battle over whether Bruce Willis will shave his beard, and his attempt to keep his ex-wife from having other relationships. Overall, a really great way to spend a couple of hours.

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May 18, 2009
I don't think Robert De Niro's character really has much of an arc - learning to let go of his ex-wife is probably the biggest thing that happens, and he gets to yell a little towards the end, but I think essentially we get to witness the chaos in his life which he gets paid to manage. In some respects, this is almost an anti-screenplay since none of the characters involved in the key plotlines learn anything that makes them better people.
May 24, 2009
exactly! nobody changes at all, which isn't why people go to the movies. they want to see big story arcs like The Godfather or Rocky. Even more ambiguous European films like "La Dolce Vita" still show the pains and trials of the main character even though he doesn't change much, he at least has a new form of self-understanding.
May 18, 2009
jbeswick, thank you for spotlighting this film! I just saw it a week ago and really liked how it skewered Hollywood as a superficial, over-stressed industry from the viewpoint of a producer trying to tame big egos. It'd be great to see more criticism of the film in your review, like what did you think the theme of the film was? I couldn't quite nail it, and did you think there was much of a story arc for De Niro's character? It seemed he didn't really learn anything and the film was more of a "slice of life" piece on an over-worked producer and his daily barrage of small fires to put out. Curious to know what you think.
May 14, 2009
Yes, Tropic Thunder is classic!
May 14, 2009
Thanks for the review! I am in love with anything Bruce Willis so I will check this out for sure. I think movies about making movies are a riot-- kinds like Tropic Thunder. Have you seen that one?
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3 Ratings: +3.3
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