State & Main Movie Review

0
0
Subscribe To:

Playwright, filmmaker and satirical dialogue savant David Mamet ruthlessly runs Hollywood through with a poison pen in "State and Main," a wickedly ironical and incisive industry lampoon about a film crew laying siege to a Vermont hamlet where they intend to shoot a pretentious period drama.

Leading the charge is a frenzied William H. Macy as the project's wry director, who can't even get a foot of film in the can until he schmoozes local officials, curbs his narcissistic star's (Alec Baldwin) predilection for underage girls, cajoles a nude scene out of his flaky starlet (Sarah Jessica Parker) and convinces his disenchanted purist of a rookie screenwriter (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to revamp pivotal scenes that were to take place in an old mill. This town doesn't have an old mill and Macy doesn't have the budget or the time to build one.

Did I mention the title of the movie they're making? It's called "The Old Mill."

Frustrated no end and seeking miracle inspiration, the neurotic, guileless writer finds solace in an peculiar flirtation with the proprietor of a local bookshop (Rebecca Pidgeon, Mamet's wife). But that just stirs up more trouble for the Hollywood interlopers when her jealous finance, the litigious local D.A., avenges himself by prosecuting Baldwin for bedding a local teenager (Julia Stiles).

(Baldwin pooh-poohs his carnal proclivity by declaring, with total sincerity, that "everybody needs a hobby.")

Blooming with Mamet's keenly trenchant banter, bristling with roguish industry gibes and aided by pitch-perfect performances from Macy and Hoffman, the comedy in "State and Main" peels like an onion -- with funnier, more mischievous ironies taking several scenes (or even the whole movie) to fully unfold.

But never one to just kid around, the writer-director also makes a shrewd underlying observation about how eagerly actors, writers and directors compromise themselves to crank out celluloid crap if it might get their hands on that brass ring of boffo box office.

"State and Main" is the first brilliantly biting showbiz satire of Hollywood's second century, and one of the genre's most droll and original entries. But to pay my own mocking homage to the industry's disposition for the unoriginal, pop-referential two minute pitch, let me describe in 25 words or less: You could say it's "The Player" goes to Bedford Falls. But that wouldn't begin to do this movie justice.

0
0
Subscribe To:

Comments

State & Main Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, Opened: Friday, December 22, 2000

Advertisement

More William H Macy

The Wind Rises Movie Review

For what he has said will be his final film, animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki tackles a controversial biopic that could just as easily have been...

The Wind Rises Trailer

Jiro Horikoshi is an aeronautical engineer whose childhood was filled with dreams about becoming a pilot. His poor vision meant that he would never realise...

'The Wind Rises': It's A Tragedy Hayao Miyazaki's Wondrous Final Act Missed Out On The Oscar [Clips + Pictures]

The Wind Rises may not have been the flashiest or most talked-about movie at last night's Academy Awards but could prove to be one of...

The Wind Rises Trailer

When Jiro Horikoshi was a young boy, all he ever dreamed about was flying planes - at least he did until one night he came...

Advertisement

Early 'Sundance' Favourites Already Generating A Buzz For Upcoming Movies

The Sundance Film Festival is the place to be for young, aspiring filmmakers hoping to crack into the hotly-contested business of the movies. By the...

The Coen Brothers Lining Up 'Fargo' TV Series For FX

Joel and Ethan Coen will be reviving their much-acclaimed 1996 dark crime caper Fargo for a television audience, Reuters reported, with plans for a Fargo...

The Sessions Review - Helen Hunt And John Hawkes Hailed For Sensitive Performances

Helen Hunt and John Hawkes star in this delicately-handled story of Mark O’Brien (Hawkes) in an iron lung, who – at the age of 38...

The Sessions Movie Review

By taking a sensitive, honest approach to this true story, breakthrough filmmaker Lewin both avoids sentimentality and keeps the focus on the inner lives of...

Advertisement