For Reel

The Big Picture (1989)
October 8, 2016, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Christopher Guest
2 Stars
the-big-pictureChristopher Guest’s films almost unanimously tell stories of deluded people who belong to niche communities, often having little to no self-awareness of the bubble they occupy. That his first directorial effort was set in Tinseltown sets the stage for his films to come—in The Big Picture, both the aspiring young filmmaker (Kevin Bacon) and the Hollywood bigwigs (including an agent played by Martin Short and a movie executive played by J.T. Walsh) are rendered as equally ludicrous, the former being guilty if only by association. Guest’s fixation on the superficialities of Hollywood again materialized in 2006’s For Your Consideration, nicely bookending his strongest run of films with stories that deal with the medium and industry he associates with. And yet, if For Your Consideration‘s mockery mostly fell flat, The Big Picture is not quite biting enough in its satire to begin with—perhaps because Guest identifies too readily with Bacon, whose rise-and-fall is detailed with a level of affection and understanding. Guest’s greatest gifts surface when creating faux realities out of worlds he has no association with. The echo chamber that is Hollywood itself, however, might just be too close to home.

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