Thursday, July 29, 2010

'The Hollywood Sign' needed to be repaired

The Hollywood Sign (2001)
Starring: Tom Berenger, Burt Reynolds, Rod Steiger, and Jacqueline Kim
Director: Sonke Wortmann
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Three down-and-out former Hollywood leading men (Berenger, Reynolds, and Steiger) stumble into the middle of a Las Vegas casino robbery that's in the planning stages. They decide that if they can't make a comeback in movies, they'll retire on ill-gotten loot, and they force their way into the robbery scheme. Can three well-cured hams outwit hardened criminals and live to tell the tale?

"The Hollywood Sign" features top-notch talent all giving fine performances--with Reynolds in particular putting on a good show--but there are some severe problems with the script that makes this movie go south in the final act. I can't really say what those problems are without spoiling a shocking moment in the film. I'm also not certain if others will have the same reaction to the twist-ending to this film that I has; I rolled my eyes and had to struggle to not reach for the DVD remote, as it coincidentally was the second film I've watched this month that featured such a twist. Admittedly, "The Hollywood Sign" was superior in every conceivable way to that other film--which was so wretched I probably won't even bother posting about it--but I still think the ending was lame. (I can see how the writers might think it was clever, though. It solves a story problem that was brought up at the very beginning of the film and that was echoed a couple times during it.)

This film is worth seeing if you enjoy Reynolds or Steiger as actors, or if you love movies featuring Hollywood insider plot elements. Otherwise, this is a film to pass on.


  1. I can't believe I never heard of this one. It must have gone straight to video, and into video stores nowhere remotely close to me. Will have to hunt this one down; must have been one of Rod Steiger's last films.

  2. As far as I know, the only place it placed theatrically was in the Netherlands. It opened in October of 2001, after being screened at a Dutch film festival in September. It was indeed a direct-to-video movie in the United States.

    And, yeah, it was Steiger's second-to-last film. The very last was "Poolhall Junkies."