An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn
An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn is a 1998 comedy mockumentary film starring Eric Idle as the title character and was directed by Arthur Hiller (under the Alan Smithee pseudonym).
A director named Alan Smithee (Eric Idle) is hired to direct a big-budget action film titled Trio and hires Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan to star in it. For some reason, the film gets recut and he isn't pleased with the film since it's the pseudonym used by Hollywood when someone doesn't want anything to do with the film, Alan takes off running, and decides to burn the film since he isn't pleased with the results.
Why It Sucks
- Boring and nonexistent story.
- Outlandish jokes that fall flat.
- Unlikable characters (especially Alan Smithee).
- Pointless appearances by Sylvester Stallone, Jackie Chan, Shane Black, Harvey Weinstein (which did not age well), Billy Bob Thornton and Whoopi Goldberg.
- Stupid and nonsensical in-jokes regarding Hollywood.
- The mockumentary aspect for the film is nonsensical.
- Poor attempts at satirizing the Hollywood industry.
- The film wrecked the careers of its cast and crew.
- Director Arthur Hiller (the director of the 1970 film Love Story), who used to direct at least one film per year, essentially retired, except for National Lampoon Pucked.
- Writer Joe Eszterhas has never written another big Hollywood film, as his career was already damaged after his work on Showgirls.
- Eric Idle only makes cameos in live-action movies since the failure of this film.
- Production studio Cinergi Pictures shut down months before the film's release.
- Last but not least, the Directors Guild of America retired the Alan Smithee name in 2000.
- Hiller had his name removed from the credits, so he was literally credited as Smithee. Star Eric Idle has disowned the film and described it as "rather dreadful".
The film was reviled by critics and audiences alike including Roger Ebert who gave it a rare zero star rating and described the film as "a spectacularly bad film--incompetent, unfunny, ill-conceived, badly executed, lamely written, and acted by people who look trapped in the headlights." It currently holds an 8% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 2.7 out of 10 and a critic consensus statement that reads "A witless Hollywood satire whose hammy, obvious jokes are neither funny nor insightful of the movie business."
The film was released on February 20, 1998 with a budget of $10 million and bombed heavily after getting a box office return of $52,850.
Awards and nominations
An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn received four Golden Raspberry Award nominations and it won six awards including Worst Picture. It also won Worst New Star for Joe Eszterhas as himself and was tied with the same award to Jerry Springer in Ringmaster.
- Alan Smithee is a pseudonym used by a director who doesn't want to own the final cut of their film, the term was used from 1968 until it was discontinued in 2000, largely because of this movie.
- "Alan Smithee" states that the movie is "worse than Showgirls", which was also written by Joe Eszterhas.
- This ended up being the final film to star Billy Barty until his death in 2000. Billy was the original voice of Figment for the Disney ride "Journey into Imagination." Star Eric Idle portrayed Professor Nigel Channing for the second and third incarnations of the ride.