Hollywood loves a self-portrait, as long as it’s a flattering one. And that’s the problem — and the genius of “Sunset Blvd.” The 1950 classic isn’t a glowing valentine to the movie industry; it’s a bitter, nasty picture of how Hollywood chews up and spits out the people who make its existence possible: struggling screenwriters, good-hearted studio employees and, most of all, forgotten stars of the silent era.
If you’ve heard of the 1958 Japanese movie “The Hidden Fortress” at all, I’m guessing the rest of the sentence also included the words “George Lucas” “Star Wars” and “inspired by.” That’s a shame because, though “The Hidden Fortress” definitely had some influence on “Star Wars,” it’s an entertaining little movie in its own right.
The year is 2055. A woman with a troubled past plans to escape her life on A Hyperloop Named Desire. But Blanche (Cate Blanchette) isn’t just skipping town: She’s on a suicide mission to plant a bomb on the Hyperloop that will explode the moment it stops going less than 500 miles per hour (or however fast Hyperloops go — we didn’t research this). “Let’s blow this town,” Blanche says as she steps onto the Hyperloop — because a movie with a terrible plot should be accompanied with terrible dialogue.
This week’s podcast covers the most famous talkie about talkies: Singin’ in the Rain, which depicts Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talking pictures. And, out of respect for the bygone silent film era, we leave an hour of dead air on the podcast. It’s our best episode yet! Singin’ is much more appreciated by contemporary critics (100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) than it was by audiences who first saw it in 1952, when it was released to modest success.