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Hollywood Seagull (Movie) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Genre:
 
Director:
 
Actor: , ,
 
Length: 95 minutes
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
2/ 5


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We liked?


Fans of daytime television will find a familiar friend.

Not so much?


Little chemistry between characters and some odd scene choices make it difficult to like.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Director Michael Guinzburg presents his take on Chekhov’s The Seagull.

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Posted January 24, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

“Do broken dreams come true?”

Director Michael Guinzburg presents his take on Chekhov’s The Seagull. Travis Del Mar, played by Will Poston, is an aspiring filmmaker living off his elderly grandfather’s (Biff McGuire) largesse while struggling with being in the shadow of his mother Irene, a once famous actress who has yet to let her glory days go. The dysfunctional relationship between the two is fully highlighted when Travis invites her, along with close friends of the family, to view his latest short film, Fresh Tomorrows. She summarily ridicules the film, sending the brooding artist into a pout worthy of a toddler.

As Travis ending the screening mere minutes in and storms off, the other inhabitants of Villa Francesca are performing romantic olympics to rival your favorite daytime soap operas. Travis’ girlfriend Nina is his muse, and the star of Fresh Tomorrows. She loves Travis, of course, but also has her eye on his mother’s boyfriend Barry – a famous director. The caretaker’s daughter Mandy also loves Travis, (and has for years), but he’ll never return her affections. Melvin loves Mandy, and urges her to give up on Travis and make a life for herself. Mandy’s mother loves Dr. Don, who is happy to sleep with her but really loves Irene. All of them spend much of their time in the Villa together, making jaded comments about Hollywood, getting into angsty fights, nursing their unrequited loves, and breaking into spontaneous verses of Row, Row, Row Your Boat (I know…I’m still trying to figure that one out).

If you even made it through that description, I imagine that you’re thinking a movie like that can’t possible be any good. And to be brutally honest – you’re right. Everyone in Villa Francesca seems caught in some sort of morose version of a 1980’s Day of Our Lives episode. It is really tough to think of Travis as a true struggling artist, partly because he spends far more time bemoaning his awful fate as a young guy living in a swanky mansion paid for by his grandfather, and partly because the short look we are given of Fresh Tomorrows is truly awful stuff.

Save for the grandfather, the other characters fare little better, coming off as nothing so much as jaded Hollywood stereotypes who are dark and brooding simply because they can be. Irene is every bit the bitter old actress – past her prime yet unwilling to admit it, and taking it out on the young people around her. She’s just plain mean, but Nina is obliviously so as well with her willingness to do whatever it takes for a part. Even heartbroken Mandy gets her turn at cruel, as she takes love from Melvin while simultaneously rejecting him.

You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger bunch of self-imposed drama and sadness than Hollywood Seagull. Still, when done right, sorrow can make for a great film. Yet in Hollywood Seagull it comes off as contrived rather than touching. Even the titular seagull is included in a way that just makes you squint oddly at the screen and mutter “What did I just watch?” Overall, it’s a rather disappointing film that feels less like Chekhov and more like General Hospital.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)