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Well, I was simply blown away by this film. Dark, depressing and gory, this story about a mass murder involving porn star John Holmes (Val Kilmer) was the perfect holiday movie. In addition to Kilmer, there were great performances from Josh Lucas, Eric Bogosian as Eddie Nash and Lisa Kudrow. Janeanne Garofolo had a role that seemed too small, but it was great to see her as well.
It's amazing to me that the first half of this film could be so bad, yet the last half could be good. I don't really understand what happened.

First of all, the film had a terrible script. It was absolutely laughable at times. This of course led to very mediocre performances. I can't imagine anyone being able to deliver some of those lines and be convincing.

On top of that, the film suffered from gross miscasting in several roles. Dylan McDermott was the most obvious. He was terrible. They didn't ugly him up nearly enough to play the part. He's just not a very good actor to begin with. Lisa Kudrow was awful as well, which I found only mildly surprising. I have heard her performance was very good in The Opposite of Sex, but haven't seen it myself. She was just plain unwatchable in this. One of the worst performances of the year. That teamed with the ridiculous amount of bit parts for famous faces made the film extremely distracting. Christina Applegate had 2 lines at best, and Paris Hilton's cameo was worthless. It was just a terrible casting job all around.

It's a shame, because the direction was pretty good. The visual style was inventive at times, though parts were a bit cliche and tiresome. Overall though it was a good job and very fitting of the film and it's setting. The music that accompanied the film was also perfect. It was a nice mix of late 70's to early 80's tunes that always fit their respective scenes.

The story was also intriguing, and seemed a very honest dipiction. The director didn't seem biased towards John Holmes, not showing blatant sympathy for him. The film showed him for who he was, a man who made his choices and was forced to live with the results.

If this film had been put in more capable hands as far as casting and writing goes, it could easily have made my top 20 of the year. However, as it stands it isn't even really worth watching.


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i have yet to watch the truth about charlie or devils pond, so i'll save those for another day. i think i also have a few others of my own to watch.. but i don't remember what they are. it's been a lazy day, and i'm going to go indulge in it further.
Extremely dark and depressing. No real entertainment value.
WONDERLAND

written by James Cox, Captain Mauzner, Todd Samovitz and D. Loriston Scott

directed by James Cox

I recently made a blind buy with this one. I popped it in, expecting a nice little entertainment, and what I got was a lot more. What I got was an extremely well-acted, inventive, intriguing mystery. Val Kilmer dazzles in this one, which I will go out on a limb and call his best performance. There is also really, really nice supporting work from Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Dylan McDermott, Lisa Kudrow and Ted Levine. If you don't know what it's about, then here's a little explanation.

WONDERLAND is about the infamous Wonderland murders in 1981, that porn king John Holmes may or may not have been involved in. It details Holmes' life after he essentially became a basehead, lost money, lost his wife, and took up with a younger girlfriend.

performance to like: Kate Bosworth
performance to love: Val Kilmer
scene to like: Holmes' explanation of the Eddie Nash robbery
scene to love: Holmes being humiliated at a party by Ron Launius
Here's what I have watched the past few days. Heh.

"Dickie Roberts" has some funny moments...
"Showgirls" is hysterical at times...
"Wonderland" was so boring that I turned it off after an hour...
Sex, drugs, rock and roll, a few murders.
That's good enough for me.
Technically, not a great film. It was flashy like the typical underground 90's trend. But I was more interested in the acting and the story.
John Holmes is the typical American Tradegy, I love it. Val Kilmer didn't fit the part at all of the real John Holmes, but who gives a shit? I love him, he's great in the film. Crittics complained there was not emotional attachment. What kind of logic is that in judging a film? Why does a film have to have that shit. So there wasn't a scene where the characters cry, give big speeches to loud inspirational music. Good, Christ, I'm tired of the emotional bullshit in films. Never met anyone in my life that was so emotional and not just being melodramatic. People in real life are cold. As for the film lacking a message? More bullshit. It is the portrait of a great American, not some public service announcement. People and their obsession for answers in life always make it seem like every film has to have some message. They want it to make themselves feel better. It's bullshit. Life is pretty meaningless, and this crime wasn't even that horrific. Being a criminal justice major, I've heard a lot worse.
The story is facinating, the characters are cool, and after all the shitty reviews of the film, I was blown away when I ended up taking a huge liking to it.
It's a two star film if I were to look at it in a technical side. But personally, I connected with it, I love it, so it gets four. If the film had been a success, I probably would have looked at it differently and ended up not liking it. But that everyone hates it and hardly anyone has seen it, hey, I'm all about it. Let's just hope it doesn't grow like Requiem for a Dream did, going from a no-buzz movie to one of the biggest inspirations in idiot filmmakers today.
:) Love this movie!! It will fit in nicely with my collection somewhere around the PT Anderson movies. Dylan McDermott has been everywhere lately, he was in Party Monster and just saw him again for a cameo in Runaway Jury.
Gotta remember to pick up tix tomorrow for Passion of Christ...


Wonderland was a well-made film that I found really interesting. The film itself isn't anything special, but I enjoyed it.

The film revolves around the Wonderland murders that happened down here in Hollywood. I heard about the story a few years ago on E! True Hollywood Story and I found it captivating.

The performances from the entire ensemble were great. Eric Bogosian wasn't too convincing as Eddie Nash, but I enjoyed the way he interpreted Nash's character. Kilmer gave a great performance, which reminded me of his role in The Doors. He is a great actor who really helped the film rise above its mediocrity. The rest of the cast was great, and I particularly enjoyed Tim Blake Nelson. It's sad that Garafalo didn't get any screen time.

The cinematography and style of editing was really great. This helped the film rise above what I expected as well. I felt that the screenplay lacked originality. The actors delivered some lines with passion, but they simply felt out of place. Some of the lines were laughable, but it worked as a whole since the film was based upon the dialogue of drug fiends.

In essence, the film was extremely entertaining and well made. James Cox did his best, and it's sad to see the film get so many bad reviews.

I recommend the film to everyone, and the DVD has gruesome footage of the actual crime scenes. The film is a worthy view and gives an accurate description of what actually happened that gloomy night on Wonderland Ave.

"NOBODY FUCKS WITH THE NASH!"

Clocking in at a very nice 99 minutes, Wonderland never slows down. You get two sides to the story and a great cast to go along with them. Kilmer, who kicked all kinds of ass in The Salton Sea, does here again. Sex, drugs, rock and based out kingpins... have fun with this fucked up vision of the true Wonderland murders.

Man, the early 80's were a fucked up time! So... who's got the eight ball?

:::
DV