Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Maps To The Stars – 2014


This was promoted to be a dark, twisted insight into Hollywood’s unglamorous side and for the most part it was, or at least attempted to be. It didn’t glorify the industry, nor did it make the inhabitants out to be anything to aspire for. It appeared (at least originally) to be a relatively honest picture.
So why did I find myself crying with laughter towards the end of the second act?

“Maps To The Stars” is one of the year’s most mind-numbingly awful films without a doubt. Starring some very commendable figures such as Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson, it was such a shock to observe them take part in such a train wreck.
Focusing on an actress past her prime, a crazed and psychotic burns victim, an agent, a child star suffering from addiction and a chauffeur, the story is extremely pointless and laughable.
Each character is atrocious, the acting is sub-par, the dialogue is deplorable and some visual effects make “Sharknado” look like “Avatar”.

Not only is this a frighteningly horrendous picture, “Maps To The Stars” is constructed incredibly poorly and possesses one of the worst plots of the year. There are elements of death, spirituality, the past, fame, fortune and insanity; the film tries to interlace each of these in smart, entertaining fashion but ends up failing miserably.
When certain stars have hallucinations, it should be haunting and unnerving, instead it ends up being hilarious and overly awkward; they do not sit well at all within the story.
There are several shameless references to pop culture icons, which is another awkwardness-enducing factor within the film.

The script is one of the worst examples of the english language in recent memory. Some of the dialogue is so deplorable, I was personally embarrassed when sitting in the cinema next to two German friends of mine.
For example, in a scene towards the anti-climactic conclusion to the film, one of the characters literally states in a moment of tension and shock, “but then the world will know we’ve done crimes!”– In order for a film to be engaging and investable, the characters should have at least a relatively grasp of their native language…

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 11.20.08 am

As previously mentioned, some special effects are disturbingly poor. Towards the end of the film there are examples of how post-production fire effects can sabotage everything about a film’s repeatability; lucky for “Maps To The Stars” , it didn’t have any of that to begin with.

For a film as bad as “Maps To The Stars” , it could be seen as a satire of Hollywood life. The portrayal of what is ‘really’ going on in these people’s lives and the troubles they consistently get themselves into, mixed with stupidity, ignorance and tomfoolery could be interpreted as a satirical stab at Hollywood as a whole.
What could have worked for this film is if it had actual comedic elements to it. I say this simply because some of the situations, dialogue and actions of these highly transparent characters was so ridiculous, so over the top and so unbelievable, it simply became funny. It’s hardly a drama, it’s barely a thriller, the genre that is most suiting for this film is indeed, comedy, so why not work with that?!


I haven’t even mentioned the most frustrating factor of  the film; Evan Bird, who plays Benjie Weiss. Weiss is a child star that appears to be the fictitious filmic equivalent of Justin Bieber in terms of fame, fortune, attitude, downfall and overall everything in between. The only difference is that Weiss is 13 years old, and it takes around 3/4 of the film to realise this; he could easily be mistaken for an exacerbating 18-year-old.
His character has obviously been crafted to be loathed, frowned upon and un-connectable; but it’s the lazy, seemingly non-existent performance from Bird that makes the character that much worse.
From the frustrating detox energy drinks he’s always suckling on, to the cringeworthy antics of the self-obsessed child star, his character is infuriating to watch at numerous points throughout the picture.

It may be an obvious satirical stab at Hollywood life; the extremist nature of inhabitants striving to remain relevant, popular and glamorous, but David Cronenberg’s latest picture just didn’t execute anything particularly impressive. The acting was okay, the dialogue was very mediocre on several occasions and some moments were so incredibly cringeworthy, all that you do was laugh out loud. It works for some and misses the point completely with others – I am very much the latter unfortunately.



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