This is one of my all-time favorite films, a scathing, paced look at inside Hollywood that deciphers the netherworld of studio execs, producers, directors, actors and, most importantly, those over-abused prostitutes of the industry, screenwriters. Tim Robbins is Griffin Mill - smarmy, corporate and slick as cat manure on a vinyl floor. Robert Altman brought in an array of big names to lend this film their aura. Everybody was in it. Buck Henry pitches the best film idea that never happened, "The Post-Graduate", which is the sequel to "The Graduate".
Grif is getting poison pen mail and he explores it a little too much, leading him to an art house in Pasadena where he accidentally kills a teed-off scribe, then into the man's ice queen girlfriend. Plot twists and studio politics intersect, and Whoopi Goldberg is insane as the cop who knows Grif got away with murder, which he does.
There is no morality, just cold-hearted realpolitik. Do not miss Altman's interview at the end. Like "Sunset Boulevard", this one captivated and irritated this closed industry which still believes its press releases. Robbins is as good as it gets. This is sex and power, the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The plot twist that ends it is one of the best ever devised, with Grif and his blackmailer suddenly co-producers "if the price is right..."
As Matthew says in the Bible, "what does a man profit if he has the world but loses his soul?"
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"