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5.0 out of 5 stars A life fully lived (and richly imagined)
We saw the San Francisco premiere of "The Kid Stays in the Picture." Robert Evans showed up to introduce the movie and answer questions afterwards. It was a great juxtaposition: the young lion Evans on screen vs. the Evans in the flesh who had a serious stroke a couple of years back. Its obvious that he's fought a tough road to recovery.
It was also...
Published on Oct. 23 2003 by Andy Orrock

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Stuff Dreams are Made Of
Hollywood is a place of fantasy, a composite of all our American dreams. Sure, I read Schulberg's, What Makes Sammy Run. That one covered the first golden age of American Film. The second golden age happened because a young Jewish businessman from New York ran into silent film legend Norma Shearer at a Beverley Hills hotel, and then was propelled into acting. He...
Published on July 6 2004 by R. A Rubin


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4.0 out of 5 stars Evans comes out hitting a homerun, July 9 2004
By 
Michael Bolts (superior, wiusa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kid Stays in the Picture [Import] (VHS Tape)
Robert Evans was behind a bunch of hollywood masterpieces such as Chinatown, The Marathon Man, Rosemary's Baby and The Godfather (just to name a few) and why he was involved with Popeye I have no clue. He must of been looney. Evans had a wife and child but he was divorced. He did drugs, got into the wrong things, lots of sex and he payed the price for the after math. He was friends with some of the greatest actors, directors and actresses of our time: Jack Nicholson, Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski, James Cagney, Dustin Hoffman and many more I honestly thought this was a good documentary about life in the hollywood eye. My favorite part is during the credits when Dustin Hoffman does the impersonation of Evans, that's a classic right there. If your interested, watch it and if your not, watch it once and then dont.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Stuff Dreams are Made Of, July 6 2004
By 
R. A Rubin (Eastern, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Hollywood is a place of fantasy, a composite of all our American dreams. Sure, I read Schulberg's, What Makes Sammy Run. That one covered the first golden age of American Film. The second golden age happened because a young Jewish businessman from New York ran into silent film legend Norma Shearer at a Beverley Hills hotel, and then was propelled into acting. He played the Spanish matador in The Sun Also Rises, a film based on Ernest Hemingway's book. This led to a minor film career that went poof in the fifties, so the young man bought rights to a few novels for peanuts: you know, The Godfather, Love Story, Marathon Man, and Serpico. The next thing he knew, he was running Paramount Pictures and dating every beautiful woman in California. He also discovered cocaine in the 80's and at the same time, a distant association with a murdered producer tarnished his image, so that he couldn't work in this town again. Then he got his job back and made more pictures. This all happened to Robert Evans. The 1994 documentary is really a home movie with Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson, ex-wife, Allie McGraw, and a supporting cast of thousands. I wonder what he's doing now?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great doc. Totally worth owning, Feb. 23 2004
By 
Mr. Christopher L. Cox (austin, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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Producer legend Robert Evans is the subject for and narrator in this wonderful documentary of the classic "rise and fall" variety. This is just a really vibrant and dynamic film, and really seemingly raises the bar for biography documentaries. Evans himself narrating is funny and self-recriminating about his past, and by the film's end, one really feels to have a better understanding of the time period as well as Bob Evans himself. The way the film plays with moving around still photos kinda spells out the entry of the flash/photoshop generation into film, and this is not such a bad thing, at least in this genre. Film fans will adore this, everyone else will really enjoy it. The extras feature some of Bob's acceptance speeches upon receiving lifetime achievement awards from various sources, and are well worth a look.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Credit where credit is due, Feb. 18 2004
By A Customer
Robert Evans, if nothing else besides his impressive list of film credits, deserves recognition for being a survivor. His narration of The Kid Stays In The Picture, based on his own autobiography, is a very well-constructed piece of first-person history.
Although the book is substantially better simply because it contains more in the way of details and gossip, the film makes great use of Evans's personal effects and archives to create a seamless timeline of his rise, fall, and subsequent rebirth. The man has to be admired for the sheer drive and force of his personality that he was able to sustain even though he himself admits that in many instances he has acted very stupidly.
The best parts, of course, center around his ascension to the top of the Paramount food chain at a time when everyone thought it was suicide for the company to put him at its head. His descriptions of what was going through his mind at that point of time is illuminating. He is also just old enough to have touched both the "golden age" of Hollywood and the modern era, which makes him somewhat unique.
I would highly recommend seeking out the book if you enjoy this film as it will only serve to supplement the juicy details here. With the release of the film, Evans has gone back and added a postscript that is both poignant and inspiring, if that word can be used for such an individual.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Big phony, Feb. 11 2004
By A Customer
For a guy who strikes such a macho pose in the way he talks (as someone else noted, like a character in a 30's gangster movie) and his fondness for women (though not for "women" as people, only as sex objects), Evans looks a bit effeminate, does he not? This is the goofiest documentary I've seen.
Definitely entertaining, although Evans is a big phony who lucked out with a job at Paramount, and took credit for other people's achievements. All he ever did was produce "Chinatown" which he admits he didn't understand, and "Marathon Man." Other than that, he was more of an agent, a recruiter of talent, than the producer he claims to be.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ...but what of the frame?, Feb. 6 2004
There was a time, still basking in the innocence of childhood, when I tended to see film stars as possessing a perfection that we mortals lacked. But that was also a time when we didn't know much about the stars other than what was on the screen. Movie fans had to rely on the puff pieces in Photoplay that had more in common with press agentry than journalism.

Now, in an age when celebrities are covered around the clock by a "news" media desperate to hang on to a dwindling audience, every rock is upturned and the snakes beneath them are crawling out, hissing uncontrollably as we watch in horror. When I think of Hollywood now, I remember the scene in "The Shining" when Jack Nicholson enters a bathroom to see a stunningly beautiful woman emerge from the tub. He embraces her only to be shocked that the woman is actually a withered old hag, and a dead one at that.

The movies are make-believe, but more and more it looks like the people who make them are make-believe, too. The starstruck audience has let withered old hags, dead in all but the literal sense, con us into believing they are great beauties. The biggest star and the devoted fan seem to be kindred spirits, both of them living vicariously through a carefully constructed image to give meaning to an otherwise empty life.

Robert Evans seems like a combination of both the star and the starstruck fan. Never a "star" in the traditional sense, Evans toiled behind-the-scenes, but like a ventriloquist who's jealous that the dummy gets all the laughs, he could never keep his permanently tanned mug out of the spotlight. On the surface, this fallen Hollywood kingpin's life looks like one to envy, but it's all so lacking substance that it might as well be the gateway to hell. Evans strikes me as the epitome of the man who had everything that money can buy, but desperately needed more to fill a void that only seemed to grow with success. I find his story, as told in this one-sided documentary, more depressing than entertaining, although I admit it's the latter, as well.

If everything you know about the period covered in this film comes from Evans, you'd wonder why the Hollywood sign hasn't been replaced with a statue in his image. Inexplicably chosen to head Paramount Pictures in the late Sixties, after bombing out as an actor in "The Sun Also Rises" and such drek as "The Fiend Who Walked the West," he takes credit for saving the studio with box-office hits like "Love Story" and "The Godfather." No doubt Evans played a role in the studio's resurgance, but he takes more credit than he seems to deserve, claiming he convinced Francis Ford Coppola to add "texture" to the gangster movie that Evans insists the director saw as little more than a shoot-em-up B movie. But if Coppola thought so little of "The Godfather" and its potential, why would he work so hard to cast Marlon Brando against Paramount's objections at a time when Brando's reputation as the world's greatest actor meant nothing next to the string of bombs he starred in throughout the Sixites?

For that matter, can Evans rightfully claim he "produced" any of the films made under his reign as Paramount's top gun? The producer's credit for "The Godfather" went to Al Ruddy, who accepted the Oscar when the film was named Best Picture. In his book, Evans claims Ruddy was merely "appointed," but it's hard to imagine a man of Evans's monumental ego not seizing credit especially if it rightfully belonged to him. As for the other hits that saved the magic mountain, "Rosemary's Baby" was produced by William Castle, "The Odd Couple" was produced by Howard Koch, "Love Story" was produced by Howard Minsky, and on and on and on with Evans never earning an on-screen credit for anything until "Chinatown."
But Evans wasn't content to be the head of a studio with the power to greenlight a project. He wanted to be a star! Hence his weird biography (in which every conversation sounds like it came from a 30's gangster movie) and this so-called documentary.

This "documentary," like the book it's based on, is fascinating for all the wrong reasons. It's meant to be some kind of tribute to Evans and his success, but it simply exposes him as the vainest of empty shells. The Kid stays in the picture all right, but only by vandalizing the true portrait with ego, half-truths, and lies.
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4.0 out of 5 stars CAN HE TELL A TALE!, Jan. 3 2004
By 
Shashank Tripathi (Gadabout) - See all my reviews
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The casual viewer of the life of Bob Evans, a man who spent most of his working life as a successful Paramount Pictures executive and creative producer would say that he was the kind of man who could accidentally fall into a cesspool and emerge with two fistfuls of cash.
That casual observer would be correct. Evans was born connected, good looking and charismatic. What the casual observer might not know, however, is that Evans is also visionary, intelligent, hard working and committed. His sharp dress and looks belie his New York City vulgar idiom, something that shaped his overall persona.
This beautifully realized memoir is a must- see for any Hollywood aficionado. Evans narrates it in a natural, unaffected way, one can imagine, the way he would tell you across an intimate dinner table, making you wince and chuckle along the way. His few miscalculations in life, notably marrying a working female actor (something we are warned not to do) and getting into the drug scene, albeit briefly, when it was in vogue and thus falling prey to the voracious media monster, can easily be forgiven. The man, after all, gave us much more than we could possibly have given back to him, many years of top-flight entertainment. We leave this Kid in his picture saluting him and wishing him well, especially those of us who are ebb-tide filmmakers some miles outside of the inner circle. He lived the life we could only have dreamed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Facinating documentary..., Nov. 18 2003
By 
The Kid Stays in the Picture is a glitzy peek into Hollywood in the 70's as seen through the eyes of one of its prime movers: Robert Evans. You may not have heard the name Robert Evans, but you've definitely seen movies he's produced: Rosemary's Baby, The Godfather and Chinatown are just the tip of the iceberg as far as his career goes.
The documentary has a unique, but somewhat flawed, style. The directors put up many of Mr. Evans' personal photographs (enhanced with 3D effects), TV and movie footage and have Evans himself narrate the entire movie (his narration is taken from book-on-tape version of his biography). The period of his life covered from his discovery in a Beverly Hills swimming pool to his meteoric rise to fame to becoming persona non grata in Hollywood and back to acceptance in Tinseltown. Evans' cool self-assesment provides a facinating look into one of the most volatile and creative decades in Hollywood history. The only problem is that because Evans is the only person narrarating, the perspective, although very interesting, is somewhat limited. Evans himself does not bore for a second in the film though. His warbly barritone is almost hypnotic.
I caught this movie by accident on HBO one afternoon, and I was thoroughly pleased with what I saw. It was more compelling than most documentaries that are out on the market. I would recommend it to those who want to learn about fame and the movie industry in America.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Banality raised to the level of ..............banality, Nov. 9 2003
By 
KSG "ksgnyc" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
I realize that the poor guy had a stroke, but to listen to him mumble through an entire film's narration is just too painful. This film is a celebration of one man's achievments and failures in the Hollywood film industry system. Certainly not one life's loftiest goals, but in pure Hollywood style it has been raised to the level of Godliness. This movie should appeal to perenially hip and chronically insecure types.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A life fully lived (and richly imagined), Oct. 23 2003
By 
We saw the San Francisco premiere of "The Kid Stays in the Picture." Robert Evans showed up to introduce the movie and answer questions afterwards. It was a great juxtaposition: the young lion Evans on screen vs. the Evans in the flesh who had a serious stroke a couple of years back. Its obvious that he's fought a tough road to recovery.
It was also obvious that the release of 'Kid' was an important milestone for him. As the film shows, Evans has been a battler all his life, so why stop now? It's this atttitude that has brought him a whole new generation of fans.
The movie is like nothing you've ever seen before. When Evans' book was released in the early 90s, the print edition had no real impact. The audio edition, however, was a sensation. Narrated by Evans himself in his unmistakable gravelly baritone, the tapes became a cult sensation, passed around Hollywood like a forbidden, guilty pleasure.
The film simply takes those original recordings and uses them as the soundtrack. The majority of the images are compiled, amazingly enough, from photos of Evans' career, enhanced through some eye-popping innovation: somehow, the filmmakers have turned the photos into 3-D like montages which appear to burst through the screen. Combined with Evans' voice, it's a truly unique viewing experience.
What makes the narration so compelling is Evans ability to do both sides of the various conversations he recounts, whether it's ex-wife and muse Ali McGraw, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola or, most notably, then-Gulf & Western CEO and conglomerater Charlie Bludhorn. The Bludhorn imitation stands out. Think Henry Kissinger as a modern-day robber baron and you get the idea.
Of course, you're getting Evans' view here, and Evans' view alone, unencumbered by rebuttal. In Evans' retelling, Coppola was headed into the abyss with 'The Godfather' until Bobby set him straight and gave him the appropriate vision. Somehow, I think Coppola and Mario Puzo might have had a bigger hand in that than what Evans' imagination leads him to believe. But you don't see this movie seeking the truth, just Robert Evans' version of it. For that alone, 'Kid' is a must-see.
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Kid Stays in the Picture [Import]
Kid Stays in the Picture [Import] by Nanette Burstein (VHS Tape - 2003)
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