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Action : The Complete Series
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Way too edgy for network TV, this funny, uncensored, naming-names series peels off the glitter of Hollywood moviemaking and exposes the duplicitous but totally addictive, behind-the-scenes truth. Campy, uncensored and very controversial, this "too-close-to-reality" show features guest stars that include Keanu Reeves, Salma Hayek and Sandra Bullock. Superstar producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr, host of TV's "Last Comic Standing") builds his stellar career on the three pillars of show business - prostitution, nepotism and dishonesty. Adding to that an ego as big as a Beverly Hills mansion, the aptly-named Dragon and his cohorts manage to be politically incorrect, backstabbing, phony, petty, pissy and most of all - ingeniously funny!
Immoral, politically incorrect, and fiercely funny, Action: The Complete Series is a timeless comedy focusing on a group of Hollywood insiders whose moral compass has spun out of control. Led by uber-producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr), the series' first and only season ferociously lampoons the sleaziness of modern-day Hollywood. Dragon--seemingly the separated-at-birth brother of slimy uber-agent Bob Sugar (also played by Mohr) from Jerry Maguire--is a jerk who pretends to be gay when it's convenient and doesn't understand why Salma Hayek (playing herself) would slap him silly for making inappropriate suggestions during an earlier audition. In Dragon's lair, sexual harassment is an inconvenience, the screenwriter is an afterthought, and a movie isn't a film unless it's got mega-explosions. Mohr and Illeana Douglas (portraying an ex-child star turned prostitute turned studio executive) are a joy to watch. When a sycophantic colleague accuses Dragon of promoting a hooker over him, he calmly says, "She's my prostitute. You're my whore." A subtle difference, yes, but one that makes a world of difference in Hollywood. If there's a plus side to this topnotch series being canceled in 1999, it's that the writers didn't have time to let the show disintegrate into hackneyed clichés. There is no warm-hearted parable to justify the nasty means--just a lot of quick-witted dialogue and an excellent ensemble cast that makes viewers enjoy the characters despite (or should that be because of?) their numerous flaws. --Jae-Ha Kim
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Top Customer Reviews
The 'raunchy' bits are not offensive to most, I would imagine, but very good fun. Like "Entourage" meets "Arrested Development".
Jay Mohr was bang-on as the caustic and sarcastic Hollywood producer who has seen and heard it all.
Contains all episodes of the show, including those that never aired.
A/V quality is very good.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Jay Mohr was absolutely perfect as producer Peter Dragon. The rest of the regular cast (including Ileana Douglas, R. Lee Ermey, and even the late Buddy Hackett) were uniformly marvelous. Even the more minor characters were brilliantly cast: nobody who saw characters like Asher, the supercilious maitre 'd, or the Chinese-American liposuctionist, or the fearsome PR fixer Connie Hunt, or terrifyingly well-endowed studio head Bobby Z, or closeted action hero Cole Riccardi will ever forget them. The guest stars (Salma Hayek, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Tony Hawk, etc.) were fearless participants in sly send-ups of the Hollywood that they are themselves such a large part of.
But the real stars were the writers. The show seems like it's all about Peter Dragon, but it's just as much the story of nebbish writer Adam Rafkin (or was it Alan Rifkin?...). Fighting to retain every sensitive allegorical scene in his magnum opus, BEVERLY HILLS GUN CLUB (like the ritual slaughter of the pandas), Rafkin is the perfect counterpart to Dragon's consummate amoral Hollywood insider. While Rafkin is trying desperately to become an insider and starts to lose his moral compass, Dragon (to his considerable surprise) starts to find that he actually *has* a moral compass, even if it doesn't always point true north.
This show is hilarious, knowing, occasionally vicious, brilliantly written, superbly acted, and a real treat for anyone who loved THE PLAYER or DAY OF THE LOCUSTS. Having it on DVD is going to be great. If you love CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, or ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, ACTION! is likely to be right up your alley. If, on the other hand, you loved EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND...um....have a nice life.
"Action" follows the outrageous antics of Hollywood producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr) as he tries to produce "Beverly Hills Gun Club", his latest action-comedy and hopeful hit. Peter's production company Dragonfire Films specializes in "event films", meaning ultra-violent action, and Peter needs to redeem himself after an expensive flop. Peter's boss at the studio is domineering, gay billionaire Bobby G (Lee Arenberg) -who is married to Peter's ex-wife Jane (Cindy Ambuehl). His Vice President of Production is blunt, savvy Wendy Ward (Illeana Douglas), a former child-star-turned-high-priced-hooker. Stuart Glazer (Jack Plotnick) is his much-abused Head of Production. Peter's driver and security man is his Uncle Lonnie (Buddy Hackett). His leading man (Fabrizio Filippo) is a junkie. But Peter will stop at nothing to make his movie -in a culture that is socially deterministic, to put it mildly. Exhausted, put-upon screenwriter Adam Rafkin (Jarrad Paul) is caught in the middle of it all.
"Action" has been called the "filthiest" and "meanest" television show ever, but I never thought of it that way. I just think it's hilariously blunt. It's not dirty for dirty's sake; it's dirty for funny's sake. In spite of their faults, these are characters that people in the audience would want to know in real life. They talk the way people really talk and think like people really think. And they enjoy it. For all of it's cynicism and lewdness, "Action" might be the least neurotic sitcom in recent decades. The characters have a certain joie de vivre that is infectious. That was a big part of the show's appeal for me. The writing is so economical that there is no filler. It's non-stop smart comedy. I found myself convinced of the writers' brilliance while watching an episode that revolves around a frog-up-the-butt joke. Now, I don't like scatological humor. But I couldn't stop laughing. Anybody who can make a crude anal joke funny for a half an hour is a genius. Warren Zevon was the perfect choice to write and perform the theme song. (Too bad his first proposal was rejected by the network.) There are cameos by Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayek, Scott Wolf, Tony Hawk, David Leisure, and David Hasselhoff. Jay Mohr plays Peter Dragon to sharp, hilarious perfection. Jack Plotnick performs to near-equal brilliance as Peter's used and abused lackey. These guys have a surprising ability to evoke real emotions in the midst of an orgy of brutal satire and dirty jokes.
When I first saw "Action", I thought that the blunt, horny producer of over-the-top action films might have been inspired by notorious producer Don Simpson. But apparently the incidents in the series were based on stories that producer Joel Silver told the writers as well as on the experiences of the writers themselves. I've heard a lot of speculation on why "Action" had so little audience, even though the writing is among the best ever on television. Some say the show was "too hip for the room", too "insider", or "too edgy". I don't buy that. "Action" is jam-packed with insider jokes. So is "The Producers". But the behavior in is so hilarious that the audience doesn't need to get all the jokes. I think the problem was simply the time slot. The perfect spot for "Action" would have been Monday nights after "That 70s Show", the spot that "Titus" -which has a similar audience- succeeded in as a mid-season replacement. On Thursday nights, half of "Action"'s audience was watching the WWF, a well-established show that never has re-runs. It's disappointing and a little puzzling that Fox was not willing to move the show to save it at least for one season. There is very little I wouldn't have given to see "Beverly Hills Gun Club" through to its premiere.
The DVDs (Sony Pictures 2006): All episodes are about 23 minutes long. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8 and an audio commentary for Episode 8 ("Love Sucks"). The audio commentary is by writers Jim Vallely, Matt Silverstein, Dave Jesser, producer/sometime director Don Reo, actor Jarrad Paul, and writer/co-executive producer Ron Zimmerman. Unfortunately, there isn't much information offered. It's clear that these guys think the show's jokes still hold up, but I'd rather have had more commentary and less chuckling. We know it's funny. Tell us something we don't know. Disc 2 includes episodes 9-13 and more bonus features: audio commentaries of the "Dead Man Floating" and "One Easy Piece" episodes, featuring the same group of writers and producers, plus writer/story editor Will Forte. "Getting Into the Action" (26 min) is the bonus feature you really want to watch. It examines the life cycle of "Action", from genesis to cancellation, through interviews with executive producers Joel Silver and Chris Thompson, producer Don Reo, the writers, and Jay Mohr. "Trust Me: Useful Words and Phrases" presents about a dozen movie industry terms with accompanying clips from "Action" either illustrating or spoofing them. No subtitles.
Well, many of those lines didn't make it to broadcast, they were bleeped out... but they're back and all of them are every bit as funny as they were the nights I first heard them.
I can also remember that we kept working on the show even after it was canceled and at the time it seemed strange to me that we were finishing episodes that would never be broadcast. I'm glad to see them included here so that everyone who is a fan of this show can see them all.
It's incredible how "inside" the show is. By far and away, it is the most no-holds-barred look at the industry I have seen or heard of.
But one of my favorite things about the way the show is constructed is in the use of inside snippets for all the bumpers to commercial. The use of "stix" (the marker board that syncs sound to picture at the beginning of each take) or the insertion of a theatre snack bar placard are true genius as a device to move us from content to commercial.
If you love movies and love to laugh, don't miss this show...