HBO aired the Hollywood satire HAIL, CAESAR! over the weekend. It's by the Coen Brothers. That writing/directing team is, on the whole, loved more by high-tone movie critics than by mainstream moviegoers. Ever since I saw 1994's THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, I could see the obvious influence classicm1940s comedies by Preston Sturges had on their style of film-making. They borrowed a lot from him. Just look at THE HUDSUCKER PROXY. Tim Robbins was basically a 1940s Preston Sturges character Eddie Bracken would've played. The only big glitch in THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is that they let Jennifer Jason Leigh do a Katharine Hepburn imitation as the ace newspaper reporter. Hepburn wasn't a Sturges-type actress. Leigh should've gone in the Jean Arthur or Barbara Stanwyck direction. Then there's the 2000 film, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? The title is the name of a fictional novel that plays a major part in 1941's classic Hollywood satire, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS. Its original screenplay is by its director, Preston Sturges. Yep. The Coen Brothers borrowed a lot from him. If only they'd borrow his warmth and his love of people evident in SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK, THE LADY EVE, HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO and CHRISTMAS IN JULY. Let me toss in another comedy he wrote but didn't direct -- 1937's EASY LIVING starring Jean Arthur and Ray Milland. HAIL, CAESAR! did make me laugh despite its chilliness.
Both actors are the real life consecutive ex-husbands of actress Diane Lane.
Diane Lane gave one of her several vivid, excellent performances in a biopic/mystery called HOLLYWOODLAND. This 2006 film is about the scandalous death of George Reeves, the longtime movie actor who didn't become a star until he played Superman on a 1950s TV series. Was his death a suicide or did an irate lover shoot him? Ben Affleck played George Reeves, the late Bob Hoskins played the tough Hollywood producer/fixer Eddie Mannix -- and Diane Lane played Mrs. Mannix.
Can you just imagine? Only in Hollywood.