Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Hoax: Underrated, Underrappreciated?

I know I'm supposed to be watching the Oscar nominees, since I've only seen one so far ("No Country for Old Men") and I am really dying to see "Juno" and "Atonement," the latter since it was based on a novel by Ian McEwan who I think is really amazing, but I keep getting distracted. That darn Netflix brought us another really cool movie that no one we know ever saw: "The Hoax," starring Richard Gere and Al Molina and directed by Lasse Hallstrom.

It's the story of the man who faked the Howard Hughes biography in the 70s, a man with huge, um, ego, named Clifford Irving. He pretended to know Hughes, to have been contacted by the reclusive eccentric, and parlayed that into a million dollar payday for himself and his friend and researcher, Dick Suskind. Of course, the publishing world went nuts over it, although there was always a doubt in their minds that any of this was real. They had handwriting experts check out the Hughes memos, had a journalist listen to the tapes purportedly made by Irving and Hughes, but eventually it all came apart when Hughes himself spoke up at a press conference, remotely, and said he had never heard of Irving let alone contacted him about his memoirs.

A fascinating story! And much of it was based on the truth. This man really attempted this and he really served time for fraud and the book was really printed before they figured ut out. I would LOVE to read this! I wonder if they really did burn all of the copies or if there are a few out there.

Richard Gere and the rest of the cast were pitch perfect. This was an excellent role for Gere and I wish he had been nominated for something for it. Roles like this don't come around a lot. From what we saw on the DVD, Hallstrom is a very easygoing director who keeps a lighthearted set and allows his cast to improvise in character. I believe this encouraged the on-screen chemistry between Gere and Molina, who seemed like they really were best friends.

So maybe this was an under-seen movie. That's what Netflix is for! Check it out - when you're not busy watching the Oscar films...sheesh! So many to watch before Sunday!

Your Hollywood connection,