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The dark underside ofBoogie Nightsis tracked inWonderland, a sleaze-filled look at the notorious "Wonderland Murders" of 1981. The movie attempts to explain how the legendarily endowed porn actor John C. Holmes was involved in the killings, while deliberately suggesting the difficulty of knowing the truth of a murky case. The police procedural aspects turn out to be less intriguing than the weirdly hapless domestic life of Holmes (Val Kilmer at his most dazed), who despite his promiscuity continues to rely on his starchy, clean-cut wife (an unflattering role for Lisa Kudrow, but the most interesting character in the picture). Well-known actors--notably a near-unrecognizable Dylan McDermott--slouch through the story, which rather distracts from the aggressively realistic approach. In the end, the unclean aura makes one yearn for the stylized ingenuity ofBoogie Nights, or at least a reason to be watching this story this way.--Robert Horton
a mess This movie, based on a true story, had all the elements to make it a classic but director Cox can't seem to decide if he wants to make a serious drama or long MTV movie with camera tricks that don't work. The picture is sleazy and often boring. The story of John Holmes should have produced better material than this.
Articles about John Holmes present a sleazy but fascinating picture of a porn star whose only "redeeming" value was his ...um... instrument. But although Wonderland shows him as a loser...it neglects some facts including how he constantly abused his teenaged lover. The love story as it's presented here doesn't evoke sympathy for the couple. The audience is more than likely to be annoyed with and irritated by them instead.
We also could have seen more character development. The Wonderland gang and Eddie Nash are not flushed out and seem cartoonish. Perhaps this is why much of the acting seems stilted. The one exception is Lisa Kudrow, as Sharon, Holmes' first wife. The story could have been improved if we understood more about their marriage.
The DVD also features a video from the actual crime scene with graphic pictures of the murder victims shown as the LAPD dispassionately collect evidence from the crime scene. For those with weak stomachs, it's gruesome and shouldn't be shown around children.
Wadd, the documentary on the real life John Holmes on the second DVD, is actually more interesting than the main feature. It includes some crucial facts that the movie neglected and presents a fuller picture. Holmes continued on his downward spiral after Wonderland's conclusion and it was not a happy end. I would recommend the documentary as more interesting.
Wonderland This is a movie about a murder that porn star John Homes was involved in. Its a true story and the girl that was with him Dawn is writing a book about this to come out in 2006.
Must see movie highly recommend it once you see it will will want it for your collection.Thoroughly Mediocre and Disappointing....Get Boogie Nights Instead !!! I am going to make this review rather short and to the point, which is the absolute opposite of the movie. If you think that spending about 2 hours listening to a group of drugged-out degenerates offering conflicting, confusing, self-serving viewpoints about a brutal murder is entertaining, then by all means watch this disjointed nightmare of a movie...but please be warned:
There is no attempt to filter any of the information and it is presented with no regard to sequence or source: at times, three different viewpoints are presented almost simultaneously. You never know who is thinking what, and to be very honest, you rapidly cease to care. You cannot draw any logical conclusions, because the information you are receiving is garbled and, at times, incomprehensible. It is much like being on the jury in a trial that is presided over by a group of crack addicts....in Chinese.
If you are tempted to watch the movie due to the lurid reputation of "porno king" John Holmes, be advised that it is completely devoid of any real insights into that portion of his life. The movie depicts only his post-career slide into serious drug addiction and (possibly) murder, and for that reason could be about any loser. "Boogie Nights" portrays the full spectrum of his life in an infinitely better, more entertaining manner.
I have heard comparisons of this movie to Rashomon, which is a cruel insult to an infinitely greater movie. Yes, Rashomon presented its story through conflicting viewpoints, but each of the viewpoints is clearly presented and its source is known. The audience becomes acclimated to the characters their conflicting viewpoints, and can draw valid conclusions. Such cannot be said for this pasted-together, tangled-up assault on the senses. It is just a mess....an inkblot on a dirty canvas. If you are at all interested in a truly skillful, entertaining retelling of the "ups and downs" of the "porno king" please (for your own good) avoid this travesty and get "Boogie Nights"....it is like comparing skid marks to a Picasso.