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Original title
Running time
122 min.
United States United States
David Rabe (Theater: David Rabe)
David Baerwald
Changwei Gu
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FilmColony / Storm Entertainment
Drama | Drugs. Film In Film
Synopsis / Plot
David Rabe's 1984 play HURLYBURLY made it to the big screen in 1998, with some well-measured performances from a cast littered with big names from the Hollywood A-list. Ostensibly Anthony Drazan's film is a riff on the empty-headedness and misogyny that runs rife throughout the Hollywood studio system. But delve beneath the depths of these surly, obstinate characters, and a cheerless, misanthropic tract on the transient nature of friendship is made manifest in this unrelenting portrait of the depths to which human beings can sink.

Mickey (Kevin Spacey) and Eddie (Sean Penn) are two casting directors who reside in a condominium secreted deep in the Hollywood Hills, where their out-of-work actor friend Phil (Chazz Palminteri) is a frequent visitor. Hollywood mogul Artie (Garry Shandling) is also an acquaintance, and loves to drop by to provide a few favors for Mickey and Eddie; one of these "favors" comes in the shapely form of Donna (Anna Paquin), whom Artie picks up whilst hitchhiking, and hands her over to the boys as a sex toy. Meanwhile, Darlene (Robin Wright Penn) seesaw's between relationships and dates with both Mickey and Eddie, causing problems when the latter forms a genuine affection for her. As if to prove he's not a lightweight when it comes to dumping on women, Phil goes on a date with stripper Bonnie (Meg Ryan), which ends in inglorious fashion as he throws her out of a moving car. As drugs are snorted, relationships flounder, and friendships fall apart, Drazan effortlessly steers his cast through some lengthy, Mamet-like dialogue, that manages to make both repulsive and compulsive viewing. An unforgettable experience, HURLYBURLY brings some hard-hitting subject matter to the screen in spectacular style.
1998: Venice Film Festival: Best Actor (Sean Penn)
1998: Independent Spirit Awards: Nominated for Best Actor (Sean Penn)
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