For a variety of reasons, it’s tough to make a movie about making movies. Works like The Player and Entourage have been successful by simultaneously poking fun at Hollywood and, in the latter case, embracing the myths it builds around itself. Considering the affection people have for movies, and the lengths people will go to to get into the business, you’d think it would be prime territory for stories. But films about making films frequently feel self-indulgent and too inside.
Hollywood Dreams suffers from a lot of those issues, but the bigger problem is its lack of focus and rather implausible narrative. The film centers on Margie (Tanna Frederick), an aspiring actress who will do anything to make it in the business. The film’s first chunk chronicles a series of increasingly embarrassing episodes in her life, opening with a grainy audition video, in which she breaks down and cries for the first of many times in the film. She goes on to eat and then spit out Mallomars, gets kicked out of her house, and in a particularly pathetic scene, wanders into, then gets fired from, a film a group of middle schoolers are shooting.
Throughout the film, but in this part in particular, it’s unclear how we’re meant to feel about Margie. There are certainly some elements of satire in her total commitment to her work, above any sort of personal concern. But the film at times goes so broad with its cruelty that it’s hard to buy her as a human being. By having us laugh at her at the start of the film, it becomes tough to shift to the pathos they were going for in the latter half. The character is so grating, it’s hard to spend 100 minutes with her. I wouldn’t want to meet someone like David Brent or Tony Soprano in real life, but they’re fascinating to watch on screen. Margie is just annoying.