Action: The Complete Series
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Way too edgy for network TV, this funny, uncensored, naming-names series peels off the glitter of Hollywood moviemaking and exposes the duplicitous but totally addictive, behind-the-scenes truth. Campy, uncensored and very controversial, this "too-close-to-reality" show features guest stars that include Keanu Reeves, Salma Hayek and Sandra Bullock. Superstar producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr, host of TV's "Last Comic Standing") builds his stellar career on the three pillars of show business - prostitution, nepotism and dishonesty. Adding to that an ego as big as a Beverly Hills mansion, the aptly-named Dragon and his cohorts manage to be politically incorrect, backstabbing, phony, petty, pissy and most of all - ingeniously funny!
Immoral, politically incorrect, and fiercely funny, Action: The Complete Series is a timeless comedy focusing on a group of Hollywood insiders whose moral compass has spun out of control. Led by uber-producer Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr), the series' first and only season ferociously lampoons the sleaziness of modern-day Hollywood. Dragon--seemingly the separated-at-birth brother of slimy uber-agent Bob Sugar (also played by Mohr) from Jerry Maguire--is a jerk who pretends to be gay when it's convenient and doesn't understand why Salma Hayek (playing herself) would slap him silly for making inappropriate suggestions during an earlier audition. In Dragon's lair, sexual harassment is an inconvenience, the screenwriter is an afterthought, and a movie isn't a film unless it's got mega-explosions. Mohr and Illeana Douglas (portraying an ex-child star turned prostitute turned studio executive) are a joy to watch. When a sycophantic colleague accuses Dragon of promoting a hooker over him, he calmly says, "She's my prostitute. You're my whore." A subtle difference, yes, but one that makes a world of difference in Hollywood. If there's a plus side to this topnotch series being canceled in 1999, it's that the writers didn't have time to let the show disintegrate into hackneyed clichés. There is no warm-hearted parable to justify the nasty means--just a lot of quick-witted dialogue and an excellent ensemble cast that makes viewers enjoy the characters despite (or should that be because of?) their numerous flaws. --Jae-Ha Kim
- Episodic filmmakers' commentaries
- "Making of" featurette
- Interactive "Hollywood Insider" Dictionary
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It's unfortunate the series was cancelled, as we don't see whether "Beverly Hills Gun Club" is ever completed. It presumably would have been, as the series' producer hoped to actually film the movie!
The interview with the producer (Chris Thompson) is strange. He almost always looks down and refuses to face the interviewer, confessing that "Action" appeared on Fox, rather than HBO, because Fox offered more money. This is probably true, but it's hard to tell whether his other self-deprecating remarks are.
Amazon's NC-17 rating is absurd. (The package is labelled "No Rating".) This is a TV-MA (R) show. However, the disclaimer at the beginning that "Portions of 'ACTION' may be inappropriate for younger viewers" is wrong --/everything/ in "Action" is inappropriate for younger viewers.
This is one of those programs that's "too good for television". Unreservedly recommended.
PS: Joss Whedon did a movie ("Serenity") based on a failed series ("Firefly"). So why /shouldn't/ we eventually see a film of "Beverly Hills Gun Club"?
Intended as a replacement for The Larry Sanders Show on HBO but picked up by the Fox Network instead, with a pilot episode that sees Keanu Reeves getting a handjob from a whore during a premiere, a leading lady who's a hooker whose last boyfriend was when she was 13 ("Let's just say I spent a lot of time on the set of Chinatown.") and with a script boasting some of the foulest language ever bleeped out for primetime (but restored to its full profane glory for DVD) and characters with names like The Blood and Piss Guy, it's amazing that it even lasted as long as the 11 out of 13 episodes that were broadcast. Filled with quotable dialog and killer injokes, it does start to lose steam in the final episodes, implying that this would have burned itself out anyway, but when it works it's magnificent. And a special nod to Lee Arenberg as the creepy and terrifying diminutive gay studio chief Bobby G - imagine a short and malignant Bruce Willis on a particularly bad day and you're still not even close!
Columbia's DVD contains all 13 episodes, a good retrospective documentary charting the shows slow death and three audio commentaries that are surprisingly unguarded, especially when dropping titbits like Illeana Douglas' increasing unhappiness about playing a hooker despite signing on to play... a hooker!