You watch. You vote. Will the pilot go on or will the story die a quick death? Well, that decision is in your hands.
Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of studio politics in early Hollywood, it is actually another adaptation. The Last Tycoon, was filmed in 1976 starring Robert DeNiro and Tony Curtis (also on Amazon for rent). This remake stars the handsome Matt Bomer and not-so-handsome Kelsey Grammer, plus a host of young ladies, including Lily Collins, with glaring lipstick, harsh makeup, and stylish clothes. Add the men in hats and suits from the thirties and you have early Hollywood.
Nearly the entire pilot is shot on a Hollywood set, except for a few scenes. Set in the fictitious studios owned by Pat Brady (Kelsey Grammer), it includes his slick producer Monroe Stahr (Matt Bomer). Matt is looking rather debonair in his slick-backed hair, but also noticeably thinner than the con artist he played on White Collar.
For a quick background of the story, Monroe is a grieving husband whose wife died tragically in a home fire. All the girls at the studio gush at his feet hoping they will be his next love, including the bosses’ daughter, Cecilia Brady. Monroe pretty much roams from set to set throughout the pilot giving orders, instructing writers to rewrite, complaining or approving about sets, picking out costumes, etc. Everyone jumps at his beckon call, but he does some sparring with his boss who agrees with the German embassador’s demand for no Jews in movies or on their payroll in Germany, so that Hilter can continue to enjoy Hollywood in his spare time. Monroe is a Jew, so the tension between keeping the German market happy and the studio going bankrupt is a no brainer for its owner, who is afraid of going bankrupt during the depression.
My first take on this pilot is…wait for it…blah. I don’t know why. Sometimes I wonder if it’s my mood or what I had for lunch. As much as I enjoy looking and handsome Mr. Bomer, something about him in this role just doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t know if it’s his character, his lines, or his acting. He seems stiff and unnatural. Perhaps, I’m just used to seeing Neal Caffrey instead. As far as Kelsey, he can be the usual grumpy and moody older man, but his performance is par for the course — nothing special to make you really like or dislike the guy.
The only thing that gave me a small smirk at the end was the illicit affair you learn about between Monroe and the bosses’ wife. She’s waiting for him in a nightgown when he comes home from work. He says that their meeting must stop. She says but it can’t, and lays down on the bed. Tauntingly, she asks, “Does that make you angry?” He goes to the curtain and gruffly closes them in front of the audience and says, “Yes.” She replies, “Good.” The only thing I could think of were the millions of women who wished he had played Christian Grey in Fifty Shades. Well, you get a tiny peak of what could possibly happen with Matt Bomer being in that role!
So I voted – gave it three stars. I suppose if they continue it, I will watch the other episodes. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that if it stays as flat as the pilot that it probably will not be a weekend binge watch by any means. As usual, whatever floats your remote…
Go watch it. It’s free on Prime. Cast your vote while Amazon gives you the chance to put in your two cents worth.