Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"Wonderland" with Val Kilmer and Kate Bosworth (201 )

This is a kind of fascinating story. It involves “Long” Johnny Holmes, the iconic porn star from the 1970’s. Along with Linda Lovelace and Marilyn Chambers, he blazed new trails in the adult entertainment business as far as bringing it to the forefront; putting porn right in your face, so to speak.

For all of the glamor and the drugs and women though, there was a price being paid. And director James Cox does an excellent job in keeping the whole thing in control. He is also one of the writers of the script for this film. As the main character, Johnny Holmes; played by Val Kilmer; spins out of control the careful direction helps in keeping sight of the larger story.

At the time of these events in 1981; including the murder itself; Holmes was estranged from his wife, while trying to keep his teenage girlfriend, and also struggling each day to get his “fix” without any real means of income. This is a recipe for disaster, don’t ya think?

When the police showed up at 8763 Wonderland Ave in Laurel Canyon they found 4 bodies. They were the drug dealers and the owner of the home. The wife of one of the dealers was still alive. They had all been bludgeoned with a steel pipe.  The investigation which followed turned the spotlight on the seamy world of Hollywood’s porn industry.

With suspects such as Johnny Holmes, a local nightclub owner named Eddie Nash, and Holmes's estranged wife Sharon and his teenage lover Dawn Schiller, the story was just made for the tabloids. While Holmes freely admits to robbing the guy the day before, his wife says he went back again on the day of the murder. But Holmes then also says he only set up the hit; he didn’t actually participate in the murders. With all the living parties pointing fingers at one another, who will the authorities finally believe? More importantly; whose version of this tragic story would you hang your hat on?

Excellent performances by veteran actors Kate Bosworth, Carrie Fisher and Lisa Kudrow serve to round out this film.

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