Hollywood Ending (2002)


Plot: Two time Oscar winning director Val Waxman, based in New York, is considered a has-been, he not having worked on or completed a significant project in ten years, his reputation for being unreasonably difficult preceding him. He is however considered for the prestigious $60 million project "The City that Never Sleeps" produced by Los Angeles based Galaxie Pictures. The issue is is that Galaxie's producer for the picture is his ex-wife, Ellie, who left him for Hal Yaeger, the head of Galaxie. Despite Val's reputation, Ellie, who feels she knows him and can handle him after being divorced from him for ten years, believes that he understands such material for this project better than any other director, she who not only brought up his name, but who pushed for him. Galaxie ends up hiring Val, despite his own secret reservations and his hostility especially toward Hal as the man who stole his wife from him and as he considers Hal the type of man beneath both him and Ellie. Regardless, Ellie vows to keep control of the project but still allow Val artistic freedom and that Hal will be hands off. Things on the project have the potential to go off the rails early, with the creative department heads clashing when they aren't coming up with financially out of reach ideas, and he having hired a Mandarin only speaking cinematographer which makes communication difficult. Additionally, Val's current girlfriend, Lori, a bimbo of an actress who can't act and won't take lessons believing her style being natural, pressures Val into giving her a role in the movie. Things take a decidedly negative turn when three days before shooting begins, Val is rendered sightless, it eventually diagnosed as psychologically induced blindness. Knowing that such news would ruin him professionally, he turns to the only person he trusts for advice, his agent Al Hack. Al, who is not allowed on set, advises Val to continue with the project and confide in one person on set who could help him be his secret eyes on the shoot and would not be ruined in the business if the sham was discovered. Beyond the visual cues Val needs to make decisions, one other major issue is that Galaxie has allowed reporter Andrea Ford access to the set for the entire shoot to write a behind the scenes story, she who is not only a constant presence, but who who is always out for the big story regardless of the consequences. Can Val pull the project off while fooling everyone else besides Al and their one on-set confidante? Concurrently, Val continues with therapy to try and discover the root cause for the blindness, his sight which may never return unless the cause is dealt with.

Alternative Plot: Woody Allen stars as Val Waxman, a two-time Oscar winner turned washed-up, neurotic director in desperate need of a comeback. When it comes, Waxman finds himself backed into a corner: Work for his ex-wife Ellie (Tea Leoni) or forfeit his last shot. Is Val blinded by love when he opts for the reconnect? Is love blind when it comes to Ellie's staunch support? Literally and figuratively, the proof is the picture.

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