Review: Hollywood (Netflix)

Brandon’s Review: 

It can be difficult to find a good escape these days.  Especially when most of the entertainment that is available was all created in the times prior to social distancing and our “new norm.”  One of the shows that I have found to provide a great escape is a limited series on Netflix called “Hollywood.”  This series come from the show runner who brought you American Horror Story, Glee, Pose and many more, Ryan Murphy.  After penning a huge deal with Netflix, Murphy and his team has a great platform to flex their storytelling muscles.  Hollywood did not disappoint in giving a unique spin on a classic showbiz tale; from aspiring actors doing whatever it takes to make it big, major motion picture studios grappling with societal standards, morals and self serving business models, to the seedy underbelly of the entertainment industry.

Hollywood on Netflix follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood as they try to make it in Tinseltown — no matter the cost. Each character offers a unique glimpse behind the gilded curtain of Hollywood’s Golden Age, spotlighting the unfair systems and biases across race, gender and sexuality that continue to this day. … Hollywood exposes and examines decades-old power dynamics, and what the entertainment landscape might look like if they had been dismantled.

The first few episodes of this 7-episode series exposes the corruption, sexual harassment and extreme lengths that people would go through in order to get their big break in Hollywood.  Prostitution, lies, deception, infidelity, and lots of booze.  Characters hiding their true identities and sexuality, only to fit the mold that has been set forth by their predecessors.  But what if we could imagine a world where racial equality, acceptance of sexuality in the mainstream, and films that could have a leading role by an African American female?  By episode 3, we see characters develop in a way that they accept their wrong-doing, seeking atonement, and push to change the toxic normality at a time that wouldn’t be seen until many decades later.  What if Hollywood could have changed the script on how society perceived so many civil issues?  This series explores that very idea.  While there is a lot of scandal and sexual content, which can be quite disturbing to some viewers at times, there is also a very wholesome and emotionally rewarding positivity that is portrayed in this storytelling.  There are some characters that are loosely based on real characters from the time, including Rock Hudson.  These are loose interpretations though, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.  Although, it is worth digging into some research to find out the true stories behind some of these characters that are portrayed in the show.  It is interesting how some things that we see in the media/entertainment industry that are cyclical and hasn’t changed until recent years.  The massive doses of nostalgia and scandal is a great escape, and I highly recommend this show.  Big thumbs up!

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