Hollywood and Movies: “Self-Portraits . . . Strangest Form of Art”

“This [Sunset Boulevard] is one of the darkest films ever produced in Hollywood, undoubtedly because Hollywood is the subject, and Hollywood is people. Self-portraits are always the strangest form of art. They always tell the truth even while they lie. The title of the film comes from the famous street winding through the northern Los Angeles hills and down to the Pacific Ocean. The road is curvy, hilly, and very heavily used–in other words, it is dangerous. . . . This story about the film industry and what it can do to the human soul is absolutely blistering, even six decades after its release. It deals with the arts of screenwriting, directing, and acting; shows the costs and temptations of becoming famous and rich; delineates the manipulation by others and self so endemic to the artistic and business world that is Hollywood; brutally snickers at Hollywood wackiness; and calculates the cost of selling the soul for an image. Fame is shown for what it really is: the temporary acclamation of people who eventually turn on you and then laugh at you, pity you–or both. The message is simple: Hollywood kills” (Grant Horner, Meaning at the Movies: Becoming a Discerning Viewer, 184-185).