Boffo! Tinseltown’s Bombs & Blockbusters is all about the magic of movies. It’s about doing it right and doing it wrong, and how there’s no sure thing. This HBO documentary doesn’t get very technical about making films, but it certainly does get personal with some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters.
Through a well-crafted collection of interviews and clips from some of the best and worst movies of American cinema, this documentary brings us the perspectives of folks like Steven Spielberg, George Clooney… Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Bogdanovich and Morgan Freeman. Every single one of the interview subjects is dynamic and entertaining, and while their experiences and methods are all different, they all seem to agree on one thing: making a successful film is really hard to do.
George Clooney sums it up pretty well, when he says you start with a great script, and then there are a million ways to screw it up – bad director, bad performances, crappy ad campaign, or even an ill-timed release date. Others add to this the element of mystery or luck, which means a often nobody can really pinpoint what tipped a film toward incredible box office success instead of hide-in-your-bathtub failure.
I really enjoyed this documentary, for two reasons. First, it reminded me of a lot of magical moments in many films I hadn’t thought about in a while, so I was actually feeling that magic while watching this collage of interviews. Second, Boffo! does a great job drawing little people like me and you into the Hollywood game with all of these major players. That’s because of what Dreyfuss calls “the common dream.” The success of a film depends not just on the creators, but on the audience. Both parties are playing a wonderful game of make-believe, pretending that the story playing out on the screen is about actual people in a real world, and not just a bunch of actors on a set.
If you love movies, you’ll really like this documentary. There’s not much else to it, so just go watch it already.
Boffo! Tinseltown’s Bombs & Blockbusters is presented on a single disc in 1.85:1 widescreen format. The original content shot for this documentary looks really good, as the interviews are sharp, with warm colours and a nice, clear picture. The film clips are of varying quality, mostly depending on how old the source movie was. Not much can be done about that, so high marks for the video here.
The menus are static, with music.
The English 2.0 audio is just fine. Dialogue is all clear, and there’s a nice accompanying score that fills out the front sound stage, and adds a playful feel to the documentary.
Audio is also offered in Spanish 2.0, and English subtitles are available.
Unfortunately, there is no bonus material on this DVD.
Boffo! Tinseltown’s Bombs & Blockbusters is a highly entertaining documentary that any movie fan will enjoy. It’s presented here on a solid DVD, but its complete lack of bonus content is a shame.