Netflix Now: Fifty Cents for Your Soul - Hollywood (2020) - Reviewed

Ryan Murphy's prolific creative run continues with his new revisionist history lesson, Hollywood (2020) on Netflix. Blazing a new trail with a fictional take on post World War II Hollywood. Young men and women seek fame and fortune no matter the cost in this tale of a pre-Weinstein tinseltown.

Immediately, comparisons will be drawn to his formative work on the 2003 series, Nip/Tuck. Right from the start the show kicks into high gear with young men having intimate relationships with older women and the sexually pervasive nature of old school Hollywood takes a turn into behind the scenes manipulations, casting couch scenarios, and an overall sense that things were not as they seemed. Taking place long before the #metoo movement, his spin on the vintage Hollywoodland takes us down a slippery path that gives us insight into how we got here and how long that the sexual exploitation of men and women has carried on for.  

Swinging for the fences, Murphy abandons his unfocused work on later years of American Horror Story and actually delivers a succinct story that digs deep into they psyche of starving actors that will do anything to make it in the big time. What's presented is an altered look at the golden age that's based in some truth but is ultimately swayed by Murphy's knack for making everything about lust, greed, and man's worst personality flaws. Much like Nip/Tuck or the first couple years of AHS, this bears the markers of his best work, if not only imprecise due to some calculated editing that doesn't really do the show justice. 

Over a small 7 chapter arc, Murphy's team deliver one of the better original entries on Netflix this year. It takes the old "dreamer" trope and turns it on its side, proving once again that Murphy knows how to twist and turn classic ideas or genres into his very own creative playground. However great it is, the one thing that seems to be keeping this show from sheer greatness is its bumpy conclusion. Jumping around with some quick edits to fast forward us to a year later, many viewers might be thrown by the way we miss a lot of details of what had happened. 

Honestly, 10 episodes would have been the better option to go for here. With a meager 7 chapters, the plot is stilted by some rushed editing and an incongruent conclusion that fails to hit the mark. Yet, the overall completed project will definitely hit home for those that seek fame despite its obvious consequences. There is a whole lot of humanist truth behind the plot in Hollywood. What would you do to achieve your dream of worldwide stardom during the Golden Age of movie making? Attempting to answer that loaded question is put on full display here, warts and all. 

Hollywood dives headlong into hidden homosexual orgies, devious acts of control, racial ignorance, counter culture and the strive to find some success in it all. If you've been a fan of Murphy's other work, there will be something here for you to love. Despite receiving many negative marks from other critical sites, this was a personal hit for me. It seems Ryan has hit a creative stride with Hollywood that's a call back to his earlier years where exploitation and soap opera type drama co-existed in a bubble that's strictly meant to entertain while shaking the tree a bit. 

At this time, it's being reported that this was a limited run mini-series and will not be receiving a second season on Netflix.