Classic Guy Movie: Wonderland

Directed by James Cox
2003, USA, 104 minutes

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: in decadent, 1980s Los Angeles, a drug-addled porn star with a thirteen inch member robs a group of heroin-addicted cocaine dealers, gets caught, bargains for his life by helping them arrange the robbery of a notorious club owner and cocaine kingpin, gets caught by said kingpin, and bargains for his life a second time by helping the kingpin brutally murder the cocaine dealers who robbed him. Too convoluted to be true? Actually, that’s as near as the US justice system has ever come to sorting out the notorious 1981 Wonderland murders, and as you might guess, the James Cox’s dramatization of those events are something like a cross between a Tarantino film and an E-True Hollywood Story.

The porn star in question, John Holmes (Val Kilmer, who does a surprisingly non-terrible job) is the dim and inferiority complex-ridden centre of this cast of Hollywood weirdness, which includes a heroin-addicted member of the Aryan brotherhood (Dylan McDermott), John Holme’s underage girlfriend (Kate Boseworth), a holy roller preacher (Carrie Fisher), and notorious gangster Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian, in a malicious turn). Nash, incredibly, is still alive—but the majority of the people portrayed in this film are not.

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