Bang us Feedback: bang isaac
bang seth

the daily bang | movies that bang | music that bangs |forwards that bang | kosher top 10 | apartments that bang | home

Movies that bang
by Jordan Hiller


Two glaringly apparent aspects of James Cox’s Wonderland is that the director has an ironic name all things considered and that Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights is by leaps and bounds the definitive 70’s porn epic of our day. It almost appears as though Cox, also a writer here, saw Boogie Nights and simply thought to himself, “hey, I can do that”. But instead of riding the formidable member of the fictional Dirk Diggler, he wisely focused upon the legendary John “Johnny Wadd” Holmes and his alleged involvement with the gruesome murders on Wonderland Avenue in 1981. So far so good, but like many of us who have witnessed the graphic adult arts and believed that we too could be “stars” of the genre, Cox comes up a bit short. Making it in this business is not as easy as it looks.

A sickeningly good cast attempting to redefine their images, fuel-heavy nostalgia soundtrack, a story that involves multiple loops and arcs and flashbacks, and a Paris Hilton cameo do not necessarily a good movie make.

Powerful music will never replace content. The likeable Kate (Blue Crush) Bosworth as the promiscuous young lover of the unstable Holmes (Val Kilmer) and Dylan (The Practice) McDermott, unrecognizable as a drug addicted tough guy are curiously miscast. They exude a simplistic purity and wholesome attractiveness that contradicts the nature of the movie to a fault. The likes of Janeane Garofalo and Christina Applegate, among others, appear to be thrown in as extras just to up the profile of this under-whelming affair. The willingness of all these eclectic talents (including Josh Lucas, Tim Blake Nelson, and Eric Bogosian, all portraying caricatures) to participate in Wonderland leads one to think that this movie was supposed to be much better at its inception. Who wouldn’t want to be in the next Boogie Nights? Look how many careers that sleeper hit made or resurrected. This film, however, will fade away quicker than Jenna Jameson when she hits thirty-five.

The one standout talent turning in a felt performance is Lisa Kudrow as the inexplicably “loyal” wife of the irredeemable, unpleasant, foolish mess that is John Holmes. Val Kilmer has no where to go with this character because he clearly had only one outstanding feature worth watching and again, unlike Boogie Nights, we don’t get to see it here.

In fact, in another strange and unexpected turn of events, we only meet Holmes well after his career in pictures is over. We do not get the benefit of peeking in on the man in action, on understanding his celebrity, or appreciating his decadent rise. Sure people recognize him with a “aren’t you that guy?”, but the film only concentrates on his fall.

The script, accredited to four writers, is, unfortunately for the audience, so cheesy and effortless that I wonder if any of these writers ever actually wrote the dialogue for pornographic cinema. It is the type of movie where people turn on the television and the newscast reporter is reciting the precise information needed to move the story along.

Holmes led a wasted life that ended up with him dying of an AIDS related illness in 1988. He spent his time on earth in a slimy, exploitive business that breeds on human weakness and involves no real talents or character. In other words, Wonderland suits him fine.

Send comments to movie editor, Jordan Hiller: |


Reviews by Jordan Hiller

Trembling Before G-d


Veronica Guerin

Pieces of April


Bubba Ho-tep

Casa De Los Babys


American Splendor


The Holy Land

Return from India

The Shape of Things

City of Ghosts

Anger Management


The Guys

Assassination Tango

Gaudi Afternoon


Nowhere in Africa

Foreign Sister



L’chayim, Comrade Stalin
part 1

part 2


Divine Intervention

The Pianist

Best films of 2002 1992

8 mile

Punch Drunk Love


Gaza Strip

The Kid Stays in the Picture


Minority Report



Spring Movie Preview 2002

Panic Room

The Oscar Preview 2002

Royal Tenenbaums

Harry Potter

The Man who Wasn't There

From Hell

Training Day

Hearts in Atlantis

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

the others

Planet of the apes

Jurassic Park III


Shrek & Atlantis

The Mummy Returns

Enemy At the Gates


Exit Wounds

15 Minutes

You Can Count on Me

The Mexican

Down to Earth

Meet the Parents

Golda's Balcony HERE

Tribeca FIlm Festival 2003

Daily Coverage: HERE

Photo Gallery HERE

Film Reviews:

A Breach in the Wall

Every Child is Born a Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas

Paper Chasers

Resisting Paradise

MC5: A True Testimonial

Sweet Sixteen

The Shape of Things

Yossi and Jagger

Persona Non Grata

the daily bang | forwards that bang | movies that bang | music that bangs | books the bang |
bang the rabbi | torah that bangs | rave reviews
apartments that bang | event guide | Kosher Top 10

submit an article | bang isaac | bang seth | slut gear | mom

Copyright © 2001, Inc. All rights reserved