peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 09 04 QuizShow

Quiz Show (1994)

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A Robert Redford jag from Spy Game. There's nothing Hollywood likes more than to talk about TV, cf golden-era Good Night, and Good Luck, decline-into-cynicism Network, Broadcast News, etc. and of course the Oscars ceremonies. The game show was also a thread of Magnolia. The period and father/son dynamic put me in mind of Malick's The Tree of Life. The references to Nixon (as vice president) and interest in democratic accountability recall All the President's Men and the endless stream of nostalgic movies (The Last Picture Show, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, etc. etc.)

At its core this is some kind of bromance between professor/contestant Ralph Fiennes and investigator/lawyer Rob Morrow as the latter makes his bones figuring out what's going on at Twenty-One in the 1950s. The whole show loses momentum regularly, and it is often left to erstwhile champ John Turturro to gee things up. Nevertheless Redford's direction elicited excellent performances from all the actors; the odd scene or line delivery (Sputnik makes for good humour) shows what might have been with a better story to tell.

Roger Ebert: three-and-a-half stars. What's the story about Geritol anyway? Post-truthism started a long time ago. Janet Maslin. Ah yes, that opening Chrysler showroom scene.