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3 reviews, 7 user ratings

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Kid Stays in the Picture, The
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by Chris Parry

"You're invited to take in a slideshow at Robert Evans' pussyhound pad."
4 stars

With so many in Hollywood having nothing in their sights but the almighty dollar, if I was to create a list of those in the movie industry that I'd like to just go 'hang' with for an evening, talk and drink and shoot the shit, there wouldn't be many names on it. Close to the top of that list however would be long time Hollywood king and oftentimes Hollywood doormat, Robert Evans - crappy actor, dynamo producer, playboy extraordinaire, and the man that took Paramount from the gutter to the summit of success with such films as Love Story, Marathon Man, The Godfather, True Grit, Urban Cowboy, and Chinatown. In The Kid Stays In The Picture, Evans tells the tale of hislife in a fashion not often seen in documantaries - he essentially narrates a slideshow, with special effects thrown in to keep it punchy. Thankfully, Evans' incredible anecdotes combined with some smart use of old photos and footage combine to create an enrapturing piece of documentation on one of the true legends of Hollywood.

Back in the day, Paramount was a piece of shit. Oh sure, we all know it as a shining studio megalith, churning out product and pulling in billions of dollars, but before Robert Evans came along, it wasn't so much a mountain as it was a molehill. There he was, snappily dressed, making the ladies swoon, a one-time screen idol that ran a ladies fashion house on the east coast and played movie star on the other. A mover, a shaker, and a definite heartbreaker, Evans' could have gone in any number of directions, but he chose the hardest one of all - the top.

When Evans took over Paramount he was barely a kid, and nobody gave him much chane of sticking around long enough to make a name as an executive. Alas, they didn't reckon on Evans' kicking ass, taking names and capturing two of the biggest critically-acclaimed moneymakers of the 70's - Love Story and The Godfather.

Evans was everywhere, the King of the west coast, and as he took his studio to number one he screwed, drank, beat on and signed every major league player in town. He was on TV, in the press, on every starlet's arm, in every wife's bed. He was as much a media creation as he was an actual success story, but the guy had character and never stepped down from a fight.

That propensity to fight is exactly why this film is a kick ass affair - Evans has done it all. From offending Hemingway to marrying McGraw, suing his Cotton Club director Francis Ford Coppola, to being dragged through the mud in a murder case, and busted as part of a cocaine deal gone wrong. Evans is the symbol of 70's and 80's excess, and every time they think they've finally got rid of him, he fights his way back.

So is The Kid Stays in the Picture as big as Evans' life itself? No, it's not, but only the Godfather itself could be. Where the documentary suffers is also where it succeeds - the material it has to draw from is mostly stills and stories, but the directors manage to keep those stories flowing and make the stills almost come alive with animations, effects and atmosphere.

Despite the films propensity to be all at once funny, eye-opening and enjoyable, Evans' biopic does tend to only serve up one point of view. No mention is made of the litany of ex-wives he has that don't have the surname McGraw, and to say that a nice spin is put on the worst episodes of Evans' life is something of an understatement, but in the end this is much less a documentary than it is an evening on Bobby Evans' couch, downing a few malts while he bends your ear with story after story from the good (or bad) old days.

To be sure, The Kid Stays In The Picture is not the kind of film you could take mother to on a rainy Sunday. For a person that doesn't know of Evans, or who isn't interested in the machinations and history of Hollywood, the impact and interest may be short, but for those who love film and drench themselves in everything celluloid, this is one hell of a great way to spend an evening.

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originally posted: 08/25/02 14:22:00
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User Comments

10/23/09 Coder29 The outcome of the battle may well depend on the hope he can inspire, regardless of the 5 stars
10/24/07 Charles Tatum Never boring, interesting technique 4 stars
2/04/04 john intriguing 4 stars
9/04/02 Rich Cirivilleri the Mia Farrow ripdown and references to Ali McGraw as "snotnose" are worth the admission 4 stars
8/29/02 Tamara Kiel dude its da best! 5 stars
8/24/02 K-ronik Sensational and original. Great flick. 5 stars
8/02/02 Heather Fascinating look at a fascinating Hollywood player, definitely one to look out for 5 stars
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  26-Jul-2002 (R)



Directed by
  Nanette Burstein
  Brett Morgen

Written by
  Brett Morgen

  Robert Evans
  Ali McGraw
  Mia Farrow

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