Movie Review: “Rules Don’t Apply”

Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins, Matthew Broderick
Warren Beatty

Warren Beatty has reportedly been developing a film about reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes since the 1970s, but the passion project didn’t really begin to take shape until a few years ago when Beatty, who has lately become a bit of a recluse himself, teamed up with Oscar-winning screenwriter Bo Goldman to work on the script. Marking Beatty’s first directorial effort since 1998’s “Bulworth” and his first acting role since 2001’s “Town & Country,” “Rules Don’t Apply” is a clumsy and tonally uneven period piece that was likely spoiled by years of tinkering during its lengthy development process. Although it won’t harm his reputation too badly, it’s nonetheless a disappointing comeback that suggests Beatty should have stuck to retirement.

The year is 1959, and small-town beauty queen Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) has arrived in Los Angeles with her devoted mother (Annette Bening) after she’s invited by Hollywood producer Howard Hughes (Beatty) to audition for his upcoming movie. What they don’t realize is that Marla is only one of many young women that Hughes has under contract for the unknown role, with each wannabe actress provided their own house and chauffeured around town to acting and dancing classes while they await their opportunity to meet the enigmatic figure. Marla’s assigned driver, aspiring real estate developer Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), hasn’t even met his boss yet, but they’re both captivated by Hughes and realize what working for him can do for their careers. Despite a rule prohibiting any employee from becoming intimate with one of Hughes’ contract actresses, Marla and Frank begin to form an attraction, only to see their budding relationship threatened when they’re welcomed into Hughes’ inner circle and get caught up in the excitement and drama that it brings.

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The Light from the TV Shows: The Many Influencees of Dobie Gillis

Next week, the ever-awesome Shout Factory is going to be releasing The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis: The Complete Series. While this is an announcement which will be greeted by shrugs and blank stares from just about anyone under the age of 30—oh, hell, we could practically make it 40 or 50 and still not be too far off base—I’ve been revisiting the adventures of Dobie (Dwayne Hickman) and his beatnik buddy Maynard G. Krebs (a pre-“Gilligan’s Island” Bob Denver), and the more I delve into the series, the more I realize just how well it holds up. Heck, many of its elements continue to be staples of teen-themed comedies to this day!


First of all, look at these two gentlemen here. Have you ever seen a picture that so desperately screamed to be captioned “Freak and Geek”?

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