I was too young to have experienced the "Johnny Wadd" phenomenon. I just remember that when the "Wonderland Murders" were reported on the television news that my father muttered something under his breath about "sick people, Johnny Wadd, ", and then he sort of chuckled like he remembered something.
It's not too difficult to understand how conflicted people were about this guy. I eventually saw one of his movies and it kind of made me chuckle too! I'm not sure that was the intention. But, after seeing this, it's more difficult to find humor with this guy. What you will not feel conflicted about is that if there is a hell, this guy is surely there.
The story takes place after he's pretty much washed up in the adult film industry. Kilmer is always good at playing doped up psychological infants. It seems to be his specialty. But the difference here is this guy doesn't have any redeeming qualities. You wouldn't want this guy anywhere around. He steals. He beats his 15 year old girlfriend, played by Kate Bosworth. He brings his dirty lifestyle and addictions home to his wife, played by Friends star, Lisa Kudrow. All of the performances are spot on. The problem is, really, whether you want to know about all this mess.
The extras are abundant and filled with material and interviews with all the real life players in the story. There is a full length documentary here. It's filled to the brim with facts and commentary on a life that was less than admirable.
And so, in spite of great performances by all, I didn't like the film. You have the Oliver stone style editing, with cuts to black and white/grainy, to weird handheld camera work… trying to give it a look I suppose. But we've seen Kilmer play a loser dope fiend before. And John Holmes was a dick… literally, and famously.
I recommend the fictional account of the Holmes story, Boogie nights. At least it had a sense of humor. Although, I can't see any room for humor here.
- Damian Mann | 2004-03-12