An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood, Burn (the onscreen title is simply Burn Hollywood Burn) is a 1998 American mockumentary comedy film directed by Arthur Hiller (using the Alan Smithee pseudonym), written by Joe Eszterhas, and starring Eric Idle as the protagonist, a director unfortunately named Alan Smithee. The film follows Smithee as he steals the negatives to his latest film and goes on the run.
Critically panned, the film "won" five awards (including Worst Picture) at the 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards. The film had an estimated budget of $10 million and grossed at least $52,850, as it was only released in 19 theaters.
The film's creation set off a chain of events, which would lead the Directors Guild of America to officially discontinue the Alan Smithee credit in 2000. Its plot (about a director attempting to disown a film) eventually, and ironically, described the film's own production; director Hiller requested that his name be removed after witnessing the final cut of the film by the studio.
A director by the name of Alan Smithee has been allowed to direct Trio, a big-budget action film starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan. The studio recuts the film, and when Smithee sees the results (which he describes as being "worse than Showgirls"), he wants to disown the film. However, since his name is also the pseudonym used by Hollywood when someone does not want to have their name attached to a bad film, he steals the film and flees, threatening to destroy the film by burning it.Eric Idle as Alan Smithee
Ryan O'Neal as James Edmunds
Coolio as Dion Brothers
Chuck D as Leon Brothers
Richard Jeni as Jerry Glover
Leslie Stefanson as Michelle Rafferty
Sandra Bernhard as Ann Glover
Cherie Lunghi as Myrna Smithee
Harvey Weinstein as Sam Rizzo
Gavin Polone as Gary Samuels
MC Lyte as Sista Tu Lumumba
Marcello Thedford as Stagger Lee
Nicole Nagel as Aloe Vera
Stephen Tobolowsky as Bill Bardo
Erik King as Wayne Jackson
Dina Spybey as Alessandra
Cameos as themselves
Billy Bob Thornton
Norman Jewison (uncredited)
The film was written (and produced, though he was not credited for it) by Joe Eszterhas, who became the first person to win four Golden Raspberry awards for a single film: Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay and both Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star for a brief cameo appearance. (Technically, he also received a co-nomination for the Worst Screen Couple award, since Burn Hollywood Burn was nominated for "any two people appearing together onscreen"; however, the movie did not "win" in this category.) The released film credits the Alan Smithee pseudonym as director because Arthur Hiller, the film's real director, objected to the way Eszterhas recut the film, and as a result, had his name removed. (However, in his autobiography, Hollywood Animal, Eszterhas claims that Hiller still sat in the editing room with him to make certain suggestions.) In his entry on Burn Hollywood Burn for his "My Year of Flops" column in The A.V. Club, pop culture critic Nathan Rabin sarcastically commented that Hiller's decision to use the Alan Smithee credit was "very transparently not a stupid, stupid gimmick to raise interest in a terrible film".
Film critic Roger Ebert, reviewing for the Chicago Sun-Times, gave Burn Hollywood Burn a score of zero stars, his lowest possible rating.
The film currently holds an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes; the aggregator's critical consensus calls it "A witless Hollywood satire whose hammy, obvious jokes are neither funny nor insightful of the movie business." Eric Idle himself said in various interviews meant to promote the film that "this is rather dreadful".