From iconic tortured artist/everyman Charles Bukowski, Hollywood is the fictionalization of his experience adapting his novel Barfly into a movie by the same name.
Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s alter-ego, is pushed to translate a semi-autobiographical book into a screenplay for John Pinchot. He reluctantly agrees, and is thrust into the otherworld called Hollywood, with its parade of eccentric and maddening characters: producers, artists, actors and actresses, film executives and journalists. In this world, the artistry of books and film is lost to the dollar, and Chinaski struggles to keep his footing in the tangle of cons that comprise movie making.
Hollywood is Dirty Old Man Bukowski at his most lucid. It overflows with curses, sex, and alcohol. And through it all, or from it all, Bukowski finds flashes of truth about the human condition.
Bukowski ( The Roominghouse Madrigals ) has written over 30 books of poetry and fiction in which he uses the persona of the artistic bum with reasonable success. In this flimsy novel, Henry Chinaski is asked to write a screenplay, and thus Bukowski continues his thinly disguised autobiography (Bukowski himself wrote the screenplay for the recent, self-referential Barfly ). When all the Hollywood types Chinaski encounters--directors, lawyers, producers, actors, actresses--fit the same drunken-outcast-but-artistic-genius mold, Bukowski seems to have exhausted his resourcefulness. His characters lose their individuality and the novel lacks force and perspective. This book deteriorates into juvenile satire in which familiar, real-life figures appear with the letters of their names shifted slightly: the famous director Jon-Luc Modard, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sanrah, Frances Ford Lopalla and an obvious Norman Mailer stand-in called Victor Norman.