Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Going Down in LA-LA Land": What you have to do to make it in Tinsel Town

Going Down in LA-LA Land” (2012, 104 min) dramatizes what it takes to make it in Tinsel town. 
Adam Zeller (Matthew Ludwinski) is a nice, wholesome and physically robust gay kid (maybe 23) who comes to LA to make it as an actor.  Through a series of various encounters and small jobs, he learns the ropes.  You have to “please” the right people (and I could state this more bluntly if I didn’t have to keep this blog itself in PG-13 land).
He gets fired from his first job when he tries to “be right”, but soon he learns the practical ropes.  Slowly, he slips into escort service and occasional porn.  A man who wants to be his lover hires him , and then that man’s business has to deal with its own star’s “offline reputation” when one of his images hits the cover of a supermarket tabloid.  This is a story that could have happened well before Facebook (which is never mentioned, although smart phones abound). Paparazzi seem to rule the world here.
Matthew plays the part of Adam with a good deal of charisma – something performers need, but people seem to need it to keep the sharks ([particular those who use or deal drugs) at bay.  He can tell people to f-off toward the end.  But then, once, he stumbles, with drugs and alcohol himself, in a scene that really seems out of place to me. Will he recover his own strength of personhood? 
One familiar song, “Hold on to me” plays in the credits.  Followed by “Downtown Down in A-LA Land”, which I’m pretty sure I’ve heard in discos. 
The official site is here. The film is directed by Casper Andreas (“The Big Gay Musical”), for Embrem Films.  Imdb shows Pro-fun as the only distributor.  The film is available on Netflix Instant.  The film can be rented on YouTube for $3.99. 

The photography does dawdle on Adam quite a bit, as he is the film’s only really likeable character.   It’s a lot easier to start out your adult life if you’re physically attractive and strong than if you aren’t, given how competitive the world has gotten.  This is one of those movies where chest hair does not exist for men under 40.  Perhaps our whole culture has a fetish for “immaturity”.  There’s even a scene, as Adam prepares for a porn shot, where an assistant uses the “clippers” – remember that line in “Aline 3” where Sigourney Weaver was offered the same?  

Picture (mine): View from the rooftop restaurant at the Angelino Hotel on the 405, May 2012.  Bel Air and Santa Monica Blvd, leading to West Hollywood, are nearby.  

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