What Just Happened?
Director: Barry Levinson
Screenwriters: Art Linson
- 2008 Sundance Film Festival
Every profession has its share of outlandish behavior, and filmmaking is fabled as an industry where behind-the-scenes stories are often more fascinating than the productions. But as the setting for a tale about power, decision making, and life at the top, maybe Hollywood isn’t any more extreme or bizarre than the worlds of Wall Street, publishing, or even the military. Which is not to say that the rocky road for a Hollywood producer is ever mundane or dull.
The vision that Academy Award–winning director Barry Levinson’s sometimes-mordant, often-penetrating, and fiercely comic chronicle brings to the screen is as human and universal as any insider's tale, a story about a man at the top of his game who has to deal with prima donnas, crazy artists, shameless egotists, and difficult marriages. This adaptation of Art Linson’s account of his day-to-day existence as a studio producer resonates with truth, insight, and the absurdity that often fills our lives. Because it’s personal and detailed and virtuously enacted by Robert De Niro and a spectacular supporting cast, it's even touching. Not only in Hollywood is maintaining your dignity so difficult; life is a humbling experience for all of us.