The Kid Stays in the Picture
(R, 1:33:59, Released 2002)
|Genres:||Documentary, Drama, Television, Special Interest|
|Release Date:||Aug 16, 2002|
|DVD Release Date:||Aug 19, 2003|
|Directed by:||Brett Morgen, Nanette Burstein|
|Synopsis:||Robert Evans' rise from second-string actor (who really was discovered while lounging by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel) to head of one of Hollywood's biggest movie studios is told from the viewpoint of Evans himself in this documentary, adapted from his autobiography (and featuring Evans' own narration). In 1957, Evans had already achieved success in the garment business when actress Norma Shearer spotting him at poolside and suggested he should play her late husband, legendary producer Irving Thalberg, in the movie Man of a Thousand Faces. While Evans knew he wasn't cut out to be an actor, he discovered he liked the movie business, and after becoming a film industry executive, Evans was named head of production at Paramount in the late '60s. Under Evans' leadership, Paramount produced such classics as Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, and The Godfather. He also married actress Ali McGraw; however, McGraw left Evans for Steve McQueen after they starred together in The Getaway. After leaving Paramount to become a producer (and racking up hits like Chinatown and Marathon Man), Evans' golden touch began to elude him; an arrest for drugs seemed to put an end to his career, until he made a comeback as a freelance producer in the 1990s on such films as Sliver and The Saint. Part of the narration for The Kid Stays in the Picture was drawn from the book-on-tape version of Robert Evans' autobiography of the same name, which featured Evans reading his own work; the audio book has developed a cult following of its own, and legend has it Dustin Hoffman based his performance in Wag The Dog on Evans' reading style on the tape. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
November 28, 2007
The only thing more entertaining than an autobiographical Robert Evans documentary would be another biographical documentary with everybody else's opinion of the man. How much of this is truth and how much re-imagined, self-mythologizing bullshit, it's impossible to say. He's green-lighted and produced some great movies ("Rosemary's Baby", "The Godfather" and "Chinatown" the jewels in the crown) but Evans, understandably but disappointingly, has always tended to revisit former glories when his back's been against the wall (Ira Levin's "Sliver", Coppola's "The Cotton Club" and Nicholson's "The Two Jakes", which isn't even mentioned here, unless I missed it). Hardly the full story but fascinating stuff nevertheless, beautifully put together from manipulated photographs and clips from Evans' own movies, voiced-over by the man himself.
August 3, 2007
A great watch if you're into Hollywood history. A little hammy at points but very interesting. The quote from Evans about different perspectives on an event (your version, their version and the truth) sums up this biopic/documentary perfectly.
September 14, 2006
A fascinating look at the life of Robert Evans and the motion picture industry. The film only suffers as it is told like a slideshow, mainly through still photographs with Robert Evans narrating his own story. Funny and informative but a bit more life could have made this even better.
fb1142797643June 16, 2012
"The Kid Stays in the Picture" is an engaging portrait of long-time Hollywood producer Robert Evans, whose headline successes included "The Godfather," "Love Story," "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown." The film is structured behind Evans' continuous narrative ramble, yet there's only the briefest flash of the contemporary man -- possibly, vanity about aging kept him offscreen. Instead, archived photos and clips emphasize his younger, dashing persona.
The lack of objectivity can be troubling -- the enemies Evans has made are not asked to testify. He does berate himself for a notorious drug bust and laments the commercial flop of "The Cotton Club," but he sidesteps other embarrassments such as his seven marriages (actress Ali MacGraw is the only wife mentioned) and the disastrous "Popeye" musical. He also liberally congratulates himself on a series of anti-drug TV specials titled "Get High on Yourself," which he humbly labels "the Woodstock of the '80s." (I personally have no memory of the show, and the clips look like horrid, saccharine kitsch. Hooray, Fonzie sings!) Elsewhere, it's puzzling that the making of "Chinatown" is casually glossed over, even though the film represented a volatile reunion of the Evans/Roman Polanski team that also birthed "Rosemary's Baby." And why no talk at all about "The Godfather II"? Hmm. But beyond these misgivings, plenty of interesting material emerges. For instance, I didn't realize Mia Farrow essentially chose "Rosemary's Baby" stardom over one-time husband Frank Sinatra, and that he served her with divorce papers during the shoot. It's also notable that Evans rejected the first cut of "The Godfather" (reason: sketchy storytelling) and pressed director Francis Ford Coppola to add approximately 50 more minutes. Obviously, that was the right call.
Make sure to sit through the closing credits for a hilarious, presumably improvised Dustin Hoffman outtake.
fb20312798February 18, 2009
I was disappointed at the incredibly general nature of the story. There did seem to be huge details missing, especially on the making of The Godfather and Chinatown but Bob Evans tells his own story so honestly and so well It's hard not to enjoy the film as it unfolds
sayers1977February 13, 2010
A fascinating life story for sure but the whole film is let down by an incredibly bland voice-over by Evans (although to his credit it does say in the credits that a lot of this is from the original audiobook). Also the whole story is so one-sided you feel you're missing the whole picture. I hope they make a better doc about Evans in the future.
February 2, 2009
Did I finally see this doc on the one and only Robert Evans? You'd better believe it.
Did I enjoy it? You bet your ass.
Pretty one sided, but that's to be expected considering it was based on hi autobiography. Still, for those interested in seventies Hollywood (and everyone should be) is this a good watch? You can say that again.
March 4, 2008
Nice rise and fall autobiography of famous paramount studio producer Robert Evans.
August 24, 2007
May 14, 2013
PR, spin doctoring, whitewash, damage control, the perpetuation of Hollywood's favorite brand of mythology, and self aggrandizement are the order of the day in this nevertheless highly entertaining auto-"biographical" documentary by and about, Robert Evans, who had one of the longest careers in the business. But people in the know from Paramount have a slightly different version of the events chronicled in this film, such as the Roy Radin murder, which Evans allegedly commissioned and paid for.
Fun nevertheless, especially if you like to believe that anyone can break into Hollywood show biz given the right amount of luck,
May 27, 2010
Have this another look after purchasing it recently, this holds up amazingly well and is still highly recommended.
Narrated by Evans himself, the film uses vintage footage and manipulated still photography to tell the details of the highs and lows of his career as a major player on the Hollywood scene.
April 28, 2010
Only a true movie buff knows who this guy is and only a true movie buff would give a rat's tail about this guy. He got screwed by the establishment and saved by his powerful friends. But he's a Hollywood icon that really, no one has ever heard of. The behind-the-scenes guys are always the unsung heroes. Anytime you produce The Godfather and Chinatown you're doing something right. This documentary/autobiographical film is self-indulgent but gives a good glimpse into the machinations of Hollywood's dark backlots. A lot of politics, a lot of drugs and a lot of crap.
November 2, 2007
I'm going to go see Patton Oswalt and the Comedians of Comedy tomorrow, so I decided to sit down and watch my copy of this movie finally. Very interesting...
Okay, sure, I wanted to see more of the coked-up, bizarre Robert Evans. Morgen and Burstein don't really focus on this section of the Hollywood mogul's life. It was the personal side of the professional stories. Really, this movie is really like a visual commentary on your favorite films. Evans had his hands in so many important movies that you really can't help but be impressed.
What the film is most successful at is making Evan's a sympathetic character. Sure, there are probably some darker sides to stories (as explained by the opening quote), but Evans becomes someone to root for by the end of the film, despite the fact that he has more in his life than I will probably ever have, yet refers to himself as poor.
At first I didn't think I'd care for this movie. After all, this movie looks like it was made on flash player using old photos to add graphics to Evan's words. But these pictures and clips are effective. Sure, I'd like an interview with a friend here and there, but Evans does impressions...so who cares? Even if you haven't seen these movies (blasphemy!), you really should give this one a chance. Who knows? You might start hating Francis Ford Coppolla after this. He seems a little more crazy, so I guess I got that going for me.
January 20, 2007
Want to know Hollywood? Look at it through Robert Evans eyes. The producer of films like "Love Story", The Godfather", and "Chinatown". Great stories you have to hear to believe.
October 14, 2006
If anyone chronicled the actual events of Robert Evans' life and tried to pass them off as fiction, they'd be laughed out of town. Who could possibly believe that one man could be the focal point of so much drama? Who could possibly be so lucky? And so despondent? So admired, and yet so shunned? Only one man, friends -- the man who would single-handedly save a film empire with his grand vision and unerring business instincts, only to lose everything a decade later, before eventually making one of the greatest third-act career comebacks in history. Eat your heart out, Rocky Balboa.
Already a successful businessman by his late '20s, Robert Evans was "discovered" by a talent scout while sunbathing at a hotel swimming pool. Less than two hours later, Evans, who had never acted before, found himself auditioning opposite James Cagney for a role in the Lon Chaney bio-pic "The Man of a Thousand Faces." Getting the part on the basis of his natural charm and rugged good looks, Evans soon found other movie roles headed his way, including the title character in "The Matador," featuring Errol Flynn and Ava Gardner. But spurred on by even grander ambitions, the unwitting actor turned his back on his lucrative new career to concentrate on film production. In no time at all, he found himself the "boy genius" head of a struggling Paramount Pictures. Variety predicted he wouldn't last six months; instead, Evans worked there for decades, overseeing Paramount's glory years in the '70s, and personally shepherding many of their most successful projects to completion, including "Rosemary's Baby," "Love Story," "The Godfather," "Chinatown," and many more.
So where's the inevitable fall from grace? It's here, as perfectly scripted as any episode of VH1's "Behind the Music." We see the overconfident Evans succumb to a lifestyle of hard drugs, loose women, and poor business decisions, before finding himself tangentially linked to a high-profile murder case... more than enough to end any career, even one as charmed as our subject's. But it's hard to keep a good man down, friends... or at least a lucky one.
Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein's "The Kid Stays in the Picture" is based on Robert Evans' autobiography of the same name, a book I've read and enjoyed. But it's hard to condense one man's life into a few hundred pages, and harder still to squeeze it into a mere 87 minutes of screen time, and this is where the documentary suffers. The movie consists of a (usually) offscreen Evans reading passages of his autobiography over archival studio footage, still photos, and film clips. It's an interesting technique, helping to avoid the dreaded "talking head" syndrome all too common in the documentary medium.
But one never gets the feeling that we're hearing the whole story, at least not comfortably; the events whiz by with such rapidity that they're occasionally difficult to follow. Perhaps a Ken Burns "Civil War"-type epic could cover the full dramatic range of this remarkable life, but what we're given feels more like an outline than a final film. It's not a bad documentary, given its time constraints, but the book's pacing is far more satisfying, and I'd recommend it over the movie version.