Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wild Palms (1993)

Patent attorney Harry Wyckoff (James Belushi) becomes embroiled in a virtual reality/3-D TV/mind control conspiracy puzzle-plot involving randomly appearing rhinos, a network of tunnels beneath the swimming pools of Los Angeles, roving packs of black SUVs, and extra-perception sunglasses that aren't nearly as cool as those in They Live (1988). This six-episode miniseries intends to skewer Scientology but instead ends up being about four (five?) episodes too long. Uninspired direction and flat cinematography are at odds with the scripted elements, rendering the final product akin to a crappy mash of All My Children and a latter-season installment of The X-Files; nothing looks eerie or intriguing when it's videotaped through a Vaseline-smeared lens under the warm California sun. The acting is both hammy and wooden at the same time, a real feat from the likes of Robert Loggia, Angie Dickinson, David Warner, Dana Delany. Not to be confused with the William Faulkner novel of the same name.

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