In 1981, police responded to a distress call at 8763 Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon, a Los Angeles suburb, and discovered a gruesome quadruple homicide. Ron Launius (Josh Lucas), Billy Deverell (Tim Blake Nelson), Barbara Richardson (Natasha G. Wagner), and Joy Miller (Janeane Garofalo) were found brutally murdered, bludgeoned to death with a pipe, and Launius’s wife, Susan (Christina Applegate), was left in critical condition. The police investigation that followed would unearth a seedy world of drugs and violence, ultimately revealing a motley crew from L.A.’s underbelly, including ex-con David Lind (Dylan McDermott), nightclub impresario Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), and porn legend John Holmes (Val Kilmer) as well as Holmes’s estranged wife Sharon (Lisa Kudrow) and his teenage lover Dawn Schiller (Kate Bosworth).
It seems from watching this grainy, 16mm-looking movie that about a dozen famous stars added their talent to a low budget movie that implicates a powerful criminal still living in L.A., still not prosecuted for his crimes. The question, however, that audiences will surely ask is, “Who cares which gross, drugged-out, pornographer killed which gross, drugged-out mob boss in some smelly L.A. suburb almost 25 years ago?” Do American audiences, steeped in the cares of a slow economy and a nation at war, really want to sit through 100 painful minutes of continual drug abuse, sex abuse, betrayal, and greed? Take us away, please! Even if the filmmakers had shown us some back-story to the main pornographer, perhaps an earlier wound that made him the way he is, we would sympathize in some way. The protagonist is simply just not likeable or relateable to any mainstream viewers.
WONDERLAND is a gross, painfully despicable movie in every possible way. It is a portrayal of the hopelessness of those whose hearts are void of the love of the One True God and filled with the depravity of the world’s system. There is a song in the movie that says, “Jesus died for somebody’s sin, but not mine.” On the other hand, a man says, “He was in that house, just as sure as Jesus Christ was on the cross.” Otherwise, there are no references to any moral absolutes, and no characters hold out hope or life in any way.
Please address your comments to:
Tom Ortenburg & Mark Urman, Co-Presidents
Lions Gate Releasing
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 966-4670
Fax: (212) 966-2544
SUMMARY: WONDERLAND is a movie that tries to figure out who killed a group of drug dealers in a suburb of L.A. almost 25 years ago. The movie is non-stop drugs, drug deals, drug abuse, lying, stealing, cheating, betrayal, sex, cursing, profanity, perversion, and violence. . . fun for the whole family, huh?
(PaPa, B, Ab, LLL, VVV, SSS, NN, AA, DDD, MMM) Pagan worldview subjecting audiences to the drug culture of various California pornographers and criminals, with some references to biblical matters and morality, yet some strange anti-Christian references such as a song about Jesus dying for others, not me, with some strange Christian references like man saying, “It happened as surely as Jesus died on the cross,” and an obvious moral message portraying the brutal end of drug addiction; excessive language with 44 milder obscenities, 104 strong obscenities, and 14 profanities; violence includes girl getting slapped and beat up during sex, gun fights, bloody pipe clubbings to death, etc.; overt sex with pornographer fornicating with a minor, pornographer shows male organ to a group of ladies, some of whom ask to touch, unmarried couple cohabitating, references to pornography, etc.; nudity includes rear male nudity; strong alcohol use; drug portrayals excessive throughout entire movie and include illegal drug sales; and, lying, cheating, stealing, disrespect for authority, betrayal, and greed.