Thursday, February 17, 2005


Reviewed by: “A Guy Who Didn't Even Watch The Flick On A Long Flight"

“The Aviator” stars Leonardo DiCaprio and is directed by Martin Scorsese, which pretty much portends that somebody’s going to die in this film. Badly. Continuing their “Gangs of New York” relationship, the DiCaprio/Scorsese team returns to depress an entirely new audience with the real life story of eccentric millionaire, Howard Hughes. And if you haven’t figured it out yet,’ eccentric’ means’ crazy’ if you’re not a billionaire.
After dozens of biographies on Howard Hughes’ life, it ‘s going to be pretty hard to tell most people something they didn’t already know. Plus, at $10 a pop, it takes more than an Oscar nomination to get people in the theater. Especially when they can catch “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” at the dollar show. So, to save everybody time and money, how about a film review outlining how the film PROBABLY went?

Residing in the Slums of Five Point, New York, Amsterdam Vallon (Hughes) barely scrapped by after emigrating to the U.S. from Ireland. The film explores Hughes’ early days as a petty pickpocket who ran astray notorious street gang leader Bill The Butcher and was forced to flee the slum he called his home. Securing passage on the Titanic dressed as one of the ship’s crew, he adopts the name Howard Hughes and romances the rich, lonely women on-board, while passing himself off as a wealthy businessman from New York. All was going well until the ‘ship hit the fan’ and Hughes was forced to call upon the intellectual reserves he was known for. Disguising himself as a woman in order to secure passage aboard a lifeboat, Howard gets away with a tidy sum from the jewelry he snatched during the ensuing chaos.

Keeping the name Howard Hughes, he spends several years running more intricate cons. He learns to fly by dressing like an aviator and hanging out in aviator bars, learning the tricks of the trade. Before long, he is piloting and even building planes in an effort to launder his increasing stash of cash, legitimizing himself as a billionaire industrialist and eventually moving into the motion picture industry. Being a billionaire industrialist and Hollywood film mogul, of course he dated the most beautiful women in the world. In fact, his obsession with boobies inspires him to patent the world’s first, “lift and separate” bra, earning him billions more in royalties. But, then things start to go bad.

A tenacious G-Man (played by Tom Hanks) has been on Hughes’ tail for many years now, and is closing in, causing Hughes to become more and more reclusive. His increasing eccentricity and sudden obsession with the bones of the Elephant Man takes its toll; in an effort to hold off his encroaching insanity, Hughes develops an unhealthy attachment to his fingernails before dying in 1976 of a septic infection. Despite persistent rumors of Hughes being afflicted by a severe case of vampirism, these allegations are never fully explored or substantiated in the movie, leaving the story behind the legend of Howard Hughes incomplete in this reviewer’s opinion.

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