Director: Joey Figueroa, Zak Knutson
MPAA Rating: NR
Film Pulse Score: 8.5/10
1970s Hollywood was a prolific period for the industry. It could even be argued that in terms of creativity, filmmaking and storytelling that was the greatest decade of cinema. You could expound endlessly when looking at the numerous classic films that were released during that time. It was also the decade where the term “blockbuster” entered the Hollywood lexicon. It wasn’t just as a reference to the amount of money a film brought in but also as a general term to convey the sheer scope of a picture. Behind every blockbuster, any film for that matter, there is always a creative team of filmmakers. Writers, directors, editors and actors who shape the film into what it ultimately becomes. One such person is John Milius who is the subject of this highly entertaining documentary by Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson. It has its premiere on the Epix cable channel at 8pm est/pst on January 11, 2014.
Milius features a veritable who’s who of iconic filmmakers which include Milius’ fellow University of Southern California alumni Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola; who were affectionately dubbed “the four horsemen.” In addition to those few you also hear anecdotes from the likes of Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Richard Dreyfuss, George Hamilton, Charlie Sheen, Sylvester Stallone and the list goes on and on. Together they paint a fascinating picture of what it was like to be a filmmaker in the ‘70s and how rare it seems to have such a group of soon-to-be world-renowned directors in a tight knit circle of friendship. John Milius certainly fit in with this group but he was the one who stirred up the most trouble but proved to be the finest writer in the bunch.
John Milius wanted to join the military; he wanted to go to Vietnam. However due to asthma that was not meant to be. One fateful day he took in an Akira Kurosawa film festival and became hooked and decided that he wanted to be a filmmaker. He was recognized as a maverick; a bandito thanks to wearing a sombrero, Spanish suede coat, cigar and a gun but his way with words was undeniable. His first screenplay for The Devil’s 8 would soon be followed by Evil Knievel, Dirty Harry, Jermiah Johnson, Dillinger and Magnum Force. His directorial debut was with Dillinger which was followed by The Wind and the Lion. However, he is most known for Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn. The documentary follows the rise of Milius’ career in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as his transition to being primarily a writer in ‘90s.
Milius proves to be a very enlightening look at Hollywood and one of its own. You will likely learn many things about Milius that you didn’t know before. Films he was involved in, things he help create, actions he took. Hearing from the numerous icons helps to paint a picture of the time and just how cool it was to be in it. You may gain a new appreciation for Milius and his work after seeing this. If you are a Milius fan this is a must see. If you are a fan of ‘70s Hollywood it’s a can’t miss.