Say Goodbye to Hollywood Image

I’m starting to believe that an element of succeeding in independent filmmaking is taking advantage of opportunities presenting themselves out of the blue. For many filmmakers, Covid presented itself as one such favorable circumstance. Director Steven Helgoth grabbed his chance by taking to the desolate streets of Hollywood in his feature film, Say Goodbye to Hollywood.

In the not-so-distant future, a virus has ravaged the land. Roaming the streets of Los Angeles is a solitary figure, Sean (Michael Collins), who came to LA just before to become an artist. Now he lives on the street, selling his work to no one and lamenting his choice to leave his girlfriend and now forever separated by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, there’s something wrong with the world as Sean witnesses men in hazmat suits escorting a well-dressed gentleman to the streets and executing him. The scared Sean meets another kindred spirit in Carla (Balta Monkiki), who also lives on the street and knows more about what’s happening than she’s letting on. But, just before the two can make a connection, Carla is captured by the men in hazmat suits.

We’re clued in on the fact that Say Goodbye to Hollywood is a fantasy from the start. It opens with a wizard in his lair dealing out five cards from his Tarot deck and outlining the path of our tale. The first card is the fool representing Sean, and in this fantastical story, the fool finds himself no longer a spectator to the downfall of humanity but potentially its savior. Like Homer’s Odyssey, Sean’s journey is part of his choosing while directed by the sovereign hand of fate. Sean left his comfortable life with his fiancée, also named Carla, to move to LA because that’s where he feels he needs to be.

“…Sean witnesses men in hazmat suits escorting a well-dressed gentleman to the streets and executing him.”

However, after the outbreak, Sean is conflicted about his choice, wondering if he should have ever left the safety and security of his previous life. Along the way, he meets odd and eccentric people there to guide him to this true destiny and reveal the purpose of the execution squads. These helpful supporting players include the free-spirited Carla, his familiar Sam the rat, a group of commune women, and the magician.

Opportunity is the keyword behind this review. What better way to create the dystopian world of future Hollywood than shoot your movie on the current streets of Hollywood? We forget how empty Hollywood was during the lockdown, except for the massive tent city being constructed at the time. Now add the incredible pandemic graffiti art being thrown up daily. Watching Sean walking down Hollywood Boulevard is genuinely haunting.

As a narrative, Say Goodbye to Hollywood feels like the first chapter of a much bigger story. Writer/director Helgoth constructs a fascinating fantasy world incorporating elements of lockdown and the pandemic. He took what was there on the streets and added small fantasy elements to create his world. Unfortunately, while lockdown presented an opportunity, it was also a weakness. Let’s face it, epic stories of fantasy should come across as big in scale, especially if you’re building to a massive confrontation in the end. Sadly, this requires money and a Covid restriction-free set location, which no one had at the time.

I wish the pace moved a little faster, but the contemplative tone works for the kind of story being told. I am always impressed when a filmmaker attempt breaks the conventions of standard practical filmmaking. The go big or go home mentality can take any movie to the next level. As such, I have great admiration for Say Goodbye to Hollywood.

For more information, visit the Say Goodbye to Hollywood official website.

Say Goodbye to Hollywood (2022)

Directed and Written: Steven Helgoth

Starring: Michael Collins, Balta Monkiki, Carey Embry, Daesha Lynn, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Say Goodbye to Hollywood Image

"…what better way to create the dystopian world of future Hollywood than shoot your movie on the current streets of Hollywood?"

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    • Robert Collins says:

      For the most part, I was impressed by this movie for capturing the stark and lonely landscape of Hollywood, which was shot during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic. The film manages to get the bleak premise that we must all hide and live in fear. Sean (Michael Collins), conveys depression and anxiety equally well as he lives his life on the wiped out streets of L.A. The film starts slowly and methodically but begins to pick up the pace about half way through. At times the film editing seems uneven and almost like patchwork, but maybe that is what is supposed to happen to give a certain effect. The cinematography is very striking and picturesque. Overall, the storyline is relevant to future catastrophic events. The acting is very good and the film will leave you with a sense of emptiness which I am sure that is why it was created. This film can drag along at times, but stick with it because it does hold your attention.

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