Making the Grades
Like many others, every time I pass by the supermarket checkout, I can't help but glance at those seductive tabloids covered in celebrity photographs. Faces usually seen perfectly coifed and made up are suddenly exposed in their natural splendor during a 6 a.m. jog or perhaps after a little dip in a not so attractive bikini.
But when is the fine line between legitimate public curiosity and invasion of privacy crossed?
For Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser), it happened just after he got his feet planted in Tinseltown. In six months, he went from an unknown Montanan to the latest Hollywood action star, and now he-along with his wife and son-have had to adjust to a never-ending sea of flashbulbs and cameras. But when one photographer, Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore), begins taking pictures of his boy at a soccer game, Bo can't resist giving they guy a piece of his mind... and fist.
The physical altercation, which Rex has handily videotaped with the help of a few of his colleagues from Paparazzi Magazine, begins a war between the star and shutterbug. Determined to bring Bo's career to an end, Rex and his gang pursue the family during an evening drive. Boxing in the Laramie's car on both sides, the bulbs begin firing. Blinded by the lights, Bo slams on the brakes causing a horrific Princess Diana-like crash.
The only witness to the event is a girl Rex picked up in a bar earlier that evening. With Rex threatening her life if she reveals the events, LAPD Detective Burton (Dennis Farina) has few leads to draw upon in the investigation.
Meanwhile Bo is left to deal with his incredible anger, while his wife and son are hospitalized with serious injuries. However, when Rex's accomplices begin meeting with fatal "accidents," Bo is suddenly transformed from victim to suspect.
Not surprisingly, this holds content concerns in a few areas. A moderate amount of profanities, various scenes of violence involving fist to fist combat, a brutal shooting, and situations which put Bo's wife and child in peril put this movie on the high end of the PG-13 violence scale. Sexual content includes a man who admits to drugging a woman and having sex with her, and later plays the videotape of the event (which we hear and see out of focus in the background) in order to coerce her into following his orders.
Story interest is enhanced with Hauser's character being allowed to have a darker side, which makes this murderous game a little more intriguing. The action is also paced well, and this short movie is more than capable of keeping you engaged. Yet the combination of vengeful violence will likely turn this movie into a grainy picture few families will want to cherish.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Paparazzi.
What do we have a right to see or know about celebrities? The same laws that apply to the taking of pictures of famous people also apply to the general public. Would you mind if someone, with a camera lens capable of seeing small objects in the distance, stood on the public sidewalk in front of your home and took pictures of you? At what point would you feel your privacy is invaded?
Do you read celebrity tabloid newspapers or magazines? If you look closely at the pictures, you can tell which ones have been taken at legitimate press opportunities, and those that are bordering on the invasion of privacy. Aside from obvious clues (like unflattering poses or clothing), grainy photographs indicate the image has been “blown up” or extremely magnified, indicating the photographer was far away from his subject.