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"Auto Focus": Wanna take some dirty pictures?

by Eric Melin on November 1, 2002

in Print Reviews

When was the last time you saw a good, old-fashioned movie about the corrupting power of Hollywood?

No, wait. Let me re-phrase. When was the last time you saw an old-fashioned movie about a God-fearing family man turned famous TV star turned amateur porn photographer turned sex addict?

If that sounds like something you’ve been missing out on, then “Auto Focus” fits your specific demographic quite nicely. Even if it doesn’t, chances are you’ll still dig this flick. Apart from some dead-on set and costume designs that detail some of the hottest (and nottest) trends of the ¹60s and ¹70s, “Auto Focus” and is a great showcase its two fine lead actors, Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe.

It’s an odd story to say the least, and even more odd since its based on the real life of “Hogan’s Heroes” star Bob Crane. Director Paul Schrader shows us a bygone era of sexual promiscuity peppered with the sleazy antics of nice guy Crane and the man that ultimately (probably) led to his downfall, John Carpenter (no relation to the horror director).

I enjoyed comparing the differences in culture and attitudes between the America of today and the one of just over 30 years ago depicted in “Auto Focus.” It’s an unusually touching, frightening, and funny slice of life from an era in U.S. history that will never live again. 

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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