Warner Archive continues finding leitmotifs regarding releases in bringing out "Doc Hollywood" on Blu-ray on November 28, 2017. This follows the Archive November 7, 2017 Blu-ray release of the (reviewed) "Summer of '42." The commonality is that "Summer" is based on the real-life memoir of lead character Hermie Raucher, and "Hollywood" producer/writer Dr. Neil B. Shulman bases that comedy on his novel "What? Dead Again?"
The following YouTube clip of the "Hollywood" theatrical trailer offers a good synopsis of the plot and includes wonderfully misleading spoilers.
Teen idol Michael J. Fox stars as titular hot-shot young surgeon Ben Stone, whose life plan includes rewarding himself for enduring medical school and two years in the chaotic E.R. of a Washington, D.C. hospital with a $500,000/year job as a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. The Stone cold logic of that selling out is that providing the rich and famous expensive unnecessary procedures allows operating on other folks who really need it.
Some of the strongest symbolism in "Hollywood" comes early on when the excessive impatience of Stone to start his new life causes him to miss a literal and figurative on-ramp. This rush next soon plays a role in Stone being involved in an accident in the small rural community of Grady, South Carolina.
Akin to Dr. Joel Fleischman of the '90s CBS dramedy "Northern Exposure," Stone soon finds himself Shanghaied into "temporarily" filling the need of the town for a medical practitioner. Also like Fleischman, Stone learns that the job comes with use of a rustic cabin in the woods and transportation in the form of a battered pick-up.
Character actors of the era play most of the stereotypical local yokels who comprise the population of Grady. David Ogden Stiers of "M*A*S*H" is down-home mayor Nick Nicholson, who is leading the effort to make things work out so that Stone stays a while longer. Frances Sternhagen plays crusty on the outside but warm-hearted cafe owner Lillian; we also get Sternhagen co-star and Fox fellow "Must-See" star Woody Harrelson as unsophisticated insurance salesman Hank, who becomes a romantic rival of Fox. Barnard Hughes (who plays the titular "Doc" in a mid-70s sitcom) rounds out this group as the grumpy old town doctor.
The '80s vibe continues with the rock-ballad theme that plays over the opening credits as Fox sets out on his journey.
Julie Warner plays brash ambulance driver Lou, who is the love interest (and possible soulmate) of Stone.
Things begin predictably with Stone resenting his involuntary servitude and feeling frustrated regarding jeopardizing his dream job. However, he does his duty with minimal complaint.
The first day on the job has an especially strong "Northern" vibe as Stone meets his quirky patients. These include a farmer whose home remedy includes chimney soot and an illiterate pregnant woman who consults Stone for the sole purpose of having him read her a letter that she received.
It is equally predictable that relations between Stone and the town thaw and that his relationship with Lou heats up to an even greater degree. This medical practitioner adopting a pig both is a big step in this direction and enhances the "Acres" vibe of the film.
The twists near the end to keep things interesting as uncertainty exists regarding the outcomes regarding the overlapping triangles consisting of Stone, Lou, the town, and Hank. Of course, "Hollywood" being pure Hollywood ensures that things work out in the end.
This Tinsel Town aspect of "Hollywood" also helps explain the secret of its success and other Fox comedies; This likable actor does well when he plays to type, and these movies are warm and fuzzy escapes from the harsh reality of the real world.
Anyone with questions or comment regarding "Hollywood" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twittere via @tvdvdguy.