Perched on an LA hilltop since 1923, the Hollywood sign has evolved from a mere real estate advertisement to an enduring symbol of the film industry hub and its aspirations of fame and fortune. Now celebrating its 100th anniversary, this global landmark has experienced a fascinating journey. It traversed the heights of success and depths of despair, only to rise once again through restoration efforts. The iconic sign’s story closely reflects the ever-changing landscape of Hollywood – the entertainment capital of the world.
The Birth of an Icon
The story of the Hollywood sign began in the early 20th century. An upscale housing development project named Hollywoodland sought to attract wealthy residents to the growing film industry’s heart in Hollywood. An idea of railroad tycoons Moses Sherman and Eli P. Clark, alongside a few prominent real estate developers, the project aimed to create an exclusive hillside community in Los Angeles. So, the iconic sign first spelled out “Hollywoodland” in bold white block letters, sized around 45 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Decorated with 4,000 lights, the sign became a dazzling marvel and a testament to the ambition of Hollywood’s early pioneers.
A Reflection of Hollywood’s Journey
As the film industry thrived in Hollywood, the sign gradually became a symbol of the silver screen’s allure. But during the following years, the industry started to face several challenges like the decline of the studio system, artists’ strikes, and eventually the rise of television. During the same time, the Hollywood sign also faced its share of troubles. Descended into disrepair, the once-glittering landmark gradually became battered, rusted, and dilapidated. Transforming from a symbol of glitz and glamor to a reflection of the industry’s struggles and uncertainties, the sign then mirrored the changing scenario and the declining landscape of Hollywood.
A Symbol of Dream and Resilience
Finally, in the 1970s, locals recognized the significance of the landmark and initiated restoration campaigns to preserve its historical importance. The self-consciousness of Hollywood about its history was reflected in these efforts to protect the cherished icon. Despite its tumultuous journey, the Hollywood sign demonstrated resilience, echoing the up and down of Hollywood’s fortunes. Today, its nine letters not only represent a neighborhood but also carry the dreams of countless individuals who seek to make their mark in the City of Angels. As the Hollywood sign celebrates its centennial anniversary, it continues to stand tall as a testament to the power of iconic symbols.
The latest film from Ben Affleck, AIR, has landed on Amazon Prime Video. The biopic has already scored a massive 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 25 years after Good Will Hunting, the Ben Affleck-Matt Damon duo is back on the big screen, and it seems they haven’t lost their touch.
The New Film
Ben Affleck himself took the responsibility of directing the film, along with starring in it with his best buddy Matt Damon. The film also stars Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, Chris Messina, and Marlon Wayans, among others. The acclaimed film follows the real events of the 1980s about the origin of ‘Air Jordan,’ the revolutionary basketball shoe line from the famed sportswear house Nike. The story centers on the company looking to reinvigorate its brand image by putting all its faith into Michael Jordan, a rookie basketball player, being the face of the brand. Matt Damon plays the role of Nike executive Sonny Vaccaro, while Ben Affleck plays Phil Knight, the billionaire business magnate and co-founder chairman of Nike.
The Critical Reviews
AIR has already garnered many positive reviews from film critics. Praising the movie’s “perfect ’80s” look and feel, ABC Radio film critic Matt Neil gave the film four out of five stars. He also admired Ben Affleck for his direction by stating that he successfully made an enjoyable light entertainment for the bigger world out of something niche and esoteric. Critic Robert Ebert called the film “old-fashioned but also alive and crowd-pleasing” by particularly noting the “sharp and snappy script” perfectly wrapped up in a marvelous “entertaining package.” The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis also praised the directing capability of Ben Affleck by saying that he managed to properly champion the talents of the cast, especially Matt Damon and Viola Davis, who plays the role of Deloris Jordan, the mother of the soon-to-be-legendary basketball player Michael Jordan.