First, a little background: in 1955, the Director's Guild of America created the pseudonym Alan Smithee, which film directors are allowed to use if they feel their work has been tampered with to such a degree that they no longer want the credit. (For example, if you look at the credits of the expanded and heavily narrated TV version of Dune, you'll notice the director is not listed as David Lynch, but as Alan Smithee.) An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn is a comedy about a film editor (played by Eric Idle) who finally gets his big break -- he's given the opportunity to direct a big-budget action film starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jackie Chan. But filming does not go well (the budget eventually balloons to 200 million dollars) and the producer, James Edmunds (Ryan O'Neal), tampers with the final cut of the film. As a result, the hapless neophyte director doesn't want his name to appear on the credits. But his real name is Alan Smithee, so what's he supposed to do? In a stunning example of art imitating life, director Arthur Hiller was supposedly unhappy with the interference of screenwriter and producer Joe Eszterhas on this project and chose to remove his name from the credits -- so An Alan Smithee Film carries the directorial credit of none other than Alan Smithee. Rappers Coolio and Chuck D appear as the filmmaking Brothers Brothers; Chuck D also contributed to the film's score.
by Mark Deming synopsis