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The movie is set in 1964 Los Angeles. Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear) is a popular radio host of top-rated KNX, who is known for playing his drums in studio as part of his top-rated morning show. After one of his shows, in which he interviews Clayton Moore (the lone ranger), Crane next goes to meet with Lenny (Ron Leibman) his loyal agent.
Lenny tells Crane that he has the leading role in a new TV pilot for him. The premise of the show is a World War II prison camp. Crane is hesitant, but agrees to read the script. Back at home, Crane discovers that he really likes the script for Hogans Heroes and talks to his wife Anne (Rita Wilson) about the project. She is at first offended by the whole idea, but eventually comes around, agreeing that it is funny.
As rehearsals begin, Crane meets the cast of "Hogan's Heroes"-Werner Klemperer (Kurt Fuller), John Banner (Lyle Kanouse), Richard Dawson (Michael Rodgers), Robert Clary (Christopher Neiman). Crane starts to really sink into his role, and "Hogan's Heroes" premieres on September 17th, 1965. When the ratings come out, it ranks five out of 98 prime-time programs. Of the new shows, it is number one.
One night after taping, Crane comes home to find Anne very upset. She confronts him after having discovered "girlie" magazines in the garage. Crane tries to brush it off as nothing serious, saying that its just his interest in photography. He also promises not to buy them anymore if Anne is so opposed to them.
The next day, on the backlot of the "Hogan's" set, Crane meets a man who is working in Richard Dawson's trailer. The man explains that he is installing Dawson's new high fidelity unit and introduces himself as John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe). When Carpenter offers to do upgrade his music system, Crane explains that he's always been interested in photography. "If you like photography, you'll love VTR's," says Carpenter, who explains that video tape recorders are the same as audio recorders, only with pictures.
He also invites Crane to join him later at a strip club called Salome's.
That night at Salome's, Crane is getting some recognition as the famous TV personality. Carpenter is obviously happy to be associated with the celebrity and Crane is starting to like the fame too. When the MC invites Hogan up to do a turn at the drums, Crane obligingly agrees. Crane seems to really enjoy combining two of his favorite activities-playing drums and looking at naked women, and begins to do drumming gigs at strip clubs after leaving his day job.
Crane feels uneasy about his new moonlighting activities and meets with his Catholic Priest, Father O'Neill (Don McManus) at a cafe. He explains how he has been blowing off steam after working late by playing in clubs. Father ONeill tries to dissuade Crane from continuing his drumming gigs, but it falls on deaf ears. One night, after playing the drums at the Classic Cat, Crane is met backstage by Carpenter. Crane introduces Carpenter to two strippers, a brunette and a blonde. Carpenter invites everyone over to his place where he promises to show them the new equipment he's testing out.
At his apartment, Carpenter asks Crane which one of the two girls he wanted, and Crane is nervous and says he doesn't care which one. Carpenter goes off with the blonde, leaving Crane with the brunette. Crane tries to offer some resistance, but she knows what she wants and easily seduces him. Later that night Carpenter offers to outfit Crane with a new VTR system of his own. Crane accepts and is soon making home movies with Anne and his kids.
As the year progresses, Crane and Carpenter spend more and more time together, but the dynamic is slowly changing. Whereas before, Carpenter was the one showing Crane around, now, Crane has become the dominant half of the pair. Carpenter has slowly evolved into a sycophantic sidekick. They have also started to film their sexual exploits/orgies, and often watch the films together, each making comments about his own prowess.
One night, while watching videos with Carpenter, Crane spots a moment when Carpenter places his hand on Cranes butt. Crane flips out and leaves Carpenters house, promising never to see Carpenter again. When the second season of "Hogan's Heroes" begins, Colonel Klink has as new secretary, Helga, played by Patti Olson, screen name Sigrid Valdis (Maria Bello). Crane immediately begins flirting with the attractive new cast member. The two eventually engage in a torrid affair. Patti then makes a surprising admission. She says that she knows about the other women that Crane sleeps with, but vows that she is okay with it. Crane feels he has finally found a woman who understands him and his desires.
Back at the Crane home, the family VTR breaks, Crane swallows his pride and phones Carpenter to service it. The two make up. Cranes marriage to Anne, however, is not as easily fixed. She suspects that he is not being faithful, and found even more girlie magazines and x-rated photographs in the garage. Not long after this discovery, the two agree to divorce.
Crane has no problem moving on, marrying Patti on the set of "Hogan's Heroes." His euphoria is short-lived, however, as the show is cancelled shortly after . After the show, with two families to support, Crane finds it difficult to find work. Lenny suggests Dinner Theatre. Crane options a sex comedy called "Beginner's Luck," and begins playing dinner theatres around the country. Carpenter joins him on the road and the pair are back to their old tricks.
Good news comes in an offer from Disney to play the title role in "Superdad." Lenny visits him on the set. Apparently someone from a tabloid took pictures of Crane coming out of a topless bar. Lenny tries to explain to Crane that he may be taking risks with his image and that the business can be unforgiving, but the actor is oblivious to the warnings.
With Crane on the road most of the time doing Dinner Theatre, Patti feels abandoned and their marriage starts to suffer. They argue and eventually, she decides to divorce him.
Crane's downward spiral is vividly displayed by his appearance on a TV show called "Celebrity Chefs!" His rude, sexist remarks about a buxom woman in the audience turns off everyone in the studio. Becoming something of a pariah in the business, Crane seeks counsel from Lenny. "People only change when they want to," says Lenny. "I want to," says Crane." "An alcoholic cannot go back to his old drinking buddies and expect to stay sober," says Lenny.
Crane spends the next few days thinking about Lennys counsel and decides to make a change. He makes arrangements with Carpenter to meet in a bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. Crane attempts to break off their relationship and Carpenter doesn't take it well. That night, Carpenter calls Crane in his hotel room to try and patch things up, but Crane is resolute. Carpenter slams down his phone in fury.
Later that night, someone slips into Crane's hotel room, and hits him over the head with a tripod. Blood is splattered everywhere and Cranes dead body is discovered by the maid in the morning. Bob Cranes voice floats over the eerie scene, saying that back in those days, DNA technology was non-existent, so it was difficult to collect anything that would have helped find the killer. Not only that, but the Scottsdale police were unable to collect all the pertinent evidence in the case, since a lot of it was moved or removed by the time they arrived. Many people suspected Carpenter as the killer, but no one has ever been able to prove anything.
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