Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: What Just Happened by Art Linson (2002)

What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front LineWhat Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line by Art Linson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The best Hollywood biography since Julia Phillips gave us You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again

Art Linson has written a smart, funny, honest and brutal portrait of his life within the Hollywood production line. As he admits in the foreword this didn't make him Mr Popular amongst his peers.

If you've read the Julia Phillips book or any other 'tell all' tale from Hollywood you won't be surprised at the behaviour contained within this volume BUT Linson still has the ability to shock with his casual approach to telling the story reflecting the casual approach to mean spirited behaviour and no-nothingness of the powers that be.

I admit I was primarily interested for the tales surrounding Fincher's production of Fight Club as I'd heard snippets previously and the Entertainment Weekly review promised that he would put the reader "in the Fox screening room during the studio brass's horrified first look..." and he didn't disappoint, sparing no blushes and pulling so punches as one of the finest, most powerful movies to come out of Hollywood in a generation was dismissed so easily.

There's more to it than that, the breazy chatter throughout is filled with irresistible anecdotes and almost reads as "How Not To Make Movies: Or How I Learned To Roll With The Punches and Keep On Making Them Anyway." Even when everything went perfectly on the production of a film, there could be no happy ending in Hollywood. This tale should be compulsory reading for everyone attending film school with the intention to pursue a career in movie making and I intend to send this to my producer if he hasn't read it already.

A highly enjoyable read.

This version also came complete with the screenplay for the movie adaptation starring Robert De Niro. I haven't seen it yet but if it's even remotely close to the book it HAS to be a highly entertaining film, although the fact that it didn't get more attention since its release probably tells you all you need to know.

Here's a list of 10 Better Hollywood Insider Films from the film babble blog to confirm this idea.

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