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I asked for (and received) Sarah's pick after listening to the mini. 

I am told that the Comic Book History of Comics is a great introduction to the history of comics, graphic novels, etc.

Comic Book Nation by Bradford W. Wright is good as well. An exploration of the origins and development of comic books, and the impact they've had on popular culture and American society, as well as the impact those things have had on comic books.

And Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero by Grant Morrison, is a more thoughtful, philosophical look at the history of the comic book business, and what makes superheroes so enduring.

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Inspired by the Extra Hot Great Book Club mini, a place to recommend amazing books about TV, movies, and other pop culure Previously.Tv-ers would love.

A handy list of those covered in the mini so you can bulk-add them to your Amazon wishlist like I did:

Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution by Brett Martin (Sarah's pick)

They'll Never Put That on the Air: The New Age of TV Comedy by Allan Neuwirth (Sarah's pick)

Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield (Nick's pick)

Live From New York: An Uncensored History Of Saturday Night Live by James Andrew Miller (Tara's pick)

The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers, and Slayers Who Change by Alan Sepinwall (Tara's pick)

Preacher by Garth Ennis (Dave's pick)

Also mentioned:

The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy by Bill Carter

The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night by Bill Carter

What the hell is Preacher doing on there. It had little if any impact on popular or other culture, it only existed for Ennis to overindulge his sicko barfo grossout circle jerk fantasies to the detriment of an actual plot or storyline.

Now then, http://www.amazon.com/Those-Guys-Have-All-Fun/dp/B00BR4W8F8 An oral history of ESPN.

http://www.amazon.com/Beatles-Anthology/dp/0811826848/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396235793&sr=1-1&keywords=beatles+anthology The Beatles story told by the Fabs. this book like so many other things the Beatles did led to many MANY other imitators in the music world including:

http://www.amazon.com/U2/dp/006190385X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396236029&sr=1-1&keywords=u2 U2 by U2

http://www.amazon.com/Beach-Boys-Definitive-Americas-Greatest/dp/B0076TVMTQ/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396236180&sr=1-8&keywords=the+beach+boys The Beach Boys The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band in the Studio and on the Road.

http://www.amazon.com/Other-Hollywood-Uncensored-History-Industry/dp/0060096608/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396236290&sr=1-4&keywords=legs+mcneil The Other Hollywood The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry A look behind the curatin of the porn business in the late 60's through to the early 2000's with details and stories of the mobs involvement in the biz.

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I think Dave recommended Preacher because he liked it. The list wasn't all inclusive of just books that had an impact etc...

I recommend Matt Zoller Sietz's Wes Anderson Collection, a book that came out last year. It is beautiful and if you are a fan just a must have. 

Plus anyone who is a fan should definitely see this video:

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Over 25 years since publication of its second edition, Molly Haskell's From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies still rings in my head as I watch films.

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@Bastet I had to read that for a film class back in the very early 90s and it was as relevant then as it is now. Really great resource.

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I really enjoyed Roger Ebert's Great Movies series. I learned a lot about films and movies from it. He was a wonderful writer, and I was very sad when he passed away. If you read the books and watch just a few of the movies he recommends, you'll definitely find ones which entertain or move you in some way.

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I like the SNL retrospectives so I'm thinking about getting Live From New York.  Now or wait five months for the new version with 100 extra pages on the last decade? That is the question.

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I like the SNL retrospectives so I'm thinking about getting Live From New York.  Now or wait five months for the new version with 100 extra pages on the last decade? That is the question.

 

I could swear Sarah Bunting did a review of Live from New York, which is how I ended up reading it. I say go for it now digitally and then when we hit 2020 you can upgrade if they are still printing paper books. (which of course they will be. right? *cries at the thought)

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I could swear Sarah Bunting did a review of Live from New York, which is how I ended up reading it. I say go for it now digitally and then when we hit 2020 you can upgrade if they are still printing paper books. (which of course they will be. right? *cries at the thought)

But the new version is out in September this year. We aren't talking Game of Thones here with a six year wait:) Ahead of the 40th anniversary, I think.

Edited by ParadoxLost

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But the new version is out in September this year. We aren't talking Game of Thones here with a six year wait:) Ahead of the 40th anniversary, I think.

Oh yes! I forgot it was so soon. I'd say wait then. I like to have as up to date a version as I can. 

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One of my favorites is more of a fun read than anything else: Hollywood and the Great Fan Magazines. It's a collection of articles, letters to the editor and crossword puzzles from the fan magazines of the 1920's to the 1940's. 

 

I first read it when I was about 10 or 11 when I found it in the local library.  Unfortunately, over hald the book was missing due to people cutting out pictures and articles and the library ended up ditching the book. I kept trying to find a copy but since I could never remember the name, no one ever knew what I was talking about.

 

Then many years later, I was going through the 10 cent barrel at the bookstore and there it was, in perfect pristine condition.  Man, I scooped that baby up and bought it as quickly as I could.

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I just finished The Disaster Artist, about the making of the infamous film The Room written by its second male lead, Greg Sestero ("Oh hi, Mark!"). It's an absolutely fascinating look at how such a bizarre film actually got made, and while Tommy Wiseau remains pretty mysterious by the end, we do get quite the picture of him as an absolute asshole who is impossible to work with and has only gotten what little he has off the ground because of his inexplicable personal wealth. The chapters alternate between the making of the film itself, and the years leading up to it when Sestero first got to know Wiseau, and both are equally interesting, if often painful.

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I recently introduced my friend's daughter to my great obsession, the Thin Man film franchise, and she is now completely under the spell of Nick and Nora (my work here is done).  That reminded me of Charles Tranberg's book, The Thin Man: Murder Over Cocktails and I dug that out for her to read, but first re-read it myself. 

 

Tranberg gives passable profiles of not just Myrna Loy and Bill Powell, but all the wonderful character actors who populated the films and the creative teams behind the frachise.  There is more space than I would like taken up with recaps of the films, but it probably wouldn't seem as redundant to those who don't know all six films frame by frame.  Plus, he misquotes the dialogue a fair bit.  The editing is a bit sloppy - interestingly, Tranberg's web postings on the film read better than the book - but there are behind-the-scenes tidbits scattered throughout and some cute photos, so it's a fast, enjoyable read for casual fans who'd like some background on how the various films came together.

Edited by Bastet

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Myrna Loy's memoir, Being and Becoming, is well worth seeking out.

 

And how!  Emily Leider's posthumous biography, Myrna Loy: The Only Good Girl in Hollywood, is quite a good one as celebrity bios go, but so much of it is just a rehash of the memoir.  And, fundamentally, if an extremely private person nevertheless offers the world a frank auto-biography, I'm a bit uncomfortable with someone coming along later and expounding on the very few things she chose not to get into. 

 

Getting back to Being and Becoming, I can't praise it enough, and I say that as someone who rarely reads celebrity memoirs, even those of artists I like.  Myrna Loy has long been a favorite of mine, as an actor and as a person, and if time travel is invented during my lifetime my first use of it will be to meet her.  Her outspokenness in Hollywood was one thing, but the actual hands-on work she did to make the world a better place is so inspiring. 

 

Of course, the history of Myrna Loy also takes one through the history of Hollywood - the transition from silent films to talkies, the pros and cons of the studio system and its eventual demise, pre-Code, the Code and its aftermath, redbaiting and blacklisting, unionization of actors - and SAG deals that screwed the industry's "living legends" out of residuals - and more than 60 years worth of famous names and faces.  It's a terrific read.   

Edited by Bastet
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Couldn't agree with you more, Bastet. I didn't read the Leider book for just the reasons you state. And Being and Becoming is just as you describe.

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This prompted me to take Being and Becoming out of the bookcase as soon as I got home, intending to just revisit a few of my favorite passages.  The next thing I knew, an hour had passed.  Since we have some Thin Man fans in the thread, and the instant and life-long connection between Loy and Powell is what makes the films sparkle, I thought I'd share this as an example of the sort of remembrances the book is filled with:

 

When he died, at ninety-one, I was one of the first people [his wife] called.  For weeks afterward, friends wrote and telephoned condolences, as if I had lost a husband.  Well, our screen partnership lasted thirteen years through fourteen pictures, longer than any of my marriages.  To this day, forty years after our last appearance together, people consider us a couple.  I never enjoyed work more than with Bill.  He was a brilliant actor, a delightful companion, a great friend, and, above all, a true gentleman, with those often attributed but seldom possessed qualities: great style, class, breeding.  There's nobody like him.  There's never going to be anybody quite like him.  I miss him more than I can say.
Edited by Bastet

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The Man Who Heard Voices by Michael Bamberger is the author's account of following around M. Night Shyamalan as the latter makes Lady in the Water. The book makes for some delicious reading for anyone who can't stand Shyamalan, even though Bamberger is clearly taken by him. As one of the Amazon reviews says, the book is "great insight into an egomaniac full of his own hype." 

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King Of The Night: The Life Of Johnny Carson by Lawrence Leamer. Illuminating read about an aloof, distant, insecure, anxious, cruel, complex man; nothing like his public persona. Which I like. Deceit, delusion, illusion, and people who aren't who you think they are. Familiar territory, I guess.

 

 

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Carson was really a fascinating figure; the recent book by his longtime lawyer Henry Bushkin is also a good portrait, informed by the author's personal experiences with Carson. It feels pretty authentic.

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I really like Mick LaSalle's "Complicated Women" and "Dangerous Men", where actors and actresses from the pre-Code films are discussed.  Very interesting viewpoints and highlights a lot of generally forgotten actors, actresses and films.  A must-read for classic movie buffs.

Edited by psychoticstate

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It's almost ten years old, but James B. Stewart's DisneyWar is a great look at the mess Michael Eisner made at Disney during his final years and how the company basically dropkicked him out from his position. It gets into the aborted Pixar negotiations, ABC's struggles, the formation of Dreamworks, etc. The book was released shortly after his resignation, so it doesn't get into the current Iger Era.

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I love this forum discussion already. :-D We have a store in Seattle called Cinema Books that has nothing but books on all aspects of media production, so it's really easy for me to stumble on a wide variety of TV and movie topics that turned out to be surprisingly interesting. Because I don't have a topic to stick to, here is a random handful of titles.

 

Created by: Inside the Minds of TV's Top Show Creators by Steven Prigge

It's nominally a book about how to get a job as a TV writer, but what makes it enjoyable are the insights the various creators give on works we know.

Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains by Rich Lawden

Everything you ever wanted to know about the creation and reception of one of the best tv "hoaxes" ever. I use hoax in quotes because the show was never intended to be believed, much like War of the Worlds. They just wanted to make a scary Halloween show, and they were a bit too successful. Yes, the book is on Lulu, but it's well-written and of good quality.

Lab Coats in Hollywood: Science, Scientists, and Cinema by David A. Kirby

It's about how science consultants try to bring realistic science to all sorts of movies. This book talks about successes, failures, and the negotiation between science realism and the necessities of movie production.

 

Operation Hollywood: How the Pentagon Shapes and Censors the Movies by David L. Robb

Synopsis: Directors of war and action movies receive access to billions of dollars worth of military equipment and personnel, but it comes with a hidden cost. As a veteran Hollywood journalist shows, the final product is often not just what the director intends but also what the powers-that-be in the military want to project about America's armed forces.

 

The Exorcist: Studies in the Horror Film by Danel Olson

This is the largest and most in-depth examination of The Exorcist that I've ever seen. Production information, essays, and photos fill 500+ pages. Huge dense book.

 

The Philosophy of TV Noir by Steven Sanders and Aeon J. Skoble

Synopsis: Drawing from the fields of philosophy, media studies, and literature, the contributors to The Philosophy of TV Noir illuminate the best of noir television.

 

Prime Time Blues : African Americans on Network Television by Donald Bogle

It's a bit out of date, having come out in 2002, but it covers a lot of ground, so it's a great start for learning some TV history. I don't know that I agree with his opinions and conclusions all the time, but I appreciate his giving the reader so much to learn from.

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I love Donald Bogle's books.  I've read several of them, but I haven't read the one on African-Americans in TV.

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It's almost ten years old, but James B. Stewart's DisneyWar is a great look at the mess Michael Eisner made at Disney during his final years and how the company basically dropkicked him out from his position. It gets into the aborted Pixar negotiations, ABC's struggles, the formation of Dreamworks, etc. The book was released shortly after his resignation, so it doesn't get into the current Iger Era.

 

I can't recommend that book enough.  I love all James B Stewart's books because they are so thoroughly researched and he doesn't give a slanted portrayal, so they are great reads.

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These suggestions come about after watching the latest episode of Penny Dreadful and wondering, "What the hell prayer or ritual was that?!?"

 

The first is "Roman Catholicism in Fantastic Film: Essays on Belief, Spectacle, Ritual and Imagery" edited by Regina Hansen, and the second is "Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen" by Douglas E. Cowan. Both are about how religion is used and often misused in genre film, and they are really interesting. The first book is a collection of essays, so hit and miss depending on which topics have your interest, and the second is pretty academic but still enjoyable.

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I loved reading Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All The Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show A Classic by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. It was fascinating reading about the struggles that the producers and writers had with CBS execs who felt that American audiences wouldn't accept a TV show about a divorcee (that's why Mary Richards came to Minneapolis after a broken engagement). The book also focuses on the number of female writers who incorporated parts of their lives into the scripts.

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Anyone who loves Looney Tunes has to read Chuck Jones's autobiographies, especially Chuck Amuck.

 

For anyone who loves Broadway musicals like I do, and who is looking for a comprehensive (and I do mean it--the book is massive!) history of the Great White Way, check out Sheldon Patinkin's No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance. It was originally written for one of his classes at Chicago's Columbia College (and yes, he is a cousin of Mandy's). It goes through just about every musical play from the 1770s to now, and gives the important ones a very detailed description. The title is from an early review of Oklahoma, BTW.

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I just finished reading "You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman". It was interesting, but it was kind of hard reading it knowing such a tragic ending was coming. I will say the book had a lot of filler. I mean I didn't need to know what model of TV his friend had when they used to watch TV in someones basement when he was young, or the full text of most of the poems read at his various memorial services. Plus I found at least one editing issue. At one point he was describing how he liked go out in his boat and feed fish from a can of spray cheese. But he used basically the same sentence to describe that activity and had them about two sentences apart. The book was crazy well researched though, and he managed to get input from a lot of people close to Phil.

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I love reading Pauline Kael's books of film criticism, even when some of her opinions irk me. Her reviews are a chronicle of American cinema from the early 60's to the early 90's. She throws in some TV movie reviews, too, from their golden age in the 70's when great shows like SybilRoots, and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman were being made for TV.

 

One More Time by Carol Burnett is her autobiography of her early years. Her account of her alcoholic parents and the eccentric grandmother who raised her is both funny and tragic.

 

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind--a look at movies in the 70's.

 

Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball by Kathleen Brady. A serious appraisal of Ball's life and work that doesn't whitewash the comic actress's harsher side. One caveat: Ball's children complained about some inaccuracies.

 

A couple of oldies but goodies, worth seeking through sources of out of print books:

 

Dark Star: The Untold Story of the Meteoric Rise and Fall of Legendary Silent Screen Star John Gilbert by his daughter Leatrice Joy Gilbert. A fascinating story about the almost-husband of Greta Garbo and about the transition from silent films to talkies.

 

Too Much, Too Soon by Diana Barrymore. One of the first confessional memoirs about a career derailed by alcoholism. The author is the great-aunt of Drew Barrymore.

 

And in the fiction department:

 

Nathaniel West's The Day of the Locust is a must-read; it's unusual for a Hollywood novel in focusing not on the big stars and studios but on the folks at the margins.

 

Peter Lefcourt's The Deal: A Novel of Hollywood. How a small art film about Benjamin Disraeli morphed into an action blockbuster.

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Dark Star: The Untold Story of the Meteoric Rise and Fall of Legendary Silent Screen Star John Gilbert by his daughter Leatrice Joy Gilbert. A fascinating story about the almost-husband of Greta Garbo and about the transition from silent films to talkies.

 

 

A few months back I saw the movie Downstairs for the first time.  John Gilbert not only starred in the film (one of his last roles) but also wrote the story.  After years of hearing how unsuitable for talkies his voice was and how the movie was a flop, I was pleasantly surprised and very sad that these two very incorrect legends stand. 

 

The story is very well done and the movie is really ahead of its time with some of the subject matter and viewpoints.  It should have done much better than it did.  Gilbert himself is perfectly cast as Karl who is the male equivalent of Harlow's Lil in Redheaded Woman.  He's an unapologetic gold digger and worse, he has no qualms with lying, cheating and stealing to get what he wants.  Gilbert plays him so smoothly that despite Karl's vile character and absolute lack of morality, the viewer actually likes him.

 

As far as Gilbert's voice being high/effeminate/unsuitable, none of that is true.  His voice sounds very much like the other male stars of the time - - maybe a bit pinched or clipped compared to what we are used to today, but nothing shocking, humorous or feminine. 

 

I would love to read his daughter's book. He had an interesting and too short life - - and quite a presence on screen.   

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On 4/11/2014 at 7:00 PM, Charlie Baker said:

For those into 60s and 70s movies:

Mark Harris'  PIctures at a Revolution, about the 1967 movies nominated for the best picture Oscar.

http://www.amazon.com/Pictures-Revolution-Movies-Birth-Hollywood-ebook/dp/B0010SKU5G/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397260581&sr=1-3&keywords=mark+harris

 

 

 

Great book!  In the Heat of the Night is permanently on my DVR -- I watch it at least once a year.  The book gave me a new appreciation for The Graduate, which was on TCM shortly after I read the book, as was Guess Who's Coming to DinnerBonnie and Clyde -- saw that one in the theater when it first came out, and it holds up really well.  Still haven't seen Dr. Doolittle and don't intend to, after reading the book. 

Harris has another excellent book -- Five Came Back, about the experiences of five directors who made films for the government during WWII.

I'll read anything Harris writes. 

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Bumping this up: The Case of the Alliterative Attorney (a 676-page compendium about all things Perry Mason; both the 1957-66 CBS series and 1985-95 NBC 2-hr. movies have episode guides, and there are also appendices [what the book calls "exhibits"] about such things about who played a defendant on one episode and a decedent on another, a list of people who played the various judges, etc.). In short, it's practically everything you wanted to know about Perry Mason.

alliterativeattorney1.jpg

Edited by bmasters9
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On ‎7‎/‎8‎/‎2014 at 9:35 PM, annzeepark914 said:

I loved reading Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All The Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show A Classic by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. It was fascinating reading about the struggles that the producers and writers had with CBS execs who felt that American audiences wouldn't accept a TV show about a divorcee (that's why Mary Richards came to Minneapolis after a broken engagement). The book also focuses on the number of female writers who incorporated parts of their lives into the scripts.

She also just wrote Seinfeldia, all about the history of the Seinfeld TV show. 

Its an enjoyable book.  Nothing too surprising or earth shattering for die heard fans, but those who enjoy the show will find the book an easy, enjoyable read

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I LOVED Seinfeldia!  Just loved it.  I always wondered where those plotlines came from since some of them seemed so familiar.  So all along they were raiding their writers' crazy life experiences (some of which a few of us have also dealt with) to come up with all those wonderful stories.  That's why the writing was so good.

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2 hours ago, annzeepark914 said:

I LOVED Seinfeldia!  Just loved it.  I always wondered where those plotlines came from since some of them seemed so familiar.  So all along they were raiding their writers' crazy life experiences (some of which a few of us have also dealt with) to come up with all those wonderful stories.  That's why the writing was so good.

Yes was my biggest takeaway from the book as well.  Which is kind of sad for the writers, in a way

The first few seasons they used Larry David and Seinfeld based experiences. 

Then after that each year they hired new writers, mostly stand ups and comedians, took all their own experiences turned them into stories, then fired those writers when they were out of their our experiences to use. 

I am sure those writers got jobs elsewhere once leaving Seinfeld, but still kind of a sad portrait of the idea factory for the stories they ran. 

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What is sad today with the current sitcoms is that it's all ba-dump-bump + a stare at the other character.  I went on a tour of Warner Brothers lot 2 years ago and ended up on the set of The Big Bang whatever.  There was a script/dialogue sitting on a pedestal of sorts so I looked through it.  It was all one liners complete with the character staring following his/her line (it actually called for a "stare").  This is what sitcoms have become...unfunny lines followed by The Stare.

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One of my holiday movie-book acquisitions was "The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth" by Danel Olson as part of the exceptional "Studies in the Horror Film" book series. It's a collection of essays about themes of the two movies as well as interviews with actors and other key people involved with the films' production. If you're into critical analyses of film, this features a good set of observations.

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2016 at 11:40 PM, annzeepark914 said:

What is sad today with the current sitcoms is that it's all ba-dump-bump + a stare at the other character.  I went on a tour of Warner Brothers lot 2 years ago and ended up on the set of The Big Bang whatever.  There was a script/dialogue sitting on a pedestal of sorts so I looked through it.  It was all one liners complete with the character staring following his/her line (it actually called for a "stare").  This is what sitcoms have become...unfunny lines followed by The Stare.

That does not shock me at all about The Big Bang Theory.  I even watch the show, it has its moments, but the writing for the last several years has been less than stellar and they seem to be running on fumes for ideas.  They certainly are not going to be disproving the cliché about sitcoms being on their last leg once a baby comes along.  Even How I Met Your Mother, a far superior show, IMO, fell victim to that one. 

However I think there is a difference between the big network sitcoms and the smaller, cable network shows. 

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Have any of you read Andy and Don:  the making of a friendship and a classic American TV show?  We don't have it in my library, but one of the local public libraries does.  I just haven't had a chance to check it out.  Also, it's been out a while, but I've heard good things about Alison Arngrim's Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated.  

I'm going to try to read more biographies this year.  I'n in charge of collection development for my university library and we have a film studies program.  I order lots of great biographies (and other books about the movies), and haven't had time to read any of them.  I'll try to remedy that during the coming year.  

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11 hours ago, BooksRule said:

Have any of you read Andy and Don:  the making of a friendship and a classic American TV show?  We don't have it in my library, but one of the local public libraries does.  I just haven't had a chance to check it out.  Also, it's been out a while, but I've heard good things about Alison Arngrim's Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated.  

I'm going to try to read more biographies this year.  I'n in charge of collection development for my university library and we have a film studies program.  I order lots of great biographies (and other books about the movies), and haven't had time to read any of them.  I'll try to remedy that during the coming year.  

 YES! I really liked the joint bio of Messrs. Griffith and Knotts! The great irony is that their iconic sitcom was about celebrating life in a close-knit small town, yet both of them grew up as outcasts in their respective birthplaces. Mr. Knotts especially had an incredibly dysfunctional early life that could have easily doomed him to either an early grave, institutionalization and/or destitute obscurity. While neither performer was a saint and the book doesn't shy away from that, it does an excellent job of conveying not only how they overcame sometimes unbelievable odds but how their bond gave them strength even if they believed their show was both a blessing and curse. It's definitely worth seeking out!

 

 As for Miss Arngrim's book? Yes, she grew up in a very different time, locale and environment from either of the above- mentioned men but that doesn't mean she herself didn't have an amazing and if at times infuriating story to tell. No I'm not spoiling that one either but suffice it to say that Nellie not only wound up being the hero of Miss Arngim's life but also gave her strength to follow her calling to become a tireless advocate for so many folks in many walks of life who'd previously had no one else in their corners.  Again, I highly recommend it (and I found that I wound up laughing a lot more reading it than many other bios even though it definitely didn't shy away from heartbreaking, appalling and upsetting parts of her and others' life).

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I received Becky Aikman's Off The Cliff: How the Making of Thelma & Louise Drove Hollywood to the Edge this morning, and while I have only thumbed through it so far because I have another book I want to finish first, it looks great and I am really looking forward to reading it.  Here's a description from the author's website:
 

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A quarter of a century since Thelma & Louise turned Hollywood on its head, breaking all the rules about the place of women in cinema, Becky Aikman shines a light on the brazen group of young actors, writers, and filmmakers who created a classic—but have things actually progressed since then?

When a 30-year-old production assistant, Callie Khouri, had the wild idea to write a movie unlike any she had ever seen, about outlaw women on the run fleeing dull and disenchanted lives, the obstacles were almost too numerous to overcome. The bleak reality of Hollywood was that women screenwriters and filmmakers were practically unheard of in the 1980s, and movies about women were just as rare. Frustrated, intelligent, and full of thwarted talent, Khouri persisted, and today, Thelma & Louise, for which Khouri became the first woman writing on her own to receive an Oscar for best original screenplay since 1932, continues to electrify audiences and remains a cultural statement of defiance. In OFF THE CLIFF, Becky Aikman tells the extraordinary story behind this cinematic masterpiece, which crashed through barriers and upended traditional Hollywood.

Drawing on over 150 exclusive interviews with stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, director Ridley Scott, actors, studio bosses, producers, as well as a huge cast of lesser-known characters who pushed for the film to be made, Aikman crafts an exhilarating narrative driven by vivid personalities, from the old-school studio chief Alan Ladd Jr. to a newcomer named Brad Pitt.  More importantly, backed with groundbreaking social and cultural commentary, she shines a light on the current state of the film industry. Aikman examines how women's participation in film has made little progress since Thelma & Louise marked a high point, and why audiences of women and girls still rarely get to view themselves portrayed as persons of consequence and agency on the silver screen.

OFF THE CLIFF is a deeply-researched story of success in the face of challenging hurdles—but a success which somehow failed to shift the film industry towards more female-driven films. Aikman looks at how the struggle for women's voices to be heard in Hollywood that a bold team of filmmakers faced 25 years ago still looms today and shows what we can learn from one of the rare moments when the movies got it right.

 

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