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Title:   Rebels on the Backlot
Author:   Sharon Waxman
Times Read:   1
Last Read:   04.17.07

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Date Read Note
04.17.07 A very reportage-y book about the group of young filmmakers and their careers heading toward the landmark year of 1999. It starts with Tarantino's early days through Pulp Fiction then splits off to follow David Russell's Three Kings, Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich, David Fincher's Fight Club, Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, and ends with Steven Soderbergh's Traffic (and all the pre-emptory stuff with their careers) as well as glancing off the work of Alexander Payne and Kim Pierce. The author seems to really love grouping these people together and calling them rebels (I think she calls them that like 147 times in the book), but aside from that and a few funny little factual errors (like calling the Beastie Boys a rock band or saying the skyline at the end of Fight Club is NYC) and a decidedly gossip/catty outlook, this book was pretty interesting. She interviewed a ton of people and wound up with a pretty complete view on certain events like Clooney's troubles with Russell on Three Kings and Anderson's troubles with Rysher and Hard Eight and the general producer-heavy turmoil that went into getting all these rearkable movies made. It's almost too much for me with all the studio politics and mergers and trials and tribulations... it makes getting amovie made with a major studio about as likely to happen as winning the lottery. I guess a certain outlook to that would be to have a greater sympathy for the movies that do get made but... I kinda see it more as further signs of how messed up hollywood is nowadays. I don't think it was ever easy... but i think american cinema is in pretty dark days... For as good a year as 1999 was, I think it may be somewhat responsible for the way things are now. It's interesting to note that almost all of the movies mentioned here didn't make any money. Pulp Fiction and Traffic were pretty much the only ones. Sure they are all great movies, but a lot of people got fired over them and I think maybe we're still caught up in the conservative rebound of that coming on ten years later. sure that's not the only factor... but I'd be much more assured if these great movies actually found audiences... something I'm not seeing with movies like Children of Men, The Fountain, and Science of Sleep. I have to think audiences were smarter in the 70s. or TV was worse.



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