Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Of Ego, Hollywood, and Satire...

By Paul



What a weekend.

Who to root for? The pugnancious Rosie O'Donnell? Or the crude Donald Trump with his art deco combover (The Donald's hair bears an eerie resemblace to the Crayola color known as "sunset orange," though an argument could be made for "mango tango."

But speaking of the evil spawn of Hollywood...I finally finished reading, "The Devil's Guide to Hollywood by vulgarian and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas ("Basic Instinct," "Showgirls"). Eszterhas reminds the reader at least four times that he "bedded" actress Sharon Stone. It would be difficult to point out the single most tasteless, seamy anecdote from the book, but if required, here's what I'd choose:

I [Joe Eszterhas] was introduced to Martin Scorses a few years after I publicly fired his good friend and agent Michael Ovitz. Marty looked at me superciliously, barely taking my hand.

I knew he was the King of the Auteurs, while I was the auteur-slayer. I knew how seriously he took himself, while I prided myself on being the "rogue elephant" of screenwriters.

I knew all those things about him and I knew a whole lot more that he didn't know I knoew, things I had learned from one of his wives, things she had told me after we'd made love on the kitchen floor of Marty's house while Marty was off on location, being the auteur.

Eszterhas takes himself very seriously and viciously criticizes writers most would consider his superiors (William Goldman, Robert Towne).

I much prefer Hollywood books with more wit and less ego. Joe Keenan of "Desperate Housewives," recently chose his five favorite Hollywood satires for the Wall Street Journal.

"What Makes Sammy Run?" By Budd Schulberg
"The Player" by Michael Tolkin
"The Deal" by Peter Lefcourt
"Artistic Differences" by Charlie Hauck
"Little Me" by Patrick Dennis.

Hard to argue with any of those. I might add Donald Westlake's "Sacred Monster." And I've had a sneak peak at Bill Bryan's "Keep It Real," a wild, riotous romp through the world of reality television. The book will be published in March, and I'll have more to say then.

By Paul

7 comments:

  1. Hi Paul,

    You're correct about the little 'Big E's' ego. Tastless and 'neener, neener, neener' about his 'lays'. I wonder what the women think when they read about themselves in E's book.

    The man appears to be as shallow and shoddy as his films. Can you say "Up himself"?

    Mind you, it's always good for a smirk. :-D

    Cheers
    Marianne

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  2. I'm endlessly fascinated by the antics of Hollywood celebrities, but there must be stories of novelists behaving badly, too. Anyone care to dish?

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  3. Novelists Behaving Badly...

    I ate five desserts at the Four Seasons on Doheny on Christmas Day.

    Best I can do.

    Paul

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  4. Five????? That will no doubt go down in the annals of ABB. However, I've been to that Four Seasons and I'm sure those desserts were tasty but on the smallish side, so all is forgiven.

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  5. FWIW, I'm reading the Ezterhas book and laughing myself silly at the childish self-adoration on display.

    Yeah, it's crass and vulgar and tasteless and sexist and shallow and vain and all that, but more often than not I find it hilariously so, and there's actually a lot of useful insight in there if you can get past all the ego self-love on display. I'll likely read this one a second time before I ever force myself to get through any of a dozen other supposedly "better" or more serious books from supposed screenwriting gurus.
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    B

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  6. 1. I was sort of wishing that aliens from outer space would come down to earth and take both Rosie and Donald Trump away for all eternity. Or maybe a death ray...

    I was at the gym when the Miss USA "press conference" took place, so I got to see all that silliness while pedaling to nowhere. Although I agree in essence with Rosie, won't the woman just shut her mouth? And Trump decides if she can wallow in the sewer, so can he. Talk about arrested development.

    2. Esterhaz. Geeze, is that what he does now? Writes kiss & tell books? So now he's going to be one of those celebrities who are famous for being famous, I guess, sort of like Zsa Zsa Gabor and, well, Donald Trump.

    3. My vote: "The Deal" by Peter Lefcourt. It always falls into my list of top 5 books.

    Best,
    Mark Terry
    www.markterrybooks.com

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  7. Martin Scorsese has been married five times. And Joe E's only fucked one of them? Consider me unimpressed.

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