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Bambi Vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Businessby David Mamet
Synopses & Reviews
In Bambi vs. Godzilla, David Mamet, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter, gives us an exhilaratingly subversive inside look at Hollywood from the perspective of a filmmaker who has always played the game his own way.
Who really reads the scripts at the film studios? How is a screenplay like a personals ad? Whose opinion matters when revising a screenplay? Why are there so many producers listed in movie credits? And what the hell do those producers do, anyway? Refreshingly unafraid to offend, Mamet provides hilarious, surprising, and bracingly forthright answers to these and other questions about virtually every aspect of filmmaking, from concept to script to screen.
He covers topics ranging from "How Scripts Got So Bad" to the oxymoron of "Manners in Hollywood." He takes us step-by-step through some of his favorite movie stunts and directorial tricks, and demonstrates that it is craft and crew, not stars and producers, that make great films. He tells us who his favorite actors and what his favorite movies are, who he thinks is the most perfect actor to grace the screen, and who he thinks should never have appeared there.
Demigods and sacred cows of the movie business–beware! But for the rest of us, Mamet speaking truth to Hollywood makes for searingly enjoyable reading.
"Mamet's a veteran screenwriter and director (currently producing The Unit for CBS), but that doesn't mean he has any great love for the industry — his Hollywood is the stereotypically corrupt and cutthroat world where screenwriters willingly change their stories to accommodate every stupid suggestion from producers, who are blatantly lining their own pockets, while stars bicker over who has the bigger trailer. But his stories are entertaining even when they're unsurprising, and though loosely organized, a few broad themes emerge. He expounds at length, for example, upon his well-known penchant for straightforward storytelling, where drama boils down to 'the creation and deferment of hope,' and every scene should be able to answer three questions: 'Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?' At other times, he's happy simply to explain why he thinks Laurence Olivier was a terrible film actor or to test out a theory that the early film industry owes its development to Eastern European Jews with Asperger's syndrome. As usual with Mamet, each word is precisely chosen for maximum effect, and nearly all hit their mark." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Mr. Mamet writes with insight, idiosyncrasy and a Godzillian imperviousness to opposition....
"The book will find its most ardent readers outside of the industry, people who like engaging their brains but who are in no position to do anything but shake their heads and sigh." Hartford Courant
"[A] readable trip through [Mamet's] wit and wisdom" Library Journal
"No other director has written about the movies with such a fearless mixture of amusement, anger, frustration, and rueful love." Roger Ebert
"David Mamet is supremely talented. He is a gifted writer and observer of society and its characters. I'm sure he will be able to find work somewhere, somehow, just no longer in the movie business." Steve Martin
"Happily, Mamet keeps on in theater and film pretty much on his own terms, and now, with Bambi vs. Godzilla, like his great predecessor George Bernard Shaw, he can illuminate as a critic-practitioner the not-always-friendly Darwinian world he has been obliged to flourish in." Gore Vidal
"A sleek and hardboiled seminar on cinema's glorious highs and hellish lows." Kirkus Reviwes
From the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and playwright: an exhilaratingly subversive inside look at Hollywood from a filmmaker whos always played by his own rules. Who really reads the scripts at the film studios? How is a screenplay like a personals ad? Why are there so many producers listed in movie credits? And what on earth do those producers do anyway? Refreshingly unafraid to offend, Mamet provides hilarious, surprising, and refreshingly forthright answers to these and other questions about every aspect of filmmaking from concept to script to screen. A bracing, no-holds-barred examination of the strange contradictions of Tinseltown, Bambi vs. Godzilla dissects the movies with Mamets signature style and wit.
About the Author
David Mamet's work includes the Oscar-nominated films The Verdict and Wag the Dog. He has taught at the Yale School of Drama, New York University, and Goddard College, and he is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City.
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Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Film History and Theory