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1 Beaverton Film and Television- History and Criticism

Gods and Monsters: Movers, Shakers, and Other Casualties of the Hollywood Machine

by

Gods and Monsters: Movers, Shakers, and Other Casualties of the Hollywood Machine Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Peter Biskind authored two of the most talked about and read books of the last decade — Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock-?n?-Roll Generation Saved Hollywood and its bestselling sequel Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film. Gods and Monsters chronicles the cause and courses of Hollywood over the last three decades — the super freaks, lowlifes, charlatans and occasional geniuses who have left their bite mark on American culture, as refracted through the trajectory of Peter Biskind?s career.

The ghosts of McCarthyism and the blacklist haunt Gods and Monsters as do the casualties of the counterculture and the New Hollywood — the story of Sue Menges, the ?70s 'super-agent' whose career went mysteriously south, is extraordinarily poignant, as is the example of Terence Malick, whose light shone so brightly in the same period but then disappeared until 1997?s The Thin Red Line.

But at the heart of the book are the likes of Warren Beatty, Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford and Quentin Tarantino and uber-producers Don Simpson and Harvey Weinstein and their excess lifestyles, all of whom Biskind portrays in great Dickensian detail, charting how they have had a simultaneously strangulating and liberating effect on the industry.

Review:

"Best known for his popular book on 1970?s cinema, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Biskind has strung together a compendium of his magazine articles, dating from his tenure as editor-in-chief at American Film up to his current post as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While Biskind at his best provides uniquely bracing film critique, far too much of this volume is of little merit to today?s readers. The strongest pieces are Biskind?s profiles of master agent Sue Mengers, 'a female Billy Wilder,' and Charlie Feldman, an unknown figure today who in his time combined his talents to be both a legendary Hollywood producer and agent. It?s hard to reconcile these humane, illuminating profiles with Biskind?s review of an old Clint Eastwood film, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which appears to be obsessed with the film?s latent homosexuality. There?s also a dated analysis of George Lucas?s Star Wars films that not only does not consider the latest additions to the series but includes such overblown analysis as 'The Jabba episode culminates in an explicit vagina dentata fantasy as Luke and his pals have to walk a phallic gangplank...' Because Biskind is, as billed, an incisive writer, readers will wish he bothered to update such statements as, 'Vietnam was the first television war, and...it may be the last.' Here?s hoping next time around, Biskind will give his loyal readers something new to chew on. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Best known for his popular book on 1970's cinema, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Biskind has strung together a compendium of his magazine articles, dating from his tenure as editor-in-chief at American Film up to his current post as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While Biskind at his best provides uniquely bracing film critique, far too much of this volume is of little merit to today's readers. The strongest pieces are Biskind's profiles of master agent Sue Mengers, 'a female Billy Wilder,' and Charlie Feldman, an unknown figure today who in his time combined his talents to be both a legendary Hollywood producer and agent. It's hard to reconcile these humane, illuminating profiles with Biskind's review of an old Clint Eastwood film, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which appears to be obsessed with the film's latent homosexuality. There's also a dated analysis of George Lucas's Star Wars films that not only does not consider the latest additions to the series but includes such overblown analysis as 'The Jabba episode culminates in an explicit vagina dentata fantasy as Luke and his pals have to walk a phallic gangplank...' Because Biskind is, as billed, an incisive writer, readers will wish he bothered to update such statements as, 'Vietnam was the first television war, and ... it may be the last.' Here's hoping next time around, Biskind will give his loyal readers something new to chew on." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"An impressive appreciation of cinema's highs and lows, but you'll still wish Biskind could simply go back to writing about movies again instead of indulging in all this glossy gossip." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[O]nly a few [pieces] suggest what he would ultimately do in best-sellers like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls....The rest of these pages are filled with much more scholarly (read: boring) stuff....[O]nly for true Biskind believers. (Grade: C)" Entertainment Weekly

Synopsis:

Peter Biskind chronicles the cause and courses of Hollywood over the last three decades, the superfreaks, lowlifes, charlatans and occasional geniuses who have left their bite mark on American culture.

About the Author

Peter Biskind is the author of several books, including Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film; Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock Roll Generation Saved Hollywood; and Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties. He was editor-in-chief of American Film and the executive editor of Premiere. He is currently a contributing writer to Vanity Fair.

Table of Contents

The politics of power in On the Waterfront 2
War of the worlds 26
Tightass and cocksucker : sexual politics in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot 39
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 45
Machismo and Hollywood's working class 53
Blue collar blues : proletarian cinema from Hollywood 75
Holocaust fever 79
"Come back to the mill, Nick honey" : The Deer Hunter misses the target 86
A balance of error? PBS's Vietnam: waist-deep in the big muddy 92
American film criticism (postwar) 100
The last crusade 115
The weather underground, take one 150
In Latin America they shoot filmmakers 183
Promised land : on Sundance 189
Any which way he can 212
Chameleon man 228
Slouching toward Hollywood 235
The making of "Blatherlands": an imaginary conversation between Sissy Spacek and Terrence Malick 250
The runaway genius 255
Punchin' Judy 278
The man who minted style 289
When Sue was queen 315
Good night, dark prince 348

Product Details

ISBN:
9781560255451
Author:
Biskind, Peter
Publisher:
Nation Books
Subject:
Film - History & Criticism
Subject:
Motion pictures
Subject:
Motion picture industry
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Film & Video - General
Subject:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video/General
Subject:
Culture in motion pictures
Subject:
Film and Television-History and Criticism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Series:
Nation Books
Publication Date:
November 9, 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 18.2 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Film History and Theory
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism

Gods and Monsters: Movers, Shakers, and Other Casualties of the Hollywood Machine Used Trade Paper
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Product details 352 pages Nation Books - English 9781560255451 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Best known for his popular book on 1970?s cinema, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Biskind has strung together a compendium of his magazine articles, dating from his tenure as editor-in-chief at American Film up to his current post as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While Biskind at his best provides uniquely bracing film critique, far too much of this volume is of little merit to today?s readers. The strongest pieces are Biskind?s profiles of master agent Sue Mengers, 'a female Billy Wilder,' and Charlie Feldman, an unknown figure today who in his time combined his talents to be both a legendary Hollywood producer and agent. It?s hard to reconcile these humane, illuminating profiles with Biskind?s review of an old Clint Eastwood film, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which appears to be obsessed with the film?s latent homosexuality. There?s also a dated analysis of George Lucas?s Star Wars films that not only does not consider the latest additions to the series but includes such overblown analysis as 'The Jabba episode culminates in an explicit vagina dentata fantasy as Luke and his pals have to walk a phallic gangplank...' Because Biskind is, as billed, an incisive writer, readers will wish he bothered to update such statements as, 'Vietnam was the first television war, and...it may be the last.' Here?s hoping next time around, Biskind will give his loyal readers something new to chew on. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Best known for his popular book on 1970's cinema, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Biskind has strung together a compendium of his magazine articles, dating from his tenure as editor-in-chief at American Film up to his current post as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While Biskind at his best provides uniquely bracing film critique, far too much of this volume is of little merit to today's readers. The strongest pieces are Biskind's profiles of master agent Sue Mengers, 'a female Billy Wilder,' and Charlie Feldman, an unknown figure today who in his time combined his talents to be both a legendary Hollywood producer and agent. It's hard to reconcile these humane, illuminating profiles with Biskind's review of an old Clint Eastwood film, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which appears to be obsessed with the film's latent homosexuality. There's also a dated analysis of George Lucas's Star Wars films that not only does not consider the latest additions to the series but includes such overblown analysis as 'The Jabba episode culminates in an explicit vagina dentata fantasy as Luke and his pals have to walk a phallic gangplank...' Because Biskind is, as billed, an incisive writer, readers will wish he bothered to update such statements as, 'Vietnam was the first television war, and ... it may be the last.' Here's hoping next time around, Biskind will give his loyal readers something new to chew on." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An impressive appreciation of cinema's highs and lows, but you'll still wish Biskind could simply go back to writing about movies again instead of indulging in all this glossy gossip."
"Review" by , "[O]nly a few [pieces] suggest what he would ultimately do in best-sellers like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls....The rest of these pages are filled with much more scholarly (read: boring) stuff....[O]nly for true Biskind believers. (Grade: C)"
"Synopsis" by , Peter Biskind chronicles the cause and courses of Hollywood over the last three decades, the superfreaks, lowlifes, charlatans and occasional geniuses who have left their bite mark on American culture.
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