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THE BEST AMERICAN MOVIE WRITING 1998 by George Plimpton

THE BEST AMERICAN MOVIE WRITING 1998

By George Plimpton

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18049-7
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

The year’s social and cinematic concerns are captured in this well-sculpted inaugural volume on film from guest editor and cameo actor Plimpton (The X Factor, 1995, etc.). Beginning with Libby Gelman-Waxner’s gleeful trashing of Barbra Streisand’s The Mirror Has Two Faces, the collection lopes nimbly among subjects and moods, from sly critique to Evan Hunter’s wistful recollection of Hitchcock to Gerald Peary’s amiable portrait of John Waters regulars in Provincetown. Together they fulfill series editor Jason Shinder’s belief that movies are “arguably the most influential form of communication we have today,” and that film writing is an “emerging genre.” Equally varied are article sources, which include not only Premiere and Vanity Fair but such small magazines as the Michigan Quarterly Review and Parnassus, and authors ranging from film writers (Donald Bogle) to filmmakers (Martin Scorsese) and novelists (Alice Walker). Despite the assortment, some common threads for the year emerge, notably in the treatment of black women and gays in the cinema. The dismal state of choices for black actresses is seen in two pieces, including one on current biopic hot property Dorothy Dandridge. Likewise the gay experience of films is seen in two works, one of which is a trenchant analysis of the necessary death of diva worship. A thought-provoking commingling of shop talk, sociological meditation, and personal memoir that shows the range of responses possible for an art form at the height of its popularity.