Waxman’s grasp of the interior of the studio world, and her ability to make the workings of closed-door deals...

REBELS ON THE BACKLOT

SIX MAVERICK DIRECTORS AND HOW THEY CONQUERED THE HOLLYWOOD STUDIO SYSTEM

New York Times Hollywood correspondent Waxman examines the trajectory of the independent feature film in the 1990s as exemplified by the work of six Tinsel Town outsiders.

In the early 1990s, Hollywood corporate mergers and their resultant focus on the bottom line resulted in a bumper crop of sequels, remakes, and other dependable moneymakers inoffensive to anything but taste. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction blazed across this dull background with all the shock of an incendiary device, decimating expectations about the kinds of movies people would pay to see and forcing the studio conglomerates to create independent divisions with the mission of funding Tarantino-esque films. Waxman takes a chronological look at the movies that preceded and followed Tarantino’s master work, examining the men (indies are as gender-biased as the rest of the film industry) who had the drive to steer their work through the always-treacherous studio system. Among the films considered are Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape, made in 1989, and David O. Russell's incest dramedy, Spanking the Monkey. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights was another risk-taker, and Spike Jonze’s absurdist Being John Malkovich could win an award for the film least likely ever to be made. Waxman’s accounts of the ins and outs of the Hollywood machine are as arresting as any of the indy scripts, with cliffhangers, villains, and blunders galore. Russell’s Three Kings, widely noted as a triumph, was ignored by the Oscar committee, and watching Soderbergh’s Traffic, a movie about illegal drugs, struggle and fight its way into existence is a real nailbiter—even though we know it would end up with five Academy Award nominations.

Waxman’s grasp of the interior of the studio world, and her ability to make the workings of closed-door deals comprehensible, raise her work from textbook to something truly absorbing.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-054017-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: HarperEntertainment

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2004

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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