Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops

Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops

by James Robert Parish
     
 

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In Fiasco, longtime industry insider and acclaimed Hollywood historian James Robert Parish goes behind the scenes to tell the intriguing stories of 15 of the most spectacular movie megaflops of the past 50 years, including Cleopatra, Popeye, The Cotton Club, Shanghai Surprise, Last Action Hero, and Waterworld. He recounts, in every gory detail, how enormous hubris,…  See more details below

Overview

In Fiasco, longtime industry insider and acclaimed Hollywood historian James Robert Parish goes behind the scenes to tell the intriguing stories of 15 of the most spectacular movie megaflops of the past 50 years, including Cleopatra, Popeye, The Cotton Club, Shanghai Surprise, Last Action Hero, and Waterworld. He recounts, in every gory detail, how enormous hubris, unbridled ambition, artistic hauteur, and bad business sense on the parts of Tinsel Town wheeler-dealers and superstars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, Madonna, and Warren Beatty conspired to engender some of the worst films ever.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "James Robert Parish identifies them neatly in 'Fiasco'...He gives a high-minded rationale for his project." (Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2006)

"A gleefully readable, well-researched study of hubris in Hollywood" (Publishers Weekly, October 17, 2005)

Publishers Weekly
A film hit or miss often forms two sides of the same coin, notes veteran entertainment observer Parish (The Hollywood Book of Scandals) in this gleefully readable, well-researched study of hubris in Hollywood. Parish's 15 choice box-office busts since 1963's Cleopatra demonstrate how "the combination of ill-matched personalities and tangled situations can result in chaos during the making of a must-succeed, extremely costly Hollywood feature." Parish's criteria in choosing his stinkers include the toppling of major stars (such as Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1993's frenzied Last Action Hero); wild overspending and lavish promotion that don't translate into a noteworthy product (Paramount's extravagant 1969 Paint Your Wagon); and a shaky idea that would never have taken off if not for the overweening enthusiasm of a big name, e.g., Warren Beatty's protracted albatross, Town and Country (2001). Occasionally, Parish's insider snooping lends some intriguing tidbits, such as the literary history behind the making of Merchant Ivory's 1975 The Wild Party (starring Raquel Welch) and director Elaine May's costly detail obsession as evidenced by the bulldozing of Moroccan sand dunes for the Beatty-Hoffman loser Ishtar (1987). While most of these film disasters have been well documented elsewhere, Parish depicts an industry in harrowing transition. Agent, Stuart Bernstein. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
What actually constitutes a flop? According to Parish (Katharine Hepburn: The Untold Story), films that are flops have big-name stars (Cleopatra), an idea without substance (The Last Action Hero), or a lot of hype prior to release (Showgirls). Examining a broad selection of bombs, from Shanghai Surprise to Ishtar, he profiles 14 films and furnishes detailed background on their production history, along with entertaining anecdotes. This is a good source for information on The Wild Party (1975), Popeye (1980), and The Cotton Club (1984); different genres are represented, including science fiction (Waterworld), swashbucklers (Cutthroat Island), and musicals (Paint Your Wagon). Ishtar was considered a "modern-day successor to road pictures" and known as "Warrengate," alluding to Heaven's Gate and Warren Beatty. A bit of a novelty, this book will mainly interest cinephiles. Recommended for libraries serving their ranks.-Barbara Kundanis, Batavia P.L., IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471691594
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
01/11/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.64(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.22(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Fiasco is a know-it-all backstory of infamous film flops wittily reminding us how often, and in so many ways, Hollywood can screw up the best laid plans."
--Patrick McGilligan, author of Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light

Meet the Author

JAMES ROBERT PARISH (jamesrobertparish.com) is a former entertainment reporter and publicist and the author of numerous books on Hollywood, including The Hollywood Book of Breakups and It's Good to Be the King.

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