The Billy Bob Tapes: A Cave Full of Ghosts

( 14 )

Overview

Raised in small-town Arkansas, Billy Bob Thornton grew up amid a rich storytelling tradition. See, the South is just different than other places. . . . You can feel the ghosts there. As a kid, he would sit on the porch listening to his family or some old man down the road spinning yarns about colorful neighbors. These stories didn't have to be made up. The characters were already there, so the stories just came out of the characters we knew. Thus was borne his Oscar®-winning masterpiece Sling Blade and now The ...

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Overview

Raised in small-town Arkansas, Billy Bob Thornton grew up amid a rich storytelling tradition. See, the South is just different than other places. . . . You can feel the ghosts there. As a kid, he would sit on the porch listening to his family or some old man down the road spinning yarns about colorful neighbors. These stories didn't have to be made up. The characters were already there, so the stories just came out of the characters we knew. Thus was borne his Oscar®-winning masterpiece Sling Blade and now The Billy Bob Tapes—a narrative based on late-night conversations with Kinky Friedman and other friends who gathered 'round to hear Billy mine a cave full of ghosts.

Billy grew up shooting squirrels, playing drums in VFW clubs, and dreaming of rock 'n' roll stardom or pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. Then at sixteen he took a drama class to meet chicks—and met Mrs. Treadway, who noticed the young man's talent and encouraged him as an actor and writer. "You don't know what it's like to be a drama teacher in a small town in Arkansas where nobody really cares," she said, "but let me tell you something. You can do this." These stories didn't have to be made up. The Everything I've accomplished since, I can trace back to this woman, Maudie Treadway.

The colorful characters, stories, and experiences of his youth would find their way into Billy's work, in his films and music, and in his perspective and attitude. It's like the old saying goes: you can take the boy out of the hills, but you can't take the hills out of the boy. That boy did leave the hills—for Hollywood Hills. A true fish out of water, he recalls stories of miserable jobs, the cheapest accommodations, and physical hunger—but also a devoted writing partner Tom Epperson, a life-changing acting teacher in L.A., and a compassionate nurse who snuck him milk shakes when he was near starvation. But there was always the dream of being an actor, and his fortunes turned when he served hors d'oeuvres as a catering waiter to legendary director Billy Wilder, who advised him, "Write about your interesting life."

Billy's long career in Hollywood yields stories of inspired collaborations and failed ones, true friendships with other actors and musicians, and good friends gone too soon. In The Billy Bob Tapes, he reflects on the critics, the culture around fame, and the challenges of conveying an artistic vision in film. Most striking is Billy's clear-eyed perspective about the magic of entertainment, and how we perceive it in a rapidly changing world. With passion, unvarnished honesty, wry humor, and a little help from friends Angelina Jolie, Robert Duvall, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Epperson, and Daniel Lanois, Billy Bob finally talks.

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Editorial Reviews

Austin Chronicle
“Bone-deep East Texas/Arkansas feel . . . rife with Southern gothicisms, delightfully weird digressions, and the sort of 3am philosophizing that Flannery O’Connor had to make up . . . [Thornton is] a natural born storyteller.”
Oxford American
“Thornton’s congenial, spirited delivery makes the story of his life before stardom an unexpected scene stealer . . . Like his approach to acting, The Billy Bob Tapes has a natural, unrehearsed style that’s sure to not only entertain but also to charm. ”
Robert Duvall
“As a writer, Billy Bob puts Tennessee Williams in the back seat.”
New York Times
“Like many Southerners, Mr. Thornton, who grew up in Arkansas, is a gifted storyteller, with an eye for the telling detail and a moving way of blending comedy with tragedy. ”
Chicago Sun-Times
“One of the more readable, insightful and entertaining celebrity autobiographies in recent memory - a tragicomedy that could be turned into its own movie.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594495413
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/15/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Billy Bob Thornton is an actor, screenwriter, director, and musician. In the early 1990s, he wrote, directed, and starred in the independent film Sling Blade, for which he won an Academy Award® for best adapted screenplay and was nominated for best actor. Thornton is a three-time Academy Award® nominee and his body of work includes A Simple Plan, Monster's Ball, The Alamo, Friday Night Lights, The Man Who Wasn't There, Bandits, and Bad Santa. Thornton began a career as a singer-songwriter in his early teens and has released seven albums. He is currently a drummer vocalist in the Boxmasters. He resides in Los Angeles.

Kinky Friedman is an author, musician, defender of strays, cigar smoker, and the Governor of the Heart of Texas.

Kinky Friedman is an author, musician, defender of strays, cigar smoker, and the governor of the heart of Texas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Love it!!!

    Best book I have read in a very long time
    :) I dont read that often but it takes a really good book to keep me wanting more . Good Job!!!! Billy Bob

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Good read

    Showed that he is a man whos job is acting. He is intelligent and crazy at the same time. Nice summer read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Loved it!

    If you love Billy Bob, then you will love this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Penislick

    Woaj

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Blackshine

    Is this our new place? And how long will u be gone for now... i miss u!!!

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Mudpaw

    Um idk why im here.. i just got on and who r u.. egh.. my sister.. im sorry... whatever she told u its not ture.. bleh.. well bye..

    0 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

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    Posted June 12, 2012

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    Posted February 11, 2013

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    Posted June 7, 2013

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    Posted June 6, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews

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