The Holden Age of Hollywood

The Holden Age of Hollywood

4.1 7
by Phil Brody

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Hollywood died on me as soon as I got here. Welles said that, not me, but damn if he didn’t nail it, you know? Sam Bateman came to Hollywood to settle a score, but amidst the sunny and 75, his plans went astray. Everything changed the day he drank in the intoxicating legend of Meyer Holden, the greatest screenwriter Hollywood has ever known, the one who…  See more details below


Hollywood died on me as soon as I got here. Welles said that, not me, but damn if he didn’t nail it, you know? Sam Bateman came to Hollywood to settle a score, but amidst the sunny and 75, his plans went astray. Everything changed the day he drank in the intoxicating legend of Meyer Holden, the greatest screenwriter Hollywood has ever known, the one who pulled a Salinger and walked away. Holden now tacks pseudonyms onto his works and buries them in the bottomless sea of spec that is Hollywood’s development process. They’re out there for anyone to find—but at what cost? In his quest, Bateman severs all ties and sinks into a maddening world of bad writing and flawed screenplays. Paranoid and obsessive, the belligerent savant encounters an eccentric cast of characters—each with an agenda—in his search for the one writer in Hollywood who does not want to be found. Phil Brody’s The Holden Age of Hollywood is at once a detective novel, an unexpected love story, and a provocative exposé of a broken industry. With dark humor and incisive commentary, the novel immerses readers in a neo-noir quest to attain the Hollywood dream, integrity intact.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Brody's debut novel has an ambitious agenda. It's a coming-of-age novel, a mystery, a love story, and a stinging, knowing send-up of the movie biz." —Booklist (May 2012)

"As the sun came up today, I turned the last page of Phil Brody's The Holden Age of Hollywood. That's because I couldn't put it down. I can rarely make time for novels, but this one had me rifling through pages with constant anticipation." —Doug Jones, actor, Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, and author, Mime Very Own Book

"A startling, beautiful, and unique page turner. And a poignant, focused perspective of life in the Hollywood trenches." —Taryn Southern, actor-singer-comedian

"Brody's written a real fresh-feeling book on the whole Hollywood subject. . . . His style  reminds me a lot of Shane Black or David Mamet—masters at creating their own memorable voices with scant words." —Gregor Collins, author, The Accidental Caregiver

"The Holden Age of Hollywood begins as a journey of personal discovery then mutates into a dark and obsessive pursuit of phantoms through the sulfurous netherworld of Hollywood. Fascinating." —John Knoerle, author of The American Spy Trilogy

"The Holden Age of Hollywood is a great view of the reality of screenwriting. Phil Brody's dark humor and commentary could fast become required reading for all aspiring in Hollywood." —Jeffrey Gordon, founder, Writers Boot Camp

"The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody delivers the premise and promise of its title. It is an original, rollicking, picaresque novel that would make J.D. Salinger proud." —Stan Corwin, former publisher/CEO of Pinnacle Books, author of Betty Page Confidential and Oxy-Morons I Have Known

"Out of five stars, I'd probably give six. . . . It's a great, fast-paced, witty, snarky read." —

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Medallion Media Group
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5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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The Holden Age of Hollywood

By Phil Brody

Medallion Press, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Phil Brody
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-60542-486-6

Chapter One

Doing Time

"What are you in for?"

Fourth time tonight I'm asked this question. It's the city's trendy new way of inquiring, "What do you do?"

"Actor." Fourth different answer I've given tonight.

I'm in the Hills at an industry party hosted by a guy I despise. House is way too crowded, music's way too loud. Everyone here thinks their shit not only doesn't stink but might make a good movie. Welcome to LA.

Guy I despise is Justin Lackey, an A-list prick I work with in Development. In case your only movie experience comes in between the tearing of your ten-dollar ticket and the pissing away of six-dollar Coca-Colas, development is the process of finding, acquiring, polishing, and packaging the scripts that ultimately help fill said multiplex near you.

Lackey and I work for Jon Foster, a dinosaur in Hollywood whose last real days in the sun occurred in the late seventies. His initial success made him relevant for almost thirty years, but it's painfully obvious his days as a player in the industry are numbered. So what are we doing working for the near extinct? Biding time before we make our own moves in the game of chess that is Hollywood. That's fundamentally why we hate each other. When you're swimming with the sharks, you don't make friends. You wait for the smell of blood. Then you feast.

Shark tank of a party is wearing on me. Current conversation grates. Told I'll never be a successful actor in this town because my look is way too Kinkoed. The comment shouldn't bother me, but the chick who said it irks me, so I ask, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Your look. It's too off-the-rack."

Speak LA, as I do now after more than a year in this wretched hive, and you'd realize this means too many actors look like me. This might resonate if I wanted to be an actor. I don't. It would also mean something if I even remotely wanted to bang this girl. I don't. She looks too Starbucked for my taste—all bitter and burned out. I like them on the chaste side. Hard to find in this town, but I aspire.

I escape to the patio, perch myself at the bar, where the bartenders can't pour the Red Bull or the Kettle One fast enough. I watch them work, mesmerized by the stampede for this overhyped mixture of depressant and upper. I know no one uses terms like that anymore—depressant, upper. Call me old-fashioned. Actually, call me well-rounded. Helps me do my job and deal with the reason I'm doing time in this town. Drink to that.

"Another gin and tonic?"

I nod once to my best friend at this party, my only friend in this fucking town—the bartender. Not this bartender per se. Every bartender. They mix a cure for what ails me. Sure, it's a momentary cure, but those are some of my happiest moments. Way it is.

Too many people. Too loud. Attitudes starting to asphyxiate. I stare at the sea of lights, the view from the Hills of this coldfuckcold city that's 75 degrees every day. It's an endless four-story grid of isolated, lock-the-door-behind-you lives, where everyone is either so wrapped up in creating their own success story or so damaged from their failure that resentment for one another is all we have in common.

Lights everywhere twinkle, look so inviting, but it's a trick. I know it.

The drug I'm sipping starts to work its magic, and my thoughts are set adrift. I ponder whether the decision I've been mulling the last few weeks, the journey I believe I'm about to embark upon, is my destiny or my density. Destiny. Density. Amazing how those words are so close. Just a matter of how the letters fall.

Thoughts get derailed when someone enters the picture. This tall, slender, smoking hot gotta-be-an-actress with stellar gams and straight black hair that almost meets her I swear-sometimes-God-is-an-artist perfect ass. Love her right off the bat. Trust me, you would too.

She saunters my way. Truth told, she merely enters the crime scene that's unfolding around me. She approaches the bar where my ass has been suffocating this barstool for the last hour, while leaving incriminating fingerprints on many a glass. She busts me. I introduce myself and we shake hands. Touch of her skin confirms a smoldering attraction. The smile in her chestnut eyes ignites it.

Her name is Share. Just Share. I'm not making this up. She even spells it for me. Also confirm she's indeed an actress as I help her and her friend, who's incessantly scanning the crowd, obtain drinks. She and I cheers, dance together with words.

"You know Justin?" she inquires.

"I work with that son of a bitch. You?"

She grins. "He is a son of a bitch."

"What kind of name is Share?"

"The kind I was given."

"Come on. Unless you were born here, there's no way."

She laughs, but I can tell she's pissed.

"Where you from? What's your real name?"

"Thanks for the drink," she says as she disregards me.

"That's it? All I get?"

"Do I owe you something?"

"No, Share," I say with sarcastic emphasis on her given name, "you don't owe me anything, for the drink or the chat. Both are overpriced anyway."

"Drinks are free. No one's paying tonight."

"You can believe that, but you're wrong. Nothing's free here. Ever."

She stares at me, pontificates, "You're not the kind of guy who's afraid to merge in LA, are you?"

Makes me laugh but also have to ask, "What are you talking about?"

Should've played the game, should have said, "Do you know who I am?" I'm nobody, but no one knows that and therein lies the secret to Coldfuckcold, California.

Share turns to her chubby, UGG-wearing friend who's not listening and says, "See?"

Her tone makes me hate her. Trust me, you'd hate her too. "See what?"

"You'll never be on the list."

"What list?"

"Any list."

I seethe. Take a swig of Hindsight mixed with 20/20 and lean in, making sure she can hear me. "Yeah? Well, Ass Eyes, you'll be making porn inside of a year. And not that glossy Vivid Video stuff either. It's gonna be fetish flicks and bukkake videos for you until the day you die a lonesome and disease-laden death."

"Did you just call me Ass Eyes?"


"What the fuck is that?"

"Let me clarify. Your eyes. They look like shitty, brown assholes. Two of 'em. That's what the fuck that is. Now you can hurry back to the parade of delusion where, like everyone else, you're obviously somebody important."

She laughs. We talk another thirty minutes. She stares at my lips the entire time, which I hope you know is a good sign.

As her UGG-wearing friend finally pulls her away in search of a better vantage point, I garner her digits. All ten.

Watching her out-of-my-league ass sway bye-bye, I can only smile.

Welcome to LA. My lot in life.


Excerpted from The Holden Age of Hollywood by Phil Brody Copyright © 2012 by Phil Brody. Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Holden Age of Hollywood 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Innovative Online Book Tours, in exchange for an honest an unbiased review What Stephanie Thinks: The essence of Hollywood cinema — the omnipresent and growing monster that constitutes it — is captured perfectly in Brody's observant, almost journalistic, novel. Sam Bateman's voice is strong, the perfect balance of humor, self-depreciation with an ironic tinge of haughtiness, and stunning insight, so I give Brody kudos for that, but I wasn't too fond of the actual flow of the book. Mostly it's because there's hardly any interaction. Brody's certainly got a way with words and is able to demonstrate Bateman's thinking process and immediate activities (i.e. his mission to find the next Holden ticket), but the lack of dialogue, the lack of actual progress, makes it kind of a boring read. Don't get me wrong; as a whole, I did enjoy The Holden Age of Hollywood because I love the concept of the hidden scripts of genius, as well as a wronged man's journey to find it. I can't say I've ever read a book as creative yet at the same time, raw, as this one. But the plot structure and slow headway make it a less-than-fabulous read. The style, I like. Brody has potential, some of which is displayed in his debut novel. The plot itself is decent too, with messages that play out well, including those regarding determination, the everpresent conceptual death and dying of Hollywood, as well as the power of intimacy and love. My verdict: good? Yes. Great? Not really. The Holden Age of Hollywood is a novel about discovery, about self-indictment and self-approval with an obscure tone and penetrating wisdom. With a bit of work, such as the rearrangement of certain events, the cut of some of the footnotes/historical pieces that drag on, and copyediting, it might be more enjoyable, but I think for the most part, my judgment would regardless remain the same. Stephanie Loves: "He drinks, spews this advice: 'Write what you know.' Leaning in close, he whispers, 'And write what you know will get you laid ... Seriously, though, make it unique. Don't be bothered if some people don't like it. Simply find the one person who loves it.'" — I think this is the perfect essence of what writing is, what it should be, conveyed eloquently with a dash of vulgarity and a tragic sense of humor. Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back.
THESELF-TAUGHTCOOK More than 1 year ago
When Sam Bateman was going through his late father's effects, he discovered a whole treasure trove of screenplays. All had been declined by the same Hollywood development company. Fueled by a desire for revenge, Bateman sells everything and relocates to Hollywood where he begins to carry out a plan to get even. His plan for revenge is derailed when he goes on a search for the reclusive Meyer Holden, a screenwriter who after several successes went into hiding and has not been heard from since. Occasionally, a screenplay surfaces that has all the characteristics of a Holden, but it is next to impossible to prove. Sam becomes obsessed to the point of ending almost all relationships. I couldn't help but wonder if the author was trying to make an ironic, inside joke with the choice of the character's name. Meyer Holden is similar to Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Meyer Holden is similar to Salinger in that he is a writer who, at the height of his success has decided to go into hiding and refuses to write, despite public protests. There were enough references to Hollywood history to hold my interest and the plot was interesting most of the time, but the characters were not appealing. 3 stars *Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Innovative Online Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Innovative Online Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*
thesap More than 1 year ago
Part detective novel, part coming of age tale, part romantic work of love for a woman, a city, and a possible red herring, this book is a page turner/brain pleaser. In a time where Hollywood and modern fiction seem to be churning out lazy, uninventive "reboots" and "relaunches" (buzzwords for crap they already own and don't have to pay true talent to acquire effortless new version of) The Holden Age of Hollywood delivers an adrenaline shot to the heart of anyone who loves a great story. If you love Hollywood, if you hate Hollywood, if you love the movies of Humphrey Bogart and the novels of Charles Bukowski, if you've ever had a shot of whiskey or sucked down a mimosa at a champagne brunch, if you've ever driven yourself mad chasing sleep that never comes because you have a thousand-million ideas that won't leave your head, if you like to root for the good guy or you really dig characters that add a new level of stink to the word a#@hole, if you like the simple pleasure you get from having a genuine laugh, if you simply like to read words that feel like the thoughts in your head you wish you had said at that party earlier in the evening, then this book will earn a special place in your life. It is proof, pure and simple, that there are indeed amazing writers out there and gives me hope that the out of touch, money minded monarchs that run Hollywood will one day leave their meritless opinions and need for validation at home and hire a talent like author Phil Brody to pump some blood into the veins of a stale, decaying industry. A great work by a true craft master.
jessicadruck More than 1 year ago
If anyone knows Hollywood, author Phil Brody knows Hollywood. The Holden Age of Hollywood is a cynical and witty look at the real town, a town full of pretentious nightclubs packed with people waiting to be discovered and villainess executives who will do anything to be the best in town. Brody does a prodigious job exposing the often underappreciated business of screenwriting all while unfolding an unexpected love story and a snarky play on Hollywood's most cliché attribute: its residents. I highly recommend this book and hope for more! I can't remember the last time something expressed my feelings about a place so well and grabbed me at page one.
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
I will begin by saying this is not my normal type of book to read. I did find it hard to follow at times, but most of it made sense. I cannot say I am a thorough fan of this book, but please understand this is just my opinion. I did enjoy getting a glimpse into the life of Hollywood and screenwriting. I had never thought about how many people write screenplays and send them off to Hollywood studios. I also did not realize how much drugs and more were still a part of the Hollywood scene, but I suppose I should not have been surprised. Holden was quite a character, and the mystery behind him did make one wonder throughout the book. There is a love story, but it is not the central feature of the book. I grew very tired of the profanity in the book. I am sure that the language is realistic, but when there is so much of it, I do tend to get turned off to a book. But again, that is my opinion only. No bedroom scenes, though. The style of the book was quite unusual. There were articles interspersed with scripts and more. Some of that made the story interesting, but other portions of this style made it confusing for me. I would have preferred the footnotes being in the back rather than within the chapter, but if you actually read the footnotes, you will certainly learn! I could not guarantee that anyone would like or not like this book. It all comes down to style. It is a mystery, but it is not your typical mystery. It is a romance, but it is not your typical romance. If you are truly interested in some of the inner workings of Hollywood told in a somewhat entertaining style, this could very well the book for you. I was sent of copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago