Unkindest Cut: How a Hatchet-Man Critic Made His Own $7,000 Movie and Put It All on His Credit Card

Overview

Following in the maverick mold of Quentin Tarentino, Spike Lee, and Richard Rodriguez, Joe Queenan becomes an auteur and, in the process, funnier than ever, as he tries to master the art of writing, directing, scoring, casting, and marketing a movie--all by himself.
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Overview

Following in the maverick mold of Quentin Tarentino, Spike Lee, and Richard Rodriguez, Joe Queenan becomes an auteur and, in the process, funnier than ever, as he tries to master the art of writing, directing, scoring, casting, and marketing a movie--all by himself.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Queenan saw Robert Rodriguez's award-winning film El Mariachi, which was reputedly made for only $7000, he thought he'd like to duplicate the feat. Because of his extreme dislike of 12-step recovery programs, he decided to make a movie-12 Steps to Death-about an ex-LAPD cop whose life was ruined when a "schizoid anorexic recovering alcoholic with Attention Deficit Disorder slammed into the car, kill[ing] his wife and kids." Queenan plugged the film on the nationally syndicated Imus-in-the-Morning radio program and dreamed of the glories that lay ahead. But fantasy quickly turned to dreaded reality as he strived to write a screenplay, recruit neighbors as actors and lay out the filming over a 10-day period in Tarrytown, N.Y., where he lived. We see Queenan as he takes the $279 Hollywood Film Institute course; learns the astronomical cost of everything from camera rental to buying film stock. In the end Queenan is left with a bill for more than $67,000. Fans of Queenan (If You're Talking to Me, Your Career Must Be in Trouble) will find this memoir funny in parts but often tedious and repetitious, and student filmmakers may find it interesting for its nuts-and-bolts information. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
After reading that Richard Rodriguez had made El Mariachi for $7000, Queenan, film critic for Movieline, GQ, and many other publications, decided that "all Rodriguez had proven was that someone could make a movie for $7,000. What would be really cool was proving that anyone could make a movie for $7,000. And that anyone was going to be me." This book is the story of that colossal error in judgment. The film, entitled Twelve Steps to Death, is about the murder of a controversial psychiatrist who counsels the recovering population of No Quarter, Wisconsin. The script (about one-fifth of the book) is hilarious, promising the kind of offbeat, indy film that studios are buying by the boatload these days. Unfortunately, the resultant movie stinks by most accounts. The rest of the book deals with how that script became that particular movie-i.e., the day-to-day workings of a movie under production. Hidden among the anecdotes of this movie directed by a writer who's never directed, starring his neighbors, most of whom have never acted, is a readable guide to making a movie; but this is more a cautionary tale than a how-to manual. Don't try this at home. Recommended for film and humor collections of academic and large public libraries.-Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786881987
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.87 (h) x 0.87 (d)

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