Watching Movies: The Biggest Names in Hollywood Talk About the Films that Matter Most

Overview

An inside look at how some of the hottest figures in the film industry view their craft

In this unique collection, New York Times film critic Rick Lyman sits down with notable directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and other film industry professionals to watch and discuss a movie that each person considers seminal or influential on his or her career. From Steven Soderbergh on how All the President's Men influenced Erin Brockovich and Traffic, to Woody Allen's, John...

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Overview

An inside look at how some of the hottest figures in the film industry view their craft

In this unique collection, New York Times film critic Rick Lyman sits down with notable directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and other film industry professionals to watch and discuss a movie that each person considers seminal or influential on his or her career. From Steven Soderbergh on how All the President's Men influenced Erin Brockovich and Traffic, to Woody Allen's, John Travolta's, Sissy Spacek's, and Kevin Smith's favorite movies, each interviewee's character is revealed in the resulting essays, which deepen our appreciation of landmark films, and give us extraordinary insight into the process of filmmaking.

Lyman enhances every essay with a brief biography, career history, and complete filmography of each of the subjects, which puts them in a historical and creative context.

Drawn from the enormously popular series in The New York Times, Watching Movies will fascinate film students and curious moviegoers alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
For this unique project, drawn from Lyman's popular "Watching Movies With" column of the New York Times, the author sat down with some of Hollywood's major players, both actors and directors, to watch and discuss their favorite movie. As might be expected, their choices varied widely and were occasionally idiosyncratic-Quentin Tarantino selecting a Roy Rogers "B" Western, for instance-but more often they were safe classics like High Noon, To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, and The Graduate. Not surprisingly, the directors-including Ron Howard, Barry Levinson, and Steven Soderbergh-tend to focus on the technical elements, while actors such as John Travolta, Denzel Washington, and Sissy Spacek react more personally to their selections. Ang Lee was the only participant to elect a foreign movie unknown in the United States. Lyman devotes an essay to each interview and completes it with a filmography of the participant's work. Regrettably, the essays often entail more commentary by the author than by his subjects. Many who were asked to participate did not, usually because their handlers did not see any benefit for their employers, itself a telling commentary. Recommended for larger cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, California State Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of exemplary pieces about the movies that influenced contemporary filmmakers. When the editor of the New York Times Weekend section wanted to expand film coverage, Lyman, the paper’s Hollywood correspondent, suggested a series in which he joined famous actors, producers, and directors to watch the movies that shaped their lives. Lyman thereupon got together with the likes of Woody Allen, Kevin Costner, and Nicole Kidman to watch films such as (respectively) Shane, Cool Hand Luke, and The Shining. The results, collected here, range from predictable to surprising and are almost always insightful. Of course, John Travolta gets up and dances after watching Yankee Doodle Dandy, and, yes, Sissy Spacek chokes back a sob near the end of To Kill a Mockingbird. But Quentin Tarantino goes off course, finding depth in a Roy Rogers programmer, and producer Harvey Weinstein sees moments to admire in the largely flatfooted Exodus. In two of many pieces here that film students will value, Ron Howard applies a sharp director’s eye to The Graduate, and Kevin Costner offers a keen actor’s appraisal of Paul Newman’s work in Cool Hand Luke. Curtis Hanson shows why In a Lonely Place merits another look. Director Kevin Smith wishes he could reach the level Fred Zinnemann achieved in A Man for All Seasons, while Wolfgang Peterson praises Zinnemann’s High Noon. Lending cohesion to the collection is a theme the watchers reiterate: films from the late 1960s and ’70s reflect work that was honest, original, and literate, qualities now missing in what Barry Levinson terms "a thin age for storytelling." Also pulling this all together is Lyman’s lively prose. His cogent observations and smooth constructionshould encourage his college film teacher, who complained that the press wrote poorly about film. Vivid takes form an impressive montage.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805070989
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/5/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Lyman, who reports on the film industry for The New York Times, has been writing the "Watching the Movies With" column since 2000.

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Table of Contents

Quentin Tarantino on The Golden Stallion

Janssz Kaminski on Vanishing Point

Ron Howard on The Graduate

Curtis Hanson on In a Lonely Place

Kevin Costner on Cool Hand Luke

Steven Soderbergh on All the President's Men

Ang Lee on Love Eternal

Wolfgang Petersen on High Noon

Harvey Weinstein on Exodus

Michael Bay on West Side Story

Julianne Moore on Rosemary's Baby

Kevin Smith on A Man for All Seasons

Woody Allen on Shame

Denzel Washington on Ordinary People

John Travolta on Yankee Doodle Dandy

Brian Grazer on Blazing Saddles

Wes Anderson on Small Change

Sissy Spacek on To Kill a Mocking Bird

Nicole Kidman on The Shining

Barry Sonnefeld on Dr. Strangelove

Barry Levinson on On the Waterfront

Acknowledgments

Index

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