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Who Killed Hollywood?: And Put the Tarnish on Tinseltown

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Memo to: Filmmakers, Dealmakers, Scribes, Stars, Suits, and Readers

Who killed Hollywood? Who's responsible for studios hellbent on assembly-line "event" pictures? Why are production costs so high that no one can take artistic risks? Who decided that the studios should be a development arm of them parks? What happened to putting actual stories with characters onscreen?

And while we're at it, what happened to ...

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Overview

Memo to: Filmmakers, Dealmakers, Scribes, Stars, Suits, and Readers

Who killed Hollywood? Who's responsible for studios hellbent on assembly-line "event" pictures? Why are production costs so high that no one can take artistic risks? Who decided that the studios should be a development arm of them parks? What happened to putting actual stories with characters onscreen?

And while we're at it, what happened to taste? Where are the believable human characters buried? Are all the execs out of control? How does so much money get spent for so little?

Who Killed Hollywood? is a passionate love/hate letter to the film industry. In it, Peter Bart pulls together his best columns form Variety and GQ. He groups them, juxtaposes them, and interprets them, outlining in detail the history and inner workings of Hollywood. This could only be done by someone powerful enough to phone an star or head of studio and have his calls taken on the first ring.

In story after story, Bart shows how the major studios have diverted their energies away from production of the shrewdly crafted pictures that once made the industry powerful. There isn't, for example, much range or innovation in the movies. There is only a handful of salable subjects-natural disasters, aliens, dinosaurs, ghosts, monsters, or any combination thereof. All the subjects easily parlayed into theme-park environments, action figures, video games, and clothing lines. Similarly, since Jaws twenty years ago, there's been a very short list of acceptable settings. The 1998 Academy Award nominations for best picture all went to films set in Elizabethan times or during World War II. A few years ago it looked as though Pulp Fiction and other independent films were going to save showbiz. Now independent producers like Miramax and New Line have been acquired by conglomerates.

Who and what will resurrect Hollywood? Peter Bart has the answers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Your insights on human nature and people in show business have always fascinated me. Thank God we're friends!" —Bernie Brillstein

"There is no more intrepid guide in the Hollywood jungle and its predators and prey than Peter Bart who knows it all and is not afraid of man or mogul. His book is the Baedeker of movieland. Must reading for all who care." —David Brown

"Peter Bart knows whereof he writes..." —Liz Smith

"Bart knows the movie business inside out...a masterclass player of the box-office guessing game." —Los Angeles Times

"Bart's columns are very smart, very well written and very quotable." —Newsweek

Library Journal
The answer to the title question is not to be found in this juicy collection of essays penned by a former Hollywood player who has more than a few axes to grind. The bitchy, gossipy quality of his "memos" to the various studio chieftains, actors, and celebrities with whom he ever crossed swords is the main appeal of Bart's writings for the industry rag Variety. Tongue lashings the likes of which have never been heard before will make listeners laugh with glee as the power brokers and power elite of Hollywood get a kick in the rear from one who surely suffers from a severe case of sour grapes. Bart's stance on an issue is always sharp and pithy, although his viewpoint waffles from essay to essay. Stephen Spielberg is hailed for being the auteur behind such films as Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, but his name also appears on the author's "bad list" of producers who have turned movies into franchises for the merchandizing of tie-ins. Narrator Edward Lewis's voice is perfect for this production, being a cross between Tony Randall and the character of Jack from the television show Will & Grace. Great fun and highly recommended. Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The
Few people understand the complex interplay of idiosyncratic personality, fiscal imperative, and aesthetic consideration behind contemporary moviemaking as well as Bart, who was for many years a studio executive before becoming the editor-in-chief of Variety. This collection presents the work of a virtuoso kibbitzer as he analyzes the moves of major dealmakers, directors, writers and producers over the past decade...With vinegar wit, Bart deflates the self-important, offers unsolicited advice to studio heads and stars, and vainly seeks to instill historical memory and a sense of conscience in an industry ruled by perpetual attention-deficit disorder.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580631167
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Bart is editor-in-chief of Variety, Daily Variety, and Daily Variety-Gotham Edition. A true Hollywood insider, he has been a studio executive at Paramount and MGM/UA, and a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is the author of The Gross, Fadeout: The Calamitous Final Days of MGM, and two novels. His columns in GQ and Variety are widely respected, if not feared, in the industry.

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