I honestly can't remember the last time I felt such sheer visceral delirious enjoyment of a book as Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas. It's nearly 800 pages but I've gone through it in a few days and I'm a slowwwwww reader. Eszterhas is a screenwriter responsible for such gems as Flashdance, Jagged Edge, Music Box (actually a great movie), Basic Instinct and erm, Showgirls. The book is by turns egotistical, mawkish, insulting, funny, gossipy, libelous, moving and powerful. Not what you'd expect at all looking at the cover.
I remember the first time my dad offered to take me to the 'pictures' when I was 5. All I could imagine was a big white room with empty, gilded picture frames on the walls and I didn't want to go. But we went anyway and saw Esacpe to Witch Mountain and that was it - my love affair with movies began. In the following years it was Star Wars (boring), Close Encounters (Mind-blowing), Alien (I didn't actually go but my pops came home and relayed in all its glorious, gory detail the stomach-exploding scene) and ET (A bit soft but I remember standing in the queue and dad asking loudly what I thought ET stood for - The Extra TESTICLE, ha ha. I was embarrassed). As a teenager through to my early twenties I secretly wanted to be a director. When I read a book I saw it as a film. I still believe my as yet unmade The Idiot by Dostoevsky would have been one of the greatest films ever. But it was only after I started to read about hollywood and it's machinations and the type of person you had to be to make it I realised with sadness but some relief that the directors life was not to be. I returned to my other great love - making stuff. (How did I ever end up a bookseller?)
Anyway, still given the choice between a film I want to see and a book I want to read the movie always come first (how DID I become a bookseller?). It's no wonder I really love the Eszterhas book - it's the best of both my worlds.
ps Reading my last few posts I think I need a break. I'm off to Brussels for 4 days on monday. This time I really will be going to the Pictures - the Breughel room in the gallery and I shall try and find some peace and humility.