M. Keith Booker has selected fifteen of the most successful and innovative science fiction films of all time, and examined each of them at length--from cultural, technical and cinematic perspectives--to see where they came from and what they meant for the future of cinema and for America at large. From "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to "Star Wars," from "Blade Runner" to "The Matrix," these landmark films have expressed our fears and dreams, our abilities and our deficiencies. In this deep-seeking investigation, we can all find something of ourselves that we recognize, as well as something that we've never recognized before.
The focus on a fairly small number of landmark films allows detailed attention to genuinely original movies, including: "Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Robocop, The Abyss, Independence Day," and "The Matrix." This book is ideal for general readers interested in science fiction and film.
Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children's Films recaps the entire history of movies for young viewers from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to this year's Up then focuses on the extraordinary output of children's films in the last two decades. What Booker finds is that by and large, their lessons are decidedly, comfortably mainstream and any political subtext more often than not is inadvertent. Booker also offers some advice to parents for helping children read films in a more sophisticated way."
"Drawn to Television" describes the content and style of all the major prime-time animated series, while also placing these series within their political and cultural contexts. It also tackles a number of important questions about animated programming, such as: how animated series differ from conventional series; why animated programming tends to be so effective as a vehicle for social and political satire; what makes animated characters so readily convertible into icons; and what the likely effects of new technologies (such as digital animation) will be on this genre in the future.
"Blue-Collar Pop Culture: From NASCAR to Jersey Shore" provides a sophisticated, accessible, and entertaining examination of the intersection between American popular culture and working-class life in America. Covering topics as diverse as the attacks of September 11th, union loyalties, religion, trailer parks, professional wrestling, and Elvis Presley, the essays in this two-volume work will appeal to general readers and be valuable to scholars and students studying American popular culture.
Meanwhile, American science fiction of the long 1950s also engages its historical and political contexts through an interrogation of phenomena, such as alienation and routinization, that can be seen as consequences of the development of American capitalism during this period. This economic trend is part of the rise of the global phenomenon that Marxist theorists have called late capitalism. Thus, American science fiction during this period reflects the rise of late capitalism and participates in the beginnings of postmodernism, described by Frederic Jameson as the cultural logic of late capitalism.
"From Box Office to Ballot Box" takes as its subject films exploring the electoral process, the process of governing, and the involvement of the media in both. Separate chapters also deal with films related to specific political issues or phenomena that are particularly relevant to the above three categories, including labor and class, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the other recent conflicts in which the media has played such a large role. Specific films discussed include: "Citizen Kane, All the King's Men, The Manchurian Candidate, All the Presidents' Men, The Front, M*A*S*H*, JFK, Nixon, Wag the Dog, Three Kings, Black Hawk Down, The Quiet American, The Contender," and many more.
The comprehensive and broad coverage of this set is organized chronologically by volume. Volume 1 covers 1960 and earlier; Volume 2 covers 1960–1980; Volume 3 covers 1980–1995; and Volume 4 covers 1995 to the present. The chronological divisions give readers a sense of the evolution of comics within the larger contexts of American culture and history. The alphabetically arranged entries in each volume address topics such as comics publishing, characters, imprints, genres, themes, titles, artists, writers, and more. While special attention is paid to American comics, the entries also include coverage of British, Japanese, and European comics that have influenced illustrated storytelling of the United States or are of special interest to American readers.
Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels focuses on English-language comics—plus a small selection of influential Japanese and European works available in English—with special emphasis on the new graphic novel format that emerged in the 1970s. Entries cover influential comic artists and writers such as Will Eisner, Alan Moore, and Grant Morrison, major genres and themes, and specific characters, comic book imprints, and landmark titles, including the pulp noir 100 Bullets, the post-apocalyptic Y: The Last Man, the revisionist superhero drama, Identity Crisis, and more. Key franchises such as Superman and Batman are the center of a constellation of related entries that include graphic novels and other imprints featuring the same characters or material.
Focusing on Karl Radek's criticisms of Joyce, the volume begins with a detailed discussion of the rejection of Joyce's writings by many leftist critics. It then examines those aspects of "Ulysses" that can be taken as a diagnosis and criticism of the social ills brought to Ireland by British capitalism. The following chapters explore Joyce's language as part of his critique of capitalism, the role of history in his works, the failure of Joyce to represent the lower classes of colonial Dublin, and the political implications of Joyce's writings.
Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is widely regarded as the most important of the numerous African novelists who gained global attention in the second half of the 20th century. Achebe is certainly the African writer best known in the West, and his first novel, "Things Fall Apart," is a founding text of postcolonial African literature and regarded as one of the central works of world literature of the last 50 years. Though best known as a novelist, Achebe is also a critic, activist, and spokesman for African culture. This reference is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to his life and writings. Included are several hundred alphabetically arranged entries. Some of these are substantive summary discussions of Achebe's major works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Other topics include all of his major fictional characters and settings, important concepts and issues central to his writings, historical persons, places, and events relevant to his works, and influential texts by other writers. Entries are written by expert contributors and close with brief bibliographies. The volume also provides a general bibliography and chronology.
Blue-Collar Pop Culture: From NASCAR to Jersey Shore provides a sophisticated, accessible, and entertaining examination of the intersection between American popular culture and working-class life in America. Covering topics as diverse as the attacks of September 11th, union loyalties, religion, trailer parks, professional wrestling, and Elvis Presley, the essays in this two-volume work will appeal to general readers and be valuable to scholars and students studying American popular culture.
The Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction in Literature covers the history of science fiction in literature through a chronology, an introductory essay, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 300 cross-referenced entries including
significant people; themes; critical issues; and the most significant genres that have formed science fiction literature.
This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about this subject.
In addition to well-known literary novels, such as Nabokov's Lolita, Booker explores a large body of leftist fiction, popular novels, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney. The book argues that while the canonical novels of the period employ a utopian aesthetic, that aesthetic tends to be very weak and is not reinforced by content. The leftist novels, on the other hand, employ a realist aesthetic but are utopian in their exploration of alternatives to capitalism. The study concludes that the utopian energies in cultural productions of the long 1950s are very weak, and that these works tend to dismiss utopian thinking as na DEGREESDive or even sinister. The weak utopianism in these works tends to be reflected in characteristics associated with postmodernism.
In Mad Men: A Cultural History, M. Keith Booker and Bob Batchelor offer an engaging analysis of the series, providing in-depth examinations of its many themes and nostalgic portrayals of the years from Camelot to Vietnam and beyond. Highly regarded cultural scholars and critics, Booker and Batchelor examine the show in its entirety, presenting readers with a deep but accessible exploration of the series, as well as look at its larger meanings and implications. This cultural history perspective reveals Mad Men’s critical importance as a TV series, as well as its role as a tool for helping viewers understand how they are shaped by history and culture.
As a showcase in America’s new “golden age of television,” Mad Men reveals the deep hold history and nostalgia have on viewers, particularly when combined with stunning visuals and intricate writing and storylines. With this volume as their guide, readers will enjoy contemplating the show’s place among the most lauded popular culture touchstones of the twenty-first century. As it engages with ideas central to the American experience—from the evolution of gender roles to family dynamics and workplace relationships—Mad Men: A Cultural History brings to life the significance of this profound yet entertaining series.
The volume focuses on socialist culture in the industrialized world, primarily Eastern Europe and the West. An introductory essay overviews socialist cultural productions of the 20th century, while the chapters that follow address a wide range of topics. These include Soviet socialist realist fiction and film musicals, the socialist drama of Bertolt Brecht, and British and American leftist fiction. The volume demonstrates that propagandistic Cold War depictions of socialism as a threat to artistic expression were inaccurate and misleading.
The book begins with a brief historical survey of the development of this important cultural phenomenon. It then provides detailed entries for more than 260 films associated with the American Left. The entries are arranged chronologically, so that the reader may trace the cinematic representation of the American Left across time. The entries include not only plot summaries, but also critical examinations of the political content and implications of the films. Included are discussions of such classic works as Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath, along with considerations of more recent films, such as Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, and Men with Guns. Two appendixes and index provide alphabetical access to the entries. The individual entries provide brief bibliographical citations, while the volume closes with a bibliography.
The contributors give special attention to the strong anticolonial legacy of socialism and the important role played by socialism in subsequent attempts to build viable postcolonial cultural identities. Included are chapters on creative works from China, Africa, and the Caribbean, as well as the works of multicultural artists from the United States who stand in relation to Third World cultures. The essays show that global socialist cultural production was rich and varied during the twentieth century and continues to be so, despite the tribulations experienced by socialism itself. While some of the chapters address theoretical concerns central to all socialist cultures, the volume focuses primarily on socialist cultures in those parts of the globe that were never fully inside either the Soviet or the American bloc.
International in scope, Literature and Politics Today: The Political Nature of Modern Fiction, Poetry, and Drama covers writing ranging from the beginning of the 20th century to the present, with special emphasis on works written in English. The content of the some 150 alphabetically arranged entries is ideal for high school students working on assignments involving literature to explore such current yet historically ongoing social issues as censorship and propaganda. This book is appropriate for public libraries where it will serve to support student research and to help general readers learn more about enduring political concerns through literary works. Academic libraries will find this reference a valuable guide for undergraduates studying literature, history, political science, law, and other disciplines.
From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed…funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.
In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Ten years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.
Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, explaining how the movie’s many nonsensical scenes and bits of dialogue came to be and unraveling the mystery of Tommy Wiseau himself. But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.
Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.
With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.
Here is the remarkable, untold story of how five major Hollywood directors—John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, and Frank Capra—changed World War II, and how, in turn, the war changed them. In a move unheard of at the time, the U.S. government farmed out its war propaganda effort to Hollywood, allowing these directors the freedom to film in combat zones as never before. They were on the scene at almost every major moment of America’s war, shaping the public’s collective consciousness of what we’ve now come to call the good fight. The product of five years of scrupulous archival research, Five Came Back provides a revelatory new understanding of Hollywood’s role in the war through the life and work of these five men who chose to go, and who came back.
“Five Came Back . . . is one of the great works of film history of the decade.” --Slate
“A tough-minded, information-packed and irresistibly readable work of movie-minded cultural criticism. Like the best World War II films, it highlights marquee names in a familiar plot to explore some serious issues: the human cost of military service, the hypnotic power of cinema and the tension between artistic integrity and the exigencies of war.” --The New York Times
Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.
Levitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. As always, no topic is off-limits. They range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.
Some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak:First, put away your moral compass—because it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it. Learn to say “I don’t know”—for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to. Think like a child—because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions. Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world. Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day. Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.
Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.
Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 editionThe original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.
– Bob Gale, co-creator, co-producer, and co-writer of the Back to the Future trilogy
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic Back to the Future trilogy
Long before Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time in a flying DeLorean, director Robert Zemeckis, and his friend and writing partner Bob Gale, worked tirelessly to break into the industry with a hit. During their journey to realize their dream, they encountered unprecedented challenges and regularly took the difficult way out.
For the first time ever, the story of how these two young filmmakers struck lightning is being told by those who witnessed it. We Don’t Need Roads draws from over 500 hours of interviews, including original interviews with Zemeckis, Gale, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Huey Lewis, and over fifty others who contributed to one of the most popular and profitable film trilogies of all time. The book includes a 16-page color photo insert with behind-the-scenes pictures, concept art, and more.
With a focus not only on the movies, but also the lasting impact of the franchise and its fandom, We Don’t Need Roads is the ultimate read for anyone who has ever wanted to ride a Hoverboard, hang from the top of a clock tower, travel through the space-time continuum, or find out what really happened to Eric Stoltz after the first six weeks of filming. So, why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here – and start reading! We Don’t Need Roads is your density.
"What fun! Deeply researched and engagingly written … the book Back to the Future fans have been craving for decades. Geekily enthusiastic and chock full of never-before-heard tales of what went on both on and off the screen, We Don't Need Roads is a book worthy of the beloved trilogy itself." – Brian Jay Jones, author of the national bestseller Jim Henson: The Biography
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Hitchcock, film critic François Truffaut presents fifty hours of interviews with Alfred Hitchcock about the whole of his vast directorial career, from his silent movies in Great Britain to his color films in Hollywood. The result is a portrait of one of the greatest directors the world has ever known, an all-round specialist who masterminded everything, from the screenplay and the photography to the editing and the soundtrack. Hitchcock discusses the inspiration behind his films and the art of creating fear and suspense, as well as giving strikingly honest assessments of his achievements and failures, his doubts and hopes. This peek into the brain of one of cinema’s greats is a must-read for all film aficionados.
It's the mid-1960s, and westerns, war movies and blockbuster musicals-Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music-dominate the box office. The Hollywood studio system, with its cartels of talent and its production code, is hanging strong, or so it would seem. Meanwhile, Warren Beatty wonders why his career isn't blooming after the success of his debut in Splendor in the Grass; Mike Nichols wonders if he still has a career after breaking up with Elaine May; and even though Sidney Poitier has just made history by becoming the first black Best Actor winner, he's still feeling completely cut off from opportunities other than the same "noble black man" role. And a young actor named Dustin Hoffman struggles to find any work at all.
By the Oscar ceremonies of the spring of 1968, when In the Heat of the Night wins the 1967 Academy Award for Best Picture, a cultural revolution has hit Hollywood with the force of a tsunami. The unprecedented violence and nihilism of fellow nominee Bonnie and Clyde has shocked old-guard reviewers but helped catapult Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway into counterculture stardom and made the movie one of the year's biggest box-office successes. Just as unprecedented has been the run of nominee The Graduate, which launched first-time director Mike Nichols into a long and brilliant career in filmmaking, to say nothing of what it did for Dustin Hoffman, Simon and Garfunkel, and a generation of young people who knew that whatever their future was, it wasn't in plastics. Sidney Poitier has reprised the noble-black-man role, brilliantly, not once but twice, in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night, movies that showed in different ways both how far America had come on the subject of race in 1967 and how far it still had to go.
What City of Nets did for Hollywood in the 1940s and Easy Riders, Raging Bulls for the 1970s, Pictures at a Revolution does for Hollywood and the cultural revolution of the 1960s. As we follow the progress of these five movies, we see an entire industry change and struggle and collapse and grow-we see careers made and ruined, studios born and destroyed, and the landscape of possibility altered beyond all recognition. We see some outsized personalities staking the bets of their lives on a few films that became iconic works that defined the generation-and other outsized personalities making equally large wagers that didn't pan out at all.
The product of extraordinary and unprecedented access to the principals of all five films, married to twenty years' worth of insight covering the film industry and a bewitching storyteller's gift, Mark Harris's Pictures at a Revolution is a bravura accomplishment, and a work that feels iconic itself.
Brian de Palma's brash, bloody version of Scarface was trashed by critics when it came out twenty-five years ago and didn't do well at the box office, but has become a spectacular fan favorite and enduring pop culture classic since.
"Never underestimate the greed of the other guy."
What makes millions of people obsess over this movie? Why has Al Pacino's Tony Montana become the drug kingpin whose pugnacity and philosophy are revered in boardrooms and bedrooms across America? Who were the people that made the movie, influencing hip-hop style and swagger to this day?
"The world is yours."
Scarface Nation is Ken Tucker's homage to all things Scarface—from the stars that acted in it to the influence it's had on all of us, from facts, figures and stories about the making of the movie to a witty and comprehensive look at Scarface's traces in today's pop and political culture.
"Say hello to my li'l fren!"
You know you love the line. You know you've seen the movie more than once. Now dive into the ultimate book of Scarface—mounded as high as the pile of cocaine on Tony's desk with delicious details and stimulating observations.
"You know what capitalism is? F--- you!"
This book gives readers an up-close and personal, behind-the-scenes look at the family in the exploding A&E® show—Duck Dynasty®. This Louisiana bayou family operates Duck Commander, a booming family business that has made them millions. You’ll hear all about the Robertson clan from Willie and what it was like growing up in the Robertson household. You’ll sample some of Willie’s favorite family recipes from Phil, Kay, and even some of his own concoctions; and you’ll get to know the beautiful Robertson women. You’ll hear from Korie about the joys and hardships of raising a family, running a business, and wrangling the Robertson men while staying fashionable and beautiful inside and out. Discover more about the family dynamics between brothers Willie, Jase, Jep, and parents Phil and Kay. You’ll even meet a fourth brother who isn’t in the show.
The popularity of Duck Dynasty is skyrocketing, garnering a Wednesday-night top two finish in all of cable. The book releases in time for season two of the show in October 2012.
Bette Davis's eyes, Joan Crawford's bitchy elegance, Stepin Fetchit's stereotype, Sidney Poitier's superhuman black man... These are the movie stars and the qualities that influenced James Baldwin... and now become part of his incisive look at racism in American movies.
Baldwin challenges the underlying assumptions in such films as In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and The Exorcist, offering us a vision of America's self-delusions and deceptions. Here are our loves and hates, biases and cruelties, fears and ignorance reflected by the films that have entertained us and shaped our consciousness. And here, too, is the stunning prose of a writer whose passion never diminished his struggle for equality, justice, and social change.
From The Birth of a Nation to The Exorcist--one of America's most important writers turns his critical eye to American film.
Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, wrote biweekly essays for a feature called "The Great Movies," in which he offered a fresh and fervent appreciation of a great film. The Great Movies collects one hundred of these essays, each one of them a gem of critical appreciation and an amalgam of love, analysis, and history that will send readers back to that film with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm–or perhaps to an avid first-time viewing.
Ebert’s selections range widely across genres, periods, and nationalities, and from the highest achievements in film art to justly beloved and wildly successful popular entertainments. Roger Ebert manages in these essays to combine a truly populist appreciation for our most important form of popular art with a scholar’s erudition and depth of knowledge and a sure aesthetic sense. Wonderfully enhanced by stills selected by Mary Corliss, the film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, The Great Movies is a treasure trove for film lovers of all persuasions, an unrivaled guide for viewers, and a book to return to again and again.
The Great Movies includes: All About Eve • Bonnie and Clyde • Casablanca • Citizen Kane • The Godfather • Jaws • La Dolce Vita • Metropolis • On the Waterfront • Psycho • The Seventh Seal • Sweet Smell of Success • Taxi Driver • The Third Man • The Wizard of Oz • and eighty-five more films.
Glenn Frankel, beginning in Hollywood and then returning to the origins of the story, creates a rich and nuanced anatomy of a timeless film and a quintessentially American myth. The dominant story that has emerged departs dramatically from documented history: it is of the inevitable triumph of white civilization, underpinned by anxiety about the sullying of white women by "savages." What makes John Ford's film so powerful, and so important, Frankel argues, is that it both upholds that myth and undermines it, baring the ambiguities surrounding race, sexuality, and violence in the settling of the West and the making of America.
A six-foot-four poet fresh out of grad school with limited acting experience, Gunnar Hansen played the masked, chain-saw-wielding Leatherface. His terrifying portrayal and the inventive work of the cast and crew would give the film the authentic power of nightmare, even while the gritty, grueling, and often dangerous independent production would test everyone involved, and lay the foundations for myths surrounding the film that endure even today.
Critically-acclaimed author Hansen here tells the real story of the making of the film, its release, and reception, offering unknown behind-the-scenes details, a harrowingly entertaining account of the adventures of low-budget filmmaking, illuminating insights on the film's enduring and influential place in the horror genre and our culture, and a thoughtful meditation on why we love to be scared in the first place.
Hailed by the New York Times as one of the most unexpectedly consistently popular bands on the rock charts, Five Finger Death Punch has become the new heavyweight champ of the metal scene. In this high-energy memoir, Jeremy Spencer, the band’s cofounder and drummer, takes us onstage and behind the scenes, on tour and into the studio to tell the band’s story and his own.
Death Punch’d is a detailed in-depth account of the group’s origins and influences, as well as the infighting and tensions that, when channeled properly, result in the music fans love. It is also the hard-charging, laugh-out-loud tale of how a mischievous boy rose from small-town Indiana to rock royalty—and how he nearly destroyed it all for a good time.
Told in his unique, self-deprecating voice, filled with his twisted and humorous take on living the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll dream turned nightmare, and including dozens of photos, Death Punch’d is a lively, no-holds-barred ride and an inspiring cautionary tale that offers lessons for us all.
The son of a successful entrepreneur, Newman grew up in a prosperous Cleveland suburb. Despite fears that he would fail to live up to his father’s expectations, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman saw his star rise in a tragic twist of fate, landing the role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when James Dean was killed in a car accident. Though he would joke about instances of “Newman’s luck” throughout his career, he refused to coast on his stunning boyish looks and impish charm. Part of the original Actors Studio generation, Newman demanded a high level of rigor and clarity from every project. The artistic battles that nearly derailed his early movie career would pay off handsomely at the box office and earn him critical acclaim.
He applied that tenacity to every endeavor both on and off the set. The outspoken Newman used his celebrity to call attention to political causes dear to his heart, including civil rights and nuclear proliferation. Taking up auto racing in midlife, Newman became the oldest driver to ever win a major professional auto race. A food enthusiast who would dress his own salads in restaurants, he launched the Newman’s Own brand dedicated to fresh ingredients, a nonprofit juggernaut that has generated more than $250 million for charity.
In Paul Newman: A Life, film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This definitive biography is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.
From the Hardcover edition.
Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of moviemaking, while conducting in-depth "conversations" with leading monster makers, including David Cronenberg, Christopher Lee, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi- to discuss some of the most petrifying monsters ever seen. He also surveys the historical origins of the archetypal monsters, such as vampires, zombies, and werewolves, and takes you behind the scenes to discover the secrets of those special-effects wizards who created such legendary frighteners as King Kong, Dracula, and Halloween's Michael Myers. With more than 1000 stunning movie stills and posters, this book is sure to keep even the most intense fright-seekers at the edge of their seats for hours!
Few books have altered the perception of a celebrity as much as Marilyn. Gloria Steinem reveals that behind the familiar sex symbol lay a tortured spirit with powerful charisma, intelligence, and complexity. The book delves into a topic many other writers have ignored—that of Norma Jeane, the young girl who grew up with an unstable mother, constant shuffling between foster homes, and abuse. Steinem evocatively recreates that world, connecting it to the fragile adult persona of Marilyn Monroe. Her compelling text draws on a long, private interview Monroe gave to photographer George Barris, part of an intended joint project begun during Monroe’s last summer. Steinem’s Marilyn also includes Barris’s extraordinary portraits of Monroe, taken just weeks before the star’s death.
“California, Labor Day weekend . . . early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur. . . The Menace is loose again.”
Thus begins Hunter S. Thompson’s vivid account of his experiences with California’s most notorious motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Angels, cycling up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye; as The New Yorker pointed out, “For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson’s book is a thoughtful piece of work.” As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell’s Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.
From the Hardcover edition.
When Lisa, a seventeen-year-old from Queens, New York, found out she was pregnant, she knew she only had one choice—to keep the child and give him the best life she could. That baby was Terrence Jenkins, better known to the world as Terrence J. From hosting gigs on BET's 106 and Park and E! News to roles in some of Hollywood's biggest movies, Terrence J is living a life he could have only imagined when he was a young boy. But it was the lessons he learned from his mother that helped make him a man—lessons about sacrifice, courage, loyalty, dreams, and perseverance. Through her words and her actions, Lisa showed Terrence the right path.
From an early age Terrence's mother pushed him to succeed and led by example. Most important, she put her son first—even if it meant leaving behind the only life she had ever known in New York City in search of a safer environment for her son, having the drive to go back to school to learn a new skill, or having the courage to start her own business and build it from the ground up. Her drive eventually became Terrence's drive.
Inspirational, funny, current, and down-to-earth, The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom offers advice for a new generation. With stories, lessons, and advice from one of the top young names in Hollywood, along with input from some of his famous friends like Kevin Hart, Ludacris, T.I., Trey Songz, and Laz Alonso, Terrence J offers a positive, powerful message: with a strong family bond, the possibilities are endless.
In his international bestseller The Game, Neil Strauss delved into the secret world of pick-up artists—men who have created a science out of the art of seduction. Not only did he reveal the techniques that they had developed, but he became a master of The Game, and the world's No. 1 PUA, as Style.
Now, in this bestselling companion, Strauss reduces three books of life-changing knowledge into a single-volume set. The first book, The Stylelife Challenge, breaks down the knowledge he learned and techniques he invented into simple step-by-step instructions that anyone can follow to meet and land the women of their dreams.
In the second book, Strauss takes readers into the dark side of The Game. The Style Diaries offers a series of tales of seduction and sexual (mis)adventure. From accidentally getting married during a drunken night in Reykjavik, to luring a famous musician's granddaughter into a threesome; to the stress and frustration of the torturous and highly unorthodox "30 Day Sex Experiment," The Style Diaries takes you further into the seduction underworld than ever before. Finally, in the all-new, updated third volume, Strauss collects the greatest, most powerful, field-tested, word-for-word routines.
You don't need money, looks, or fame to succeed with women. All you need is an understanding of how attraction works—and this thirty-day workout program for your social skills, which has already guided countless men from frustration to fulfillment.
The Big Screen is not another history of the movies. Rather, it is a wide-ranging narrative about the movies and their signal role in modern life. At first, film was a waking dream, the gift of appearance delivered for a nickel to huddled masses sitting in the dark. But soon, and abruptly, movies began transforming our societies and our perceptions of the world. The celebrated film authority David Thomson takes us around the globe, through time, and across many media—moving from Eadweard Muybridge to Steve Jobs, from Sunrise to I Love Lucy, from John Wayne to George Clooney, from television commercials to streaming video—to tell the complex, gripping, paradoxical story of the movies. He tracks the ways we were initially enchanted by movies as imitations of life—the stories, the stars, the look—and how we allowed them to show us how to live. At the same time, movies, offering a seductive escape from everyday reality and its responsibilities, have made it possible for us to evade life altogether. The entranced audience has become a model for powerless and anxiety-ridden citizens trying to pursue happiness and dodge terror by sitting quietly in a dark room.
Does the big screen take us out into the world, or merely mesmerize us? That is Thomson's question in this grand adventure of a book. Books about the movies are often aimed at film buffs, but this passionate and provocative feat of storytelling is vital to anyone trying to make sense of the age of screens—the age that, more than ever, we are living in.
'It's about the terror, isn't it?'
'The terror of what?' I said.
'The terror of being found out.'
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws - and the very scary part we all play in it.
From the Hardcover edition.
A GoodReads Reader's Choice
In One Summer Bill Bryson, one of our greatest and most beloved nonfiction writers, transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life.
The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.
All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.
From the Hardcover edition.
MO' META BLUES
The World According to Questlove
Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!?
But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.
It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes.
It's a record that keeps going around and around.
One of the world’s most iconic movie stars, Kirk Douglas has distinguished himself as a producer, philanthropist, and author of ten works of fiction and memoir. Now, more than fifty years after the release of his enduring epic Spartacus, Douglas reveals the riveting drama behind the making of the legendary gladiator film. Douglas began producing the movie in the midst of the politically charged era when Hollywood’s moguls refused to hire anyone accused of Communist sympathies. In a risky move, Douglas chose Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted screenwriter, to write Spartacus. Trumbo was one of the “Unfriendly Ten,” men who had gone to prison rather than testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about their political affiliations. Douglas’s source material was already a hot property, as the novel Spartacus was written by Howard Fast while he was in jail for defying HUAC. With the financial future of his young family at stake, Douglas plunged into a tumultuous production both on- and off-screen. As both producer and star of the film, he faced explosive moments with young director Stanley Kubrick, struggles with a leading lady, and negotiations with giant personalities, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, and Lew Wasserman. Writing from his heart and from his own meticulously researched archives, Kirk Douglas, at ninety-five, looks back at his audacious decisions. He made the most expensive film of its era—but more importantly, his moral courage in giving public credit to Trumbo effectively ended the notorious Hollywood blacklist. A master storyteller, Douglas paints a vivid and often humorous portrait in I Am Spartacus! The book is enhanced by newly discovered period photography of the stars and filmmakers both on and off the set.
Richard Neupert first tracks the precursors to New Wave cinema, showing how they provided blueprints for those who would follow. He then demonstrates that it was a core group of critics-turned-directors from the magazine Cahiers du Cinéma—especially François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Luc Godard—who really revealed that filmmaking was changing forever. Later, their cohorts Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Pierre Kast continued in their own unique ways to expand the range and depth of the New Wave.
In an exciting new chapter, Neupert explores the subgroup of French film practice known as the Left Bank Group, which included directors such as Alain Resnais and Agnès Varda. With the addition of this new material and an updated conclusion, Neupert presents a comprehensive review of the stunning variety of movies to come out of this important era in filmmaking.
Before then, women on screen had come in two varieties - good or bad - sweet ingenue or vamp. Then two stars came along to blast away these common stereotypes. Garbo turned the femme fatale into a woman whose capacity for love and sacrifice made all other human emotions seem pale. Meanwhile, Norma Shearer succeeded in taking the ingenue to a place she'd never been: the bedroom. Garbo and Shearer took the stereotypes and made them complicated.
In the wake of these complicated women came others, a deluge of indelible stars - Constance Bennett, Ruth Chatterton, Mae Clarke, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Kay Francis, Ann Harding, Jean Harlow, Miriam Hopkins, Dorothy Mackaill, Barbara Stanywyck, Mae West and Loretta Young all came into their own during the pre-Code era. These women pushed the limits and shaped their images along modern lines.
Then, in July 1934, the draconian Production Code became the law in Hollywood and these modern women of the screen were banished, not to be seen again until the code was repealed three decades later.
Mick LaSalle, film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, takes readers on a tour of pre-Code films and reveals how this was the true golden age of women's films and how the movies of the pre-Code are still worth watching. The bold, pioneering and complicated women of the pre-Code era are about to take their place in the pantheon of film history, and America is about to reclaim a rich legacy.
Now with a new afterword: the history and process of moviemaking in general, and of Martin Scorsese's brilliant and varied films in particular, through the words and wit of the master director.
With Richard Schickel as the canny and intelligent guide, these conversations take us deep into Scorsese's life and work. He reveals which films are most autobiographical, and what he was trying to explore and accomplish in other films. He explains his personal style and describes many of the rewarding artistic and personal relationships of his career, including collaborations with Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Jack Nicholson, and Leonardo DiCaprio. An invaluable illumination and appreciation of one of our most admired film directors.
There's little debate that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, screen actors of his generation, perhaps of all time. His work, particularly in the first 20 years of his career, is unparalleled. Mean Streets, the Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, the Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull all dazzled moviegoers and critics alike, displaying a talent the likes of which had rarely--if ever--been seen. De Niro become known for his deep involvement in his characters, assuming that role completely into his own life, resulting in extraordinary, chameleonic performances.
Yet little is known about the off-screen De Niro--he is an intensely private man, whose rare public appearances are often marked by inarticulateness and palpable awkwardness. It can be almost painful to watch at times, in powerful contrast to his confident movie personae. In this elegant and compelling biography, bestselling writer Shawn Levy writes of these many De Niros--the characters and the man--seeking to understand the evolution of an actor who once dove deeply into his roles as if to hide his inner nature, and who now seemingly avoids acting challenges, taking roles which make few apparent demands on his overwhelming talent. Following De Niro's roots as the child of artists (his father, the abstract painter Robert De Niro Sr., was widely celebrated) who encouraged him from an early age to be independent of vision and spirit, to his intense schooling as an actor, the rise of his career, his marriages, his life as a father, restauranteur, and businessman, and, of course, his current movie career, Levy has written a biography that reads like a novel about a character whose inner turmoil takes him to heights of artistry. His many friendships with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Harvey Keitel, Shelley Winters, Francis Ford Coppola, among many others, are woven into this extraordinary portrait of DeNiro the man and the artist, also adding a depth of understanding not before seen.
Levy has had unprecedented access to De Niro's personal research and production materials, creating a new impression of the effort that went into the actor's legendary performances. The insights gained from DeNiro’s intense working habits shed new perspective on DeNiro’s thinking and portrayals and are wonderful to read. Levy also spoke to De Niro's collaborators and friends to depict De Niro's transition from an ambitious young man to a transfixing and enigmatic artist and cultural figure.
Shawn Levy has written a truly engaging, insightful, and entertaining portrait of one of the most wonderful film artists of our time, a book that is worthy of such a great talent.
Continuing the pitch-perfect critiques begun in The Great Movies, Roger Ebert's The Great Movies II collects 100 additional essays, each one of them a gem of critical appreciation and an amalgam of love, analysis, and history that will send readers back to films with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm—or perhaps to an avid first-time viewing. Neither a snob nor a shill, Ebert manages in these essays to combine a truly populist appreciation for today's most important form of popular art with a scholar's erudition and depth of knowledge and a sure aesthetic sense. Once again wonderfully enhanced by stills selected by Mary Corliss, former film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, The Great Movies II is a treasure trove for film lovers of all persuasions, an unrivaled guide for viewers, and a book to return to again and again.
Films featured in The Great Movies II
12 Angry Men · The Adventures of Robin Hood · Alien · Amadeus · Amarcord · Annie Hall · Au Hasard, Balthazar · The Bank Dick · Beat the Devil · Being There · The Big Heat · The Birth of a Nation · The Blue Kite · Bob le Flambeur · Breathless · The Bridge on the River Kwai · Bring Me the Head of Alfredo García · Buster Keaton · Children of Paradise · A Christmas Story · The Color Purple · The Conversation · Cries and Whispers · The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie · Don’t Look Now · The Earrings of Madame de . . . · The Fall of the House of Usher · The Firemen’s Ball · Five Easy Pieces · Goldfinger · The Good, the Bad and the Ugly · Goodfellas · The Gospel According to Matthew · The Grapes of Wrath · Grave of the Fireflies · Great Expectations · House of Games · The Hustler · In Cold Blood · Jaws · Jules and Jim · Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy · Kind Hearts and Coronets · King Kong · The Last Laugh · Laura · Leaving Las Vegas · Le Boucher · The Leopard · The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp · The Manchurian Candidate · The Man Who Laughs · Mean Streets · Mon Oncle · Moonstruck · The Music Room · My Dinner with Andre · My Neighbor Totoro · Nights of Cabiria · One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest · Orpheus · Paris, Texas · Patton · Picnic at Hanging Rock · Planes, Trains and Automobiles · The Producers · Raiders of the Lost Ark · Raise the Red Lantern · Ran · Rashomon · Rear Window · Rififi · The Right Stuff · Romeo and Juliet · The Rules of the Game · Saturday Night Fever · Say Anything · Scarface · The Searchers · Shane · Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs · Solaris · Strangers on a Train · Stroszek · A Sunday in the Country · Sunrise · A Tale of Winter · The Thin Man · This Is Spinal Tap ·Tokyo Story · Touchez Pas au Grisbi · Touch of Evil · The Treasure of the Sierra Madre · Ugetsu · Umberto D · Unforgiven · Victim · Walkabout · West Side Story · Yankee Doodle Dandy
When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.
A compelling and honest portrait of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and the slums of Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all this “fresh, compelling” (The Washington Post) story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and “a haunting American tragedy for our times” (Entertainment Weekly).
Heller turns the music industry inside out, exposing its strange logic and larger-than-life personalities. Ruthless provides keen insight into the popular music scene, with an unforgettable portrait of its rollicking excesses, life-churning drama, and multimillion-dollar highs.
Joe McCarthy. Marilyn Monroe. The H-bomb. Ozzie and Harriet. Elvis. Civil rights. It’s undeniable: The fifties were a defining decade for America, complete with sweeping cultural change and political upheaval. This decade is also the focus of David Halberstam’s triumphant The Fifties, which stands as an enduring classic and was an instant New York Times bestseller upon its publication. More than a survey of the decade, it is a masterfully woven examination of far-reaching change, from the unexpected popularity of Holiday Inn to the marketing savvy behind McDonald’s expansion. A meditation on the staggering influence of image and rhetoric, The Fifties is vintage Halberstam, who was hailed by the Denver Post as “a lively, graceful writer who makes you . . . understand how much of our time was born in those years.” This ebook features an extended biography of David Halberstam.