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BASED ON LONG-LOST RECORDINGS, A SET OF RIVETING AND REVEALING
CONVERSATIONS WITH AMERICA'S GREAT CULTURAL PROVOCATEUR
Here is Welles as he has never been seen before: talking intimately, disclosing personal secrets, reflecting on the highs and lows of his astonishing career, the people he knew--FDR, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Laurence Olivier, David Selznick, Rita Hayworth, and more--and the many disappointments of his last years. This is the great director unplugged, free to be irreverent and worse--sexist, homophobic, racist, or none of the above-- because he was nothing if not a fabulator and provocateur. Ranging from politics to literature to the shortcomings of his friends and the many films he was still eager to launch, Welles is at once cynical and romantic, sentimental and raunchy, but never boring and always wickedly funny.
Edited by Peter Biskind, America's foremost film historian, "My Lunches with Orson" reveals one of the giants of the twentieth century, a man struggling with reversals, bitter and angry, desperate for one last triumph, but crackling with wit and a restless intelligence. This is as close as we will get to the real Welles--if such a creature ever existed.
In this compulsively readable and constantly surprising book, Peter Biskind, the author of the film classics Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and Down and Dirty Pictures, writes the most intimate, revealing, and balanced biography ever of Hollywood legend Warren Beatty. Famously a playboy, Beatty has also been one of the most ambitious and successful stars in Hollywood. Several Beatty films have passed the test of time, from Bonnie and Clyde to Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds (for which he won the best director Oscar), Bugsy, and Bulworth. Few filmgoers realize that along with Orson Welles, Beatty is the only person ever nominated for four Academy Awards for a single film -- and unlike Welles, Beatty did it twice. Biskind shows how Beatty used star power, commercial success, savvy, and charm to bend Hollywood moguls to his will. Beatty's private life has been the subject of gossip for decades, and Star confirms his status as Hollywood's leading man in the bedroom, describing his affairs with Joan Collins, Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron and Madonna, among many others. Biskind explains how Beatty exercised unique control, often hiring screenwriters out of his own pocket, producing, directing, and acting in his own films. He was arguably one of the most successful and creative figures in Hollywood during the second half of the twentieth century, and in this fascinating biography, Warren Beatty comes to life -- complete with excesses and achievements -- as never before.
'You'll never look at your favourite movies and TV shows the same way again. And you shouldn't' Steven Soderbergh 'Insanely readable' Slavoj Zizek 'Your book was ... like a bag of pot, with me saying, 'I'm not gonna smoke.' But I was insatiable' Quentin Tarantino on Easy Riders, Raging Bulls In The Sky is Falling! bestselling cultural critic Peter Biskind takes us on a dizzying ride across two decades of pop culture to show how the TV and movies we love - from Game of Thrones and 24 to Homeland and Iron Man - have taught us to love political extremism. Welcome to a darkly pessimistic, apocalyptic world where winter has come, the dead are walking, and ultra violence, revenge and torture are all in a day's work. Welcome to the new normal.
A Sunday Times (London), Best Book of 2018 "A thoughtful, entertaining, and occasionally profound critical study of the texts that entertain, move and, sometimes, shape us." --The Spectator (London) "A bold, witty, and brilliantly argued analysis of the role pop culture has played in the rise of American extremism." --Ruth Reichl "You'll never look at your favorite movies and TV shows the same way again. And you shouldn't." --Steven Soderbergh A bestselling cultural journalist shows how pop culture prepared Americans to embrace extreme politics Almost everything has been invoked to account for Trump's victory and the rise of the alt-right, from job loss to racism to demography--everything, that is, except popular culture. In The Sky Is Falling bestselling cultural journalist Peter Biskind dives headlong into two decades of popular culture--from superhero franchises such as the Dark Knight, X-Men, and the Avengers and series like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones to thrillers like Homeland and 24--and emerges to argue that these shows are saturated with the values that are currently animating our extreme politics. Where once centrist institutions and their agents--cops and docs, soldiers and scientists, as well as educators, politicians, and "experts" of every stripe--were glorified by mainstream Hollywood, the heroes of today's movies and TV, whether far right or far left, have overthrown this quaint ideological consensus. Many of our shows dramatize extreme circumstances--an apocalypse of one sort or another--that require extreme behavior to deal with, behavior such as revenge, torture, lying, and even the vigilante violence traditionally discouraged in mainstream entertainment. In this bold, provocative, and witty investigation, Biskind shows how extreme culture now calls the shots. It has become, in effect, the new mainstream.
Peter Biskind's extraordinary book tells the story of creativity and excess in Hollywood. From the making of Easy Riders in 1969 to the release of Ragnig Bull in 1980 — when Coppola, Bogdanovich, Scorsese, Lucas, Hopper, Altman and Spielberg were at the height of their powers — Beverly Hills tossed and turned under a blanket of cocaine. All the biggest names spill their frankest stories, about sex, drugs and money, and, most venomously, about each other.
A critical analysis of the rise of independent filmmakers examines the growth of Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival, the rise to power of the Weinstein brothers and their company Miramax, and the successful careers of Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino, and other independent filmmakers whose work has transformed Hollywood and the film indust
In this compulsively readable and constantly surprising book, Peter
Biskind, the author of the film classics "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
"and "Down and Dirty Pictures, "writes the most intimate,
revealing, and balanced biography ever of Hollywood legend Warren
When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s -- an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and experimentation reigned supreme. Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors themselves, producers, stars, agents, writers, studio executives, spouses, and ex-spouses, this is the full, candid story of Hollywood's last golden age.
MARTIN SCORSESE ON DRUGS: "I did a lot of drugs because I wanted to do a lot, I wanted to push all the way to the very very end, and see if I could die."
DENNIS HOPPER ON EASY RIDER: "The cocaine problem in the United States is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider, it was everywhere."
GEORGE LUCAS ON STAR WARS: "Popcorn pictures have always ruled. Why do people go see them? Why is the public so stupid? That's not my fault."
Based on hundreds of interviews with the directors, as well as producers, stars, studio executives, spouses and girlfriends, this is the full story of the crazy world the directors ruled. Never before have so many celebrities talked so frankly about one another and the drugs, sex, and money that made so many of them crash and burn.
In this compulsively readable and constantly surprising book, Peter Biskind, the author of the film classics "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls "and "Down and Dirty Pictures, "writes the most intimate, revealing, and balanced biography ever of Hollywood legend Warren Beatty.
Famously a playboy--he has been linked to costars Natalie Wood, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, and Madonna, among others--Beatty has also been one of the most ambitious and successful stars in Hollywood. Several Beatty films have passed the test of time, from "Bonnie and Clyde "to "Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds "(for which he won the best director Oscar), "Bugsy, "and "Bulworth." Few filmgoers realize that along with Orson Welles, Beatty is the only person ever nominated for four Academy Awards for a single film--and unlike Welles, Beatty did it twice, with "Heaven Can Wait "and "Reds."
Biskind shows how Beatty used star power, commercial success, savvy, and charm to bend Hollywood moguls to his will, establishing an unprecedented level of independence while still working within the studio system. Arguably one of the most successful and creative figures in Hollywood over the last few decades, Beatty exercised unique control over his films, often hiring screenwriters out of his own pocket (and frequently collaborating with them), producing, directing, and acting, becoming an auteur before anyone in Hollywood knew what the word meant. In this fascinating biography, the ultimate Hollywood Star comes to life--complete with excesses and achievements--as never before.
A look at the Hollywood movies of the 1950s and the thousand subtle ways they reflect the political tensions of the decade. It covers films like Giant, Rebel Without a Cause and Invasion of the Body Snatchers to show how politically innocent movies in fact do bear an ideological burden. As we see organisation men and rugged individualists, housewives and career women, cops and doctors, teen angels and teenage werewolves fight it out across the screen, from suburbia to the farthest reaches of the cosmos, we understand that we have been watching one long dispute about how to be a man, a woman, and an American.
In the late 1980s a generation of filmmakers began to flower outside the Hollywood studio system and in the following decade, the independent film movement bloomed. Dozens of lesser-known filmmakers such as Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino began walking away with coveted prizes at Cannes and eventually the Academy Awards. Many of these directors were discovered at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival and then scooped up by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, whose company Miramax laid waste to the competition. In Down and Dirty Pictures, Peter Biskind tells the incredible story of these filmmakers, the growth of Sundance into the premier showcase of independent film, and the meteoric rise of the controversial Weinstein brothers who left a trail of carnage in their wake yet created an Oscar factory that is the envy of the studios.
Here is Hollywood over the last three decades - the superfreaks, lowlifes, charlatans, and the occasional geniuses who have left their bite marks on American culture, as refracted through the trajectory of Peter Biskind's career. Biskind began as a radical journalist and film critic. Now he can legitimately describe himself - as he does in the autobiographical introduction to this book - as a 'recovering celebrity journalist'. At the heart of the book are the likes of Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Terrence Malick, Sue Mengers, and uber-producer Don Simpson, all of whom Biskind portrays in great Dickensian detail, charting how they have had a simultaneously strangulating and liberating effect on the industry.
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