Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business

David Mamet, Author . Pantheon $22 (250p) ISBN 978-0-375-42253-9

Mamet's a veteran screenwriter and director (currently producing The Unit for CBS), but that doesn't mean he has any great love for the industry—his Hollywood is the stereotypically corrupt and cutthroat world where screenwriters willingly change their stories to accommodate every stupid suggestion from producers, who are blatantly lining their own pockets, while stars bicker over who has the bigger trailer. But his stories are entertaining even when they're unsurprising, and though loosely organized, a few broad themes emerge. He expounds at length, for example, upon his well-known penchant for straightforward storytelling, where drama boils down to "the creation and deferment of hope," and every scene should be able to answer three questions: "Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?" At other times, he's happy simply to explain why he thinks Laurence Olivier was a terrible film actor or to test out a theory that the early film industry owes its development to Eastern European Jews with Asperger's syndrome. As usual with Mamet, each word is precisely chosen for maximum effect, and nearly all hit their mark. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-1-4165-2597-4
Paperback - 249 pages - 978-1-4000-3444-4
Open Ebook - 156 pages - 978-0-307-48193-1
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