AIN'T IT COOL?: Hollywood's Redheaded Stepchild Speaks Out

Harry Knowles, Author, Paul Cullum, With, Mark Ebner, With with Paul Cullum and Mark Ebner, foreword by Quentin Tarantino. Warner $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-446-52597-8

The creator of the studio-scooping Web site aintitcoolnews.com delivers a rollicking memoir, a passionate analysis of film industry flaws and an infectious appreciation of "the last bastion of true democracy in America"—movies. The child of an alcoholic Texas heiress and a Young-Republican-turned-hippie, Knowles split his childhood between the family compound of his mother's violent relatives and trips to Mexico and Central America, where he and his father would collect native art to resell. After an accident left him bedridden, Knowles launched his Web site, a "Geek Forum" that follows movies from script development to release. His muckraking approach rattles studios, which became clear when Sony served Knowles with a restraining order in 1997 for posting a scoop about the computer animation in Starship Troopers, or when Knowles's early pans of Batman & Robin were widely blamed for the movie's failure. More Winchell- than Ebert-like in approach, Knowles presents himself as a hard-boiled, scrappy underdog working on behalf of the public; largely this works, particularly in his exposé of the National Research Group's test marketing of movies. The book is also valuable as a record of the Web's early entrepreneur-driven years, and for its rare insight into Knowles's former employer, Matt Drudge. Film lovers, however, will probably most appreciate Knowles's exuberant, knowledgeable paeans to his celluloid favorites. They include a tribute to 1930s comedy star Lee Tracy, an analysis of how nascent Leo-mania launched Titanic, an explanation of the life lessons of Flashdance and more. (Mar. 5)

Forecast:With Knowles's enthusiastic Web following, expect this to surface on some regional and college-oriented bestseller lists—and, of course, on every desk in Hollywood.

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-446-67991-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-208-7
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