Like Bob Evans' "The Kid Stars In the Picture", "Swimming With Sharks", and Bob Altman's "The Player", Peter Biskind's book is one of the best and most exemplary works describing this crazy "business" called Hollywood.
It is very, very engaging and informative. What the book centers on are two things, mainly, which is the growth of new talent coming out of the four big film schools of the 1960s (USC, UCLA, NYU, Columbia) and the development of the blockbuster, which eventually degraded character development as the staple of winning screen formula.
Descriptions of parties at Margo Kidder's Malibu beach pad are awesome. Here all the young Turks gathered - Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Paul Schraeder, Francis Ford Coppola, Marty Scorsese, etc. These SC, UCLA and NYU minds formulated "The Godfather", "Star Wars", "Apocalypse", "Taxi Driver", "Jaws" and so many others.
While the sex and drugs got out of hand at Margo's, John Milius would repair to the beach and fire his weapon. Considered the best and the brightest of all of them coming out of SC, Milius was the lone conservative, who tried to stay clean. He would write great movies like "Dirty Harry" and "Apocalypse", and direct "Red Dawn" and "The Wind and the Lion". His stuff is just fantastic, but he never went on to the fame of his contemporaries.
Eventually, blockbusters like "Jaws" and "Star Wars" contributed to the so-called "cartoonization" of Hollywood. The comparison of psychology, dialogue, structure and symbolism as seen in "Marathon Man" and "Chinatown" are replaced by graphics, as seen in "Star Wars", or by a giant mechanized shark.
The end of the era is the failure of "Heaven's Gate", which brings down its studio and leads eventually to the rise of independent films.
This book tells the story of the integral American art form in all its glory and ugliness.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism