Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life From An Addiction To Film (2000)
Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film (2000)
3.67 of 5 Votes: 4
145167323X (ISBN13: 9781451673234)
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Patton Oswalt is a really good memoirist. He has the deft touch of a seasoned comedian, a keen eye for metaphor and the important detail, and a strong sense of storytelling. Silver Screen Fiend imbues his early standup years with a strong narrative arc, one of artistic stagnation and malaise, a lesson he learned and a cautionary tale for us. It's also damn funny. A few thoughts:- I couldn't help but recall Steve Martin's amazing Born Standing Up in light of this book. Martin spends much more time on his thoughts about technique, whereas Oswalt does so mostly in service of the larger questions about artistic endeavor generally.- I love Oswalt's metaphor of the Night Cafe. He relates the story of Picasso's first venture into work from memory rather than from sight, and how painting that vibrant red room made him into a different artist. Oswalt calls these moments (or rooms or experiences) "night cafes," and explores how his own such experiences shaped his life as an artist. It recalls Gregory Ulmer's assertion of the guiding image, an idea that shapes who we are and how we work as a creative or intellectual person (see Internet Invention).- I love the inside-baseball stuff about the comedy scene in LA in the late 90s. One of the overwhelming impressions I have of L.A. is that people circulate in their own bubble there, and we have no sense of how it works. The tales about how the one particular comedy club insulated and ruined comics were a great sense of how Oswalt maintained his sense of perspective.- The one negative thing I have to say is that Oswalt occasionally gets a little too elaborate with his comedic metaphors. They overflow the first half of the book like a clogged toilet in a punk bar.The audiobook is especially good because, as a performer, Oswalt knows the nuance and flow of the work, and knows how to make the beats land well. Horrible, boring and most importantly, NOT FUNNY. This book is primarily about Patton's addiction to film and his exhaustive diary of what movies he's seen, when and where. Unfortunately, the book actually reads like a copy of said diary with his dull commentary tossed lazily on top of it. If that's not enough for you, at the end he goes through an list of IMAGINARY movies he'd show at his IMAGINARY movie theater, crossing timelines, resurrecting dead actors and in some cases re-writing their history to serve the overall IMAGINARY roles he's got for them. But this isn't just a list, it's him partially reviewing each IMAGINARY movie, telling us which scenes in particular are good and which actor has the break-out role. The closest approximation I can think of would be if one of your foodie friends was giving you a dream monthly meal plan that they'd never actually make, consisting of not real food items like a Dodo egg omelet with a side of Tyrannosaur bacon. After the first meal you'd be like, 'Why the hell are you bothering to do this?', and then have to sit there and listen to 100 more. Very disappointed. Can't NOT recommend this book enough.
Funny and interesting. I'll have to go back to it to peruse the extensive film list at the end.
Turns out Patton Oswalt is a better writer than he is a comedian (and he's a great comedian).
Not as amusing at Zombie Spaceship, but good.
I wish I was friends with Patton Oswalt.
Patton Oswalt is IMDB!!!
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