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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably not what you're expecting
Emmett James was born in 1972 in South London, where he grew up watching a lot of movies with his family at the local theater. He was seduced by the cinema, eventually studied acting, and moved to Hollywood in the early 90's to try to make it as an actor. He did make it, finally, becoming a successful working actor if not a household name, most significantly landing a...
Published on February 28, 2008 by Debra Hamel

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life is like the movies...
"If you have every truly loved a film, you will surely find yourself within these pages" is a caption, on the back of the book,that truly expresses the feelings that Emmett James writes with in this childhood to adult story of his life so far.

I went back in time with him at the beginning of each new chapter as he used a movie title to describe the content of...
Published on June 2, 2008 by Allison R. King


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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably not what you're expecting, February 28, 2008
By 
Emmett James was born in 1972 in South London, where he grew up watching a lot of movies with his family at the local theater. He was seduced by the cinema, eventually studied acting, and moved to Hollywood in the early 90's to try to make it as an actor. He did make it, finally, becoming a successful working actor if not a household name, most significantly landing a small part in the biggest movie of all time, Titanic. James tells the story of his life in Admit One in chapters that are named after and loosely organized around movies--films that influenced him during the period described or whose plots mirrored his own experiences, or films he appeared in. But while the pictures he selects for each chapter heading provide a framework for James's book, it's not really about the movies.

Nor is Admit One, as the above summary might suggest, an insipid story about a boy who pursued and finally achieved his dream. The author is too acerbic to have written such a book. Here he is early on, for example, describing Croydon, the borough of London in which he grew up:

"The streets were lined with filth, the people were bitter and miserable and a fantastic night out meant a large kebab rather than the regular size, which of course went hand-in-hand proportionally with the amount you would subsequently vomit later that evening."

And again:

"Unfortunately, it was that type of town, inhabited by those types of people, living that type of crap life."

James's familial relationships meet with similar criticisms. His mother had a "permanent melancholy demeanor." His maternal grandparents were an overbearing couple whose home "was always rich with the smell of old people," a smell that "left a thick, pungent coating in the fibers of your clothes.... They were," he says, "much less benign in the days of my mother's childhood." Of his brother he writes:

"My older brother was a weaselly boy named Cymon (pronounced Simon, just spelled wanky to give him some added torment in school), and for as long as memory serves we have loathed one another."

It's unfortunate that the author's experiences weren't more positive--though this is not the sort of book that leaves you feeling sorry for him. On the other hand, it's quite refreshing to see such candor on the page.

Admit One is divided into two parts. The first concerns the author's childhood in England. It has universal appeal but will probably be enjoyed particularly by readers who grew up around the same time, and who will remember BMX bikes and Star Wars tie-in merchandise as fondly as does the author. In the second half James moves to America to make his way in Hollywood. This part of the book is less personal, yet it's interesting for its depiction of the life of a struggling actor. Also fascinating is the behind-the-scenes story of his work on Titanic: whatever you're thinking that might entail, you're wrong.

Coming away from the book I'm not entirely sure that I like the author. But that's a testament to his honesty. He's not only not afraid to look stupid, but he reveals some quite unflattering truths about himself--from an ill-conceived instance of, well, something approaching stalking (in tights!), to his willingness to participate in activities both legally and morally sketchy. (He's also due for a whomping from Steven Seagal, whom he sucker punches in an open letter at the beginning of the book.)

If nothing else, James is by no means a run-of-the-mill guy. Having been given this glimpse into his history and character, it will be interesting to watch his career unfold on screen.

-- Debra Hamel
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy a ticket and go on in!, March 25, 2008
Emmett James's Admit One is an absolutely delightful read.

Emmett starts with his youth in Croydon, South London. Each chapter is wrapped in the context of a movie that in some way impacted his life. Thinking at once of all the ways in which this could become a too-cute and ultimately annoying trick, I was delighted when the book deviated immediately from the expected. When Emmett saw the first movie he used to frame a chapter, Disney's The Jungle Book, he was so young that he fell asleep within minutes, and saw only the beginning and end credits. Yet the experience of going to the movies with his family, and the effects it had on his mother and brother, profoundly affected him.

When I finished Admit One I was surprised to note that it was put out by a publisher I'd never heard of before. It had been such a fun read, so filled with quotable quotes, that I fully expected it to be an offering from a big-name group. Well, their loss. Emmett writes with a tone that can shift from wryly humorous to childlike delight, self-deprecation to sly jabs in an instant. I was hard put to keep from constantly laughing out loud and reading selections to everyone around me.

At a time when folks are getting burned out on tragic memoirs, Emmett takes both the good and the bad in his life and mines them for sharp, witty humor instead. It's exactly the breath of fresh air we need.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, honest and passionate view of breaking into the film industry, December 12, 2007
British actor Emmett James has written a hilarious memoir about breaking into the film industry after a lackluster South London childhood. Beneath his witty portrayal of starting out in a dingy room at a Los Angeles YMCA -- surviving by working in porn films and C-movies nobody has ever heard of (or seen) -- is a frank, honest voice. James doesn't hide the con artists, the sleaze and the hopefulness that much of the population in L.A. has toward getting their big break. And though he doesn't touch upon the bleakness he must have felt at times trying to get a real acting job, we sense it.... along with his passionate, unashamed love for cinema.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life is like the movies..., June 2, 2008
"If you have every truly loved a film, you will surely find yourself within these pages" is a caption, on the back of the book,that truly expresses the feelings that Emmett James writes with in this childhood to adult story of his life so far.

I went back in time with him at the beginning of each new chapter as he used a movie title to describe the content of each section. He is detailed in his writing about his childhood of family outings to the movie theater, where he went from falling asleep before the movie began to sitting through a whole movie. His love of movies spread from just going to the movies to wanting to be an actor. He doesn't get the support for his acting in England, so he decides to try making it in Hollywood. Emmett James gives a wide eye view of how hard it can be for those people trying to `make it' in Hollywood. He explores having to live in a YMCA, forge his travel papers to stay in the U.S., disguise himself to get in to an Academy Awards party, be characters he didn't like and knock on the door of a producer's house to try and get part. His break finally comes when he gets a small part in a BIG movie called "Titanic."

Even after finishing this book, I am unsure about how I feel about it. When I first started, Emmett James' candor and English slang usage about his life almost turned me off to the book. I slowly got use to his writing style and respected his ability to speak so openly about life. He did make me smile and laugh at his use of relating certain movie titles to different parts of his life. "Grease" reminds me of a special summer camp I went to that changed my life before going in to high school.

I am glad I finished the book. It definitely was an eye opening view in to the life of an actor and the extremes he had to go through to achieve a dream he had since childhood of being in the movies.

[...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Admt One: A Journey into Film, July 22, 2008
Admit One is Emmett James' nostalgic and whimsical memoir of his passion for movies. Marking his personal milestones with cinema favorites, James recounts his childhood in South London, telling stories that many will fondly relate to. In the section titled Coming Attractions, he expounds on his childhood. From his mother's giddy fascination with John Travolta in Grease to his experience with a dodgy Santa, James is always entertaining. Through his introduction to petty crime, and his very own ghost story, James recounts his childhood along with his favorite must-see films. The later section, Feature Presentation, deals with his life as an adult trying to break into the movies. This section really takes off, as he divulges his crashing of the Oscars, his hilarious stint as an extra, the unintentional stalking of a director, and his defining moment: a brief appearance in Titanic. Each of these anecdotes is recounted in conjunction with a movie that shaped him during the experience, making this a colorful and interesting tale. As he moves from watching the movies to actually being a part of the cinema magic, he realizes that his dreams of Hollywood are more encompassing than mere movie appearances.

I found this to be a curious book. James relates a story that is at once universal yet unique. His experiences could have been the everyman's, yet the framework and method of delivery made them distinctive. The sections on his childhood would have seemed common and interchangeable without the inclusion of the movie introspection. It was impressive the way that movies shaped and defined his childhood, and sustained him throughout his later years. The later sections I found to be more entertaining, as James went out of his way to maintain his connection to the silver screen. Many of the incidents were zany and incredible, leaving me hungering for more. I felt that he could have divulged more details of his escapades to win and delight the reader. It was almost as if he withheld the most compelling and forceful part of the narrative by leaving off the more satisfying bits of the story. Another puzzling aspect is that the author seems to have bypassed any emotional reflection throughout the book. He never speaks of his deeper feelings about his family or friends (except for a brief excerpt about his father), or expounds on the feelings he had as a struggling actor making his way in show business. Instead of emotional exposition on his part, he catalogs a list of hardships endured at the time. At one point, while having an unexpected adventure in Mexico, he does seem to make the emotional connection, but it is brief. Most memoirs I have read have captured more fully the experience and viewpoint of the subject, and it was odd that this book didn't seem to have that emotional connection to the reader. His attitude throughout the book seemed to be strangely distant and miffed, as if he wanted to simple tell a story, not share it.

On the other hand, his passion for movies and movie making was clearly communicated in such a way as to be infectious. I wanted to go back and re-watch the movies to experience the awe and excitement that James had found, to be shaped by what was on the screen in undefinable ways. Though most people love movies, James took his passion for cinema and channelled it into a life appreciating and being surrounded by the art.

This book had its ups and downs. I loved the anecdotal way in which the stories were described, and found that the book was very clever and witty. James' tone was descriptive and engaging, which gave the book a light and conversational feel, yet I wished that I could have been privy to more of his feelings and insights. I laughed and discovered the joy of film with him, but in the end, felt like I really didn't know him. He was clever in describing the movies and how they made him feel, but that's where it ended. It seemed as though if an emotion wasn't related to a movie, it wasn't worth delving into. A bit of an uneven book, yet diverting and amusing nonetheless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars British and American mix, March 6, 2011
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No need to rehash the story of the book as this has been done here.

As a Briton (British born for those who don't know) I enjoyed the beginning part of this book. The book seemed to change writing style once the author arrived in America.

I enjoyed the book but it didn't "grab" me and I wouldn't call it a page turner.

What amused me the most was the fact that it was written with American spellings (by a British born author) but the funny part was that they left in the British words that many Americans would not understand and that even the Kindle dictionary could not understand.

For example

Bristols (dictionary - a city in England) - true but in the plural form and about a woman it refers to a certain part of their anatomy :)

Tosser - not going there in a polite review but any English person will know this one! :)

So a decent read but I'm glad I didn't pay for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Admit One for Laughs and Adventures, March 17, 2010
This review is from: Admit One: My Life in Film (Hardcover)
Growing up on the bleak streets of Croydon, England in the 1970-80's, memoirist Emmett James escapes for a few hours through the movies shown at the local theatre. The first part of the book is devoted to James' boyhood cinematic recollections. In each chapter of Admit One, James weaves a humorous story about a particular movie's impact on his life. For example, James recounts how Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom led to his archeological digging phase in the family's backyard; E.T. created a BMX frenzy in the local neighborhood; and his mother's resemblance to the Witch in the Wizard of Oz enabled her to scare the daylights out of some bullies.

Later an adult James realizes that movies could provide him a lifetime of escape in career as a working actor. Soon James migrates to California and learns the joys and indignities of a life in film. In this second part of the memoir, James regales readers with tales of life as a human cattle also known as an extra; working on a porn film; landing his Screen Actor's Guild card by running around in his underwear; and paying the bills by doctoring photos for tabloids. Ultimately, James arrives as an actor with a part in the mega-blockbuster Titanic.

James aptly describes his life's journey as germinating in the darkened walls of the Croydon theatre:

The little golden tickets I was presented with each and every weekend at the cinema doors in Croydon by the decrepit ticket collector Stubby had been a clear indicator of my destiny. . . .

Admit One the ticket would read.
Admit One into this cinematic fantasy world

Whether James is holding court with the highs or lows of his life in film, Admit One is always entertaining!

Publisher: FizzyPop (February 1, 2010), 216 pages.
Advance review copy provided courtesy of the publisher and the publicist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun ride, February 26, 2010
This review is from: Admit One: My Life in Film (Hardcover)
Admit One was an unusual book. It is a journey in film but it's certainly unlike anything I expected. It starts with his childhood experiences while watching the movies with his family. The theater outings start with The Jungle Book, Grease, Sindbad and other movies. We learn about this family and the place where he lived. And although he has nothing but bad things to say about his mom and brother, I enjoyed this section. He has a funny and sarcastic way of saying things.

What I enjoyed most was the second half of the book. That's when he leaves Britain for America to try his hand in Hollywood. The reason why he has to leave Britain is another story altogether. Seriously, I couldn't believe some of the things this guy did.

At times I didn't quite like the things he did but then again I have to applaud his honesty and guts to own up to his actions. His struggles to become a star and in the process landing in all the wrong jobs was hilarious. I could give you examples but it would kind of spoil the book.

It's interesting to know what someone has to go through to make it big in Hollywood. I like the authors ability to find humor in the most embarrassing situations. Everyone who loves movies and has grown up with a healthy obsession with them can definitely relate to his experiences. There is this one paragraph at the end which I really liked (no spoilers).

"Movies are pure illusion, the illusion beginning with the very word itself-movie. There really is in literal terms no such thing as a motion picture. A moving, talking piece of celluloid just doesn't exist. What we really stare at are still photographs-twenty four brief flickers of images per second, inevitably summoning a multitude of thoughts, feelings and actions from within ourselves. A place in which each of us has a unique documentary taking shape, where one's own personal life story begins to play out for the world."

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to everybody.

P.S: I'm curious about the prologue to Steven Seagal though.

Mr. Seagal, I'm having a party, and you're just not invited...

Why was that?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Settle in for a great ride!, August 26, 2008
By 
A. Pohren (IA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Grab a big bag of popcorn and settle in for an adventure ripe with humor, drama and a sprinkle of adolescent spice. Admit One is a memoir beginning with Emmett's first movie/cinema experience in his hometown of Crydon, South England. From here, Emmett's life is forever changed and his love of the cinema takes a strong hold. This love, however, does not diminish as he ages, but instead grows stronger. It doesn't take Emmett long before he decides to takes the leap, hop across "the pond" and forge his way into America and the treasured glimmer of Hollywood. Do not be mistaken, however, it is not an easy road. After several experiences as an extra and a few quite interesting stints, including one particular role which required strapping on false breasts and having his body completely waxed to play a stunt double for a woman wrestler, Emmett finally breaks into the more enjoyable side of acting. After a big break with a small part in Titanic, things open up and Hollywood seems to embrace Emmett a bit more, allowing his dream of acting and involvement in film to grab a more secure and solid hold on his life.

Admit One is not your typical memoir - anything but. Each chapter opens with a particular film title, complete with a bit of background information and then commencing with a time in Emmett's life that reflects that movie. Humor is a very strong point in the author's writing, taking the reader through such adolescent high jinx as sibling arguing, digging a large hole in the family garden to find lost treasure, then perhaps a tunnel to China or Australia, that infamous first crush and first date and even a bit of testing out how much a youth can get away with by pocketing a BMX sticker (lets say that Emmett found this to be a very wrong thing to do right from the start).

Though Emmett has told his story in a delightful and fun way, it also holds a profound lesson. The lesson that if you have a passion for something, be sure to do something about it, rather than just let life pass before you and wake up one day regretting all that time that you let go by. Life is what you make it and as long as you pursue your dreams, even if things don't turn out exactly the way you may have wanted, you will be much better off. Admit One is a wonderful story and one that I would recommend as both a great read and an excellent lesson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James, June 8, 2008
Emmett James has been in love with movies his whole life. He grew up in a nondescript London suburb where, to him, things seemed very ordinary, even boring. He can remember his first movie at the age of about three, Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, which he largely slept through. The beginning and the end are clear, though, and he liked what he saw. Now, how to stay awake? The answer? Every child's best friend...SUGAR, of course!

In this funny and upbeat memoir Mr. James takes us on a "This is your life" kind of ride by linking his past to the films that shaped his world. The yearly television viewing of The Wizard of Oz and the terror of the Wicked Witch inevitably caused him to have a bladder accident. Plus if it looked remotely gloomy outside he was jumpy, watching the skies for a rogue tornado. Poor kid, England has gloomy weather fairly regularly.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial inspired a love for the BMX bike and eventually led to a short lived life of teen crime, causing his parents to move the whole family from London to Cambridgeshire, a fate worse than death to the author. Especially when the new home, built in about 900, turns out to be haunted. The author's room is the scene of a hair-raising ghost sighting.

Emmett's love of films inspire him to be an actor and so, at the first opportunity, he moves himself to Hollywood looking for his own piece of the American Dream. He finds it, too.

I happen to be about the same age as the author and as I was reading I was thrust back in time, back to my own movie experiences. When I had to be taken out of Walt Disney's Bambi because I cried and cried when his mother was shot. When my best friend and tough girl astonished me by crying at E.T. (I'd never seen her cry before).

This is a story to take you down your own memory lane and remind you of the wonder and magic of the movies.
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Admit One: My Life in Film
Admit One: My Life in Film by Emmett James (Hardcover - February 1, 2010)
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