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I Blame Dennis Hopper: And Other Stories from a Life Lived In and Out of the Movies Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 3, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An Entertainment Weekly Best Pop-Culture Book of 2015!

"In this sublime series of essays, Douglas revels in her dual roles as both participant and observer, never losing her awe of the actors and directors she has met along the way.Funny, candid, juicy, gossipy, Douglas’ insider look at the film industry charms with its “pinch me, I’m dreaming” sweetness while imparting hard-won and valuable lessons about following one’s true calling."
-Booklist, Starred Review

"In other words, she's got seriously good stories to tell in these chatty, heartfelt essays" - Kim Hubbard, People Magazine

"It’s Douglas’ head-over-heels madness for the movies that illuminates the text like a projector bulb through a filmstrip, from her parents’ decision to run a hippie commune after being bewitched by Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, to Douglas’ own obsession with actors like Lee Marvin and Richard Dreyfuss, to her sometimes “delusional” confidence that she was born to be a star. Douglas recounts her life and work with a perfect mix of self-deprecation and glowing pride. Reading it feels like listening to the magnetic storyteller herself―and it’s enough to make you fall in love too. A–" - Entertainment Weekly

"Humorous, delightful, and wholly entertaining. Douglas delves into all the wonderfully serendipitous tales that got her to the place she as a child always wanted to be, all while charming the hell out of us." - Elle Magazine

“Illeana Douglas takes you through her years in Hollywood and beyond the same way she experienced them - by happy, hilarious accident. The revelations fly off the pages of this book are cringe-inducing, gut-busting and terrifying, usually all at once.” ―Patton Oswalt, New York Times bestselling author of ZOMBIE, SPACESHIP, WASTELAND

“I've talked to Illeana Douglas about her life. Her family roots are crazy, groovy, harsh and a bit glamorous. I'm thrilled she's wrangled that into prose form. She's quirky, hilarious and deep. I love her. I've always loved her. Haven't we all?” ―Marc Maron, Comedian and bestselling author of Attempting Normal

“Illeana Douglas is an incredibly talented, smart and funny storyteller. This book is compelling to read from start to finish. She either knows or has worked with so many significant names in film, that in researching, she broke my IMDB.” ―Bob Saget, actor and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Dirty Daddy

“Illeana asked me for a quote, so I suggested about a hundred dollars....Illeana is not only a child of the movies, but also a grandchild. She writes beautifully and movingly about how she came to be who she is.” ―Eric Idle, Founding member of Monty Python and Tony Award winning writer of Spamalot

“Illeana has done what no other movie memoir has ever achieved; she takes us on a journey through the personal, the chaotic, the droll, the ecstatic, the hilarious, the surreal and moving life in moving pictures, hers, and ours. As beautiful as it is exhilarating, I Blame Dennis Hopper not only gives us a rich texture of the life of an American girl coming of age in a wild time, but the most perfect look I've ever read of life on the set through a filmmakers eye. Gorgeous.” ―Allison Anders, Award-winning director of Grace of My Heart and Gas Food Lodging

I Blame Dennis Hopper is genius. I couldn't put it down. It was like having a great companion. Illeana completely captures the enchantment of film in a charming and hilarious way. More than that, it reminded me of my own passion for movies and of acting. Very, very inspirational.” ―Jeff Goldblum

“Illeana is far beyond just an actress, she's a student of all things cinema. This book is funny, poignant, and at moments, surprising. This is definitely one of those times where you should read the book before you see the movie. (See what I did there?)” ―Adam Carolla, New York Times bestselling author of Not Taco Bell Material and President Me

“I devoured this book as if it were a giant box of popcorn! It isn't easy to put your thoughts, hopes, dreams, and disappointments into words, but Illeana Douglas has done it with equal parts candor and humor. Best of all, she details the special relationship she had with her grandfather, the great Melvyn Douglas-including the time she got to visit him on the set of Being There. I thoroughly enjoyed this disarming memoir.” ―Leonard Maltin, film critic and bestselling author

“Illeana has always been known as the thinking man's sex symbol. This book makes it clear why.” ―James Woods

About the Author

Celebrated actress, comedienne, writer, producer, director, Illeana Douglas has starred in films like Goodfellas, Cape Fear, To Die For, Picture Perfect, Ghost World, as well as TV shows from Six Feet Under to Welcome to Sweden. She was an Internet pioneer with Easy To Assemble; millions have watched the web series she created and starred in from 2008 to 2013. As part of the Turner Classic Movies family she hosted Second Looks, and has done film introductions and memorable interviews with some of Hollywood's greatest. She's probably watching a movie right now.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books (November 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250052912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250052919
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book. To be honest, the only disappointing part is that I didn't want it to end. Illeana's life has taken many turns because of movies- from her childhood and the effect Easy Rider had on her family to Cape Fear and beyond. The people interwoven in her life is a who's who of old Hollywood and new Hollywood, from Martin Scorsese, Marlon Brando and Roddy McDowall- heck, Rudy Vallee shows up in the Camelot Dinner Theater chapter of her life. I felt like a companion at her side as she tells her stories (I will take the club sandwich advice!) and she seems like someone you could sit down with and talk movies with. She knows her stuff. One can tell that Illeana is an enthusiastic movie fan and knows film history, plus she has a way with words that makes a great book. I look forward to more books from her in the future- I really want to know the Elizabeth Taylor story (please!).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
From the caption at the beginning of Chapter 1 of a picture of young Illeana Douglas standing in a storefront, stating "We were poor, but we were unhappy" , I knew this would be a book I would love. Being of a similar age, I felt a total affinity for Illeana's stories of her childhood dealing with a father whose manifesto was Easy Rider, as it was a film I suffered through with a dad who felt much the same about the film and its lead actor, Dennis Hopper, as hers. However, it's a triumphant story in the end, as Illeana relates that the horrors she dealt with brought her to a place of being able to become a successful working actress in movies with such luminaries as... Dennis Hopper! The book is full of wonderful, usually hilarious anecdotes from a professional life lived at various levels of the business, from dinner theatre to her star turns in the films To Die For and Grace Of My Heart. Illeana's stories of other actors and directors she's encountered throughout her life, from grandfather Melvyn Douglas (whose film career began in the early '30s and later era work in The Candidate in '72 and Being There in '79 is genius; her visit as a teenager to the film set of Being There is one of the best stories in the book) to Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro and scores of others are all brilliantly told in a disarming, self-deprecating manner. One of the best showbiz tomes I've had the pleasure to read... thanks Illeana and let's have some more soon, please!
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Format: Hardcover
I knew I would like "I Blame Dennis Hopper" when I learned the meaning behind its curious title, a reference to how Illeana's childhood was transformed from Pleasant Valley Sunday to communal living thanks to the power of an iconic 1960s film, Easy Rider. Somehow, Illeana survived her hippie childrearing, grew up to be a successful actress and manages to tell her tale with great humor, wit and charm.

This is an insider's memoir with great practical advice, but Illeana's essays on actors and films make it clear that she is equal parts obsessive fan, like me. And she has gumption: I loved her teenage stories about trying to break into showbiz, which are straight out of the Lucille Ricardo playbook from I Love Lucy. Illeana's lust for life makes her a natural storyteller, and her philosophy of living hers as if it were the ultimate flick is inspiring in a non-new-age way. She name checks Peter Sellers, Liza Minnelli, the Three Stooges, Robert De Niro and many other colorful supporting characters along her crazy trip, and you will never guess who saves our heroine: (SPOILER ALERT!) Mr. Easy Rider himself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Long a favorite from films and TV, Illeana Douglas writes a funny, moving, hugely enjoyable memoir taking us on the journey of her life from how her father seeing Easy Rider changed the course of her childhood to making her first film appearance at literally almost a moments’ notice, mixing her lifelong love of the movies with all the people she meets along her journey through show business. Whether writing about visiting her Oscar-winning grandfather Melvyn Douglas on the set of the classic Being There, a random encounter with Lee Marvin on a deserted New York sidewalk or an unforgettable afternoon with Marlon Brando her passion for what these films and the people who make them can mean deep down is continually meaningful and inspiring. She also writes about some of the many great films she’s appeared in including Cape Fear, To Die For and Grace of my Heart, effortlessly mixing the magic of how they were made with the madness of what it can really be like on one of those sets. I love this book which at times reminds me of my own love of films and why they can mean so much to us, why I can’t stop watching some of them. It also makes me want to watch a movie with Illeana so I can hear her talk about it and maybe get to hear stories from the book that didn’t make it in! I didn’t want it to end. I still don’t!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From an intelligent, talented, and beautiful actress who was in the middle of so much film history, a wonderful concise collection of well written anecdotes. It's not really a tell-all. she eschews a lot of the more personal stuff (including her 10 year romantic relationship with Martin Scorsese), instead sharing different select events in her life for different purposes. She shares about early family life and growing up, about making a film as a complete and dedicated crew, how unpredictable the industry is despite how things appear to be going, the irony that meeting the greats can entail, her amazingly successful efforts as a producer of internet content, and so much more. Yes, there are plenty of well known names, and some great BTS of quite a few favorite films. Obviously this is a must for ALL Illeana fans, but also fans of film spanning the last quarter century.
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