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What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 2, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (May 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582342407
  • ASIN: B000HWYYNK
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,848,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this latest addition to the spate of Hollywood tell-alls, the producer of The Untouchables and Fight Club details the planning, handholding and power games involved in making movies. Each film brings its own problems, which Linson recounts in sardonic discussions of his own less-than-boffo features, including Pushing Tin and Great Expectations (the 1998 remake). His account of The Edge is particularly remarkable, as it demonstrates the difficulties of putting together a deal (De Niro had a problem with fighting a fake bear), placating the stars (Alec Baldwin didn't want to shave his beard) and finding a title (The Bear and the Brain was a contender, as was the screenwriter's choice, Bookworm). Linson's insights into why some movies fail are revealing: no one wants to see John Cusack naked (which explains Pushing Tin), for one, and you don't stand a chance if an earlier, bigger release (Titanic) uses the same erotic scene as your movie (Great Expectations). To hear Linson tell it, it's a jungle out there, with loads of fussy, na‹ve, brazen and unlucky monkeys swinging from the trees. He reels out one conversation after another, unearthing the bar banter, telephone exchanges and studio tˆte-…-tˆtes that reveal just how much quibbling goes on behind the scenes. Although Linson's book lacks the polish of William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade or the all-around savvy of Peter Bart and Peter Guber's Shoot Out, it provides a decent bird's-eye view on what a producer actually does and the pressures it involves.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

'Art Linson sings of Hollywood in a low, guttural, animal wail, alternately hysterical, biting, humiliating, and wise.' -- Sean Penn

'I laughed. I cried. I was horrified.' -- Sue Menger

'Wickedly funny and sardonic...It is the best user's manual to Hollywood I know.' -- Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on October 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like books on Hollywood biz and this one fits the bill by a real pro, Art Linson. Anyone involved with classics like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Fight Club and Heat knows his way around the business and how it has changed in the last 30 years. Linson throws one kink in the normal Hollywood tell-all. He introduces a fictitious former studio head that has lunches with Linson generating a lively dialog of the business by to former players.
While I enjoyed this book, I have one major complaint. There are only four Hollywood stories in the book. It's like Linson has found his hit and can issue many sequels so he does so little at a time. The book is only 180 pages and is a very fast read. Also, the stories are not in great depth. For example, he describes the movie The Edge with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. He does a good job describing how these two are selected and the great respect he has for both actors. But the story line quickly ends as Baldwin shows up overweight and with a long beard. Linson has to deliver the bad news that he must change his appearance. End of story. Let's move on to the next.
While this story is anticlimactic after a flirtation with Robert Deniro in the movie, I like Linson's writing style for the subjects. It's short, uncomplicated and humorous. Other stories covered include Pushing Tin, Great Expectations and The Fight Club. All interesting stories but all written about very briefly.
Irrespective, I still recommend this book if you enjoy reading Hollywood stories. Linson had a great career and I'm sure there is another book coming in the future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on May 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sex sells, goes the old maxim, but if the sales of gossip magazines featuring the likes of the late Princess Diana, the present Drew Barrymore et al, then gossip may well be up there with sex as a matter of titilation (no pun intended) for the masses, of which I am one. THe fact is David Mamet is a great writer, Robert De Niro a great actor and the author, Art Linson, is no slouch in the producing arena. So if any of these are of interest to you, this book is a very well written - snappy dialogue, witty observations on the status of restaurant seating, and well constructed vignettes - as well as providing yet another insider's view on the shark aquarium known as Hollywood.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By schapmock on November 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What Just Happened consists of behind the scenes tales of the making of The Edge, Great Expectations, Pushing Tin, and Fight Club from film producer Art Linson.
The stories are pretty great. Bitter and specific to a degree not usually found in Hollywood books not written by Julia Phillips, these have the nasty ring of truth, and are very funny.
The only problem with this book is that it barely qualifies as one. There's barely enough text here to fill an ambitious pamphlet. Surely there was more to be written about the making of the wildly controversial Fight Club (like how it managed to get made in the first place) than just describing how the finished product power-freaked the Fox marketing department.
Also padding out the length is a bizarre framing story wherein Linson is telling these tales to a memorably creepy ex-studio head. Pitch black as these segments are, they feel both repetitive and vaguely untrue, a bit of theatricality whipped up to hammer home Linson's bitter points. The book doesn't need them, but I guess they added a few more pages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a Hollywood junkie, so I enjoyed this book. Art Linson isn't nearly the natural storyteller that William Goldman is, meaning the book isn't quite the joy Goldman's books were to read, but, on the other hand, Art is a PRODUCER and he sees films further through than Goldman and his stories are a deeper vision. The device used in the book, of the author talking to another has-been, is (as it was noted) very, VERY annoying and I suggest you just skip it by (it adds nothing). The book is a quick, one-sitting read, and it's as frivolous as a cookie wafer. Art certainly whines -- and I'm sure "Great Expectations" bombed because it was a bad movie, not because "Titanic" had the same scene in it (Art even implies the naked-drawing idea was stolen!) -- but if Art wasn't a whiny guy who took no responsibility...he wouldn't have written this book. So the trade-off is okay with me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Art Linson writes a very funny profile/memoir of uptight execs in Hollywood...and the movies he's produced...with a pen dipped in bile.
Screamingly funny, and you'll zip right through it. I finished the tome in two and a half hours.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KSA on April 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read What Just Happened in one breathless sitting. Couldn't put it down. It is funny, well pace and amazingly well written. It is a gritty, honest look at an outrageous and often ridiculous world. You think you know everything there is to know about Hollywood? You don't. Read this book. It will change the way you think about the movies.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm assuming Art has officially checked out of the biz, because after this book he'll certainly never eat that proverbial lunch in this town again.
After tale after tale of bitterness, one is left with this overwhelming question: Why'd you ever bother with it, Art?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Art Linson has produced some of the greatest films of the last 20 years (Fast TImes at Ridgemont High, The Untouchables, Heat, Fight Club) yet with this insightful razor sharp guide to the trenches of filmmaking he shows how every film is a new fight with an insane collection of "creative" executives who must be appeased and destroyed...When Linson descibes the horrific response the executives at Fox had to seeing Fight Club for the first time I laughed out loud....Read this book if you love film and fear where its going
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