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Hollywood Paperback – May 31, 2002

90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bukowski ( The Roominghouse Madrigals ) has written over 30 books of poetry and fiction in which he uses the persona of the artistic bum with reasonable success. In this flimsy novel, Henry Chinaski is asked to write a screenplay, and thus Bukowski continues his thinly disguised autobiography (Bukowski himself wrote the screenplay for the recent, self-referential Barfly ). When all the Hollywood types Chinaski encounters--directors, lawyers, producers, actors, actresses--fit the same drunken-outcast-but-artistic-genius mold, Bukowski seems to have exhausted his resourcefulness. His characters lose their individuality and the novel lacks force and perspective. This book deteriorates into juvenile satire in which familiar, real-life figures appear with the letters of their names shifted slightly: the famous director Jon-Luc Modard, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sanrah, Frances Ford Lopalla and an obvious Norman Mailer stand-in called Victor Norman.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this hilarious roman a clef, Bukowski draws on his experiences while writing the script for the 1987 film Barfly. Henry Chinaski, the author's alter ego in the film, here returns to write--despite misgivings--a Hollywood screenplay, The Dance of Jim Beam. The film is based on Chinaski's early life as a barfly and brawler, before he became a famous author. As he and his companion Sarah are caught up in the Hollywood whirlwind, Bukowski satirizes a host of well-known movie personalities. While Bukowski fans will welcome the reappearance of Chinaski, with his penchant for booze, women, and horse racing, film buffs should enjoy the novel for its delightful and irreverent portrayal of Hollywood. Highly recommended.
- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1st Ecco ed edition (January 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876857632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876857632
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was twenty-four, and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brad Hoevel on June 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The act of writing is often a good way for people to consider and reflect on Life, on Ideas, or anything else. Hollywood comes shortly after Bukowski was involved in the making of a film -- barfly: he wrote the script.

Hollywood comes across as a writer trying to comes to terms and reach some sort of conclusion about his experience in the movie industry.

Bukowski experiences both the good and the bad while he is involved with making the film. He meets fellow artists, gamblers, genius' to whom he feels sympathetic, while he also meets primadonnas and business-minded suits. Part of the film business he genuinely seems to like.

The reader shares with Bukowski his enjoyment and pride in seeing something he wrote come alive as actors reenact memorable scenes from his past.

Ultimately, Bukowski decides that he will not write another movie script He is unwilling to compromise his art. And he is disgusted by the business mindedness of so many of the people who have the final say in what movies are going to be made.

One quirk I enjoyed about this book is that it is the first book in which Buk has achieved some success. Bukowski is determined not to let success and money change him as an artist. Only, he wonders if that is possible. He's now driving a black BMW instead of an old Jetta; and he has a Jewish accountant.

Like any Bukowski novel, this isn't a bad read. The dialogue is a strength, and it's easy to see how Bukowski's dialog and prose would translate well into film script.

If you haven't read Bukowski, I suggest you start elsewhere. Ham on Rye: A Novel would be a good place to start.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By James Ferguson VINE VOICE on December 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Bukowski's humor is razor sharp in this book ostensibly on the making of "Barfly." Bukowski was enjoying some measure of success and even respect by this point, and was approached by Schroeder to write the screenplay for a movie about himself. Bukowski was of course flattered and took up the challenge. His books and poetry have always been about himself in one form or another, but here was his big chance to imagine himself on screen.
Bukowski takes you step by step through the making of the movie, with a sardonic eye for the details. Schroeder and his pal tried to get in touch with the lower east side of LA, which Bukowski enjoys poking fun at. He wasn't too keen about having Mickey Roarke cast as himself, he had Sean Penn in mind, but was smitten with the idea of Faye Dunaway as his love interest.
The book doesn't plunge to the lower depths as do his short stories and poetry. Bukowski keeps himself semi-detached from the subject of his early life. The book, like the movie, looks back at these formative years in a wry way that has a number of amusing twists and turns. He ends appropriately enough with the screening of the movie, with much of the gang invited to attend, making a party of it down in front of the screen as they assessed the film. Not bad, Bukowski concluded.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 1996
Format: Paperback
The late Charles Bukowski knew how to do two things properly,
drink and write. Then, along came the film producers and directors
who wanted to put a semi-autobiographical version of his life
on screen, the ensuing film, "Barfly." Bukowski fires back at Hollywood with
the novel "Hollywood", a semi-autobiographical, 'fictionalized' account
of the slight ups and many downs of making a film. Bukowski was
a master at prose and dialogue, and wrote numerous volumes of poetry
also. The film "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995) has all of the drunken
and seedy energy of a Bukowski novel, but none of the heart. Check out
the real thing, and read a Bukowski novel with a beer in your hand.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By IRA Ross on November 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Drinking and creativity do not necessarily go together. For every O'Neill, Faulkner, Hemingway, and London, there are hundreds of others who live lonely, desparate and short existences, slowly drinking themselves to death in complete anonymity. Luckily, the world was blessed to have had Charles Bukowski whose most creative moments emerged when he sat before a typewriter with a wine bottle in one hand. Bukowski wrote gritty and no holds barred novels and poetry about the things he loved best--drinking, horse racing and women. He also wrote the screenplay for "Barfly," a film about his young manhood, spent hanging around seedy bars, getting into drunken brawls with the bartender, and writing some of the best poems this side of the grave.
Bukowski tells the story of his screenwriting experience through his alter ego Henry Chinaski, a survivor when everyone else in his crowd had already died. It's all there--dealing with easily bruised egos, the Hollywood eccentrics, the on again, off again production problems in making the film, and the continuous inconsistency of cash flow. What lends _Hollywood_ its wonderful resonance is its realness--the boldness and the pluck of its coarse leading player, Charles Bukowski/Hank Chinaski. And of course, his inspiration, the bottle of wine which was, even on the set, never too far off.
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