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Full Metal Jacket Diary Hardcover – October 25, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Modine, who starred as Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Vietnam War masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket, gets right to the core of his subject by beginning with the question, "What was Stanley like?" He supplies the answers throughout this diary on the movie's filming, which should provide new insights for Kubrick enthusiasts. Modine's writing isn't graceful, but his insider's view of events have enough acrid flavor and authenticity to compensate. He explains Kubrick's philosophy by quoting him, "There are no bad ideas—only better ones," and convincingly highlights the fanatical perfectionism that caused Kubrick to go "dangerously overboard... way behind schedule." Modine mentions the horror of eating fruits and meats that were actually from the Vietnam War, kept in cans for 20 years. Other atmospherically effective details include the "incredibly uncomfortable, gummy and viscous" makeup blood, freezing in jungle fatigues and experiencing through Kubrick's emphasis on raw reality what the war was like. The book is filled with Modine's excellent photographs, which powerfully supplement the sometimes sketchy narrative. In the end, the work succeeds in expressing Modine's attitude—"I'm going to make you feel the horror of death." The stainless steel–covered book—each one laser-etched with a serial number—should become a collector's item for fans of the legendary director. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Matthew Modine has starred in over forty films, including Any Given Sunday, Pacific Heights, Married to the Mob, Vision Quest, and Birdy.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rugged Land; Limited ed. edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590710479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590710470
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having seen Full Metal Jacket numerous times and being a big Kubrick fan I couldn't resist owning this book. The photos are stunning. Modine has a photographer's eye and it shows. What I found more interesting was the diary. Even twenty years later it must have been difficult to publish such candid thoughts. In it Modine reveals his jealousies and problems with other actors. To one he says something like: 'You're everything I'm afraid I'll become.' Oddly, the actor was not bothered by this statement. This isn't to say Modine is a whiner. His feelings were probably natural for any actor on any movie set particularly one made by Kubrick. For example, Kubrick demands Modine return to the set literally hours after his wife gives birth to their first child. Modine complies not wanting to hold up production. The demands Kubrick places on cast and crew are legendary and Modine delves into them. And then there's Modine's trepidations about a sex scene with Papillion Soo Soo... On the other hand, Modine talks about the way the film changed as they shot it. The ending was altered radically and it may be because of Modine's random thoughts or maybe because Kubrick was waiting for Modine to realize what he had realized. Whatever the case Modine played was a major influence in the direction Kubrick took while filming. Modine's diary is a blunt testimony to the heaven and hell it was for a young actor to star in Kubrick's last great movie.
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Format: Hardcover
One word. WOW.

My husband got me this book for Christmas and I couldn't be happier. I love this movie and always wondered how Kubrick found these actors and got these unbelievable shots. I was shocked to find how much of my perceptions of Kubrick's genius were actually stumbled upon accidentally or ideas from cast members! (Don't get me wrong, much of it was still Kubrick's genius!)

The book covers dialogue and conflicts between cast and crew, personal thoughts of Modine, how the film was made, how the actors were chosen, etc. It also gives away many secrets of the movie.

The way Modine keeps this journal is strikingly similar to the way Joker narrates the movie... as you read the pages of the journal you can almost hear Joker narrating to you -- the writing style and broken sentences make you feel almost as if you're watching an after-thought to the movie with the same voice walking you through.

One thing that troubles me... the book references multiple instances where parts and scenes were filmed (over and over and over again! Modine's main problem while the movie was being filmed) but are NOT in the final cut. For examnple, the sex scene, Animal Mother decapitating the sniper... neither are in the actual film. But the book doesn't acknowledge that.. I would like to know why they were left out after so many months of filming those scenes over and over.

This diary gives an interesting perspective on what it was like to *live* Full Metal Jacket, not just watch it. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the film.
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Format: Hardcover
...although fans of the film will most appreciate the great photographs and inside scoop on Stanley Kubrick, the cast and crew, and the movie-making details. (Thanks, Mr. Modine!)

The packaging of the book -- in a "full metal jacket" with a serial number -- is clever marketing that only enhances the subject, not takes away from it.

All in all, an intellectual and tactile pleasure.
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Format: Hardcover
-The metal book jacket is gimmicky. But I doubt anyone would really buy this book for the jacket alone.

-The overall physical quality of the book is quite good. A top production; quality paper and printing.

-Photos are candid and vary in subjects. Cast, crew, family, and even vacation photos are present. There are only a handful of photos of Kubrick, and IMO none that stay in the mind, unfortunately.

-The diary is a quick read. Not unlike Michael Herr's book "Kubrick."

-The diary covers the onset production of Full Metal Jacket, in addition to some of Mr. Modine's private life offset during production. Some of the finest entries are short conversations between Mr. Modine and Kubrick and others.

-I would say that Mr. Modine's personal insights into his fellow cast and crew are the jewels of this book. This alone is worth the price. As a fan of Kubrick I feel a few more blanks in his puzzle have been filled. Not only of him, but also of his working habits and those with whom he worked. There are a couple shared moments between actor and director that I felt were quite touching.
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Format: Hardcover
in words, pictures and design,"Full Metal Jacket Diary" is most of all a unique and honest book about the realities of film making at it's extreme. Such are few and far between.

In it Matthew Modine takes you through two years of heaven and hell working for the enigmatic genius film director, Stanley Kubrick, as an actor starring as Private Joker in "Full Metal Jacket".

What started as a three month shoot turned into years with no end in sight.. This tale of Kubrick's conscious or unconscious manipulation of both cast and crew to achieve his vision is a fascinating account of genius and perhaps insanity.

Within this alternate reality, the damp chill of England slowly broke Kubrick's men down. much like the heat of jungle did in Vietnam.. Modine has captured the madness of the war of making movies unlike any other book I have read.

Matthew Modine's stunning black and white images and his passionate words of a young actor's very difficult personal journey are unique and compelling. He became a father during the filming just as Chernobal blew its stack and was told everyone would be fine except for nursing infants. Such is the glamour of film making.

Yet despite the hardships and stress, he portrays a compelling and unique reverence for Stanley Kubrick and his vision. . It's straight from the heart.

In any event had Modine not become a brilliant actor, he could have been a kick ass, no holds back war correspondent and photographer. If you like Kubrick, Modine or are at all interested in what making a film really can be like, this is the best twenty bucks you will ever spend.
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