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My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure Paperback – October 19, 2010


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My Year of Flops: The A.V. Club Presents One Man's Journey Deep into the Heart of Cinematic Failure + Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439153124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439153123
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nathan Rabin's My Year of Flops is like watching a genius nurse a score of frightened, wounded baby birds back to life--a superhuman level of care and compassion lavished on That Which Never Had A Right To Exist. Truly brilliant."
—Patton Oswalt, author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

"Nathan Rabin is all-knowing (without being smarmy), open-and kind-hearted (without being sappy), and he'll make you laugh on every page. You can't have a better friend sitting next to you as you watch these glorious atrocities."
—Mike Sacks, author of And Here’s the Kicker and SEX: Our Bodies, Our Junk

“Jon Krakauer's writing is beyond vivid. You FEEL the cold of Everest as your read his words. Into Thin Air is a harrowing journey, well worth your time. I’ve also heard great things about Nathan Rabin's My Year of Flops.”
—Aziz Ansari

"Nathan Rabin's book is funnier than John Travolta's facial hair in Battlefield Earth. He's a brave man for undertaking this dangerous mission and returning alive with a highly entertaining tale."
--A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

About the Author

From the faceless corporation behind The Onion and Inventory comes My Year of Flops, A.V Club Head Writer Nathan Rabin's hilarious and insightful exploration of the strange world of cinematic fiascos. 

In January 2007 Rabin began a curious project for A.V Club, the entertainment section of satirical newspaper and website The Onion: he set out to provide a revisionist look at the history of failed films. What began as a solitary ramble through some of the more bizarre corners of pop culture quickly developed a cult following.
My Year of Flops collects dozens of the best-loved entries from the column along with loads of bonus features. These include interviews with talent from the films chronicled, a new introduction and postscript, illustrations by Danny Hellman, fifteen new entries on everything from notorious flops like The Cable Guy and The Last Action Hero to bizarre obscurities like Gospel Road, Johnny Cash's homemade tribute to Jesus. But that's not all: because your pain is his pleasure, Rabin had written a minute-by-minute account of the three hour long director's cut of Waterworld. Driven by a unique combination of sympathy and Schadenfreude, My Year of Flops is an unforgettable tribute to cinematic losers, beautiful and otherwise.
 
Praise for The Big Rewind 

"Packed like a cannon full of caustic wit and bruised feelings"--The New York Times 
"With his uncanny grasp of the cultural zeitgeist, Rabin could unseat Chuck Klosterman as the slacker generation's vital critical voice."--Heeb Magazine 

The A.V Club was founded in 1995 as the arts-and-entertainment arm of satirical institution The Onion. In recent years, A.V Club's web presence has become huge, attracting over a million and a half unique users per month. Nathan Rabin has long been A.V Club's Head Writer. In 2009 Scribner  published his memoir, The Big Rewind, to great acclaim.

More About the Author

I am a very old young man with a brutally funny, unwisely candid memoir to pimp and a message to spread throughout the world. That message: buy my book. Seriously. It's an awesome book and if it doesn't sell I'll have to go back to being a hobo.

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Customer Reviews

All in all… a great book for anyone who likes to laugh and loves the movies.
Anthony Pantliano
If you love movies, you want to step into some of the titles that continuously play on TBS and have a great time going through it then this is the book for you.
Will the IT Guy
A.V. Club editor Nathan Rabin's regular column "My Year of Flops" is a fun read.
T. A. Daniel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Leonard on October 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here's what you get:

NOTE TO KINDLE USERS: The illustrations are present in the Kindle edition, and there is a clickable table of contents.

Brand New Reviews:
- The Conqueror
- W.
- The Great Moment
- Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus
- The Cable Guy
- Skidoo
- Postal
- Dice Rules/The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
- I'll Do Anything (the original musical cut)
- Mame
- The Last Action Hero
- The Scarlet Letter (1995)
- Lolita (1997)
- Cleopatra

Interviews:
- Richard Dreyfuss (W.)
- Austin Pendleton (Skidoo)
- Michael Jai White (Breakfast of Champions)
- Dave Foley (Postal)
- Wallace Shawn (Southland Tales)
- Roberto Benigni (Pinocchio)
- Tom Noonan (Heaven's Gate)
- John Patrick Shanley (Joe Versus the Volcano)

Other Material:
- About a dozen illustrations of various flops, done up in the style of carnival posters
- A new introduction and afterword
- The minute-by-minute review of Waterworld
- A reconsideration of the original MYOF case file, Elizabethtown

Otherwise, the rest of the book is taken straight from the AV Club's website. The new material is a blast: the new reviews are often twice as long as the older entries and the interviews help shed some light on how a movie can go spectacularly wrong. For the exclusive writing, I felt the book was $10 well spent (and perhaps help spawn a Volume 2), but be aware that the majority of this book is made up of material you can read for free on the AV Club's website. If you're unfamiliar with MYOF, your best bet is to go the site [ ... ] and read up on the (as of this writing) 173 entries and see if it's for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diane Lanier on February 19, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a nice anthology of the author's "My Year of Flops" from The Onion online site. Some of the movies you have heard of, like Heaven's Gate and Ishtar, most you will not. HIs writing style is entertainingly funny, WARNING: a little profane, and very knowledgeable of film history. I didn't agree with all of his opinions (probably because I'm not the filmophile that he clearly is) but it's made me rethink my opinions and look at some less heard of movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Seigler on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bad movies make the world go around. Whether you're watching one from the ironic distance of MST3K or as a genuine attempt to see why so many talented people went so horribly wrong, there's something comforting in knowing that Hollywood and world cinema can occasionally (and often enough) misfire completely when producing a film for mass entertainment. Nathan Rabin knows this, and over at the Onion's AV Club he's been writing a compulsively readable column about notable film flops for years now. Some of the best are collected in "My Year of Flops," and it's hard to put down.

Rabin covers the usual suspects (Ishtar, Heaven's Gate, Gigli) with an unbridled enthusiasm not so much to pile on as to uncover what might have motivated the films to be made in the first place, and whether their historic reputations are deserved. Some films earn their notoriety, others deserve more scorn than previously experienced, but many surprising "secret successes" emerge to make you wonder if you shouldn't add those to your Netflix queue. Through it all, Rabin's sharp sense of humor and eagerness to make the best out of a bad film is infectious and helps keep the book moving along.

Most of these pieces appeared on the AV Club's website, but some are exclusive to the book (such as a re-evaluation of the film that started it all, "Elizabethtown"). It's missing the clips from the films that are available at the online reviews, but that's a small enough quibble. By and large, this is a fun and illuminating read.

So the next time you're in a video store and you see "Battlefield Earth" collecting dust on the shelve, think twice about moving on to something more presitigous (or better). Flops are the collective effort of a talented group who aimed for the stars and fell just short; there might be more to their movies than the punchline of "box office poison."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy W. Lieder on November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I find it rather fascinating that I started reading Nathan Rabin long before I was reading Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman was always the more popular writer but he didn't have the AV Club to carry his columns. If you've already read the AV Club columns, then why are you even bothering to read this review? YOu know they are awesome. You know you want to read them again and you don't want to have to log on to read them online. You want the book there all the time. If you haven't read them, what are you thinking? These are the most hilarious and insightful cultural critiques in existence. The AV Club writers have a talent for elevating criticism to an art form. Where so many critics rely on navel gazing or "my kid really liked it" criticism, these guys are delving into the art and providing insights that you wouldn't normally find.

For example, in this book Nathan Rabin singlehandedly explained why The Last Action Hero was a failure. Now I know you might be thinking that it doesn't really matter why it was a failure. After all, people were getting sick of Scharzenegger as an action star and they wanted to see him do something more political. But this came out before John Woo singlehandedly changed action movies for all time. Beyond that, it should be a success - if not a box office success at least an artistic success since it has so much good material (Hamlet reconfigured as an action movie should be worth the ticket price alone) and yet it doesn't work. Rabin points out how Schwarzennegger movies are parodic by design. Making a parody of a parody is just redundant.

Besides being insightful, this book is also hilarious and has some of the funniest lines. I found myself laughing out loud and all those other cliche text message speaks.
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