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The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide Paperback – October 12, 2004
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14 Chapters categorize the movies in a unique way.
In Chapter 1: DIRECTORS you'll find movies listed according to the last names of the fine folks who directed them. So this section starts out with 3 movies by drive in trash maestro, Al Adamson: Black Heat, Mean Mother and Satan's Sadists. No, they don't include all of Adamson's film (and skip over perhaps his best known Dracula Versus Frankenstein) but the idea seems to be to travel down roads not as well traveled as other movie guidebooks. So what movies do they include of Woody and Altman and Richard Lester and Herschell Gordon Lewis? Who did they leave out of the director's section that they should have in there (Doris Wishman, Richard Rush, Ted V. Mikels perhaps?)
Then there's 13 more chapters and you get nearly 4,000 capsule reviews from a variety of perspectives and some mini-essays on diverse filmmakers from Anthony Mann, and Les Blanc to Silent Film-maker Nell Shipman. There's bonus lists like 'Movies We Wish Were on DVD', 'The Most Depressing Movies Ever Made' and 'Best Musical Documentaries Ever Made.'
If you're confused by how this book is organized there are 3 indexes that will help sort it out for you.
Also readable is what amounts to the Scarecrow Video Store story which opens the book.Read more ›
Full of opinionated short reviews written by roughly 50 Scarecrow employees and customers, some of whom care more about the art of cinema than about good writing, it does not pretend to be definitive or comprehensive. Indeed, since the store stocks more than 100,000 titles, many of them rare, obscure, out of print, or never available on DVD, many thousands of worthy films had to be omitted. It's never been updated, and there are no ratings of any kind, so if you're hoping to find recent releases or one to five stars at each entry, look elsewhere.
Most of the videos profiled are either excellent or intriguing, but the authors occasionally recommend unmitigated dreck or praise arcane tripe that exists solely to shock. They can be, as the blurb on the back cover states, "laughable, important, fluffy, gory, illuminating, so-bad-it's-good videos." It goes without saying that a reviewer's tastes will not always match yours, so you need to be discerning when choosing from among nearly 4,000 titles spread over 800 pages. And note that a number of middlebrow blockbusters are given no mention whatsoever; you won't find "Terms of Endearment" here.Read more ›
AND the contents of the book are fantastic - an extremely broad and eclectic array of films are covered, all reviewed with pith and wit, blessedly without the stale academic dictionary approach of so many other movie guides. The arrangement is unique, simple, and clever: how many times have you been in the video store not looking for anything in particular, but with a general idea what TYPE of movie you want? Well, next time, before you even leave the house, you can just open to section corresponding with your desired film-type and scan through it, picking out a few possible promising-looking titles to search for once you get to the rental spot.
Be warned however, this is NOT a comprehensive movie guide, nor is it meant to be - there are some really blatant ommissions. But at the same time there is such an awesome wealth of classical knowledge combined with esoterica in here that one is virtually guaranteed a plethora of great and enlightening cinematic discoveries for years and years to come. This is GENUINE film scholarship compiled by true film buffs who clearly love and enjoy turning others onto good movies. I couldn't recomend it more!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I just recently read this book having just discovered Scarecrow Video a few months ago. While I really enjoyed it I can understand some of the other less than stellar reviews it's... Read morePublished on September 30, 2013 by Buddy Guy
How my ratings work:
5 - I really liked/loved it
4 - I liked it
3 - Could've been better/worth a look
2 - Just didn't live up to the potential
1 - Simply... Read more
This book is fun to pick through as a light read, but I would never consider it as my authoritative film guide. Read morePublished on January 11, 2006 by J. Merritt
There is something comforting about having a big paperback volume of movie information at your fingertips whether it comes from Leonard Maltin, Roger Ebert or any number of video... Read morePublished on November 2, 2005 by Ed Uyeshima
Fantastic, obscure, wildly entertaining...the only complaint i have is that not all the films in the store are reviewed in here...Published on September 20, 2005 by G. Brown
I really wanted to like this book,but was unfortunately disappointed by it. The layout of reviews makes it very difficult to find the reviews that you want. Read morePublished on July 17, 2005 by J. Besser
I have to say that the reviews are witty and a good read but trying to figure out where the minds behind this book have put anything is difficult and make this a useless reference... Read morePublished on January 22, 2005 by Stephen M. Kopian