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Scattershot but fairly entertaining
on March 11, 2012
This is really three or four books in one. One of the books is "My Advice to Aspiring Screenwriters." This encompasses both advice on writing and on navigating Hollywood as a writer. I am not an aspiring screenwriter, so I found these sections somewhat interesting but not too compelling.
Another book in here is "My Experiences with Hollywood," i.e. the author's memoirs. This is pretty interesting stuff for movie/Hollywood buffs. I especially enjoyed reading about the making of "All the President's Men," one of my favorite films. A lot is written about "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," of which I am not so much a fan.
There is also a book that could be called "Hollywood Gossip," where Goldman is pretty shameless and doesn't hold back, especially vis-a-vis naming names. I compare this to Sidney Lumet's excellent "Making Movies," where he relates some gossipy stories (basically involving obnoxious stars), but Lumet doesn't name names.
Finally, there is the entire screenplay of "Butch," and a discussion of its strengths and weaknesses. You will like this if you like "Butch." Also, a short story of his called "Da Vinci," an accompanying short screenplay, and some discussion of that. There are interviews with great filmmakers, including cinematographer Gordon Willis and editor Dede Allen, that are worthwhile reading.