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Charlie Kaufman and Hollywood's Merry Band of Pranksters, Fabulists and Dreamers: An Excursion Into the American New Wave Paperback – September 1, 2008
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The selection of films he focusses on is dead-on. In the limited space of the book he grabs the knowledgeable reader with just the right amount of trivia, background information and analysis. Fervently he argues for the quality of certain overlooked films, mainly Wes Anderson's, all the while providing the reader with a new understanding for beloved modern classics.
Filmmakers mainly dealt with in this book are Richard Linklater, David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, Sofia Coppola, Michel Gondry and of course Charlie Kaufman, with smaller parts reserved for the likes of Roman Coppola, Richard Kelly, Steven Soderbergh and PT Anderson. The latter are examined each through one of the movies, while the former group gets both an analysis of their bibliographic and filmographic resumé as well as detailed and individual run-downs of their major cinematic achievements.
Only downside for me was that this extraordinarily entertaining read comes at only 170 pages. But with extensive lists of resources about related books and movies, I will certainly re-visit this book in the future.
If you're interested in the workings of cinema and have a soft spot for some of the aforementioned filmmakers, you owe it to yourself to get this book.
It was especially rewarding to me to be reintroduced to the earlier Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater movies, many of which I either didn't see the first time around, or rediscovered with enormous pleasure thanks to the book. One of the things I like best is the format, which is essentially an essay, part lowdown and part theory, about each director, followed by genuinely thoughtful and insightful views of each of the films that director (or writer) had made by the time the book came out in 2008, meaning Hill probably finished writing it in 2007. I wish he'd do an update-- even as an ebook--and give us similarly thoughtful reactions to the films these people have made since then.
Terrific book, and a GREAT guide to movies you may not have seen or might like to revisit.