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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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—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.”
"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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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
- The Great Moment
- Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus
- The Cable Guy
- Dice Rules/The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
- I'll Do Anything (the original musical cut)
- The Last Action Hero
- The Scarlet Letter (1995)
- Lolita (1997)
- 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)
- 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.
MY YEAR OF FLOPS is engaging, well-written, and interesting. Most of the entries here are engaging enough that, if you are not at all familiar with the movie, the commentary will still be worth reading. This book leaves me hoping that other editors from the A.V. Club will bring their similar columns to trade paperback form.
I'd recommend this book to pop culture nerds, film geeks, and trivia buffs. If you enjoyed Inventory: 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists, this book serves well as a spiritual successor.
For those unfamiliar with Rabin's blog, this book is a hilarious and fascinating treat, a look into some of cinema's most infamous disasters that's as informative as it is funny. For those who are long-time readers of "My Year of Flops," this book provides plenty of new material to enjoy as well -- reviews exclusive to the book, interviews with actors and directors behind the films, illustrations, and more.
I won't lie -- Rabin is one of the best online film reviewers I've seen to date. He does his homework when it comes to movies, looking into the pasts and (often troubled) productions of various film projects, and even covering the source material when a film is adapted from another source such as a novel. He's a tough but fair critic, gleefully pointing out a film's flaws and tearing it apart with gusto, but also giving credit where credit is due and praising what works in a film, whether it's an actor's performance or how a particular scene is written. And though he knows his primary purpose is to entertain as well as inform, his humor can be barbed but never overly caustic, and while he's not above having a laugh at certain celebrities' expenses, he doesn't sink to cruel insults just to be funny.
Reviews in this book include (but aren't limited to) "Battlefield: Earth," "The Last Action Hero," "The Scarlet Letter," "Lolita" (both versions), "Ishtar," "Hulk" (Ang Lee's version), "Howard the Duck," "The Rocketeer," "Pennies From Heaven," "Elizabethtown," "Joe vs. The Volcano," "Body of Evidence," "Bratz," and more. "Elizabethtown" is actually reviewed twice -- it was the first film Rabin reviewed for the site, and he felt compelled to go back and review it again to see if his view on it had changed over the course of a year. It did... but I won't spoil how.
The book's illustrations can occasionally verge on Uncanny Valley, looking just realistic enough to be creepy and not cartoony enough to be particularly stylized. But I did find the "carnival-poster" look of said illustrations amusing, as if to point out this book's similarity to a freak show -- we do watch these horrible movies more to gawk and laugh than to truly enjoy ourselves, after all. And the extra features, such as the interviews, are much appreciated -- it's nice to see how the people involved in these productions felt about them, and how they feel about said film being poorly received. And the book's "appendix" -- a minute-by-minute recap of the director's cut of "Waterworld," is the perfect cap on the madness, a way to end the book on a lighthearted note.
One thing I did notice is that a few of the reviews that had previously appeared on the website appear to have been altered a bit. This is a bit of a shame, in my opinion -- a couple of the funniest lines have been omitted from the "Southland Tales" and "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" reviews. I wonder what prompted the changes.
All in all, a book that's both bitingly funny and surprisingly informative, giving an in-depth look at some of cinema's biggest disasters. A must-read for the movie-buff, especially if you're a fan of bad films and cult classics.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book is divided into genres (sci-fi, musical, etc.Read more