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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood Paperback – April 4, 1999
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Biskind did hundreds of interviews with people who make the president look accessible: Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Geffen, Beatty, Kael, Towne, Altman. He also spoke with countless spurned spouses and burned partners, alleged victims of assault by knife, pistol, and bodily fluids. Rather more responsible than some of his sources, Biskind always carefully notes the denials as well as the astounding stories he has compiled. He tells you about Scorsese running naked down Mulholland Drive after his girlfriend, crying, "Don't leave me!"; grave robbing on the set of Apocalypse Now; Faye Dunaway apparently flinging urine in Roman Polanski's face while filming Chinatown; Michael O'Donoghue's LSD-fueled swan dive onto a patio; Coppola's mad plan for a 10-hour film of Goethe's Elective Affinities in 3-D; the ocean suicide attempt Hal "Captain Wacky" Ashby gave up when he couldn't find a swimsuit that pleased him; countless dalliances with porn stars; Russian roulette games and psychotherapy sessions in hot tubs. But he also soberly gives both sides ample chance to testify.
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is also more than a fistful of dazzling anecdotes. Methodically, as thrillingly as a movie attorney, Biskind builds the case that Hollywood was revived by wild ones who then betrayed their own dreams, slit their own throats, and destroyed an art form by producing that mindless, inhuman modern behemoth, the blockbuster.
When Spielberg was making the first true blockbuster, Jaws, he sneaked Lucas in one day when nobody was around, got him to put his head in the shark's mechanical mouth, and closed the shark's mouth on him. The gizmo broke and got stuck, but the two young men somehow extricated Lucas's head and hightailed it like Tom and Huck. As Peter Biskind's scathing, funny, wise book demonstrates, they only thought they had escaped. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The spirit of the times engendered by the rise of the anti-Vietnam, hippy counterculture, generated a climate where a new form of creativity was allowed to enter the mainstream for the first time. This produced a fabulous glut of films - Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver, The Deerhunter, Star Wars, MASH and dozens of others. Biskind's belief is that the rise of the super director destroyed this astounding period in Hollywood history - egos and pay checks became so over inflated that eventually the studios realised that they had to seize back control.Read more ›
Those looking for the definitive book on the filmmaking of the 1970s should be forewarned that this is mostly an overview of an era and doesn't cover every picture or every director, but it's a compulsively readable account of a time we aren't likely to see again. At his worst--and as many have already noted--Biskind can be more gossipy than necessary, but that may just draw in those movie fans who've never actually picked up a book about filmmaking before. Maybe it could even lead them to pick up Andrew Sarris' classic American Cinema next (or the other side of the coin: Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon series).
One way or the other, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is a worthy addition to Stephen Bach's Final Cut (about the making of Heaven's Gate...and unmaking of United Artists) and David McClintick's Indecent Exposure (about former Columbia prexy David Begelman's fall from Hollywood grace) in revealing the human beings--and the human cost--that helped to shape what is now seen as a high water mark in cinema history. Just ask Quentin Tarantino or P.T. Anderson.
Peter Biskind's EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS is a perfect example on how NOT to write about movie history. In this case, it's the period between 1968-1980; a decade when directors like Spielberg, Scorsese, Altman and Coppola became powerful figures in the movie industry, releasing classics like "Jaws" (1975), "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Nashville" (1975) and "The Godfather" (1972). Biskind makes an effort to comprehend the entire decade in the span of 430-435 pages and fails miserably.
Throughout the entire book, Biskind makes one flawed argument after another, making generalizations about the state of movies by focusing on only a small section of what was released at the time. For instance, Biskind makes a romantic hyperbole that the movies of the 1970s became successful because audiences were part of the Cahiers du Cinema crowd that desired for watch tougher and more challenging fare. Wrong. As David A. Cook's terrific book, LOST ILLUSIONS, illustrates, the top stars of that decade were not method actors like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman or Robert De Niro, but action heroes like Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone and Robert Redford. Some of the most successful movies of that decade were not artistic statements like "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" (1971) or "Amarcord" (1974), but movies that were either modeled after the exploitation circuit ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"; "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"; "The Omen"; "The Exorcist"), star-studded Hollywood epics ("Airport"; "The Poseidon Adventure"; "Earthquake"; "The Towering Inferno") or violent action movies ("The Godfather"; "Death Wish"; "Deliverance"; "Billy Jack"; "The Getaway"; the Dirty Harry and James Bond movies). Sensation, not artistry, was the rule, then as now.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After reading this book The word that comes to mind is WOW. After reading this book I will NEVER view the films of the 1970'S or it's directors the same way again.Published 1 month ago by ANDREA
3 stars for the gossipy, maybe true, maybe not, tone. Compulsively readable, yes, but truthfully, overwritten (Hal Ashby died from "liver and colon cancer, but it could just... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Larry Schwartz
This book was a fast and enjoyable read. Peter Biskind is able to shed light on the personal lives of the stars that were involved in the cinematic upheaval that was the New... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jeremy Papp
An incredible and often tragic recount of the arguably the greatest decade in cinema history. The rise and fall of the auteur in Hollywood filmmaking and the many women standing in... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Roman M. France
In the 1970s not only did the patients get to run the asylum known as Hollywood, most were children, if not in age certainly in temperament. Read morePublished 9 months ago by ilprofessore
Excellent book. Anybody within the arts can appreciate the sense of zeitgeist this book invokes.Published 9 months ago by James Hazley