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Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal Paperback – June 10, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
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The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews


“Equal parts Hell’s Angels and Pauline Kael, Vern is a National Treasure!!!" - Guillermo Del Toro, director of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy

“Film criticism genuinely gets no better than this. I would be jealous if I didn’t enjoy reading him so damn much” - ‘Moriarty’, Ain’t It Cool News West Coast Editor

• Advance praise for Seagalogy:
“We can't believe this actually exists, but the world is certainly a better place for it.” - New York Magazine

“Uproariously funny... the film book I never knew I always wanted to read."

"There were many points in reading Seagalogy where I was suddenly laughing out loud, which is more than I could say for the smirky-at-best experience of reading SWPL and Douchebags... Vern might begin the book in an ironic Chuck Norris Fact–style context, but as he moves through the Seagal oeuvre, he falls into a weird sort of man-love with his subject. It's a real narrative journey, it's informative, and it's written in a clear voice with a consistent, tongue-in-cheek tone. This is a book that I want to hold onto forever; it makes me laugh, but it also has more value than dozens of other slapped-together humor books churned out by publishers desperate to acquire some tiny, melting slice of cultural currency." thestranger.com

"Seagalogy is a raucous, thigh-slapping and informative read that can murder spare time as easily as Steven Seagal can break peoples’ necks. In short Vern’s Seagalogy is an unexpected gem." --mania.com (Mania Grade: A. Maniac Grade: A+).

"With the obsession of a fan and the authoritative tone of a professor, Vern takes us through every film with attention to plot, themes, dialogue, influences and even politics... This book shouldn't exist in this form, it shouldn't be so wise-crackingly funny, but it does and it is." --denofgeek.com (4 stars out of 5)

"Now I had never heard of the author before breaking this book's arm, throwing its head through a car windshield and calling it a life. But now the duder will stay in my noggin since he has earned my respect via this affectionate, in depth and often side splitting piece of work." --Arrow in the Head (3.5 out of 4)

"Seagalogy not only made me laugh my ass off, but sent me to Amazon to buy some of the early Seagal DVDs I didn’t already own. This book is an instant cult classic." --Bookgasm

About the Author

As a frequent writer for Ain't It Cool News, Vern has gained notoriety for his unorthodox reviewing style and his expertise in "the films of Badass Cinema." His review of the slasher movie CHAOS earned him a wrestling challenge from its director; his explosive essay on the PG-13 rating of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD prompted Bruce Willis himself to walk barefoot across the broken glass of movie nerd message boards to respond. Guillermo Del Toro, the director of PAN'S LABYRINTH, called Vern "a national treasure."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; 1st edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845769279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845769277
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,443,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Clark on June 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
We are witnessing an event, an event which may shake the foundations of film criticism and perhaps even the entire culture.

A book that is genuinely clever, informative, detailed, and incredibly funny has been tossed into a culture of shallow, immature pop culture references. They would have been happy with a cheap collection of tired ponytail jokes and inaccurate blanket statements, but what they got is a real study of a unique body of work.

For the casual reader who couldn't give a crap about Seagal, Seagalogy will nevertheless provide an entertaining peek into a corner of cinema you've probably never given much thought to, and it might very well tempt you into picking up one or two of Seagal's more highly recommended pictures.

For the Seagal fan, this is a must-have. Your favorites are all here, covered in great detail, and those Seagal movies that you can't stand are in here, too, with all their flaws cheerfully pulled apart and mocked.

For those who just like to laugh at Seagal for being ridiculous, you'll find new reasons to make fun of Seagal. And maybe, just maybe, you might just develope a sort of grudging respect for the man's earlier work.

That's not to say that this book is necessarily for everybody. For instance, if you don't like to read, you may be disappointed to find that there are quite a few words printed inside the book. The book is long. Every Seagal film gets a full chapter. So, if you're not willing to read an entire 10-page chapter on a direct-to-DVD film called Shadow Man (which chapter includes the line, "Seagal meanwhile continues to escalate his war on testicles."), you might not be happy to learn that this book includes just such a chapter.

What I'm trying to say here is that I like this book.
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Format: Paperback
This could be a ground-breaking book.

Usually in a book with a subject like this the reader would expect one of two things - either predominantly fawning and uncritical adulation peppered with the occasional swipe at safe targets ala the tomes of Telos that cover the recent seasons of the returned Dr Who - or wholesale emasculation of the works considered and their dissection for comedic purposes, the sort of thing the Medved brothers made their name doing.

Vern does neither, and instead finds an intriguing way of reflecting on a genre that actually, surprisingly, may have much to reveal both about the way cinema and celebrity function in the modern age. Writers to come could learn much from this manner of study, one that is respectful of the film-makers' intentions and the audiences responses - or non-responses - to these and we might learn a few things along the way. It helps that Vern can also write extremely well, has an eye for a decent joke or two and an understanding of the modern age that allows him to draw conclusions that surprise, delight and inform.

What do we learn from this book ?

Well, that there is more to Seagal than just another dumb action movie star. Vern makes a pitch in his opening for ascribing auteur status to the man, an assertion that initially strikes one as either tongue-in-cheek to the point of incomprehension, taking the mickey out of the reader or misplaced adulation. Yet in his quiet, analytical way Vern demonstrates that he has a point - like many an auteur Seagal has themes and memes that carry through from one film to the next, and where they haven't been present has gone to some lengths as writer, director or actor to introduce them.
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Format: Paperback
Damn, damn, damn - Vern wrote my book!! I am your basic NPR junkie, with a video collection heavy on German, French and Japanese classics, and never miss Masterpiece Theatre. Guests are always amazed when they come across my complete set of Seagal films - but I adore these films! They are entertaining, often very funny, and have a unique point of view. I had long planned that my retirement project would be to write THIS BOOK!! Fortunately, it is very well written, and gives great insight without ignoring the smirk factor. Well done, but I still am resentful!
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Format: Paperback
The key to any succesful project is that the creator must have a passion for the project itself. Well, Vern cretainly is passionate about the ouevre of Steven Seagal, but he is also passionate about being the funniest, most observant, and for my money most insightful movie critic out there.
A disclaimer - I've been reading Vern on the web for about four years now, and his self-published volume of "greatest hits" reviews occupies a special place on my bookshelf. Everyone I've sent a link to becomes a Vern follower as well. That said, my experience with Seagal films is limited to when I was 13 and my dad took me to see "Hard to Kill". So I was a bit hesitant about this long rumored "Seagalogy" book.
I needn't have worried. The laugh-out-loud-per-page count on "Seagalogy" is a good 2.5, maybe 2.6 with the footnotes. And I'll be honest, I do have a certain respect for Seagal that I didn't have when I began the book.
I can't stress enough how much I think people will love this book if they give it a chance.
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