Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Totally, Tenderly, Tragic... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Totally, Tenderly, Tragically Paperback – October 20, 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$4.97 $0.01

Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
$16.95 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Totally, Tenderly, Tragically
  • +
  • The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
  • +
  • To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
Total price: $43.62
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Phillip Lopate's reputation in American letters resides primarily in his championing of the personal essay, both as an editor (The Art of the Personal Essay, The Anchor Essay Annual) and as a writer (Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body). So it might seem odd, at first, to imagine him as a film critic--but as his thoughtful considerations of Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris demonstrate, the movies are as likely a subject for a skilled essayist's reflection as any other. Like his favorite critics, "I have sought out," Lopate writes, "precisely those films that would take me to a place where the uncanny, the sublime, the tragic, the ecstatic, the beautifully resigned, all converge."

These are not, then, so much reviews--although Lopate happily discusses the strengths and weaknesses of his chosen films--as they are meditations. In his best pieces, such as his essays on Godard's Contempt (the film from which this collection derives its title) and Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Lopate performs extended readings that tease out the richness of the films' texts with delicate intricacy. But this artful approach can only be carried so far--not even Lopate can quite redeem Jerry Lewis's Three on a Couch, which the most ardent Lewis fans acknowledge as a lesser work, no matter how earnestly he probes it for Freudian subtext. Folks who simply want to enjoy the movies may find the high culture assumptions of Totally, Tenderly, Tragically, including Lopate's overwhelming emphasis on foreign directors, a bit much, but if even one reader is inspired to seek out a film by Luchino Visconti, Kenji Mizoguchi, or Yazujiro Ozu on the basis of the descriptions herein, Lopate's efforts at conveying the artistic value of film will have been a success. --Ron Hogan

From Publishers Weekly

Best known as a personal essayist par excellence, Lopate (Portrait of My Body) is an inveterate film buff who, by his count, has spent more than 50,000 hours watching movies?and, it would seem, many more writing about them. This mixed collection is a cross section of that writing, from a dead-earnest review of the first New York Film Festival in 1963, written for the Columbia Daily Spectator when Lopate was an undergraduate, to a savvy appraisal of the 32nd, which marked the New York debut of such films as Pulp Fiction and Hoop Dreams. So occasional are these essays? which range from film reviews to polemical essays, reflections on the medium to interviews with directors?that, like films, there are hits and misses. Among the highlights are Lopate's account of his days as an impoverished student at Columbia, locus of his cinematic coming of age, where a monastic fixation with the flickering screen eventually led to a suicide attempt; a bracing look at the dumbing down of contemporary American cinema that champions "rural idiocy" and asks audiences to "groove on the mysterious, ineffable, surreal charm of the premental"; and searching appraisals of Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris. Lopate's early musings on Jerry Lewis and Antonioni might have been left on the cutting-room floor. Though Lopate gravitates toward obscure work by famous directors and international pictures that never crack the American market, his curiosity about even the most mainstream Hollywood fare shines through the collection, even as he reserves particular scorn for phony sentiments, recycled plots and movies like Krzsztof Kieslowski's Red that he deems exercises des styles without intellectual substance. Lopate's writing, by contrast, has considerable style and substance.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st Anchor Books ed edition (October 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385492502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385492508
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,111,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

By Nate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Some go to the movies for entertainment, as a temporary escape from the day to day. For some, and certainly Phillip Lopate is among them, filmgoing is as much a part of everyday life as eating and breathing. Visiting a friend, going to work, writing, conversing, watching movies, reading books, each give texture to a life and call for thoughtful consideration. In that case "criticism" - reflecting on films, their revelations and disappointments - is not a merely "academic" discipline. It is as vital to the quality of life as, say, planning and reflection.

Lopate's excellent collection of essays on film and on a life in which filmgoing is central serves as an exemplar for criticism in this vital sense: criticism as engaged self-reflection as much as it is aesthetic contemplation. I loved reading this book, maybe because it validates my own obsessions, but mostly because it shows how to raise obsession with quality filmmaking to the level of art. Particularly valuable to me were his reflections on the "essay film" - because there is very little written on that subject and I find Lopate's thoughts to be the most insightful I've encountered. Highly recommended for those who can't do without good cinema and who value good writing.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Lopate's new book is a showcase for his brilliance, his ability to graze not only far but wide. But I can't help thinking that here, more than in any other of his books (all of which I have read) the brilliance is not as much in the insight but in the perfect choice of every word, the absolutely right adjective and adverb, which create a passionate sensual delight.While Lopate has a remarkable linguistic intelligence his work becomes even more impressive when he writes about movies than when he writes about anything else.I could have done without the Lewis commentary which wasn't necessary and seemed half-hearted, and I could have done without the suicide attempt because it seemed it could have led him to another book, one which I would very much want to read, but the recounting of his days in college were fabulous.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Totally, Tenderly, Tragically
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Totally, Tenderly, Tragically