mini-review · movie star drool · Read My Own Damn Books · stuff I read

You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips

30555528Summary from Goodreads:
Julia Phillips became a Hollywood player in the freewheeling 1970s, the first woman to win the Best Picture Oscar as co-producer of The Sting. She went on to work with two of the hottest young directorial talents of the era: Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver) and Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Phillips blazed a trail as one of the very few females to break into the upper echelons of a notoriously chauvinistic industry.

But for all her success, Phillips remained an outsider in the all-male Hollywood club. She had a talent for deal-making, hard-balling and wise-cracking, and a considerable appetite for drink, drugs, and sex. But while these predilections were tolerated and even encouraged among ‘the boys’, Phillips found herself gradually ostracized. By the late 1980s, she was ready to burn bridges and name names, and the result was this coruscating memoir of her career.

Julia Phillips died on January 1, 2002, at the age of 57, but her book will stand as one of the classic exposes of La-La-Land in all its excesses and iniquities.

You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again is an interesting look behind the Hollywood glamour by a woman (the first to win an Oscar for producing) booted from the ranks after producing three major movies of the 1970s for two sins: being addicted to freebase cocaine and being female (sometimes it’s hard to tell which is the greater sin). Not one person comes off looking good in this memoir, including the author who, despite getting clean, etc, is extremely fat-phobic and has some trouble avoiding problematic slurs in talking about gay men or non-whites. The other problem with this book is that it veers between third-person past-tense point-of-view for sections set (presumably) in 1989 and first-person present tense point-of-view for all parts set in the past. Which makes it very hard to follow at times – where was the editor? (The front third of the “set in the past” sections are about her childhood, her difficulties with her mother, and the rocky relationship with her husband which, while they provided context for later problems, also slowed the Hollywood narrative which is the main reason people pick up this book.)

I started reading this book as the #metoo movement was gaining momentum and holy cats do “the more things change, the more things stay the same.”

Dear FTC: I read My Own Damn copy of this book.

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mini-review · stuff I read

The Stars in Our Eyes: The Famous, the Infamous, and Why We Care Way Too Much about Them by Julie Klam

Summary from Goodreads:
From bestselling author Julie Klam comes a lively and engaging exploration of celebrity: why celebrities fascinate us, what it means to be famous today, and why celebrities are so important.
“When I was young I was convinced celebrities could save me,” Julie Klam admits in The Stars in Our Eyes, her funny and personal exploration of fame and celebrity. As she did for subjects as wide-ranging as dogs, mothers, and friendship, Klam brings her infectious curiosity and crackling wit to the topic of celebrity. As she admits, “I’ve always been enamored with celebrities,” be they movie stars, baseball players, TV actors, and now Internet sensations. “They are the us we want to be.” Celebrities today have a global presence and can be, Klam writes, “some girl on Instagram who does nude yoga and has 3.5 million followers, a thirteen-year-old ‘viner, ‘ and a Korean rapper who posts his videos that are viewed millions of times.”
In The Stars in Our Eyes, Klam examines this phenomenon. She delves deep into what makes someone a celebrity, explains why we care about celebrities more than ever, and uncovers the bargains they make with the public and the burdens they bear to sustain this status. The result is an engaging, astute, and eye-opening look into celebrity that reveals the truths about fame as it elucidates why it’s such an important part of life today.

The Stars in Our Eyes was a quick enough read, and Klam’s interviews were fun, but it was a bit bland after having read Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud a few weeks ago. I had been hoping Klam would dig into WHY we feel compelled to feed the celebrity machine but she stayed pretty surface level, in my opinion. Her interviews were nice (hey, Timothy Hutton) but I would have liked an interview with an uber-celebrity (like maybe Emma Watson) to get into sudden-fame-in-the-social-media-world. I enjoyed the “celebrity encounters” stories Klam included at the end of each chapter (one about Ron Jeremy actually had me laughing out loud).

Dear FTC: I read a digital galley of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss.