Two New Books About LOVING Movies

Posted on February 18, 2015 at 8:00 am

Actor/comedian Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille”) has written a memoir about immersing himself in old movies.  Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film is not just about the hundreds of movies he watched; it is about how he used what he saw as a kind of therapeutic education in life.  Oswalt describes this period of his life as a four-year compulsion.  At first, it helps him hide from some of the issues in his life, but then it helps him to understand and confront them.

Over at Last Seat on the Right, my friend Michał Oleszczyk reviews a compilation of answers to the question “What do you love about movies?” The book is What I Love About Movies: An Illustrated Compendium, with answers from egendary directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, the Coen brothers, Wes Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, Pedro Almodovar, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, and Spike Jonze, and A-list acting icons such as Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Kristen Stewart, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tom Hardy, all collected over the years by film review and commentary magazine Little White Lies, as they conducted interviews. Oleszczyk writes:

The book’s opening response comes from Francis Ford Coppola, and it is appropriately grand: the maker of Apocalypse Now (1979) states simply that “the human race was waiting for cinema” (p. 21). Darren Aronofsky concurs, pointing to the close-up as “an overlooked great invention of the 20th century” (p. 161), while Viggo Mortensen lives up to his taciturn, if potent, screen persona by offering the single briefest response in the volume: “The places you will go” (p. 101). There’s no denying that there is no great revelation awaiting in the wings of the 50 answers we get (rather predictably, the word “transported” gets the biggest mileage), but it is the very difficulty with defining the central passion of their lives that is most telling in those filmmakers’ responses. Accompanied by lucid, often brilliant reading of their works by the “LWL” writers (the four-member team also incuses Adam Woodward and Sophie Monks Kaufman), the responses enter into exciting friction with the critical writing – as well as with the artwork, which is never less than lively (it is “LWL” tradition that every piece is credited both to the person responsible for the “words” and the one providing the “pictures”).

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