Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Author/screenwriter Eszterhas introduces readers to the ultimate in Hollywood animal thinking when he quotes an unnamed Oscar-winning producer as saying, "the only time I'll root for anybody to be a success is if he or she has cancer, and I know for certain that the cancer is terminal." Eszterhas's book is unabashedly vulgar, a brutally revealing blend of sex and greed that goes much further than Peter Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures (Forecasts, Jan. 5) in exposing Hollywood's dark side. Eszterhas refers to himself as "insufferable" for coveting success and money, but as the horrifying anecdotes unfold, he mounts a dynamic defense of screenwriters who have been treated like "discarded hookers... not invited to premieres of their own movies, cheated of residual payments." Salacious details mingle with explosions of temper, and Eszterhas isn't afraid to take potshots at William Goldman, Ron Bass, Robert Towne and other screenwriters he believes have compromised too heavily with the system. A particularly absorbing story centers on Sylvester Stallone, who starred in F.I.S.T. and then tried to take credit for Eszterhas's script. Even more shocking is producer Marty Ransohoff's relentless criticism of Glenn Close during the filming of Jagged Edge, which made the actress throw Ransohoff and his daughter (who was not involved in the movie) off the set. Just as readers begin to drown in an ocean of gossip, Eszterhas introduces two dramatic plots: his battle with throat cancer and the discovery that his father was an outspokenly anti-Semitic former Nazi. This electrifying section overshadows the Hollywood material and deserves a book of its own. It makes an argument readers will immediately pick up on: that animalistic behavior is just as savagely prevalent outside Hollywood studio gates. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Review by Library Journal Review
It's a long way from a German refugee camp to Hollywood, where Hungarian-born screenwriter Eszterhas (e.g., Basic Instinct) has befriended Michael Douglas, Sherry Lansing, and plenty of others discussed here. With a 200,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
The highest-rolling screenwriter in Hollywood history tells all. Eszterhas gives the big picture up front: He's repeatedly set records for the biggest payments for the screenplays for phenoms (Jagged Edge, Basic Instinct) and bombs (Showgirls, Jade) that have gone on to gross over a billion dollars; he's "the only screenwriter . . . who had groupies"; and a lot of qualified judges think he's the devil. "I don't mean to sound insufferable, but . . ." he compares himself to Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Faulkner ("Compare myself to other screenwriters? Say what?"). Behind the self-aggrandizing headlines is the story of a kid rescued from Hungary's postwar refugee camps to land in Cleveland, where he battled the brothers at his Catholic school and lied to his parents about bogus honors. But his life becomes far more arresting the moment he arrives in Hollywood and starts dishing dirt on everybody from Michael Ovitz to himself. Eszterhas is brutally candid about his early years as a screenwriter, when his price soared even though his scripts were either unproduced or turned into duds like F.I.S.T. He's less candid about his shortcomings as writer (every failure is blamed on megalomaniac directors, poor casting, blinkered reviewers, or studio execs too stupid to see that every word in an Eszterhas script was golden), as husband (he embarrassingly reproduces the journals of his second wife, Naomi Baka, to confirm his version of the breakup of his first marriage, which just happened to fall apart as Naomi's bridegroom was running off with Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone), and as colleague (his often hilarious accounts of industry infighting infallibly vindicate his judgment at the expense of everybody else's). Precious little about filmmaking in these pages, but a great deal about deal-making and even more about getting back at your family, your childhood tormentors, and the Nazi Party. Eszterhas's memoir may be the longest gotcha ever penned. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.