Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


HELLO, HE LIED and other truths from the Hollywood Trenches. Lynda Obst. Little, Brown and Company; 1996.

Obst is a producer of some successful (Sleepless in Seattle) if somewhat undistinguished films who has put together a book detailing her adventures in Hollywood with advice for prospective producers, especially of the female gender. The book is not without value for such readers, and has an intrinsic interest as an insider's view of Hollywood, but anyone expecting gossip about the stars or a really “good read” (although the book is rather well written) should look elsewhere. The average movie buff may get tired of the tome long before the final pages. Obst describes a Hollywood that most people are already familiar with, where staying on top matters much more than friendship or anything else, a world unto itself full of self-absorbed people that Obst describes as smart but sound rather stupid. Obst, who first got a position at the New York Times through connections, worked her way west to switch from journalism to motion pictures. She comes off as someone trying to be nice even as she tries to find herself and gain as much personal "power" as possible. Her book is intelligent in its way, but also a little sad. Obst seems to be too close to it all to really see it for the crap it is. Her book may be of some value to would-be female executives, as she gives wise advice on what to do and what to avoid to get to and stay on the top.

Verdict: Not bad if not quite a must-read. **1/2.

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