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

Thursday, August 27, 2015


YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR NEXT ONE: 100 Great films, 100 Good films, and 100 For Which I Should Be Shot. Mike Medavoy with Josh Young. Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster; 2002.

Once upon a time only major movie stars got to write books about themselves, but now anyone connected to the glamorous industry of Hollywood feels they have a book in them. One thing this book proves is that even comparatively dull behind-the-scenes types can be as self-absorbed as any movie star. Mike Medavoy started out as an agent, moved over to United Artists, became Executive VP in charge of production at Orion, then worked at Tristar, ultimately becoming a producer with -- and CEO of -- a smaller firm called Phoenix. Along the way he settles some scores and there are stories -- some good, some bad -- about Kevin Costner, Robert Redford, Rodney Dangerfield, Francis Ford Coppola and the making of such films as Apocalypse Now; Warren Beatty and Bugsy; Woody Allen and assorted movies. All the while Medavoy insists that he was less concerned with the bottom line than others in the business, and was chiefly concerned with making good pictures (many that he mentions really haven't held up all that well over the years). You're Only As Good still manages to make more interesting reading than you might imagine, mostly because "co-writer" Josh Young has done a smooth job of translating Medavoy's thoughts to paper. The most shocking thing about the book is that Medavoy includes a photo of his trophy wife but makes absolutely no mention of his son, Brian, who is also a producer.

Verdict: Okay for some behind-the-scenes details, but not essential reading. **1/2.

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