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

Thursday, February 4, 2016


FIASCO: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops. James Robert Parish. Wiley; 2006.

This fascinating book looks at the back stories of some of Hollywood's most infamous flops, movies which were not only artistic disasters but in general lost literally millions of dollars for their respective studios. The movies covered include Cleopatra with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton; Ishtar and Town and Country, both of which starred Warren Beatty; Kevin Costner's two mega-bombs, Waterworld and The Postman; Showgirls; Cutthroat Island; and others. Parish explains in engaging and authoritative fashion why some of these movies were disasters-in-the-making, with bad decisions made by ego-driven movie executives who wanted to be the instigator of the Next Big Blockbuster but wound up with egg on their faces, dismal reviews and returns, and careers in tatters. What's amazing is how the green light was often given to projects in spite of the fact that similar films were turkeys of major proportions. Given the out-of-control egomania of both stars, directors, and executives, the vast number of people who tinker with each screenplay, the very bad casting decisions, and the who-gives-a-shit-let's-just-spend-and-spend attitude, it's a wonder that anything decent ever gets made. Part of the problem is the unbelievable salary demands of today's movie stars, who jack up the budget of every film to incredible proportions, sometimes sinking a property right from the start.

Verdict: Compulsory reading for every film enthusiast who wants to know more about the inner workings of Hollywood. ****.


angelman66 said...

This one looks like a winner. I am always fascinated how/why such big flops get made, and what the creators were thinking. Hope this is available via Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

I always find such great books and films from your wonderfully comprehensive blog. Thank you!!

William said...

Thank you, Chris. I'm sure this is available on amazon if not from the local library. It's a great book!

angelman66 said...

Just found it in Kindle form on Amazon and downloaded to my iPad. Thanks!!