Blockbusters

We can't read enough about celebrities. Or is it movies? Or both? Once it was enough to skim a film review to decide what to see on a Friday night. Now, far from the industry town of Hollywood, ordinary people peruse the Monday-morning grosses to see how well films did that weekend. Why do we care? Perhaps in part because the same conglomerate owns the movie studio, the magazine, and the publishing house, and it has told us to care. Like the popcorn we buy or the DVD we later purchase, our interest in the Hollywood process is an ancillary business, the extra garnish on a filmgoing experience that often isn't that savory. More and more books are being written about the movies; most of them are trash and tell-alls, but some good writing accompanies the hype. In the following titles, journalists and critics survey the state of the industry. Writers consider the enduring—or is it waning?—power of stars and directors. Old Hollywood is eulogized. And an ordinary man finds fame and perspective when his own life reaches the big screen. Spring Books: Blockbusters • Three smart new books analyze movie giganticism. By Brian Miller MORE • Backbiting and betrayal never go out of style in Hollywood—thank God. By Tim Appelo MORE • A revisionist new Marilyn Monroe book refuses to reduce her to one simple role. By Steve Wiecking MORE • In The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood, David Thomson casts a piercing light on the dynamics of colliding studios, moguls, and stars. By Tim Appelo MORE • A Hollywood aristocrat remains as elusive in death as he was in life. By Sheila Benson MORE • Even when writing about Hollywood's stars, Peter Bogdanovich is always writing about himself. By N.P. Thompson MORE • Comic-book artist and writer Harvey Pekar describes his surreal experience with Hollywood in American Splendor: Our Movie Year. By Brian Miller MORE

 
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