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Down and Dirty Pictures: Robert Redford, Miramas and the Improbable Rise of Independent Film Hardcover – 19 Jan 2004

15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (19 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068486259X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684862590
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.1 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,639,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Entertainment Weekly" Dishy, teeming, superbly reported...packed with lively inside anecdotes...[a] juicy and fascinating expose. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I had already read Easy Riders Raging Bulls and, while it was a fantastic read, many of the movies were before my time. I had seen many of the films, but had not experienced the era in which they were made and first released.
This book brings movie history up to date with the increasing commercialisation of indie cinema, the impact of Miramax, Tarantino - the cinema of the 80s, 90s, up until now. This is the history of the cinema of our era - all of the gossip behind our celluloid pop culture. The hardcover version of this book is beautiful and very heavy - you feel you are getting your money's worth both in weight and in readability. Buy one for yourself, then one for everyone else for Christmas.

Criminal
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Mager on 11 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a sort of 'sequel' to Biskind's seminal (and gossipy) book Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, about the maverick filmmakers of the 70s.
Where Easy Riders was salacious in its stories and anecdotes of Hollywood's new breed of talent, Down and Dirty focuses more on the emerging independent generation of filmmakers, starting with low budget films such as Clerks, Sex Lies and Videotape and Reservoir Dogs, allied with Robert Redford's emerging Sundance Film Festival.
The gossip of Easy Riders is replaced by stories of ingenious marketing, credit card filmmaking and sleeper hits. Soderbergh, Smith and Tarantino are the star directors, Weinstein and Redford are the ones who made it happen.
While still enjoyable, there's much less scandal in this one - although the various stories of Harvey Weinstein's outrageous temper and backstabbing more than makes up for it. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wireless Mac Man on 24 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just a brilliant insight into modern distribution, film studios, back-stabbing deals and huge egos. A must read for any independent filmmaker and anyone interested in movies. Someone bought this for me and said "bet you can't put it down," and although it starts slowly as soon as Harvey Weinstein makes his entrance, the Helter-skelter nature of events that follows is compelling and very, very addictive. I liked Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, but I loved Down and Dirty Pictures, the fact that it goes through the behind the scenes deals about Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Sex Lies and Videotape, Good Will Hunting and a whole host of films in everyone's recent memories seemed to strike a deeper cord. Strongly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John E. Davidson on 25 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
In my opinion Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is the best book ever written about film and while this book never quite matches it, it is a very good book in its own right. It tackles the rise (and in Biskind’s view fall) of independent film making concentrating on Robert Redford (and the Sundance festival); Harvey and Bob Weinstein (and their company Mirimax) along with a host of film makers and actors including Quentin Tarantino, Stephen Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and many others along the way.
Told in much the same style as Easy Riders, Raging Bulls it is a wild mixture of serious comment and salacious gossip. Biskind writes beautifully, handling another huge topic with an enormous cast of characters deftly. He is assisted by the fact that many of the players and the films are already well-known to the reader but he has a wonderful talent for the one-line character profile (often a one-line character assassination) and he chooses his quotes well.
It is evitable given his larger than life personality and aggressive business practices that Harvey Weinstein comes to dominate the book in much the same way as the Weinstein brothers have dominated the independent film business. Harvey Weinstein is a fascinating although in many ways deeply repellent character – very aggressive, prone to outbursts of rage, guilty of some very dubious business practices, a man who will shaft someone just because he can – however he is responsible for some of the best films of recent years and at least he loves movies (unlike some of his competitors). In Biskind’s view he made the independent film business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Ball TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Whilst somewhat lacking in the outrageousness and salacious detail of his previous book, 'Easy Riders, Raging Bulls', this is a more than worthy follow-up. It details the rise and fall of 'indie movies', movies made outside of the studio system, often by unknown or first-time directors. Many of these movies were championed and sold at the Sundance Film Festival, which was initially set up to give these directors a pulpit and a place for their movies to be seen and sold. And many were bought by Harvey and Bob Weinstein's Miramix.

This book is really about these two organisations, Sundance and Miramax, and their role in first creating an atmosphere where indies filmmakers could flourish, and later, pressuring those same filmmakers into 'going commercial'. For many directors, their first movie was the only true 'indie' movie in their filmography, because once they'd had that first score, once they'd had a film hit the big time and their name become known, there was intense pressure on them to then make something big, something commercial, something that could draw on that cachet and make mega-bucks.

Slowly but surely, Sundance became a place for the studios to find the next big thing, and the indie world became almost a 'farm' for talent. In effect, Sundance sold out, betrayed what it was originally set up to nurture and protect. And Miramax moved away from the movies it had made its name with, edgy, daring, sexy movies like Pulp Fiction, and became just another studio, all the more so after it was bought out by Disney.
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