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High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess Paperback – 9 Jan 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (9 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747542627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747542629
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 April 1998
Format: Hardcover
HIGH CONCEPT is the perfect example of what's wrong with Hollywood, but it is also a very good example of what's wrong with book publishing. In its rush to get the book out (for who knows what reason--there isn't a pressing news hook that I know of) Doubleday seems to have totally neglected to edit Fleming's hastily cobbled together draft. Stories and details are repeated within pages of each other; characters are introduced and reintroduced; particular phrases crop up again and again; there are huge narrative gaps; digressions are so clearly shoehorned into the narrative that they undermine the point they wish to serve; etc., etc. The best sections of the book are those Fleming lifted, word-for-word, from his magazine stories on Simpson (at least those pieces had an editor!). But even then, major aspects of the story are glossed over. You can see just how cribbed the manuscript is in the way Fleming describes DAY OF THUNDER or TOP GUN--in depth and revealing--versus CRIMSON TIDE (the movie that really "rescued" Simpson-Bruckheimer from oblivion), which is mentioned several times in passing without a real discussion of how much it meant (let alone its production, bar one throwaway comment about casting). That 1995-1996 was in many ways the most successful period of Simpson-Bruckheimer, but Fleming says almost nothing of the films they made then (DANGEROUS MINDS, etc.). I finished this book depressed and amazed at Hollywood's culture of excess, but just as depressed at publishing's culture of editorial laziness. Why did Doubleday feel such a need to crash this book? An editor could have done wonders with just a weekend of work. But it is more than that.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr Bojangles on 8 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback
Took a few pages to get the idea....
...drugs hookers, more drugs, more hookers, then again after 2 or 3 chapters of more coke & hookers. I did enjoy it in parts as there is lots of juicy gossip about Stars and big shots in the Industry, but precious little about filmaking..after a while it read like Jackie Collins without the explicit sex... It does really give you a good idea about what it was like involved in the hollywood excesses of the 80s.
From a film buff point of view it made me want to re- watch all the 80's 'classics' top-gun, flashdance, to re-live all the cheese, as I was too young to notice how bad the lines were back then..
the gossip is indeed facinating and the excesses are Roman in proportion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 July 1998
Format: Hardcover
It reads like a magazine article (and takes just about as long). It makes good airplane reading or beach book - ie, a great deal of concentration or thought is not needed. As previous reviews mentioned, it looks like the editors invested little effort (many times stories are repeated verbatim within pages of each other), but what do you expect from something like this? Don Simpson was a bozo, which present some serious constraints on the literary quality of the book. But his pathetic existence does provide its share of amusing anecdotes. If you want to read something along the same lines with a little more intelligence - read "Money - a Suicide Note" by Martin Amis and the movie "Swimming with Sharks" is fairly good.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Brew on 14 Jun 2000
Format: Paperback
What you get out of High Concept depends on how you approach it. Certainly others chart the late 70s/early 80s at Paramount better, and it's hardly a cutting edge insight into Hollywood. What it is though is a compelling account of the legendary producer, and whilst it occasionally takes the easy way out, it remains an excellent read. Even if it does stop talking about cinema a little too often.
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By Akit on 10 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like Hollywood scandal then this is for you. The stuff this dude got up to will make your eyes water, and I don't mean as it crying! I found it a fascinating insight into mad, bad world of US film production from the 80's/90's.
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By nuneater on 26 July 2012
Format: Paperback
A very interesting look into the life of Don Simpson and those around him. The book contains many amusing anecdotes about Hollywood stars and people behind the scenes. The book ultimately fails because it is poorly done. The writer must think the readers have poor attention spans from watching Simpson's movies and introduces the same characters over and over. A little more editing would help this title.
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Format: Paperback
Charles Fleming provides a startling insight into the forefather of High Concept, Don Simpson. The producer of such Hollywood titans as Flashdance, An Officer And A Gentleman, Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, Simpson's excesses are as much part of Hollywood legend as his productions. This book charts his exceptional hedonism, along with the inside track on his Hollywood successes. At points Fleming veers from the subject into an overview of the general Hollywood decadence of the time, and devotes significant sections to other characters such as prominent Hollywood drug dealers and prostitutes. The book however is an engrossing read and depicts Simpson as indulging to degrees that Motley Crue would feel intimidated by, whilst detailing some revealing information and incidents involving many other of Hollywood's premier residents. Though Fleming has been denied access to many of those that were closest to Simpson, he still manages to convey a clear grasp of the man, thankful in some senses to the open knowledge and legend that Simpson attained in his 80's heyday of both success and excess. A riveting read.
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