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Popcorn [Paperback]

Ben Elton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 May 1997
Bruce Delamitri makes cool films about killers. Films in which people die to a rock and roll soundtrack. Meanwhile, psychotic, unbalanced Wayne and Scout are actual killers. On Oscar night, as Bruce becomes King of Hollywood, they go on a murderous rampage, and it is not quite to Bruce's liking.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (5 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671855670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671855673
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,333,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Serious, morally complex, structurally rich and bitterly funny" (Independent on Sunday)

"Fierce, garish and frighteningly funny" (Spectator)

"An absolute coup of black comedy" (Daily Telegraph)

"One of the most brilliantly sustained and focused pieces of satire I've ever read" (Douglas Adams)

"Killer prose...a viciously funny satire that also works as a tongue-in-cheek thriller" (The Sunday Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The No.1 bestselling, topical, award-winning, high-octane thriller. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elton takes on Hollywood - and wins 27 Aug 2005
By Mr. D. Clark VINE VOICE
If your experience of Ben Elton the novelist is through "Past Mortem", "Dead Famous", "Inconceivable " and others, you may be forgiven for thinking that he is a very British novelist, concerned with british themes, concerns, and media phenomena. "Popcorn" blows that idea out of the water. Its set exclusively in the USA, mostly in Hollywood, and its sharp, streetwise, shocking and funny.
I tend to think of Ben Elton as an issue-concerned novelist , and the issue at the heart of "Popcorn" is gratuitous violence in films, and whether it breeds violent behaviour in the audience for such films. The main character, Bruce Delamitri, is the director of a film called "Ordinary Americans" who seems a certainty for the oscar for best director. The events unfold throughout the day of the actual Oscar presentation, and the hours following it.
I took longer to get into "Popcorn" than into his other whodunits - "Past Mortem" and "Dead Famous". This isn't because its not as good - in some ways its better - but because it's a very different novel to the other two. Predictably, Elton depicts a Hollywood full of neurotic, shallow, self obsessed people whom nobody would ever want to pass the time of day with if they were not famous. Yet the world and the characters which he depicts are compelling not in spite of their awfulness, but because of it. The pace of the narrative accelerates to a remarkable climax, remarkable in as much as you continue reading even though you don't really care what happens to any of the protagonists. Except possibly the murderers.
One thing you can't help doing is matching up the fictional celebrities to their real life counterparts. If I was, lets say, Quentin Tarantino, I'd be pretty angry with this book, and I'd love to know what his reaction was to it.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Popcorn 31 July 2004
By A Customer
The story concerns a hot-shot film director, famed for his violent movies, who finds himself taken hostage in his own home by a young 'trailer-trash' couple who have been travelling around America killing for fun.
The book opens up the debate of how acceptable violence (especially gratuitous violence) is in films, when, in reality it's not that entertaining, especially when it's happening to you.
I was quite shocked at the brutality in the book but it is saturated with irony and is laced with Ben Elton's observant humour.
Be warned though: the ending is grim and if you like nice tidy conclusions then this may not be the book for you. However, if you're after something thought-provoking and enjoy being unnerved by an uncomfortable combination of humour and violence, give it a go.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I missed something very important... 24 Oct 2000
By Mathew
I'm putting my low level of enjoyment for this book down to the possibility that I missed something very important. I was told this book is a masterpiece, very witty and a must read... but on turning the final page I felt nothing but relief: for finishing what I can only describe as a poorly written pastiche, more like a collage than an original work of fiction. Not one point in this book did I find cleaver or new, and remember not a single snigger throughout.
This was my first and last book by Elton... Ben Elton finds himself very funny and unless you subscribe to this personal fantasy, its almost impossible to find Popcorn titillating.
Read with care, don't expect much, as I did, and maybe it'll be worth it. If you have studied any kind of Media or Communications course however, steer clear, the book is one big convention and genre list. If it came out 5 years before it did then maybe.
I mean not to insult those who liked this book. It just didn't ring my bell.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cultural Window 16 Oct 2002
This is one of the most balanced books I have ever read. Not only does Popcorn have a genuinely fixating plot with a brilliant storyline, it also has some fantastic humor with dry sarcasm in some places and blatant comedy in others. But the book's by far most impressive aspect is its social commentary. Elton casts an eye over the daytime chat show media and reproduces it in a totally believably, yet intrinsically funny, way.
Of course, however, the most important aspect is the aspect on the 'film violence' debate. Elton presents the views of Bruce Delamitri in such a way that even the most hardened antagonist of violent imagery would surely be drawn about to his views. The minds of two killers are concisely portrayed to the point that their plight, and solution to it, is completely reasonable. This book, then, is a true masterpiece of readability and debate.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elton + Tarantino = Excellent 31 Aug 2001
This is an excellent book by Ben Elton - on two conditions. First, you must be familiar with Elton and his sense of humour and like it. Secondly you must be familiar with Quentin Tarantino's films and his style (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Natural Born Killers...)
If you don't like any of the above, then you probably won't appreciate this book as much as it deserves!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good black comedy from Mr Elton 8 Mar 2012
By H. Kaye
Never been a big fan of Ben Elton as a stand-up comedian, but I do rate him as a writer and Popcorn is a very good read. I would think that Quentin Tarantino and his films are the inspiration behind Popcorn with its explicit and extreme theme of violence.

The book centres around Bruce, a film director renown for making violent (Tarantino type) movies, who is taken hostage by a Wayne and Scout - a couple who kill for kicks.

Popcorn is rightfully described as a 'high-octane thriller', but although it is set in the USA, it does have a very English feel about it and that's what I really like about this book: It's a very British dark comedy/crime novel and on par with two of my other favourite novels in this genre Not the End of the World by Christopher Brookmyre and the hysterical The Dealer by Tony Royden.

If you are new to the literary works of Ben Elton, I would definitely give Popcorn a read, you will be pleasantly surprised.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It was read in an elderly play reading group and ...
It was read in an elderly play reading group and despite the language came across as superb. It opens many interpretations so overall superb
Published 13 days ago by gpen
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read by Ben Elton
Another good read by Ben Elton. All his books are a side swipe at somebody which always makes me chuckle. David.
Published 24 days ago by David
4.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE POPCORN
Clever witty and thought provoking. Also a good read. Would love to see the play. My first Ben Elton book but certainly not my last.
Published 2 months ago by maureen ann doe
5.0 out of 5 stars POPCORN
Really gripping story - did not want to put it down - very good Ben Elton is a brilliant writer
Published 3 months ago by dotty
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I am a big Ben Elton fan, and this book did not disappoint. A funny and gripping read perfect for holiday relaxation!
Published 7 months ago by hannah lord
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent product
This is an excellent product and the service was also spot on, so I 100% recommend this product to everyone :)
Published 8 months ago by MR JOHN D MORRIS
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
No has good as I thought it would be, ok read Bed Elton wrote better. wouldn't recommend it. but that only my opionion
Published 9 months ago by Norma Jones
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
I didn't enjoy this one as much as other of his books. Plot thin, would have been better as a short story
Published 13 months ago by sheila ellison
Published 14 months ago by Seagull
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall it was OK
I enjoyed the first half of this book, particularly the satire. Elton provides us with acid edged, humorous observations on the shallowness and banality of the film industry,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sally Walker
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