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Popcorn Paperback – 5 May 1997


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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: 17.7 x 1.9 x 11 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,657,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. Clark VINE VOICE on 27 Aug. 2005
Format: Paperback
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 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 July 2004
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Kaye on 8 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Simon Woolhead on 16 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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, celebrity world and talk shows. He uses this to present to us a modern moral conundrum: does violence within the media create mass murderers?

The main protagonists he uses to play out this moral question are Bruce, (Oscar winning film director) and Wayne and Scout, two trailer trash hoodlums. These and other characters are eventually brought together within the living room of Bruce's Californian mansion. Before that Elton cleverly has the scenes switching back and forth and with some of the narrative presented in the form of a film script, suggesting that life was imitating the `art' Bruce had created within his films.

Whilst I applaud the clever construction of this book and the moral question posed, I became inured to the violence and bored with the satire because it was simply more of the same.
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