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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Popcorn
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,...
Published on 31 July 2004

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I missed something very important...
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...
Published on 24 Oct 2000 by Mathew


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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
This review is from: Popcorn (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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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 "londinius" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Popcorn (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good black comedy from Mr Elton, 8 Mar 2012
This review is from: Popcorn (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Cultural Window, 16 Oct 2002
By 
Simon Woolhead (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Popcorn (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elton + Tarantino = Excellent, 31 Aug 2001
This review is from: Popcorn (Paperback)
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I missed something very important..., 24 Oct 2000
This review is from: Popcorn (Paperback)
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book you really can't put down, 5 Nov 2005
This review is from: Popcorn (Paperback)
I went out in my lunch break to buy something to read on the train that evening and from when I started the daily commute to 3am I didn't put it down once.
Extremely thought provoking, funny, well written and a great, clever read. It looks at the blame culture in our society and takes it to the extreme, showing that if you're guilty, you can still be innocent, you just have to find someone or something to blame it on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best book I've read.!!, 14 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Popcorn (Paperback)
As a huge blackadder fan and someone who admires Ben Eltons comic writing I simply had to read at least one of his books. I chose Popcorn by reputation and was not dissappointed. Ben Elton manages to craft a novel which makes you live the whole issue of violence on TV and enters you into an impossible dillema. I've been so impressed with this book that I have now read all of Eltons work.. I love his work and can't wait for the next installment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read this year, 6 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Popcorn (Paperback)
Insightful, scathing, sarcastic, witty, urbane, relevant. All this and more. I can't recall having read a book recently that gripped me like this did. The Americanisation of the world continues unabated with only books like this put it all into context. 'Straight' books rarely make their point as well as satire and this book says what it has to say incredibly well. The terse plotting and triumphant ending should be up there with Orwell in my mind - this is to Hollywood what 1984 was to Socialism. And the ultimate irony - Hollywood want to make a film about it. Elton continues to get better and better (The Thin Blue Line excepted). All the better for hearing a surreal interview with Mary Whitehouse in which she came down on the same side as Mr. Elton. Now that was one thing I though I'd never hear. Buy it. Read it. Think about it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE POPCORN, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Popcorn (Kindle Edition)
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.
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Popcorn by Ben Elton (Hardcover - 5 Aug 1996)
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