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3.1 out of 5 stars18
3.1 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 1998
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. Doubleday should have given Fleming another year to actually research the book, instead of forcing him to copy from his own work and such lame sources as YOU'LL NEVER MAKE LOVE IN THIS TOWN AGAIN (which he heavily relies on).

Get HIT AND RUN, a great book on Hollywood excess. HIGH CONCEPT is a great subject still in search of a good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 1998
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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on 27 July 2007
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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on 3 April 1998
High Concept is a must read for anyone interested in the who's, the why's the who-done-who's of Hollywood. It falls a little short as an actual biography of Producer Don Simpson, but more than makes up for that with a generous helping of party anecdotes and production war stories, some of them old news, some of them nearly unbelievable, almost all of them illuminating. The book leaves some of the "why" questions answered, in some cases raising more than it puts to rest. . .why, for instance, if Don Simpson was so consumed by his demons did he still manage to maintain his "edge"? Still, perhaps you should find your way to the questions through this book, and determine the answers on your own.
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on 26 July 2012
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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on 26 July 2015
This is a great book for anyone who has a keen interest in how Hollywood works and how films get made. Don Simpson was brilliant, creative, disgusting & paranoid all before lunch time. Hollywood was the last place he should have been though he clearly had a talent for packaging movies. Really a perfect read for anyone who is interested in the behind the scenes of Hollywood.
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on 4 December 1998
The life of Don Simpson needed to be analysed in order to understand 1980's Hollywood, and Fleming's work proves how excellent he is in reaserching. Unfortunately the style's pretty confusing and sometimes unfocused wich makes the reading sometimes very annoying. Luckily the subject keeps the book flowing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2000
Charles Fleming (Author) really did his homework with this one. He examines in detail, and plots out Simpson's rise from young adulthood living in a small US town and takes us on a roller coaster ride to the very height of Simpson's fame and Hollywood success. Addressing on the way all of Simpson's insecurities and demons, and also examining his psyche in order to give us a well rounded view of the man himself.
If you let yourself, it is very easy to be transported to Hollywood in the 1980's and early 1990's for a front row seat on what can only be described as a dream ticket of a life. The realities of this unimaginable existence soon come to light, as does the fact that sooner rather than later Simpson's reckless Hollywood lifestyle will catch up with him.
The greatness of this book comes about because of the effort put in by Fleming to ensure we see the full Don Simpson. The book is often funny, tragic and very shocking in its content One of the great features was that Fleming had no wish to hide any of the more sordid activities which occurred mainly in Simpson's final years and months of life. Giving us what would seem a very accurate and well-written book, which is a joy to read and very difficult to put down.
This comes highly recommended.
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on 19 April 2015
A fun insight into the madness of Hollywood in the 80's. Gets a bit repetitive in the middle, but overall it's a great trip.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2009
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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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Hit and Run
Hit and Run by Nancy Griffin (Paperback - 17 Jun. 1997)

You'LL Never Make Love in This Town Again
You'LL Never Make Love in This Town Again by Joanne Parrent (Hardcover - 3 Nov. 1996)


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