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4.0 out of 5 stars Sex And Drugs And Films With No Storyline
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...
Published on 27 July 2007 by zissou

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sloppy rough draft--where was the editor???
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...
Published on 20 April 1998


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sloppy rough draft--where was the editor???, 20 April 1998
By A Customer
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
3.0 out of 5 stars A good fluff read, 18 July 1998
By A Customer
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Sex And Drugs And Films With No Storyline, 27 July 2007
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This review is from: High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess (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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4.0 out of 5 stars worth a look, maybe two, 3 April 1998
By A Customer
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Great subject, dreadful read, 4 Dec 1998
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars High Concept! High Class!, 5 Jun 2000
By A Customer
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Badly executed concept, 26 July 2012
This review is from: High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess (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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars drugs hookers, more drugs, more hookers.., 8 Jan 2009
This review is from: High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess (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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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If nothing else, it's a very good read, 14 Jun 2000
By 
S. Brew "DenOfGeek.com" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess (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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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Much Ado About Nothing, 10 Jun 1998
By A Customer
The fact that Don Simpson embodied most of Hollywood's more sordid cliches hardly qualifies him as an interesting book subject. His films were, without exception, mediocre, and his success in the industry can only be measured by dollars. For any enthusiast of film as art, this measure is meaningless. Also, Simpson's life and death were so expediently and succinctly covered by the national and industry press that Fleming sheds very little new light. He makes a point of trashing hoped-for sources who were uncooperative, claiming that Simpson would have hated them. But the truth is that Fleming is covering his heinie for the pathetic collection of interviewees he has assembled, a true Hollywood losers club of whores, dealers and low-level wannabe "players." And who CARES if the morally bankrupt, soulless Don Simpson would have hated those with the dignity to keep their mouths shut? Has Fleming lost his own bearings, too? After reading far too much about this contemptuous creep than I needed to know, I think that earning Simpson's hatred would have been an honor.
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High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess
High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess by Charles Fleming (Paperback - 9 Jan 1999)
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