Most helpful positive review
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Well worth the wait
on 2 November 2000
I picked up 'Adventures in the Screen Trade' in a second hand shop a couple of years back and devoured it inside a few hours. Only problem - it was written in the early 80s and a hell of a lot has happened in Hollywood since then. To wit, Burt Reynolds was the top box office star at the time. I knew it would be great if Goldman could update Adventures, giving us his pungent and ascerbic views on recent happenings amongst the rich, famous and shallow. Lo and behold, it's here - and a damn fine read it is too, even better than its predecessor. Yes, Goldman refers to 'Butch' too often, but at least he's apologetic and at least it's worth remembering. Yes, Goldman tends to butter up his buddies and slate his enemies, but don't we all do that. I'm also pretty unequivocal about friends and foes and there's nothing wrong with that. No point sitting on the fence. Yes, Goldman's judgement isn't always spot on - see the 'Magician' sequence in his original Maverick screenplay for an example of his occasional flirtations with the misguided. Hell, nobody's perfect. What's truly impressive about 'Which Lie...' is the way the inconsistency of form flows over you. Every few pages he changes tack, leading you to another entertaining anecdote, writing masterclass or super-charged rant. Just as in his better screenplays, the narrative never lets you off the hook. It's pretty compelling stuff. Oh, and despite all the sour recollections and righteous anger, don't think for one moment that Goldman hates films. I'm not even convinced he hates Hollywood as much as he pretends. There's a passion for the medium that runs throughout his work. It's this passion and whole-heartedness about everything he does that belies his brand of witty cynicism. The passion is why he finds it so hard to accept betrayal, mediocrity or ostentation. The man has a big heart, and writing 'Adventures' and 'Which Lie..' must have been as cathartic for him as the results are inspirational for the budding screenwriter.