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Down and Dirty Pictures Paperback – 5 Sep 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (5 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747565716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747565710
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A total page-turner. The anecdotes, the characters, the fights, the stress of independent film-making are here in all their full-bloodedness’ -- Independent

‘As gripping and compelling as the fastest-paced thriller … unmissable *****’ -- Hotdog

‘Dishy, teeming, superbly reported … a juicy and fascinating exposé’ -- Entertainment Weekly

‘Smart and funny … It’s a real rollercoaster ride’ -- New York Observer

‘Thoughtful, gossipy, and altogether mesmerising ... A shamelessly good read’ -- New York Times

About the Author

Peter Biskind is the author of three previous books. Currently a contributor to Vanity Fair, he was formerly the executive editor of Premiere and has written for numerous publications. He lives in Columbia County, New York.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 28 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I had already read Easy Riders Raging Bulls and, while it was a fantastic read, many of the movies were before my time. I had seen many of the films, but had not experienced the era in which they were made and first released.
This book brings movie history up to date with the increasing commercialisation of indie cinema, the impact of Miramax, Tarantino - the cinema of the 80s, 90s, up until now. This is the history of the cinema of our era - all of the gossip behind our celluloid pop culture. The hardcover version of this book is beautiful and very heavy - you feel you are getting your money's worth both in weight and in readability. Buy one for yourself, then one for everyone else for Christmas.

Criminal
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Format: Paperback
In my opinion Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is the best book ever written about film and while this book never quite matches it, it is a very good book in its own right. It tackles the rise (and in Biskind’s view fall) of independent film making concentrating on Robert Redford (and the Sundance festival); Harvey and Bob Weinstein (and their company Mirimax) along with a host of film makers and actors including Quentin Tarantino, Stephen Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and many others along the way.
Told in much the same style as Easy Riders, Raging Bulls it is a wild mixture of serious comment and salacious gossip. Biskind writes beautifully, handling another huge topic with an enormous cast of characters deftly. He is assisted by the fact that many of the players and the films are already well-known to the reader but he has a wonderful talent for the one-line character profile (often a one-line character assassination) and he chooses his quotes well.
It is evitable given his larger than life personality and aggressive business practices that Harvey Weinstein comes to dominate the book in much the same way as the Weinstein brothers have dominated the independent film business. Harvey Weinstein is a fascinating although in many ways deeply repellent character – very aggressive, prone to outbursts of rage, guilty of some very dubious business practices, a man who will shaft someone just because he can – however he is responsible for some of the best films of recent years and at least he loves movies (unlike some of his competitors). In Biskind’s view he made the independent film business.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a sort of 'sequel' to Biskind's seminal (and gossipy) book Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, about the maverick filmmakers of the 70s.
Where Easy Riders was salacious in its stories and anecdotes of Hollywood's new breed of talent, Down and Dirty focuses more on the emerging independent generation of filmmakers, starting with low budget films such as Clerks, Sex Lies and Videotape and Reservoir Dogs, allied with Robert Redford's emerging Sundance Film Festival.
The gossip of Easy Riders is replaced by stories of ingenious marketing, credit card filmmaking and sleeper hits. Soderbergh, Smith and Tarantino are the star directors, Weinstein and Redford are the ones who made it happen.
While still enjoyable, there's much less scandal in this one - although the various stories of Harvey Weinstein's outrageous temper and backstabbing more than makes up for it. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, and a contributor to Vanity Fair, has penned the tell-all to end all tell-alls about Tinseltown. With reportorial zeal he traces the rise of independent (indies) films beginning roughly with the 1990s. His focus is on the Sundance Institute and Miramax Films, the sires of the indies.
Harvey Weinstein, it will come as a surprise to few, is presented as a brash, egotistical bully (those are kind adjectives). Along with his brother, Bob, he rose from a concert promoter in Queens to one of Hollywood's most powerful - Miramax is now a major force giving birth to many Oscar nominated films.
In the author's words both Weinsteins "had volcanic tempers. They were wizards of abuse, excelling in the exotic art of public humiliation, lashing staffers in front of their peers."
Robert Redford, the founder of Sundance, also receives attention. He, as described by Biskin, is a control freak who "who was not in a position to run the institute himself, but neither, it seemed, was he able to let anyone else run it." Alas ladies, our handsome matinee idol does have chinks in his armor.
"Down and Dirty Pictures" in addition to being a superbly detailed history of the rise of the indies is also a spicy gossip laced read with celebrity quotes from Matt Damon to Uma Thurman to Anthony Minghella. It's sometimes hilarious, sometimes sobering; it is always fascinating reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just a brilliant insight into modern distribution, film studios, back-stabbing deals and huge egos. A must read for any independent filmmaker and anyone interested in movies. Someone bought this for me and said "bet you can't put it down," and although it starts slowly as soon as Harvey Weinstein makes his entrance, the Helter-skelter nature of events that follows is compelling and very, very addictive. I liked Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, but I loved Down and Dirty Pictures, the fact that it goes through the behind the scenes deals about Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Sex Lies and Videotape, Good Will Hunting and a whole host of films in everyone's recent memories seemed to strike a deeper cord. Strongly recommended.
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