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Full Metal Jacket Diary Hardcover – 25 Oct 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Rugged Land Books; Limited ed. edition (25 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590710479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590710470
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 2.7 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,308,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Some interesting photographs (Modine is an accomplished photographer), but very little in the way of new information about the seemingly endless production schedule of the film.

Well worth having, though, as it is a beautifully produced book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RARE, COMPELLING ACCOUNT OF WORKING WITH A GENIUS OF CINEMA 12 Feb. 2015
By Peter Josyph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What’s important about Matthew Modine’s unabridged reading of his FULL METAL JACKET DIARY is what was important about the illustrated book, released in 2005, bound in hardcover—very hardcover—in a numbered edition of 20,000. Modine’s book is the best personal accounting to date of working with one of the great masters of cinema. For such a chronicle, genius at writing is a plus but not a necessity. What’s required is an eyewitness author with intimate access, acute observational skills—and good notes. They also need to have known the importance of the position in which they were placed, and to have wanted to pass along the details of what they encountered—and, in some cases, suffered—in the company of a master. As the star of the film, Modine, who played Private Joker, was constantly on the set; he absorbed the lengthy process intensely; he kept a personal diary that is perceptive and honest; he took photographs with a square-format Rolleiflex; and he put it all together in a handsome, readable book that has not been reprinted and is now a collector’s item. As a result, FULL METAL JACKET DIARY compares with James Lord’s A GIACOMETTI PORTRAIT; BrassaÏ’s CONVERSATIONS WITH PICASSO; and Michael Ventura’s CASSAVETES DIRECTS as a detailed accounting of genius at work—and, too, of what it’s like to be around and, in Modine’s case, perform under direction by one of the finest film artists of the century.

Narrating a book is an art in itself. It is a treat to hear an author reading his or her work, but it is not necessarily as compelling as a professional in the recorded books field. Even celebrity performers such as Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Sean Penn and Johnny Depp have fallen a bit short reading authors they admire. But Matthew Modine is perfectly at ease narrating his own diary, and his plainspoken approach makes sense to the diaristic form.

“Production” on most recorded books means getting the voice right and editing out glitches and mistakes. But FULL METAL JACKET DIARY, which is also an award-winning iPad app, is very much a production in the style of old radio, with Modine and Adam Rackoff—who developed the app together—credited as producers and directors. Modine’s voice is altered for different forms of entry; sound effects are liberally employed; there is music by Juano Lippi; sound design by Dan Timmons; and Modine creates the suggestion of other voices throughout. The metal-jacketed DIARY is fully illustrated with Modine’s photography, and some of these images are reproduced in the fine booklet that also features a timeline and statements by Modine, Rackoff, Kubrick’s daughter Vivian (who composed the music for her father’s film), and Leon Vitali, who acted in two of Kubrick’s films, served as Kubrick’s assistant, and was casting director on FULL METAL JACKET. The downloadable version of FULL METAL JACKET DIARY includes a PDF that reproduces the booklet included with the CD.

The decision to turn the audiobook into an event, and the complex production values that entails, are admirable, and it can be seen as creating the audio equivalent of the photography and the varied layouts in the printed book. It’s not a criticism of this effort to say that it is not what makes this recording most significant. That Matthew Modine has the goods on working with Stanley Kubrick, and that he has taken the time, and has the skill, to render what it is to practice the art of acting in playing Private Joker, is what matters most, and so hearing Modine tell it is enough of a delight that he could have read the diary into the mic and gone home. It’s no fault of the audio production team that their admirable efforts are secondary. Quite simply, the book itself is terrific.

Early in the narrative, Modine attends a SAG meeting in which actors complain about leaving late for lunch. Modine’s attitude is, in effect, what does ten minutes matter if you’re working with Kubrick? Then he faults himself for not seeing it wasn’t about time, but about meal-penalty fees that were important to cast members who relied on them to live. This is not a Kubrick anecdote—there are plenty of those here, e.g. Kubrick noticing that his lens has been placed a few inches off, or Kubrick trying to talk his star out of being with his wife for childbirth—but it captures an essential even of shooting a masterpiece: filmmaking is complicated with scores of individual duties and concerns. It also emblemizes Modine’s willingness to get at what his days on the set were really like, even when his self-portraits are less than flattering.

At a time when it seems as if everyone in the public eye is writing at least one if not a stream of memoirs, we have few such day-to-day accounts of actual work with film directors by men and women who were there. Most celebrity bios feature a few paragraphs, perhaps a chapter, about working with a director. Modine’s extensive account of adventuring with Kubrick on FULL METAL JACKET is thus still a rarity in the literature of film. It is essential listening for any aspiring film actor, filmmaker, student or enthusiast of cinema, as well as for anyone intrigued by the creative process, and of course for Kubrick aficionados. More than that, FULL METAL JACKET DIARY is a very good story very well told, another reason why I strongly recommend this audio version of FULL METAL JACKET DIARY for private listening as well as for all library and university collections.
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" for Fans of "Full Metal Jacket"! 25 Nov. 2016
By David Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a "must read" for fans of the classic film, "Full Metal Jacket". Actor Matthew Modine shared his personal insights in a humble and revealing manner, which made me appreciate the final product even more. Great anecdotes about the legendary Stanley Kubrick's process for creating and directing "FMJ", and how Kubrick obtained the best possible performances from his cast and crew. I especially liked the story behind R. Lee Ermey's iconic performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, the most authentic portrayal of a Marine Corps Drill Sergeant in any film to date.

By the way, I highly recommend reading "The Shorttimers" by Gustave Hasford, as a prelude to FMJ Diary. This is the novel upon which FMJ was based, and Modine makes frequent reference to its influence on him and Kubrick. It's a classic novel in its own right, and provides important context to the film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 6 Feb. 2013
By Brady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Matthew Modine (who plays Joker in the movie) published the story of first meeting Stanley Kubrick to finishing the movie. The filming was pushed back due to R. Lee Ermey's car crash and Vincent D'Onofrio hurt knee. Plus the drama that ensued between the cast and crew. I would recommended this book for anyone who loved the movie.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Metal Modine 21 Sept. 2014
By Film Samurai - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an amazing work by Matthew Modine. Thoughts and pictures give the reader a fascinating look behind the genius of Stanley Kubrick as well as the actor's process on one of cinema's most brilliant war films.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Look Inside the Movie Industry 12 May 2009
By Brian Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Modine showed up on the set of Stanley Kubrick's 1987 Vietnam War masterpiece "Full Metal Jacket", in which he starred as Private Joker, armed with his weapon and his gun and his Rollei.

Not only does Modine prove himself to be quite a talented photographer, but his behind-the-scenes account of the making of the motion picture is a wonderfully revealing look inside the movie making process that few people see.

If you've ever been curious about how movies are made, or are curious about what it was like to work with Stanley Kubrick, Matthew's book lifts the curtains and let's you inside.
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