Popcorn Paperback – 1 Jul 2003
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"Serious, morally complex, structurally rich and bitterly funny" (Independent on Sunday)
"Fierce, garish and frighteningly funny" (Spectator)
"An absolute coup of black comedy" (Daily Telegraph)
"One of the most brilliantly sustained and focused pieces of satire I've ever read" (Douglas Adams)
"Killer prose...a viciously funny satire that also works as a tongue-in-cheek thriller" (The Sunday Times)
The No.1 bestselling, topical, award-winning, high-octane thriller.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I tend to think of Ben Elton as an issue-concerned novelist , and the issue at the heart of "Popcorn" is gratuitous violence in films, and whether it breeds violent behaviour in the audience for such films. The main character, Bruce Delamitri, is the director of a film called "Ordinary Americans" who seems a certainty for the oscar for best director. The events unfold throughout the day of the actual Oscar presentation, and the hours following it.
I took longer to get into "Popcorn" than into his other whodunits - "Past Mortem" and "Dead Famous". This isn't because its not as good - in some ways its better - but because it's a very different novel to the other two. Predictably, Elton depicts a Hollywood full of neurotic, shallow, self obsessed people whom nobody would ever want to pass the time of day with if they were not famous. Yet the world and the characters which he depicts are compelling not in spite of their awfulness, but because of it. The pace of the narrative accelerates to a remarkable climax, remarkable in as much as you continue reading even though you don't really care what happens to any of the protagonists. Except possibly the murderers.
One thing you can't help doing is matching up the fictional celebrities to their real life counterparts. If I was, lets say, Quentin Tarantino, I'd be pretty angry with this book, and I'd love to know what his reaction was to it.
The book opens up the debate of how acceptable violence (especially gratuitous violence) is in films, when, in reality it's not that entertaining, especially when it's happening to you.
I was quite shocked at the brutality in the book but it is saturated with irony and is laced with Ben Elton's observant humour.
Be warned though: the ending is grim and if you like nice tidy conclusions then this may not be the book for you. However, if you're after something thought-provoking and enjoy being unnerved by an uncomfortable combination of humour and violence, give it a go.
Of course, however, the most important aspect is the aspect on the 'film violence' debate. Elton presents the views of Bruce Delamitri in such a way that even the most hardened antagonist of violent imagery would surely be drawn about to his views. The minds of two killers are concisely portrayed to the point that their plight, and solution to it, is completely reasonable. This book, then, is a true masterpiece of readability and debate.
This was my first and last book by Elton... Ben Elton finds himself very funny and unless you subscribe to this personal fantasy, its almost impossible to find Popcorn titillating.
Read with care, don't expect much, as I did, and maybe it'll be worth it. If you have studied any kind of Media or Communications course however, steer clear, the book is one big convention and genre list. If it came out 5 years before it did then maybe.
I mean not to insult those who liked this book. It just didn't ring my bell.
Extremely thought provoking, funny, well written and a great, clever read. It looks at the blame culture in our society and takes it to the extreme, showing that if you're guilty, you can still be innocent, you just have to find someone or something to blame it on.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have yet to read a poor Ben Elton book. Ben looks at society's problems and exposes them with humour.Published 9 months ago by DBS
It was a decent read but felt as though i was reading a Jackie Collins book at timesPublished 9 months ago by steve
An excellent book - this is a great plot, superbly written - just buy it!Published 11 months ago by Madmeerket
I love all Ben elton books, read them al a few times, Popcorn is the worst of all his books by far.Published 17 months ago by Peter
SUCH a good book! Any fans of Charlie Brooker should definately read this.Published 19 months ago by Miss S E Goldby