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Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film Hardcover – Jan 6 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Jan. 6 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068486259X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684862590
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16 x 4.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #934,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dolan Buckley on July 12 2004
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has been relieved by the rise of indepenedent film in recent years, Peter Biskind certainly reveals the spirit behind that rise but also the spit behind the walls of the leading independent producers, the Weinsteins and Mr Redford.
If you are a lover of film, you will greatly enjoy reading the behind the scenes manouvering and infighting behind scripts, endings, and actors. Biskind's brilliant research and matter-of-fact writing will reveal much of the business in his chapters, so if you do not want to know too much and like to enjoy just the film itself, keep walking by this book.
However, if you do like to know the decisions that create film, and especially independent film, this is the book of the year. Soderbergh and Tarantino feature prominently, along with Hawke and Damon. Good Will Hunting is looked at closely, as the script of two young men, their first, rose to Oscar fame through Miramax's direction.
The books prominent questions include: is now the time for a new indie movement with the Weinsteins and Redford becoming formulaic and looking for hidden blockbusters, more than hidden art; and who will fill the void if these two studios do go for bigger-grossing goals; and should the men and women behind films suggesting humane themes be of a certain moral character?
In the end, the accomplishemnts of the indies are explored and they are amazing: sex, lies..pulp fiction, good will...Biskind, being a believer in the force of film, plays the gadfly to hopefully protect genuine indie enthusiasm and creations and their futures. The book is as provocative as it is historical. I highly suggest it for lovers of the medium.
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Format: Hardcover
Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind is an excellent look at the world of independent films. To an outsider, this might not seem like a terribly interesting or important subject. However, Biskind makes it clear that independent films is where most of the creativity in filmmaking is nowadays and also this is the most consistently profitable area of movies today.
There have been numerous ultra low budget indie flicks that were bought by Harvey Weinstein's Miramax and turned into monster hits. These include Reservoir Dogs, sex lies and videotape as well as The Crying Game. Weinstein is the true kind of both Holloywood and of the independent film sector.
Biskind paints both Weinstein and his chief competitor, Robert Redford as being profit-crazed would-be moguls whose activities threaten to turn the world of independent films into just another facet of the mundane Hollywood culture.
Down and Dirty Pictures is an excellent book about an under-publicized area of the film industry by a longtime entertainment reporter. It is recommended reading to everyone who is interested in the world of movies.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I really loved Peter's narrative, I couldn't help thinking how well does he really know the people he is describing. I loved his story telling of the indepentent movie arena in the 90's but quite frankly his portrayal of the Weinsteins, I found off the mark. A much more honest appreciation of the moguls can be found in Looking For Harvey Weinstein. The funniest and most positive book I've read this year.
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By A Customer on July 1 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you are not in the business of making movies this long exposition on the politics of the industry is a total dud.
Who cares ( outside of the industry ) about the machinations of deal making, money raising, back slapping and back stabbing in the indie film world. In fact, I have close friends and relatives ( in the film making business ) who were also bored to tears. Thumbs down.
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By documentia on June 26 2004
Format: Hardcover
Yes, it's hard to put down. Yes, it's entertaining. Yes, it reads like a high brow version of the National Enquirer. This book is fun, but it's a hack job. Biskind is notorious for taking massive liberties with his material, and he's clearly out to ruffle feathers -- though that's arguably half the fun. And no doubt, I'm sure the beating Harvey W. takes is well deserved.
The ultimate tragedy of this book is its misguided focus. One could easily come away from Down & Dirty Pictures with the impression that indie film is all about business. Big business. Really big business. Pages upon pages upon pages are spent investigating the finer details of acquisition and distribution. Pages upon pages upon pages are spent following the rising and falling careers of various unlikable executives, and their bad-boy behavior. But what about the films? What about the filmmakers? What about the passion associated with the original indie movement? What about films truly made outside the Hollywood system?
Biskind blows by the formative years of indie film in the introduction. Hardly more than a mention of filmmakers like Cassavetes, Jarmusch, Hartley, even Spike Lee. And folks like Caveh Zahedi, forget it. We do however hear about Robert Redford, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon. We hear about Weinstein and Katzenberg. We hear about Universal and Disney and Fox.
The book is subtitled, "the rise of independent film" -- but it's not about independent film at all. It's about studios. It's about executives. It's about MONEY. This book is about selling out. And in the end, the biggest sellout of all is Peter Biskind.
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