Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'N Roll Generation Saved Hollywood Paperback – Apr 4 1999
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Not only is Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls the best book in recent memory on turn-of-the-'70s film, it is beyond question the best book we'll ever get on the subject. Why? Because once the big names who spilled the beans to Biskind find out that other people spilled an equally piquant quantity of beans, nobody will dare speak to another writer with such candor, humor, and venom again.
Biskind did hundreds of interviews with people who make the president look accessible: Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Geffen, Beatty, Kael, Towne, Altman. He also spoke with countless spurned spouses and burned partners, alleged victims of assault by knife, pistol, and bodily fluids. Rather more responsible than some of his sources, Biskind always carefully notes the denials as well as the astounding stories he has compiled. He tells you about Scorsese running naked down Mulholland Drive after his girlfriend, crying, "Don't leave me!"; grave robbing on the set of Apocalypse Now; Faye Dunaway apparently flinging urine in Roman Polanski's face while filming Chinatown; Michael O'Donoghue's LSD-fueled swan dive onto a patio; Coppola's mad plan for a 10-hour film of Goethe's Elective Affinities in 3-D; the ocean suicide attempt Hal "Captain Wacky" Ashby gave up when he couldn't find a swimsuit that pleased him; countless dalliances with porn stars; Russian roulette games and psychotherapy sessions in hot tubs. But he also soberly gives both sides ample chance to testify.
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is also more than a fistful of dazzling anecdotes. Methodically, as thrillingly as a movie attorney, Biskind builds the case that Hollywood was revived by wild ones who then betrayed their own dreams, slit their own throats, and destroyed an art form by producing that mindless, inhuman modern behemoth, the blockbuster.
When Spielberg was making the first true blockbuster, Jaws, he sneaked Lucas in one day when nobody was around, got him to put his head in the shark's mechanical mouth, and closed the shark's mouth on him. The gizmo broke and got stuck, but the two young men somehow extricated Lucas's head and hightailed it like Tom and Huck. As Peter Biskind's scathing, funny, wise book demonstrates, they only thought they had escaped. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
A former executive editor of Premiere on 1970s Hollywood.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is very, very engaging and informative. What the book centers on are two things, mainly, which is the growth of new talent coming out of the four big film schools of the 1960s (USC, UCLA, NYU, Columbia) and the development of the blockbuster, which eventually degraded character development as the staple of winning screen formula.
Descriptions of parties at Margo Kidder's Malibu beach pad are awesome. Here all the young Turks gathered - Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Paul Schraeder, Francis Ford Coppola, Marty Scorsese, etc. These SC, UCLA and NYU minds formulated "The Godfather", "Star Wars", "Apocalypse", "Taxi Driver", "Jaws" and so many others.
While the sex and drugs got out of hand at Margo's, John Milius would repair to the beach and fire his weapon. Considered the best and the brightest of all of them coming out of SC, Milius was the lone conservative, who tried to stay clean. He would write great movies like "Dirty Harry" and "Apocalypse", and direct "Red Dawn" and "The Wind and the Lion". His stuff is just fantastic, but he never went on to the fame of his contemporaries.
Eventually, blockbusters like "Jaws" and "Star Wars" contributed to the so-called "cartoonization" of Hollywood. The comparison of psychology, dialogue, structure and symbolism as seen in "Marathon Man" and "Chinatown" are replaced by graphics, as seen in "Star Wars", or by a giant mechanized shark.
The end of the era is the failure of "Heaven's Gate", which brings down its studio and leads eventually to the rise of independent films.
This book tells the story of the integral American art form in all its glory and ugliness.
Biskind does much to certainly promote the cult of the most overrated generation in history. But he does so by articulating and defending his point in a fast paced entertaining manner. Filling his pages with gleefully geeky tidbits of juicy bad behavior, Biskind edifys his position by balancing praise with vicious criticism. He calls the players all on the carpet and takes them to task for burning out in their own pathetic yet arrogant fires of ego-centric excess while managing to celebrate their true works of ground breaking film art.
Biskind appropriately bookends his journey with the equally self centered and no less destructive Jake LaMotta in Scorsese's brilliant film "Raging Bull". Biskind makes a fascinating point that Wyatt and Jake form a symbollic summation of a decade that could have been.
"Easy Riders and Ragin Bulls" pulls few punches and makes for an excellent summer read for anyone interested in Hollywood History.
Most recent customer reviews
I was at the Niebaum-Coppola winery in Napa, CA in Spring, 2002; and Frances Ford Coppola was there receiving visitors in the wine bar. Read morePublished on Dec 9 2002 by David M Nichols
Whether it be scathing or scandalous, Peter Biskind's book is a definitive chronocling of the wild 70's decade, when the importance of the blockbuster finally hit an all time high,... Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2002
This is just the best book I've ever read. It's fast paced,
tremendously entertaining (full of gossip) and, you also learn
(quite) a lot about the american movie industry... Read more
This is just the best book that I've ever read. It's fast paced,
tremendously entertaining (full of gossip), plus, you also learn (quite) a lot about the movie industry in the... Read more
Although the notion of the degradation of the movies from The Godfather to Star Wars is a familiar one. This book is an absorbing examination of that process. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2002 by David H. Myers
This book changed my life! Peter Biskind's unparalleled chronicle revels in joy once forgotten, that of creating movies that were not afraid to change chances, to go the limit to... Read morePublished on Nov. 13 2001 by Michael A. Deluca
In Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, author Peter Biskind puts the filmmaking of the 1970s in perspective in a way that wouldn't have been possible in the 1980s (or even early '90s). Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2001 by Kathy Fennessy
Don't quite understand the critics of the gossip in the book. It is obviously salacious and a selling point of the book. Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2001 by VERONICA DEUTSCH
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