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Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance,…

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent…

by Peter Biskind

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Fun and fascinating. I can't believe there aren't any other reviews of this here.

If you've ever wondered why the films that get made - get made - even in passing, you should read this. It will also give you a great appreciation for you boss, since this focuses a lot of attention on Miramax and the Weinstein brothers. And rightly so, as there's no story as good as a shocking story, and they deliver. Especially fun for me was the fact that I was in my 20s when many of the films and film makers discussed were getting started. I remember the films very well and can see the impact that resulted.

The author seems to keep it very objective and tries to insert dissenting opinions where available. I don't know if it is my lack of education that made me feel like there were a few typos in this book, or the use of big words that I don't understand - the author is clearly a very smart man and can't help throwing a few big words around in here. Overall it is extremely accessible to the novice if that's even the appropriate word here.

It can be a little depressing though. If you care at all about art and artists, this will not give you a fond outlook on the film industry. As someone who enjoys off the wall cinema, it feels like I am being robbed of many things by Hollywood, and not just the things you would think make economic sense. So many personal vendettas and power struggles that we never see equal life long projects that will never be seen by anyone. Good ones, too. ( )
1 vote Ivegotzooms | Oct 14, 2013 |
If you are even a casual reader of glossy magazines or gossip pages, you probably don't need Peter Biskind to tell you that Harvey Weinstein, the co-chairman of Miramax Films, is an outsize character: a big guy with big appetites and a temper the size of TriBeCa.

But Mr. Biskind's absurdly entertaining new book, ''Down and Dirty Pictures,'' is here to tell you that you don't know the half of it. Mr. Biskind compares Mr. Weinstein to Nixon, Mussolini, an undercooked pancake, Darth Vadar, the fat guy who projectile vomits in Monty Python's ''Meaning of Life,'' even Lizzie Grubman in reverse-traction mode. And that's all before Chapter 1.
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On a crisp November morning in 1979, Robert Redford, one of the 1970s' brightest stars, inaugurated a three-day conference of filmmakers and arts professionals at his home, a big-beamed ski lodge high up on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos, in the North Fork of Provo Canyon, Utah.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684862581, Paperback)

You've heard the rumors. The film industry is filled with ruthless executives who think nothing of brow-beating their employees, of using creative accounting to cheat filmmakers, and re-cutting a director's vision into a soulless crowd-pleaser. Well, it turns out those rumors are often true--at least according to Peter Biskind's highly entertaining Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film. Packed with industry anecdotes and history, the book chronicles the growth and eventual mainstreaming of independent films and offers the back-story to seminal works including sex, lies, and videotape and Pulp Fiction among others. Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood, divides most of his time between Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford and Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. Biskind simultaneously credits these two as fostering, though ultimately ruining, the purity of indpendent film. Other indies are largely left out, although the now-defunct October Films appears prominently in the role of noble failure. Biskind has serious points to make, but he's not stingy with the war stories, either. (One particularly amusing scene involves October executives chasing Robert Duvall's agent through a Sheraton Hotel in an attempt to stop him from making a deal with Miramax to distribute The Apostle.) Those who have only a passing interest in the movie business may tire of Biskind's oft-repeated themes (Weinstein is an evil genius! Redford is a passive-aggressive control freak!) but for those who truly love film industry gossip, Down and Dirty Pictures is a feast of insider stories--each tidbit juicier than the last. --Leah Weathersby

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:59 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Down and Dirty Pictures chronicles the rise of independent filmmakers and of the twin engines--Sundance and Miramax-that have powered them As he did in his acclaimed Easy Riders, Raging Bulls Peter Biskind profiles the people who took the independent movement from obscurity to the Oscars, most notably Sundance founder Robert Redford.… (more)

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