Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES chronicles the rise of independent filmmakers and of the twin engines the Sundance Film Festival and Miramax Films that have powered them Peter Biskind profiles the people who took the independent movement from obscurity to the Oscars, most notably Sundance founder Robert Redford and Harvey Weinstein, who with his brother, Bob, made Miramax an indie powerhouse Candid, penetrating and controversial, DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES is a must read for anyone interested in the film world In DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES, Biskind takes on the movie industry of the s and again gets the storyPeter Biskind captures his era as John Dunne did that of the Zanucks Frank Rich, The New York Times Dishy, teeming, superbly reported and packed with lively inside anecdotes a juicy and fascinating expose Entertainment Weekly UGH, FINALLY finished this I have to say that most of the reason that I hated this book had little to do with the research or the author s ability to string together a history narrative I hated reading this book because basically everyone in it is terrible I was indifferent regarding most of the known players in this book the Weinsteins, Redford, etc prior to reading it, but am now in full on loathing for everyone It makes me glad I m not much of a movie fan any because I feel dirty h UGH, FINALLY finished this I have to say that most of the reason that I hated this book had little to do with the research or the author s ability to string together a history narrative I hated reading this book because basically everyone in it is terrible I was indifferent regarding most of the known players in this book the Weinsteins, Redford, etc prior to reading it, but am now in full on loathing for everyone It makes me glad I m not much of a movie fan any because I feel dirty having supported any of these people.Overall, the author did a great job with the subject, up until the last few chapters where it sort of petered out rather than made a strong wrap up And while I get why it did kind of meander to a stop rather than actually conclude events and what happened next weren t KNOWN because the book timeline ended in about 2004 2005, and all of these players are mostly still in the game , it felt really jarring considering the meticulous tone of the earlier chapters Moreover, big players through the first 2 3rds of the book just didn t appear again Most jarring examples are Bingham Ray, who ended up in a coma and wasn t seen again until the last chapter where, whoops He s fine He s working for Universal Just, what Also, Redford, for being a huge presence in the earlier chapters just doesn t exist except for a brief mention in the conclusion chapter.So, while I m glad I read this book as it gave some pretty deep history and insight into the US s independent film movement, I am SO FREAKING GLAD I M DONE WITH IT AND NEVER HAVE TO READ IT AGAIN I m one of those who came of age in the 90s and who loves film, remembering all the great films that that decade produced is great fun as well as finding out how they came about from the mouths of the filmmakers themselves That said, I loved the book but it goes further than talking about the directors and actors, to the guys who held the purse strings and the exposure, namely the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob, who created Miramax and Dimension, and Robert Redford, the movie star who foun I m one of those who came of age in the 90s and who loves film, remembering all the great films that that decade produced is great fun as well as finding out how they came about from the mouths of the filmmakers themselves That said, I loved the book but it goes further than talking about the directors and actors, to the guys who held the purse strings and the exposure, namely the Weinstein brothers, Harvey and Bob, who created Miramax and Dimension, and Robert Redford, the movie star who founded the Sundance Film Festival You read about the Weinsteins humble beginnings as concert promoters onto small films released on tape, and then small pictures released widely to garner a small profit From there they go large, gettingpictures, some of which gain success enabling them to seem attractive to a massive corporation like Disney who then buys them and gives them the financial clout to corner the market on low budget films Redford starts Sundance which then grows, after the initial few years, into a recognisable entity and then comes to be regarded as the place to have your film shown at, given how guys like the Weinsteins go there to buy films The Weinsteins themselves come across as monsters Both screaming and abusing staffers, making them wait hours for meetings, docking pay, threatening them, throwing furniture They really seem like bipolar ogres smashing around to get what they want Redford comes across as a control freak who is unable to make decisions and thus contributes greatly to the Sundance brand failing to become as mainstream as he had hoped Contributions are from many recognisable faces, from the superstar directors Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee and Kevin Smith to actors Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Even Harvey Weinstein agrees to contribute to the book Redford declines as he holds grudges Biskind uses these to create a vivid and compelling portrait of the 90s throughout While some might say the narrative is repetitive Weinstein doesn t change nor does Redford and the anecdotes rarely differ Redford bumbling about, Weinstein screaming foaming at the mouth I found it too interesting and could easily have kept reading until the present day it stops at 2003 I loved it, as a fan of good writing and a fan of film, it s a fantastic read and utterly great fun Here s hoping Biskind does a follow up of the 00s Want to know how horrible a person Harvey Weinstein is I mean, apart from being a rapist.Harvey s always been a right bastard and so has his brother Bob.Favorite part was the segment on the Weinstein Billy Bob Thornton feud. Here s a summary of Down and Dirty Pictures 1 Harvey Weinstein acts like a lunatic because of some movie deal2 Another either repellent or uninteresting Hollywood exec has a bad business experience because of some movie deal3 An either repellent or uninteresting actor or director has a bad creative experience because of a movie deal4 Repeat above for 12 chaptersPossibly the most interesting thing about the book is how the author, Peter Biskind, somehow manages to bring himself across as equ Here s a summary of Down and Dirty Pictures 1 Harvey Weinstein acts like a lunatic because of some movie deal2 Another either repellent or uninteresting Hollywood exec has a bad business experience because of some movie deal3 An either repellent or uninteresting actor or director has a bad creative experience because of a movie deal4 Repeat above for 12 chaptersPossibly the most interesting thing about the book is how the author, Peter Biskind, somehow manages to bring himself across as equally repellent as his characters despite not even being part of the story He s the type of know it all who feels the need to interrupt his reportage about the distribution of Life is Beautiful to rattle off the titles of six obscure Holocaust movies he thinks are better.Despite all that, DaDP is surprisingly readable, assuming you don t actually have any interest in Nineties independent movies Biskind assumes you ve seen them all, even the ones that were forgotten months after they came out This book isn t about great food it s about how that food makes it s way through assholes that shit it out into the world

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