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Hollywood Animal: A Memoir | [Joe Eszterhas]

Hollywood Animal: A Memoir

He spent his earliest years in post WWII refugee camps. He came to America and grew up in Cleveland, stealing cars, rolling drunks, battling priests, nearly going to jail. He became the screenwriter of the worldwide hits Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Flashdance. He also wrote the legendary disasters Showgirls and Jade. The rebellion never ended, even as he became the most famous, or infamous, screenwriter in Hollywood.
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Publisher's Summary

He spent his earliest years in post WWII refugee camps. He came to America and grew up in Cleveland, stealing cars, rolling drunks, battling priests, nearly going to jail. He became the screenwriter of the worldwide hits Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, and Flashdance. He also wrote the legendary disasters Showgirls and Jade. The rebellion never ended, even as his films went on to gross more than a billion dollars at the box office and he became the most famous, or infamous, screenwriter in Hollywood. Controversial, fearless, extremely talented, and totally unpredictable, Joe Eszterhas has surprised us yet again: he has written a memoir like no other.

On one level, Hollywood Animal is a shocking and often devastating look inside the movie business. It intimately explores the concept of fame and gives us a never-before-seen look at the famous. Eszterhas reveals the fights, the deals, the extortions, the backstabbing, and the sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll world that is Hollywood. But there are many more levels to this extraordinary work. It is the story of a street kid who survives a life filled with obstacles and pain...a chronicle of a love affair that is sensual, glorious, and unending...an excruciatingly detailed look at a man facing down the greatest enemy he's ever fought: the cancer inside him...and perhaps most important, Hollywood Animal is the heartbreaking story of a father and son that defines the concepts of love and betrayal.

This is a book that will shock you and make you laugh, anger you and move you to tears. It is pure Joe Eszterhas: a raw, spine-chilling celebration of the human spirit.

©2004 Joe Eszterhas; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The story about Mr. Eszterhas and his father, buried at the heart of Hollywood Animal, is a powerful and affecting one." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (52 )
5 star
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4.0 (19 )
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4.4 (18 )
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  •  
    J. Modesto, CA, United States 08-27-13
    J. Modesto, CA, United States 08-27-13 Member Since 2011

    J. Jason Gale

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "MEMO to JOE ESZTERHAS"

    Joe, Baby,

    I just read your “H’wood Animal” script. Fantastic! Perfect! Best script ever!

    The whole office loved it. A script reader peened the IT Guy with a bat. I was laughing so hard I could barely give directions to the ambulance.

    Here are the changes needed before shooting: No one cares that whatshisname, the protagonist (Scott Brick?) pronounces “home run” wrong; lose that. And the ‘50’s ran too long (they dragged back then too).

    You can pad the Rolling Stone gig. Maybe he covered John or Ringo – you can’t overdo The Beatles.

    Market Research says the ending doesn’t work: everyone hates this guy. He can’t play Caligula for 40 years, get a sore throat, find God and then ride off into the sunset. Not a chance.

    We’re thinking Obitz’s Wilshire goons track him down at a homeless shelter after his second wife’s divorce lawyer takes him for all he’s worth. The goons blow his brains out and steal seven dollars from his wallet. Whadda ya think?

    We want to see 100 pages – 110 tops.

    Love ya man!

    Let’s do Chili’s next time you’re in Modesto. We’ll go over my latest script.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Van Nuys, CA, United States 05-22-05
    Steve Van Nuys, CA, United States 05-22-05 Member Since 2001
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    "LOVING IT"

    First, let me say that I am only 8 hours into the book (20 hours to go). And, let me add that during the first couple of hours, I found the author self-congratulatory to the extreme, to the point of being a little obnoxious. (As other reviews have mentioned)

    On the other hand, it was never boring. And it was, I'm sure, accurate. And, as he got into his life in the refugee camps in Hungry, and then especially, when he began delving into his early days and rise in Hollywood, I have found the book to be: INTERESTING (behind the scenes dealings in Hollywood), TOUCHING (especially his relationship with his father), often QUITE FUNNY (he?s a great story teller), witty, informative, captivating, and EXTREMELY WELL READ (this is the unabridged version). The author definitely grows on you.

    I give this 5 stars for these reasons, plus one more: this is the kind of book that you can pick up and anytime, it keeps you company when you?re driving, and you don?t mind doing a few errands while it entertains you. I?m a TV writer in Los Angeles, so perhaps I find the behind the scenes stories especially entertaining, but I have to tell you, I am loving this book so far. Even though I?m not finished, I?m enjoying it so much, I wanted to boost its rating. I don't want it to end

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James New York, NY, United States 04-17-05
    James New York, NY, United States 04-17-05 Member Since 2004
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    "A Winner Despite Itself"

    Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the book Joe Eszterhas buried inside all the hyperbole. But I guess we shouldn't consider it strange that a writer is so in love with his words that he refuses to give way to an editor. Eszterhas has led an exciting and provocative life, both in Cleveland and in his dreaded Southern California, he's met many talented Hollywood denizens, he's written some of the best and worst screenplays ever to make it to the silver screen. It's just too bad one had to slug through all the repetitious crapola to get to the good stuff.

    Still, Scott Brick is so wonderful as the narrator, it almost made it all worthwhile.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harry Spitz North Hollywood, CA USA 02-23-04
    Harry Spitz North Hollywood, CA USA 02-23-04 Member Since 2003

    Photographer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great Book!"

    I could not stop listening to this book. It is a brutally honest look the life of a very controversial Hollywood Screenwriter. It is very well written and narrated. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in film and Hollywood.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Saeed Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 04-28-14
    N. Saeed Springfield Gardens, NY, United States 04-28-14 Member Since 2010
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    "I rolled my eyes so far back, I could see my brain"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    The audiobook starts off well with the writer's childhood memories and how he became what he is-let's face it- a soft porn hack. Peppered with some Hollywood trivia and short stories the book then degenerates in the middle into a petition to justify Eszterhas's hypocrisy claiming he didn't know who/what his father was, and sugarcoating his adultery and abandonment of his family. All the while painting himself as the reasonable, clearheaded, do-no-wrong innocent.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    Yes, immensely. I now enjoy listening to people lie through the teeth with halos above their heads. So more books about Hollywood would be great once I 'suspend my belief'.


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    The writer is a self serving, hypocritical, shameless bag of hot air. His writing is gripping though and the progression of events flows nicely up to the point where his family life falls apart and he "discovers" that his father was a war criminal. Eszterhas manages to twist every incident to his advantage and shows himself as a righteous figure and others as feeble, devious, immoral, sometimes grotesque, piranhas.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    The narrator was great, his intonation, pronunciation and ability to deliver the story gave it life.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    I just love how he incorporated his "mistress's" diary entries into the story to justify how he was driven into her arms by his-then-wife.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DS NH 12-08-12
    DS NH 12-08-12 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "LIFE IS, INDEED, STRANGE"

    From the original Hollywood-bad-boy writer to a born-again militant non-smoker. Life is, indeed, strange. A very long book BUT loaded with really great, iconic stories of the famous and infamous flawed, sometimes fatally flawed, Hollywood characters. Joe Eszterhas is a survivor who seems to have found peace but still a wounded creature. A compelling listen, and very well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Cruz bronx, NY United States 05-18-08
    H. Cruz bronx, NY United States 05-18-08 Member Since 2002
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    "Love me Daddy"

    At the core of this memoir - and I went for the unabridged version -- is the honesty behind the making of a bloated - "lets have lunch" world that is Hollywood, but here....it's grounded in from an out-siders view, that's peppered with amazingly honest on why this dude is one of the most hated.

    Like everything in life, it comes back how you were raised. I love the story telling conversational aspect of the book, but I ended up having little sympathy for the writer (who ends up another Hollywood Dick, to put it nicely).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliott Philadelphia, PA, USA 04-23-05
    Elliott Philadelphia, PA, USA 04-23-05
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    "Wouldn't want to have dinner with him."

    Granted, he's been a successful writer. Granted he's a good story teller. But I think having dinner with him would be unbearable. Is that any reason not to listen to this book? Or course not. It's fascinating from start to finish. And you might even learn something about the business. If you find Hollywood, script writing, producers and movie stars fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tami bedford, N/A, United Kingdom 03-23-04
    Tami bedford, N/A, United Kingdom 03-23-04
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    "Disappointed"

    While I am sure this is a great book, I just cannot get into it. It jumps around from childhood to recent past and to be honest, i am not that interested in his childhood. I bought this book hoping to really get the 'goods' on hollywood. Maybe i should have bought the 'abridged' model?????

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken La Mirada, CA, USA 03-10-04
    Ken La Mirada, CA, USA 03-10-04
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    "The Animal Stays in the Picture"

    I really enjoyed this one. I rank it right up there with the Robert Evans book. I always thought of the author as a gruff heavy-handed type, but have a newfound respect for him and his choices. The narrator on this book is excellent.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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