For 60 years, since the birth of United Artists, the studio landscape was unchanged. Then came Hollywood’s Circus Maximus---created by director Steven Spielberg, billionaire David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave the world The Lion King---an entertainment empire called DreamWorks. Now Nicole LaPorte, who covered the company for Variety, goes behind the hype to reveal for the first time the delicious truth of what happened.
Audiences will feel they are part of the creative calamities of moviemaking as LaPorte's fly-on-the-wall detail shows us Hollywood's bizarre rules of business. We see the clashes between the often otherworldly Spielberg's troops and Katzenberg's warriors, the debacles and disasters, but also the Oscar-winning triumphs, including Saving Private Ryan. We watch as the studio burns through billions, its rich owners get richer, and everybody else suffers. We see Geffen seducing investors like Microsoft's Paul Allen, showing his steel against CAA's Michael Ovitz, and staging fireworks during negotiations with Paramount and Disney. Here is Hollywood, up close, glamorous, and gritty.
©2010 Nicole LaPorte (P)2010 Tantor
“This book has all the right elements: deep-dish research, attitude to burn,...and a great subject.” (Peter Biskind, author of the New York Times bestseller Star)
Well worth reading/listening to. I had expected it to be a negative slant on the founders. Overall, though, I found the book quite even-handed, talking about both good and bad aspects of the people and personalities. Narrator is top notch.
I think it is pretty clear that the Author of this book had a very strong point of view when she undertook the writing of this book. There is no doubt that she had a bone to pick with all three men. It is not completely surprising since she was part of the industry as a writer for Variety. She should have done a better job of hiding her animosity.
There is some good information in the book, and some interesting anecdotes. However, it was all clouded by the obvious slant of the author. It was also quite a bit longer than it needed to be. There was no editing involved as far as I could tell. The reader was OK, not great.
The book is what it is-- a mildly bitchy expose of Hollywood movers and shakers. But just about anything the reader *could* mispronounce, he *does* mispronounce. One would presume that any potential listener would be interested in and familiar with the people and work named in the book. So to hear so much of it all regularly mispronounced was terribly distracting, albeit hilarious after a while.
Sure. Reader aside, it was gossipy and fun.
Maybe, if it were a BARBARIANS AT THE GATE-style satire.
While I am a fan of Dreamworks, especially their animation efforts, I found that the inside story of personalities and money far from compelling. Those who enjoy the inside Hollywood stuff will probably be more interested in the ins and outs described in this book. For me, it didn't take long before the story sounded like random syllables coupled with the author's outrage.
I doubt that in one place you will be able to find as much information about DreamWorks and the people involved there as in this book. The research seems copious, and though one suspects whether all of it is true, the overall impression is you've learned a great deal about one of the most interesting companies in recent Hollywood history.
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