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I Blame Dennis Hopper

And Other Stories from a Life Lived in and out of the Movies
Narrated by: Illeana Douglas
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (156 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1969, Illeana Douglas' parents saw the film Easy Rider and were transformed. Taking Dennis Hopper's words - "That's what it's all about, man" - to heart, they abandoned their comfortable upper-middle-class life and gave Illeana a childhood filled with hippies, goats, free spirits, and free love. Illeana writes, "Since it was all out of my control, I began to think of my life as a movie, with a Dennis Hopper-like father at the center of it."

I Blame Dennis Hopper is a rollicking, funny, at times tender exploration of the way movies can change our lives. With crackling humor and a full heart, Douglas describes how a good Liza Minnelli impression helped her land her first gig and how Rudy Vallee taught her the meaning of being a show biz trouper. From her first experience being on set with her grandfather and mentor - two-time Academy Award-winning actor Melvyn Douglas - to the moment she was discovered by Martin Scorsese to starring in movies alongside Robert DeNiro, Nicole Kidman, and Ethan Hawke to becoming an award-winning writer, director, and producer in her own right, I Blame Dennis Hopper is an irresistible love letter to movies and filmmaking.

©2015 Illeana Douglas (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The author's warm portraits and disarming honesty infuse the memoir with an endearing sweetness and charm." ( Kirkus)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved Every Moment of this Book!

What did you love best about I Blame Dennis Hopper?

This book is a masterful blend of writing and performance. I got all wrapped up in Illeana's JOY--from her hilarious childhood memories to her passion for acting and movies. It was all so entertaining, full of emotional truth and inspiring depth.

What was one of the most memorable moments of I Blame Dennis Hopper?

Just one--there were so many! How about her first audition, when she sings "Maybe This Time" in the Key of Liza--inspired by Liza Minnelli in "Cabaret".

Which scene was your favorite?

Again, tough to pick a favorite among so many goodies. The meeting Marlon Brando chapter was gasp-inspiring. And her first meeting with Roddy McDowall was really rich.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Again, so many! I really loved the moments where she faced obstacles head on and met them with great courage--from her chutzpah at that first audition, to filming "Alive" under harrowing conditions, to blurting out her truth to Brando.

Any additional comments?

I've long been a fan of Illeana Douglas, the actress. Now I'm a fan of Illeana, the writer. I was so captivated by this book, I'd circle extra blocks to listen to it while driving, ignored the husband to stay up late at night and hear more of her stories. It ranks up there as one of the top memoirs I've ever heard or read. Awesome.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • JP
  • United States
  • 05-06-16

for movie lovers

if you are a movie buff like me, this book is a must read. Ms Douglas knows her stuff and did a wonderful job reading.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I want this lady to be my new BFF! Brilliant read!

Where does I Blame Dennis Hopper rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's up there. I laughed out loud with Billy Crystal and this is a close second...

What was one of the most memorable moments of I Blame Dennis Hopper?

IIleana does have a gift for recounting stories. She narrates them as if you're sitting next to her on the sofa sharing a bowl of kettle popcorn. The best chapter was when she met her childhood idol (yes, she recounts many of them) Marlon Brando. Her description almost sent me veering off the freeway... I am also a huge Matt Dillon fan and have watched everyone of his movies from the obscure to the commercial ones. It was great to hear her collaborations with him on To Die For (don't get me started on the visionary genius of Gus Van Sant) and Grace of My Heart.

Which character – as performed by Illeana Douglas – was your favorite?

Why, herself of course?!! Illeana is very relatable. I'm a film buff (I'm an avid junket journalist of 20 years) and so I just loved her stories and obscure movie references. I wish I had read her book before I had interviewed her, as for sure, this knowledge would have vastly improved my questions!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Illena of course. I wish she would write another book - or indeed make a fly on the wall doco style indie of herself through the years....

Any additional comments?

If she is reading this..... I would like her to know that if I'm a fan (and secretly want to be her new BFF)..... too much?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful!!

Great stories with very entertaining narration! One of my all time favorites! Highly recommend to all!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Extraordinary, wonderful, and funny

This is a wonderful and funny book. For TV and movie lovers a must listen. Ileana Douglas is great with her delivery. Particularly chapter 14 killed me! Laugh out loud funny stuff. Absolutely love this extraordinary book. Nice to listen to a book from a fellow movie fan. I could go on and on but I'm not a great writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lacie
  • Cedar Rapids, IA, United States
  • 05-02-16

More pls

Oh, i didnt want the book to end. Illeanna has wonderful stories and amazing insight. the book was inspiring. i anxiously await more from her. <3

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I loved this book. A funny, funny read in Illeana’

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you're a fan of movies… real movies…and an appreciator of actors, this book is for you.

Which character – as performed by Illeana Douglas – was your favorite?

Illeana Douglas playing Dreyfuss playing Tracy

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me forget myself and literally laugh out loud on a crowded bus.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Love and respect Illeana Douglas even more now

I’m a long-term fan of actress, director, screenwriter, and producer Illeana Douglas. A real treat spending time with her memoir, I Blame Dennis Hopper: And Other Stories from a Life Lived in and Out of the Movies. Equal parts memoir and film analysis, it’s a particular treat to hear Douglas on the audio version. She shares oodles of fun stories about her own movies while paying homage to all who’ve impacted her life and artistic craft along a road filled with many ups and downs. What resonates most is how she chronicles the contrast between her maternal working-class roots with that of her paternal side’s Hollywood glamour (including how her hippie father landed them in dire financial straits). Aside from the fascinating behind-the-scenes tales of the film industry, this book serves as a great example of persistence. No matter what the world thinks is handed to you via a so-called lineage (her paternal grandfather was the prolific, Academy Award winning actor Melvyn Douglas), one either has an innate work ethic, sense of integrity, and fortitude, or they do not. An artist built with much heart, humor, and pathos, Douglas humbly conveys how she has worked her ass off, and earned her stripes. A great read for fans of Douglas—you’ll love and respect her even more—or anyone interested in the film business.

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  • DFW
  • South MS
  • 01-31-19

Fun Read!

Have learned many things about movies, actors and directors from listening to this delightful book. This woman is much more complex that I would have imagined from watching her movies.

Thoroughly loved this book. A rare gem.

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Illeana Douglas knows how to tell a story

I got the intense feeling that Illeana and I were on the same wavelength from the first chapter of her book.

I think she has a great talent for making her fans feel that. Her knowledge of film and her experiences in the business and with so.many of the great people in film make for a riveting entertaining and soulful story. I read (listen to) about 3 to 4 books a week (I drive truck for a living) and in the several years of listening I can say this book is in the top 3 of all books I have heard. I sincerely hope her mentioning a second book wasn't a joke! I can't wait to read it.