Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"Which Lie Did I Tell?"

I just finished reading Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. Much like the previous book I read, Truth by Al Franken, it's one of those books for a select demographic. If you're into politics and current events, you'll probably enjoy Truth. If you're into movies and how they get made, then you'll enjoy WLDIT.

The author may not be a household name, but you know his work. He wrote The Princess Bride (the book and the screenplay), Marathon Man (ditto), Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, and the screen versions of Misery, Absolute Power, and Maverick.

The book is broken up into three sections. In the first part, Goldman talks about each of the scripts he wrote and what he was doing/going through when he wrote them and the process he went through to see it made into a film. He's very honest about who he liked working with (Mel Gibson, Rob Reiner) and who he didn't (Val Kilmer) so if you're into Hollywood gossip you might enjoy that as well. It's a really interesting look at what goes on behind the curtain of the great Hollywood machine.

In the second part, he reprints scenes from various movies (the zipper scene from There's Something About Mary and the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally) and deconstructs them. Why did they work? What could have been different? What shouldn't have? He also interviews the authors of those scenes and tries to get into their headspace as well.

In the final section, Goldman presents you with an almost-complete new movie script he has written. He sent the same script to some fellow screen writers and asked them to "critique the shit out of it." He then reprints their comments, both good and scathingly blunt, and it's interesting to see the different point of views people come away with.

If you're into the whole movie world and behind-the-scenes scoop, you might want to give this a read. If, however, it's not your cup of tea, then don't feel bad about skipping over this one.

I had started reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire (yes, the book the big musical of the same name is based on) but to be honest, I'm finding it hard to get through. I'm not a big fan of the writing style and, quite frnakly, I'm bored. I've only just started it (I'm currently on page 55) but so far I don't care what happens next. I'm not eagerly devouring the pages. I'm just not hooked. I'm going to give it a break and try it again later. In the meantime I will be reading something else and hopefully when I come back to it with fresh eyes I'll be able to jump in with both feet.

As always, I will keep you posted on my literary adventures.


christie board said...

hey genius he didn't write the princess bride. Not unless he's over two hundred years old. He just abridged it and wrote a screenplay.

eplacencia said... should rrrreaaaallllly be sure you know what you're talking about before you post things online. He did indeed write "The Princess Bride." The whole "adapted by S Morganstern" was just part of the story he made up to add to the style of the book. Genius.