Monday, July 21, 2008

July's Book of the Month

I love books. They're fun, educational, and occasionally you'll find $20 in them.
(This actually happened to me when I checked out Prep from the local library. Ah, that was a good day.)
I'll admit that I had reservations about The Chris Farley Show, namely that it was co-written by his older brother, Tom Farley Jr. How objective can a biography be if your brother is one of the authors?

But I picked up an advanced reader's copy at work and plowed through it in about three days. I then lent it to my brother, the comedy writer, who loved it. The reason is that it paints the portrait of a ferociously talented comedian whose love of excess and need for acceptance fed a fatal drug addiction. Farley Jr. and writer Tanner Colby don't hold back, showing in painful detail how Farley never got back on track. It's a tragic, relentlessly readable character study disguised as a celebrity biography.

The neat part of this oral biography is that while the authors don't sugar coat Farley's problems, they show what a decent human being he was as well as his evolution as a comedian. Reading the book, I was hopelessly rooting for Farley to find some salvation. The book's 150 interviews with childhood friends, family members, and loads of SNL alum (David Spade, Lorne Michaels, Tim Meadows) help immeasurably in painting that portrait.

Simply put, this is one of the best biographies I've read in recent years. Another book is coming in August, folks. Get your reading glasses ready.

Mistakes and Oversights, Negotiations & Love Songs

Hey, everybody. Sorry it's been such a long time between posts but it's been really busy in this neck of the woods. July is the time of weddings, birthdays, and other joyous happenings that require me to spend big. "Congratulations on your nuptials, Brenda. Enjoy your $20.00 gift certificate to the Ground Round."

I've been doing this blog for a few months, so I figured it's time to see where I went wrong. I know newspapers and magazines hire an ombudsman for this kind of thing, but I can barely afford a Metrocard, so it's all me. Two mistakes come to mind.

*In my review of Maid of Honor I made the point that a scene where Michele Monaghan tries on lingerie for best friend Patrick Dempsey was based in no kind of reality. In making that point, my brother Dave, suggested that it sounded like I had never kissed a girl.

I assure you that I have. A list of references is available upon request.

*In the June 18 blog posting, I referred to Jancee Dunn's husband as Tom Newmark. It's actually Tom Vanderbilt. WIW apologizes for the error, especially since Ms. Dunn has been nothing but super nice to us.

One of the reasons for the delay on the blog, is that I just finished transcribing Jancee's interview, which wound up at around 3,500 words. Yikes. By the way, the interview will be posted very soon. By the way, please by her new book, Don't You Forget About Me. It's great.

*In mid-June, Pete Croatto, the writer of WIW, bought a medium coffee and everything bagle on a packed 4 train in New York City. This isn't related to film in any way, but we just thought you'd enjoy the image of Mr. Croatto's breakfast balancing act. What a maroon!

As for what's coming up in future weeks:

--The July book of the month!

--Reviews, reviews, reviews!

--An amusing encounter at the Sony screening room!

--And much, much more!