Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book of the Month for October

I love books. They're fun, educational, and, if you collect lots and lots of them, you get a vigorous workout any time you move.

The other nice part about the move is that I got the chance to reexamine what was in my personal library. A lot of stuff got tossed, but there were some books that caught my attention upon second glance.

One of those was Rick Lyman's "Watching Movies," his collection of columns from The New York Times. The concept was very simple. Lyman would visit his subject at work or home to watch his or her favorite movie. For example, Woody Allen watched "Shane" (a puzzling selection), Ron Howard chose "The Graduate." The subject then talked about the movie--how it influenced them, why scenes are meaningful--as the movie runs.

It's a terrific book for two reasons. Lyman leaves himself out of the narrative and lets his subjects speak. Quotes dominate, but all are useful. The sources bring up nugget after nugget.

The book also puts a face on the glossy business. Directors, actors, screenwriters came to their careers somehow, and chances are a movie or two inspired them to follow that path. Steven Soderbergh, Julianne Moore, and everyone else weren't plucked from the cosmos and put into some kind of movie academy. They were blown away, just like everyone else, and wanted to recapture that pleasure. In that way, critics and movie people aren't that different.

I doubt Soderbergh would want to split a meat lover's pie with me at Pennington Pizza, but you get the idea.

Read in peace.

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