Nor is that single word sufficient, really, to explain to you how wonderful this compendium of film comedy truly is. I can watch them over and over and over again. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Becky. I came away from reading Another Fine Mess with both a greater understanding of some of my favorite classic stars and a greater appreciation for the sheer bravado it took to put some of our most memorable comedies on the screen, then and now. Hoping for something mor I'm on an unpleasable tear at the moment in the book sampling department. Each artist is presented in a silo, a vacuum. Well, before you start, read the book.
There are several comediennes who deserve their own chapters here in my estimation, anyway : Jean Arthur, Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy, and Carole Lombard, at the very least, deserve that kind of in-depth recognition, but each is instead relegated to her own short note in the second half of the book. Saul Austerlitz is a writer and critic. Just rather tired recaps of the careers of famous comedians and directors of comedies. Where would the American film be without them? Money for Nothing is being made into a forthcoming documentary film, for which he has written the script. And yet, and yet, I enjoyed this book. An enthusiastic, well-observed, fresh look at old favorites that makes a compelling case for the genius of American film comedy. Yet the cinematic genre these artists represent — comedy — has perennially received short shrift from critics, film buffs, and the Academy Awards.
Austerlitz is an engaging writer, and he clearly enjoys what he is writing about. Saul Austerlitz teaches a course in writing about comedy. . This was a very fun book for me! The first book of its kind in more than a generation, Another Fine Mess is an eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour of the American comedy, encompassing the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between. And while there's a chapter on Mel Brooks, Austerlitz thinks he's overrated.
These entries make for fascinating reading, especially when I agree with it. In 30 long chapters and 100 shorter entries, each devoted primarily to a single performer or director, Another Fine Mess retraces the steps of the American comedy film, filling in the gaps and following the connections that link Mae West to Doris Day, or W. Offering unvarnished insight into comedians and directors such as Buster Keaton, Christopher Guest, Eddie Murphy, and Ben Stiller, this eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening tour encompasses the masterpieces, the box-office smashes, and all the little-known gems in between. He is at work on a new book about the story of the ill-fated Altamont concert of 1969. But the book is written in that disposable, popular style that earmarks it as junk as far as I'm concerned -- more a stunt than a book. Where would the American film be without them? I'm on an unpleasable tear at the moment in the book sampling department.
Running the gamut of film history from City Lights to Knocked Up, Another Fine Mess retells the story of American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother — the comedy. You might say a saving grace is the addition of more recent figures, like Christopher Guest, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler, except for the salient fact that the writer, again, makes no effort to put them in a context, not even a performance context. Austerlitz makes a case for at least a couple of figures that I'm really pleased to see included. Thus artists as disparate as Doris Day, Ernst Lubitsch, Buster Keaton, Richard Pryor and the Coen Brothers are all mixed in together. His work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Slate, The New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications.
Surely there won't be any argument about his choices. Hoping for something more serious, I picked up a book that came to me at my day job at the think tank, concerning a professor's trip around the country holding a sort of impromptu Constitutional Convention with ordinary citizens. The author makes some interesting comparisons between such ostensibly unlike entities as screwball maestro Preston Sturges and the austerely artful Cohen brothers, or august auteur Robert Altman and mockumentary pioneer Christopher Guest a freewheeling approach to performance and emphasis on ensembles , and he finds room to discuss the comedic legacies of such unlikely subjects as John Wayne and Meryl Streep. Laughter is definitely my choice for entertainment. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Becky.
I went straight to some of my favorites and laughed as I remembered the funny scenes. And if Austerlitz does not care for a particular star or film, he does not hold back his condescension. In reality, the book is a collection of biographical essays on dozens of comic film artists from Chaplin to Judd Apatow, indiscriminately mixing in slapstick clowns, directors, and actors. In the cases of the twentieth century artists, the descriptions are nothing we haven't seen before in many, many previous books. Another Fine Mess is an entertaining assortment of facts and trivia about my favorite actors and movies.
The form is so elemental, so basic, that we have difficulty imagining a time before it existed: a single set, fixed cameras, canned laughter, zany sidekicks, quirky family antics. Largely unconcerned with academic explorations of the nature of comedy or the larger socio-historical contexts in which the films exist, the author comes off as an eloquent superfan celebrating his heroes and pinpointing favorite moments in their work. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, the Village Voice, The National, the San Francisco Chronicle, Spin, Rolling Stone, Paste, and other publications. His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, the Village Voice, The National, the San Francisco Chronicle, Spin, Rolling Stone, Paste, and other publications. He is the author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes Continuum, 2007 , and Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy Chicago Review Press, 2010. But for the most part, this lack of restraint is enjoyable as opposed to bothersome.
I ended up agreeing with most of the overall career assessments he offered. But reading through this history of film comedy highlights the lack of female comedians and the dearth of minorities in memorable comedic roles. From City Lights to Knocked Up, this history examines American film from the perspective of its unwanted stepbrother, the comedy, and puts the comic titans of the present in the context of their predecessors. Author Saul Austerlitz is a film critic with credits at the New York Times, Boston Globe et al, and granted, he is a better wordsmith than the other three authors I recently dabbled in but who will remain nameless. Austerlitz Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes, 2008 offers a breezy survey of American film comedy, from the sublime artistry of Charlie Chaplin to the disarmingly sweet juvenile antics of Judd Apatow. An affectionate chronicle of a century of laughs from the silver screen. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, Slate, and elsewhere.