The Devil's Guide to Hollywood
Joe Eszterhas
book reviews:
· general fiction
· chick lit/romance
· sci-fi/fantasy
· graphic novels
· nonfiction
· audio books

Click here for the RSS Feed

· author interviews
· children's books @
· DVD reviews @

win books
buy online


for authors
& publishers

for reviewers

click here to learn more

Buy *The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!* by Joe Eszterhas online

The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!
Joe Eszterhas
St. Martin's Press
416 pages
September 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
previous reviewnext review

If your are a struggling, moderately successful, dare I even state a successful screenwriter, you no doubt are familiar with the name Joe Eszterhas. He is the screenwriter of the huge blockbuster Basic Instinct starring Sharon Stone, co-writer of Flashdance (who could forget Jennifer Beals with her shoulder sticking out of the sweatshirt) and the now infamous 1995 flick Showgirls, which morphed Elizabeth Berkley’s image of the squeaky clean Jessie Spano of Saved By The Bell fame to Vegas showgirl wannabe Nomi Malone. The first chapter of Eszterhas’s The Devil’s Guide To Hollywood opens with an explosion of quotes; here is one from page fifteen that could fit into any era (some would say all) of filmmaking:

“These are the rules of the game. The Old Hollywood adage: “In the beginning, when he is writing the script, the screenwriter has the gun. When he turns his script in. he turns the gun over to the producer. When the producer hires the director, he hands the gun over to the director. When the director turns in his final cut, he hands the gun over to the studio. The studio then takes the gun and shoots the writer, the producer, and the director. The studio then hands the gun to the stars of the movie, who are going out to publicize the film. In rare cases like Heaven’s Gate, the studio turns the gun on itself and blows its own brains out.”
But the rest of the book doesn’t stop exploding. The quotes go on ad nauseum, intermingled with touts of his box office grosses and sexual trysts. The advice might have been useful in 1987, but in 2007? Who knows how useful it is. You will get to know several things: he hates Robert McKee, agents, producers, actors, studio execs, and directors. Everyone at one time or another seems to be a moron, idiot, or flat-out stupid. All of this could or could not be true, but one thing is for sure – the book is entertaining, for a couple hundred pages, anyway.

IBut in the last hundred pages or so, the trysts become boring, the mostly useless quotes (take it from Zsa Zsa Gabor) get tiresome, and you begin to wonder why it has to go on this long. But, like everyone else on Planet Earth, you have to look at Joe like anyone else: no one is infallible. You have to take the good with the bad. Some of his advice is useful, but take most of it with a grain of salt. The best thing one can glean from the quips and quotes is to work hard and stick to your guns. I doubt any new screenwriter will get a Beverly Hills hotel to write in if they are bold enough to demand one, but this culmination of Eszterhas’s thirty-one years in the Hollywood trenches is worthy to read for entertainment value alone. How much this will help you sell a script and make seven figures is up for debate. The one thing you can’t take away from Joe is his legitimate track record of blockbuster movies, and something can be learned from that.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2007

Also by Joe Eszterhas:

buy *The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God!* online
click here for more info
Click here to learn more about this month's sponsor!

fiction · sf/f · comic books · nonfiction · audio
newsletter · free book contest · buy books online
review index · links · · authors & publishers

site by ELBO Computing Resources, Inc.