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What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line

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Art Linson's riotous journey through the making of five major motion pictures. Whether he's trying to persuade an executive that Gwyneth Paltrow has enough chin to carry the lead in a movie, forcing an enraged Alec Baldwin to shave off his mountain-man beard, or sitting through an excruciating reading of a David Mamet script as Bob de Niro toys with the notion of heading up Art Linson's riotous journey through the making of five major motion pictures. Whether he's trying to persuade an executive that Gwyneth Paltrow has enough chin to carry the lead in a movie, forcing an enraged Alec Baldwin to shave off his mountain-man beard, or sitting through an excruciating reading of a David Mamet script as Bob de Niro toys with the notion of heading up the cast, Art Linson gives us a brutally honest, funny, and comprehensive tour through the horrors of Hollywood, from script to screen. In What Just Happened? we get to explore, at close range, finicky directors, clueless executives, shameless marketers, famous actors, battered screenwriters, and hapless producers crossing paths in such calamitous ways that it's a miracle these films get made at all. Linson is the ideal guide through this heavily land-mined, high-stakes industry, pausing for a moment here or there to explain some aspect or pitfall of the business, to wax nostalgic about film days past, or to serve up a compelling inside Hollywood tale of woe. Whether you love the movies or not, you won't be able to resist the stories behind them.


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Art Linson's riotous journey through the making of five major motion pictures. Whether he's trying to persuade an executive that Gwyneth Paltrow has enough chin to carry the lead in a movie, forcing an enraged Alec Baldwin to shave off his mountain-man beard, or sitting through an excruciating reading of a David Mamet script as Bob de Niro toys with the notion of heading up Art Linson's riotous journey through the making of five major motion pictures. Whether he's trying to persuade an executive that Gwyneth Paltrow has enough chin to carry the lead in a movie, forcing an enraged Alec Baldwin to shave off his mountain-man beard, or sitting through an excruciating reading of a David Mamet script as Bob de Niro toys with the notion of heading up the cast, Art Linson gives us a brutally honest, funny, and comprehensive tour through the horrors of Hollywood, from script to screen. In What Just Happened? we get to explore, at close range, finicky directors, clueless executives, shameless marketers, famous actors, battered screenwriters, and hapless producers crossing paths in such calamitous ways that it's a miracle these films get made at all. Linson is the ideal guide through this heavily land-mined, high-stakes industry, pausing for a moment here or there to explain some aspect or pitfall of the business, to wax nostalgic about film days past, or to serve up a compelling inside Hollywood tale of woe. Whether you love the movies or not, you won't be able to resist the stories behind them.

30 review for What Just Happened?: Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra wonders how life without books would be?

    I didn't finish this book. I was just so furious with it. The writing isn't just bad and annoying, it's absolutely appalling. I'ts like an old guy using his grandchildren's slang, a wine snob describing a vintage, a rap artist that's-what-I'm fuckin'-sayin' at the end of every phrase, know what I mean, like. Just shut up, stop trying to sound cool and tell the story. I have no idea if the book is any good or not and I really couldn't care less. If a book can't hook me in fifty pages it's failed i I didn't finish this book. I was just so furious with it. The writing isn't just bad and annoying, it's absolutely appalling. I'ts like an old guy using his grandchildren's slang, a wine snob describing a vintage, a rap artist that's-what-I'm fuckin'-sayin' at the end of every phrase, know what I mean, like. Just shut up, stop trying to sound cool and tell the story. I have no idea if the book is any good or not and I really couldn't care less. If a book can't hook me in fifty pages it's failed in its contract with the reader and I want my money back! Although in this case, since I only paid $1.50 for it (and free postage) and it is exactly the right size for propping up my porch table, I won't be making any claims.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    The best Hollywood biography since Julia Phillips gave us You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again Art Linson has written a smart, funny, honest and brutal portrait of his life within the Hollywood production line. As he admits in the foreword this didn't make him Mr Popular amongst his peers. If you've read the Julia Phillips book or any other 'tell all' tale from Hollywood you won't be surprised at the behaviour contained within this volume BUT Linson still has the ability to shock with his ca The best Hollywood biography since Julia Phillips gave us You'll Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again Art Linson has written a smart, funny, honest and brutal portrait of his life within the Hollywood production line. As he admits in the foreword this didn't make him Mr Popular amongst his peers. If you've read the Julia Phillips book or any other 'tell all' tale from Hollywood you won't be surprised at the behaviour contained within this volume BUT Linson still has the ability to shock with his casual approach to telling the story reflecting the casual approach to mean spirited behaviour and no-nothingness of the powers that be. I admit I was primarily interested for the tales surrounding Fincher's production of Fight Club as I'd heard snippets previously and the Entertainment Weekly review promised that he would put the reader "in the Fox screening room during the studio brass's horrified first look..." and he didn't disappoint, sparing no blushes and pulling so punches as one of the finest, most powerful movies to come out of Hollywood in a generation was dismissed so easily. There's more to it than that, the breazy chatter throughout is filled with irresistible anecdotes and almost reads as "How Not To Make Movies: Or How I Learned To Roll With The Punches and Keep On Making Them Anyway." Even when everything went perfectly on the production of a film, there could be no happy ending in Hollywood. This tale should be compulsory reading for everyone attending film school with the intention to pursue a career in movie making and I intend to send this to my producer if he hasn't read it already. A highly enjoyable read. Originally posted at blahblahblahgay

  3. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Meh. Interesting little insider stories of Hollywood, but somehow did not hold my interest. I'm glad half the book was the screenplay, I finished that much sooner than I expected. Mostly, I just didn't like how Linson framed his stories in conversation with his "retired" exec acquaintance. Yawn. Meh. Interesting little insider stories of Hollywood, but somehow did not hold my interest. I'm glad half the book was the screenplay, I finished that much sooner than I expected. Mostly, I just didn't like how Linson framed his stories in conversation with his "retired" exec acquaintance. Yawn.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Llewellyn

    If you’ve ever wondered exactly what a Hollywood film producer does, check out this short work by Art Linson (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Heist, Heat and Into The Wild). Subtitled, “Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line,” it’s smarmy, snarky and uncompromising as it upends the biz to expose an ugly, paranoid underbelly. Using dialogue, professional data and anecdotes, Linson spins behind-the scenes tales about The Edge, Great Expectations and The Fight Club with reveals about a number of If you’ve ever wondered exactly what a Hollywood film producer does, check out this short work by Art Linson (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Heist, Heat and Into The Wild). Subtitled, “Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line,” it’s smarmy, snarky and uncompromising as it upends the biz to expose an ugly, paranoid underbelly. Using dialogue, professional data and anecdotes, Linson spins behind-the scenes tales about The Edge, Great Expectations and The Fight Club with reveals about a number of superstars including Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro and Gwyneth Paltrow. His terse, tart style made me feel like we were chatting over drinks at the Polo Lounge, and while some accuse him of being harsh, I felt like the guy was reigning himself in. This book isn’t for Mary Poppins happy hearts, but then neither is the business end of show business.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    In this slim but highly readable volume, producer Art Linson, who has been behind such notable titles as "Melvin and Howard", "The Untouchables' and the regrettably neglected "American Hot Wax", recounts his brief tenure with 20th Century Fox, where he made 5 films, all of them considered failures. (The films were "The Edge", "Great Expectations", "Pushing Tin", "Fight Club" - which actually turned out to be profitable - and the more or less unreleased "Sunset Strip"). In the book, Linson comes In this slim but highly readable volume, producer Art Linson, who has been behind such notable titles as "Melvin and Howard", "The Untouchables' and the regrettably neglected "American Hot Wax", recounts his brief tenure with 20th Century Fox, where he made 5 films, all of them considered failures. (The films were "The Edge", "Great Expectations", "Pushing Tin", "Fight Club" - which actually turned out to be profitable - and the more or less unreleased "Sunset Strip"). In the book, Linson comes off as something of a great raconteur, perfectly willing to concede where each project went wrong. But he gets the last laugh: he's just turned "What Just Happened?" into a movie with Bruce Willis and Robert De Niro.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

    This was a pretty good account of the inner-workings and and all-out bullshit that goes into making a big-budget hollywood movie in our current studio system. It is told from the first-person berspective of Art Linson the author. It deals with his time at Fox for five years producing such films as "The Edge" and "Fight Club". Interesting book. A very quick read. Because it is rather on the short side, they've included the screenplay for the book, which I want to see. The film stars Robert DeNiro This was a pretty good account of the inner-workings and and all-out bullshit that goes into making a big-budget hollywood movie in our current studio system. It is told from the first-person berspective of Art Linson the author. It deals with his time at Fox for five years producing such films as "The Edge" and "Fight Club". Interesting book. A very quick read. Because it is rather on the short side, they've included the screenplay for the book, which I want to see. The film stars Robert DeNiro in the lead. I recommend the book if you are interested in Hollywood insider stories.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brean

    A brief, inside look at the inner workings of 20th Century Fox at the end of the 20th Century through the eyes of a producer who worked for them and who put out 5 films that were largely deemed unsuccessful: The Edge, Great Expectations, Fight Club, Pushing Tin and Sunset Strip (a movie that was overshadowed by the similar Almost Famous). I really liked it and if you're interested in what goes on in the world of movie producing, you'll enjoy it. A brief, inside look at the inner workings of 20th Century Fox at the end of the 20th Century through the eyes of a producer who worked for them and who put out 5 films that were largely deemed unsuccessful: The Edge, Great Expectations, Fight Club, Pushing Tin and Sunset Strip (a movie that was overshadowed by the similar Almost Famous). I really liked it and if you're interested in what goes on in the world of movie producing, you'll enjoy it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    In the clusterfuck of Hollywood Linson describes, I can't believe any movie gets made, ever. The framing device of conversations was annoying and not effective. But if you really want the inside scoop on The Edge or Great Expectations, you're in luck. In the clusterfuck of Hollywood Linson describes, I can't believe any movie gets made, ever. The framing device of conversations was annoying and not effective. But if you really want the inside scoop on The Edge or Great Expectations, you're in luck.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Hilarious, razor-sharp, and insider-savvy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Corien

    Sounded interesting (inside look into the life of a producer), but I couldn't get through it. Sounded interesting (inside look into the life of a producer), but I couldn't get through it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Bleasdale

    Brilliant sharp funny movie bitchiness. If you've seen the godawful film don't be put off. Brilliant sharp funny movie bitchiness. If you've seen the godawful film don't be put off.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Harold

    2.5 stars. This was an amusing little collection of Hollywood anecdotes by producer Art Linson, but I wish that it would have covered more of his filmography. Movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Heat, and Fight Club get largely glossed over and Linson instead spends more than a third of the book detailing the forgettable Anthony Hopkins vs. Alec Baldwin vs. a bear film, The Edge.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    If you're interested in this subject, a better book is William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade. This book by Linson is a lewd and crude version of that. I quit screenwriting after my 1st screenplay was rejected and I gave up on the 2nd one. Both books confirm I made the right decision. I would not have survived that ruthless world. If you're interested in this subject, a better book is William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade. This book by Linson is a lewd and crude version of that. I quit screenwriting after my 1st screenplay was rejected and I gave up on the 2nd one. Both books confirm I made the right decision. I would not have survived that ruthless world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deyth Banger

    Not fucking interested in continue reading or watching this self-centered shit. Come on, I am trying to go throw anxiety and depression and this here is very depressing... EMPTINESS... lonely image.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leah NYC

    There's some great insider stories in this book, but I found the way it was constructed to be a bit tedious at times. There's some great insider stories in this book, but I found the way it was constructed to be a bit tedious at times.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rob Smith

    Interesting tales behind the scenes of movies. Especially from the producers angle.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ape

    2008 bookcrossing thoughts... I had this on my wishlist because I'd read a review about it in a paper (can't remember where now) and it had sounded kind of interesting. Well, it was kind of interesting, and that's my curiosity satisfied. Nothing I'd go mad on. The most interesting part was about the production of the film FIGHT CLUB. It's been years since I saw that. Felt like watching it again. It's basically just a book about some anecdotes from the memories of a Hollywood producer. An eye opene 2008 bookcrossing thoughts... I had this on my wishlist because I'd read a review about it in a paper (can't remember where now) and it had sounded kind of interesting. Well, it was kind of interesting, and that's my curiosity satisfied. Nothing I'd go mad on. The most interesting part was about the production of the film FIGHT CLUB. It's been years since I saw that. Felt like watching it again. It's basically just a book about some anecdotes from the memories of a Hollywood producer. An eye opener I suppose, but a little bit sad to see how the film industry is really about money and ego-executives in suits. Makes you think, because of the system, some absolutely fantastic films will never be made. Somehow misses the point...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marsena Adams-Dufresne

    Art Linson produced such movies as Heat, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Fight Club, and The Untouchables. The subtitle of this book is not sarcastic or funny; like many in Hollywood, he is truly bitter about the egos and work involved in getting movies made. The chapters about his experience working on specific movies were fascinating and informative, especially for someone trying to understand the movie business. But the chapters in which he wrote dialogue between himself and "Jerry" were painfu Art Linson produced such movies as Heat, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Fight Club, and The Untouchables. The subtitle of this book is not sarcastic or funny; like many in Hollywood, he is truly bitter about the egos and work involved in getting movies made. The chapters about his experience working on specific movies were fascinating and informative, especially for someone trying to understand the movie business. But the chapters in which he wrote dialogue between himself and "Jerry" were painfully bad. Skip them and you won't miss a beat.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ben Galbraith

    Discovered this gem while looking up the IMDB page for The Edge, one of my favorite movies. An entertaining but profanity-laden view of the movie business; there's some People Magazine-ish insights of the stars, but the author insists they are given in the context of conveying the authentic movie-producer experience. It does make it more interesting than a pseudonym-laden tome would have been... but makes it a guilty pleasure, too. Discovered this gem while looking up the IMDB page for The Edge, one of my favorite movies. An entertaining but profanity-laden view of the movie business; there's some People Magazine-ish insights of the stars, but the author insists they are given in the context of conveying the authentic movie-producer experience. It does make it more interesting than a pseudonym-laden tome would have been... but makes it a guilty pleasure, too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    In this book, Hollywood producer Art Linson recounts some of his successes and failures as a producer and how his projects came together. It's one data point on how Hollywood movies get made, and the book gives one producer's perspective on what makes a project successful. I especially enjoyed Linson's perspective on producing Fight Club, and his thoughts on working with Fox's marketing department. In this book, Hollywood producer Art Linson recounts some of his successes and failures as a producer and how his projects came together. It's one data point on how Hollywood movies get made, and the book gives one producer's perspective on what makes a project successful. I especially enjoyed Linson's perspective on producing Fight Club, and his thoughts on working with Fox's marketing department.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne (suz&mark)

    Im asking myself what just happened because I managed to read this entire book. There were a few insider stories about movie-making but the way he told it- as if he was recounting the stories to a ousted former hollywood exec grated on my nerves. One of my pet peeves is having to read someone's new yawk accent- like "how ya doin' " - the way the hollywood exec was portrayed- ugh Im asking myself what just happened because I managed to read this entire book. There were a few insider stories about movie-making but the way he told it- as if he was recounting the stories to a ousted former hollywood exec grated on my nerves. One of my pet peeves is having to read someone's new yawk accent- like "how ya doin' " - the way the hollywood exec was portrayed- ugh

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ani Berberyan

    Behind the scenes look at hollywood and production of movies like you have never seen before. Mr. Linston tells stories so masterfully, one imagines sitting in the malibu restaurant and talking to hollywood regulars with him.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Helmick

    if you like reading about the ins and outs of the life of a modern day movie producer than this book is for you. Its funny and reads very quickly

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gina Reyes

    Great Hollywood story!!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Proof that more often than not, film producers, executives, and marketers have no idea what they're doing. And they have the power to write multi-million dollar checks. Proof that more often than not, film producers, executives, and marketers have no idea what they're doing. And they have the power to write multi-million dollar checks.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angelique

    Oh wow, so Hollywood is superficial and stupid????? I never knew!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    Quick read of true stories from a film producer in Hollywood. Gives insight to the craziness that goes into making a film.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I just saw the movie version of this book. I thought De Niro was great but the movie was not. I hope the book is better...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Rabin

    Wry vignettes from the tinsel town trenches

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jef

    good, but left me wanting to read more.

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