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Popcorn

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  4,095 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Bruce shoots movies. Wayne and Scout shoot to kill. In a single night they find out the hard way what's real and what's not, who's the hero and who's the villain. The USA watches slack-jawed as Bruce and Wayne together resolve some serious questions. Does Bruce use erection cream? Does art imitate life or does life simply imitate bad art? And most of all, does sugar-pie re ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2003 by Black Swan (first published January 1st 1996)
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Books that Make you Laugh
397th out of 2,316 books — 3,412 voters
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtFight Club by Chuck PalahniukInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerThe Green Mile by Stephen King
Best Books of 1996
51st out of 234 books — 110 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kinga
This is your textbook example of a 3 star book. Right between all the good and all the bad books. The story was gripping, the moral dilemmas were interesting, the build-up was well carried out. It worked as a satire on media, violence disguised as art and entertainment and basically our society that doesn't want to take responsibility for anything. There is a whole industry dedicated to finding the culprit for just about anything that goes wrong in your life, and check this - it's never you!

So a
...more
Dannii2601
Thought provoking and gripping enough to keep me turning pages, yet not a favourite. I think I enjoyed this book more for the conversation that it will inspire than for enjoyment in the act of reading it - the characters were fairly two-dimensional (apart from Scout, who was quite endearing for a psychopathic killer).

I understand that it's a satire of and a look at the movie industry, but at times the dialogue and scenes were almost TOO derivative. For example, I read everything Wayne Hudson sai
...more
Simon Taylor
Ben Elton turns the sharp end of his pen towards slasher movies in Popcorn. This darkly comic tale sees the convergence of celebrated movie director Bruce Delamitri and murdering psychopaths Wayne and Scout.

Very much the theme of this novel is society’s aversion to responsibility. Bruce is facing accusations that his violent films breed violent acts, a la Sandy Hook and Batman Begins, which he refutes. Essentially, is TV a reflection or influence on society?

It’s a complex issue and Elton explor
...more
Lachlan Smith
This novel, by comedian Ben Elton, was very thought provoking. It looked thoroughly into the topic of violent films, and whether or not they influence violence in the real world. I myself do not think that violence in films is responsible for real violence - I've seen plenty of violence on the TV, and I am not likely to go and start killing people in real life. Elton evidently has the same views, as he portrays his protagonist, a director by the name Bruce Delamitri, as the victims of media and ...more
Anna
I think I'm actually in some sort of shock at how awesome this book was! I mean sure, the back resume was great, a bunch of killers, a famous Hollywood director about to receive an Oscar and a series of murders inspired it seems from his movies. Sounds great right? Well, it gets even better once you get into the story.

Also, it has some really high-tension moments where I was literally holding my breath and speed reading to see what would happen next and how they would get out of all those trauma
...more
Ken
Picked this up on holiday as I finished the book I took away with me. I had never read any Ben Elton and thought I would give him a try. I have mixed feeling and about this book. For the first time in my life I read a book from cover to cover in a week. I could not put it down and took it everywhere we went on holiday so I could sneak a page or tow at every opportunity. However the storyline was un pleasant and struck some kind of nerve with me. The book proclaims to be “laugh out loud funny” bu ...more
Mathilde Helsen
Popcorn is an amazing comedy/thriller. I already read it twice and it doesn't get boring, the second time I enjoyed it even more. It's a fast read that keeps you curious until the last sentence. Not only the story but also the way it is written makes the book this readable. The metaphor's and choice of words often made me laugh out loud, which is something that is very rare when I am reading a book. These metaphor's can be very recognizable and true sometimes, it is like the autor is writing dow ...more
Farhan
This is a biting satire of Hollywood, in particular, and society, in general. The novel is about this movie director who makes very violent films. Then, one couple decides to imitate in real life the killings portrayed in his movies. They go on a killing spree across California murdering mall-shoppers and convenience store-owners indiscriminately, violently, and pointlessly.

The whole society goes up in protest and blames the director for triggering these murders through the violence in his film
...more
Christine Blachford
An extremely famous movie maker wins an Oscar, but his murder films create a pair of copycat killers, so that he gets the blame. The book tells the story of one night in the life of Bruce Delamitri, and whether he can survive his post-Oscar evening.

It’s impossible to like Bruce. He is pompous and full of himself, and a guy that is hard to muster sympathy for. Brooke, his lady-friend, is unnecessarily caught up in the events, and it’s her that I really felt for.

There’s something about Elton’s wri
...more
John Bruni
What happens when you take the rules of situation comedy and apply them to a story of ruthless thrill killers? POPCORN is the answer to that question. It is a wonderful piece of satire written about American cinema and media. It's so spot on that it's still accurate today, 20 years after it was published. All of the characters are thoroughly hateable. When the most likeable characters in the book are the people who have killed a lot of people because they could? That's pretty messed up. Everyone ...more
Eve Kay
This was such pulp. I loved it and am left dumbfounded as I'm writing this that I haven't read anymore Elton. Flabbergasted.
As a novel, Popcorn is a little bit confusing. It's like it's this popular culture's easily read quench for everyone's thirst for blood, gruesome murderers and hate. But somehow oddly it's like a deeper look into who we are as people, where our morals lie, what today's society does to us. Like, too deep for the average reader to appreciate.

The storyline is what I enjoyed th
...more
Nitish
It is definitely one of the DIFFERENT book that I have read by far. Though the whole idea of wriitng this book like a script was apt and also suits the kind of story that revolves in the book but however the coercion of so many things makes it a little dull read.
Sergio GRANDE films
Entertaining and fast-paced. The comparisons with Mickey & Mallory, or with Quentin Tarantino for that matter, are inevitable. At times it feels like NBK 2.0.

Disappointed to spot a couple of grammatical errors and inconsistencies. Twice the pronoun him was used instead of her; once the author refers to "the events of that night" when in fact it was mid-morning and he was referring to something that had started around 6am.

Last one, Mr. Elton: The call of "speed" is used in film, when the came
...more
Gail
Aug 10, 2011 Gail added it
A clever comment on society, but too violent for my taste. I kept waiting to laugh out loud but the violence overshadowed the humour again and again.
That70sheidi
I think the fact that in this modern era we're so intimately familiar with Hollywood From Afar that our knowledge becomes more of a distraction than what the story presents. Because the characters are so very close to real people, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who the inspirations were; unfortunately, this did not seem to detract from the long-winded, repetitive nature of the story and I was able to tune back in when something happened in the scene (audiobook version).

The book didn
...more
jennifer
Bruce Delamitri is an Oliver Stone-esque movie director. His films are bloody, full of sexy murderers and rock soundtracks. As Bruce wins the Oscar for his latest, Ordinary Americans, a real mass-murdering couple, Wayne and Scout, are killing their way across the country. They're copying the murders from Bruce's films as Wayne is a big fan of Bruce's work. Such a fan that they continue their killing spree all the way to Hollywood,break into Bruce's house on Oscar night and wait for him to return ...more
Guy
Popcorn (1996) van Ben Elton (Thin Blue Line, Blackadder, The Young Ones, etc). De laaiend enthousiaste quotes in en over het boek hebben het over Popcorn als mengvorm van komedie, thriller en moreel debat, en dat is ook wat Elton beoogd had. Net als de meeste van z’n andere romans gaat het om een satire, en bij momenten tonen de dialogen (want veel verhaal is er eigenlijk niet) Elton op z’n best: absurd en scherp. Samengevat: filmregisseur Bruce Delamitri ontvangt een oscar voor z’n populaire g ...more
Mia
Feb 01, 2012 Mia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mia by: Class Reading Assignment
There were a couple of memorable lines in here, but overall the book was difficult to finish. I had to read this for a pop culture class, and I was one of a handful of students who actually completed the assignment. The writing style is a little experimental (i.e. sections are formatted like a screenplay). This added an interesting element to the theme of the book.

Characters, however, were cardboard and simply not interesting. The story dragged and lacked substance for me. Also, it was pretty ob
...more
Bernard Campbell
This is my 'fill in' book while I recover from a few bigger reads.
I have Doctor Sleep to read - the Stephen King follow in from the Shining. I'm not sure if I should re read The Shining first.
Anyway Ben Elton is always a good read although I find you can get too much of him.
Popcorn, so far, is a obtuse parody of the Hollywood ultra violent movies - the Tarantino-esque scenes remind me of many film that could be out in the genre. I'm only a 1/3 of the way through but so far it is proving to be
...more
Jennifer
Read this a while back, and can't remember a thing about it...so I looked it up, and remembered why I couldn't remember...fluffy and insubstantial as popcorn. I was supposed to read something about Hollywood and the film industry for my library's adult reading program, and perhaps this was a perfect representation of (most of) Hollywood.
Jim
My rating and the fact that i didn't finish should not be taken as a bad review of Popcorn. It's not that Ben Elton cannot write, he can, or that the book isn't well written, it is. I was just not in the mood for an all-star cast of shallow narcissists - I just didn't care what happened to any of them no matter what. I had flashbacks of Oliver Stone's film Natural Born Killers - another satire on the idiocy of the media - which is what Popcorn is supposed to be, a true reflection of the empty Ho ...more
Steve
I got about four pages into this book before I put it aside. There wasn't a single redeeming quality to be found in any of the characters, and I just couldn't bring myself to engage with the "does life imitate art or does art imitate life" argument that is the first chapter's central conflict and conceit.
H R Koelling
Well written novel, but dated to read after so many years since publication. Almost seemed like a partial rip-off of Quentin Tarantino's Natural Born Killers. It was nice to be transported back to the days before cell phones and the Internet, though, when life was much simpler.
Wilton314
I liked this book. It was a fast paced, witty, sarcastic and irreverent social commentary - all things expected of a Ben Elton book.
Nature or nurture? Do movies and television reflect society, or make and shape it? These are things for other forums.
Written almost 20 years ago, the topic is still relevant today though. Unfortunately.
The way the events in the book all headed for an inevitable climactic collision, and particularly when the police, SWAT and television crews all converged at once on
...more
Ayah Ristin
This book had me yelping with laughter even at the very last line. Elton didn't use twists to keep his readers turning the pages. Hilarious, thought-provoking lines were the major reason I'd so much fun reading this book.
Second book I'd finished in just one sitting.
George
Nov 17, 2011 George rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for an easy, entertaining read.
Shelves: contemporary
A playful satire on the Hollywood media circus that surrounds celebrity, on the violence that permeates through modern culture, and a society that often doesn't take responsibility for its actions.

Popcorn is a surprisingly enjoyable book that leaves you tantalisingly on the precipice of knowing who the characters are based on, and this is something that occurs when it first came out and is true today.

It is by no stretch of the imagination the best book in the world, nor is it one that will stret
...more
Sue
The same as every other Ben Elton book- after reading more than two, you can almost predict each turn of events. Certainly entertaining enough for an easy read on the train.
Jennifer
Entertaining while it lasts. It's really straightforward with the point it was making, but it still managed to keep my interest, mostly because I was curious as to how the author was going to conclude it. The script parts were a bit confusing at first, and I thought it was supposed to be a piece from one of Bruce's films and it reflected the actions of Wayne and Scout - instead he uses it at points of high amounts of violence, I'm assuming to reflect the violent nature of Bruce's films, and the ...more
Akshara Walia
I read this ages ago and have yet to find anything that matches Popcorn's sheer entertainment value. Unapologetic pulp, it's as good as it gets.
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo
...more
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“Artists don't create society, they reflect it” 9 likes
“So far no one has claimed responsibility.” 2 likes
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