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Double Feature

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Double Feature is a beautiful, wrenching beginning, and Owen King is a young writer of immense promise.” – Larry McMurtry

An epic debut novel about a young man coming to terms with his life in the process and aftermath of making his first film—from critically acclaimed short story writer Owen King—for readers of Joshua Ferris, Sam Lipsyte, and Chad Harbach. Filmmaker Sam Dolan has a difficult relationship with his father, B-movie actor Booth Dolan—a boisterous, opinionated, lying lothario whose screen legacy falls somewhere between cult hero and pathetic. Allie, Sam’s dearly departed mother, was a woman whose only fault, in Sam’s eyes, was her eternal affection for his father. Also included in the cast of indelible characters: a precocious, frequently violent half-sister; a conspiracy-theorist second wife; an Internet-famous roommate; a family friend and contractor who can’t stop expanding his house; a happy-go-lucky college girlfriend and her husband, a retired Yankees catcher; the morose producer of a true crime show; and a slouching indie film legend. Not to mention a tragic sex monster.

Praise for Double Feature:

“[Double Feature]… is epic, ambitious, and dedicated to the uncontainable… [King] has a captivating energy, a precision and a fondness for people that are rare…” – David Thomson, The New York Times Book Review 4/7/13

“What a kinetic, joyful, gonzo rideDouble Feature made me laugh so loudly on a plane that I had to describe the plot of Sam’s Spruce Moose of a debut film (it stars a satyr) to my seatmate by way of explanation. Booth and Sam are an unforgettable Oedipal duo. A book that delivers walloping pleasures to its lucky readers.” – Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

The literary and the popular can coexist. Double Feature makes this point, and proves it too.” — Brian Gresko, The Rumpus 7/2/13

"I liked [Double Feature] so much that it sort of pisses me off – the fact that Owen King, who is something like 142 years younger than I am, is such a skilled, imaginative and complete writer. This is a well-wrought and thoroughly satisfying novel, which manages, at the same time, to be both moving and – this is what pisses me off the most – very funny." - Dave Barry, author of Insane City

“… [A] darkly humorous and often heartfelt work that’s part ode to low-budget movies, part family drama and part screwball comedy with a slew of oddball characters…” — Brian Truitt, USA Today, 3/22/13

432 pages, Hardcover

First published March 19, 2013

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About the author

Owen King

37 books1,415 followers
I'm the author of the novel Double Feature and We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories, co-editor (with John McNally) of the anthology Who Can Save Us Now, and co-author (with Mark Poirier) of the graphic novel Intro to Alien Invasion. I also co-wrote the novel Sleeping Beauties with Stephen King. My writing has appeared in publications such as Prairie Schooner, Subtropics, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Ploughshares, and One Story.

My next novel, The Curator, is arriving in bookstores in the United States on 3/7/23!

My wife is the beautiful and mysterious Kelly Braffet. She has written four wonderful books, and the newest is The Broken Tower.

Here are what a couple of my favorite authors were nice enough to say about Double Feature:

“What a kinetic, joyful, gonzo ride—Double Feature made me laugh so loudly on a plane that I had to describe the plot of Sam's Spruce Moose of a debut film (it stars a satyr) to my seatmate by way of explanation. Booth and Sam are an unforgettable Oedipal duo. A book that delivers walloping pleasures to its lucky readers.” - Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“Sharp, hilarious, and irreverent, Double Feature is not only a love-letter to cinema, but also a moving exploration of what it means to be an artist. This novel is brilliant, and Owen King is a magician.” - Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies and Arcadia

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5 stars
266 (17%)
4 stars
518 (33%)
3 stars
441 (28%)
2 stars
215 (13%)
1 star
113 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 284 reviews
Profile Image for Naomi.
1,379 reviews265 followers
January 1, 2013
Disclaimer: I am the author's sister, so of course I think everything he writes is fabulous. I got to read the galley, and when it is published you all will enjoy this meditation on responsibility, family, love, and self-worth.
Profile Image for Gregor Xane.
Author 18 books324 followers
January 18, 2015
A tale of two assholes.

The father is a lovable asshole and the son is an unlikable asshole. This story is about their respective journeys toward not being such huge assholes.

This is a big messy book. The author throws everything he's got at this one. And most of it sticks.

Owen King is a hell of a writer. His dad (Stephen King) and his brother (Joe Hill) are great entertainers, tellers of tales designed for stadium seating, whereas Owen King is more of a writer's writer. The stuff Owen accomplishes (or tries to accomplish) in this book is impressive, page after page of death-defying feats of writerly derring-do. As a writer, you can't help but to read this and think "Huh, I wouldn't have tried that", "I can't believe he pulled that off!", "How'd he do that?", "Good one" and "Oh, wow!"

This book has touching scenes, hilarious scenes, bigger than life characters, real people, and wild, imaginative visions.

It also has a fucking Seinfeld routine grafted onto a sequence in an art house film the main character is filming. This happens early on and I nearly put down the book after reading it. The cheapness, the obviousness of this gag nettled me. It was beneath the author to use it, and even beneath the pathetic writer/director character in the book who penned it in this fictional world.

There are a number of minor low points in this book, but this 'Seinfeld' thing is the worst. But, because Owen tosses in everything, there will be scenes and lines and characters that detract. It's almost to be expected with a book like this. But believe me when I say the good far outweighs the bad in this book. And there are elements, many elements, that are truly great.

Booth, for instance. If there is one reason to read this book, it is to experience this ingenious character portrait.

I loved Booth.

The story engine used here is the farce and this novel has many of the goofy trappings of the farce. But I'm not sure that it needed any of that. Some of it worked, some was eye roll-inducing. So, if you're one who can't handle improbable situations, coincidences, broad physical humor, juvenile sight gags, and dick jokes, you might want to steer clear.

Oh, also, if you think this is a horror novel because Stephen King's son wrote it, don't even bother picking it up.

This is not a horror novel.
This is not a horror novel.
This is not a horror novel.

But Owen does throw in an absolutely grand tribute to one of his dad's favorite books, The Great God Pan. So, even though this one's not horror, I just know Owen's pop was smiling from ear to ear while reading this thing. Man, it's that good.
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews537 followers
May 28, 2014
16 hours of my life gone.

What a disappointment. I listened to this on audio, so I am willing to give this one another shot…eventually. Right now, I feel as if I missed something. I listened to all 16 hours of this book and I am fairly certain it was about absolutely nothing. I couldn’t tell you the point of the book if I had to.

I saw so many reviews where it said how funny this book was. I never laughed once. In fact, I grimaced a lot. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s one of those times where it’s me and not the book, but I really am so disappointed. I am truly at a loss.

When I saw Stephen King speak at Harvard last September, he spoke highly of his son’s book. Obviously. What father wouldn’t? But, I guess I always expected him to be more objective about it than he was. Or maybe I just didn’t get it- the book that is. I really haven’t got a clue what the book was saying.

It makes me sad to give out this one star rating to one of Sai King’s children. But I have to do what I feel is right, even if it breaks my heart.

Someday down the road, I will give this book another shot. I will pick up a copy at the library and hope that I find some sort of redeeming quality in it. I don’t know. Like I said, it could just be the subject matter. It could just be me (probably is). I just know I don’t feel good about this book or about the rating I had to give it.
Profile Image for Scott Rhee.
1,788 reviews63 followers
September 9, 2014
The indie film circuit is kind of where it's at at the moment. Hollywood has basically given up making anything original, solely churning out sequels, remakes, or superhero movies. Not that I don't look forward to "The Avengers 2", "Iron Man 4", or J.J. Abrams's "interpretation" of "Star Wars". I'm just saying, if you want something original, character-driven, and minus CGI, independent films are pretty much the only thing going right now.

Sam Dolan, the protagonist of Owen King's novel "Double Feature" is an independent filmmaker. Correction: he was an independent filmmaker years ago. Unfortunately, his film "Who We Are" was sabotaged by a (literally) insane Assistant Director and was thought to be destroyed, but later turned up and became a midnight-movie cult classic among college kids, much to Sam's chagrin. Dolan now works as a weddingographer, which is a fancy way of saying that he films weddings and edits them into clever films. He lives with a slob of a roommate, his little sister (step) is constantly bugging him with her relationship problems, he doesn't speak to his dad anymore---not since he left his mother years ago, and he is pathologically unable to date anyone who is NOT an asshole. He's not a happy guy.

Oh, about his dad. Sam's dad is the famous Booth Dolan, a popular B-movie actor/director whose heyday was the mid-'70s to early-'80s. His movies are still celebrated for their horrendous acting, cheesy special effects, and so-dumb-they-are-almost-profound scripts. Booth doesn't act or direct anymore either.

The novel's main action unrealistically takes place all in one weekend, but there are flashback scenes interspersed throughout. I say "unrealistically" because so many things happen and fall into place plot-wise during the book's roughly three days that it seems a little unbelievable, but then again,life sometimes happens that way.

During one of his weddings, Sam meets a nice girl named Tess. He immediately runs away, because he has a horrible track record with nice girls: they usually dump him because he is a melancholic asshole who hates everything. Unfortunately, she keeps calling him. Then his teenaged stepsister Mina arrives at his apartment with upsetting news: his dad has stomach cancer.

The remainder of the novel is a humorous and rather touching reunion of father and son, piecing together a damaged relationship that was dysfunctional to begin with. King inhabits his novel with an ensemble cast of lovably weird people. While the story is definitely character-driven, King does include a few nifty special effects.

Clearly, King loves the movies. Indeed, this novel is a love letter to the cinema, in all its forms, from the most avant-garde student film short to the lowest-budget B-movie to the latest billion-dollar CGI-driven Hollywood spectacle. In the best chapter in the book, Sam and his father spend an entire day in a local multiplex, hopping from movie to movie, making ridiculous commentary all the while. All of the movies in the book are fictional, by the way, but King describes them so well, that you almost wish they were real.

I couldn't help but fall in love with this book, mainly because I share a love of cinema with King. It's also just a darn good story, with a character who definitely grew on me from his development from a shallow dickhead to a sad, messed-up kid who just forgot what it meant to have a family.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews852 followers
March 15, 2013
'Who We Are' was to be a film that would take most of the main protagonists life energy through deaths and love and his relationship with his father will all see the talk and workings of this film never end.
His father Booth was more known for b movies and he felt he was going to do something more realistic more meaningful. Pre production he needed backers funds to get the ball rolling. This story is of double kin father and son's turbulent days in making it and breaking it into the movie industry.
Sam has high regard for the movie Dog Day Afternoon. Know that if a double feature screening with E.T and then DoG Day Afternoon that Sam has had his hand it coming to fruition. This was a mellow kind of story not explosive there is some bizarre and strange behaviors included, well a man and strange behavior with a tree falls into that category, a nice take on the work that went into a movie being it a first try at making a film by someone who's father has his name already out there in no so glamorous films.
Sam uses a great technique in this story to warn a boyfriend of his sisters via watching a DVD of nastiness with him.

This was a notable work on the flip side of a film, the world around pre and post production, the directors, producers and actors be they somewhat obscure in this story.

“Sam watched from the doorway. E.T was among his least favorite movies. He thought it was sentimental and disingenuous. In E.T. The kids saved the day. His won childhood of divorce had unquestionably had its moments, but what he remembered most was feeling bewildered and ineffectual. Also E.T was magic, and magic annoyed Sam. Magic was puppets, lighting, computer animation, and latex.”

“And it was just a two-shot. The director hadn't intruded, the actors hadn't seemed like actors, and it was so authentic, so recognisable; the exchange was the sum of every dismayed realisation ever shared between two men throughout history. It wasn't too much to say that until he saw that moment in that film, Sam had never come close to comprehending how agonisingly difficult it was to explain yourself to another person, to make him see you as you really were. It was like trying to explain Wyoming.
The few films Sam loved were the antithesis of dishonest. There was often humour in them, and sometimes romance and adventure, but in each case the directors steered them to a conclusion that was resonant-undeniable-and spared no one, certainly not the audience.”

“In the winter months, he saw his movie a hundred times. Seated at the desk in his apartment, at the window overlooking the parking lot, he watched it scroll across the frosted panes and thought it was beautiful and perfect. Who we are was going to give shape to something that had been nipping at him and his friends for their entire lives. It was the story of the generational burden they carried, their shared realisation that nothing made sense until it was to late to be changed, that they were never given anything like a real chance.”

“Are any of you familiar with the concept of the double feature? No?
A double feature is a showing of two movies back to back. The double feature was the staple of the drive-in movie theater. A single ticket provided you an entire night’s entertainment.
But the second movie of the double feature was always better than the first movie. They saved it for later, when it was good and dark, when the images on the screen could be seen with the greatest clarity. Because that was the one you really wanted to see. The first movie was just the warm-up. The double feature often began while there was still some light, and it could be hazy. Everything was perfect for the second movie, though. The second movie had all the exciting stuff: the scares and the surprises and the parts that you’d remember and want to discuss later.”

Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
569 reviews210 followers
November 23, 2015
So I read this in May, but didn't write a review. I meant to.

And today I picked up the copy of a chapbook given out at a book signing. This is a series of deleted scenes and scrapbook entries. We'll, I enjoyed it and it brought back some of what I felt when reading Double Feature.

First off, Owen King has a brilliant imagination. I am fascinated with the fictional movie career of Booth Dolan, and the film industry glimpses we get of Sam Dolan as he works on his own production.

For much of this book, I was going "huh?" as I wasn't exactly sure where it was going. It seemed to shift around at will, like a Coen Brothers or Tarantino film. But that's a good thing!

As I read these little extras, I really had that impression reinforced. Four months later, and the positive feel I got when finishing this book remained, much as it does years after watching a film by one of those directors. That says something.

This is a book that I will want to read again someday. I believe that with all its little nuances and details, there will be little gems to uncover with each reading. I already felt that was happening as I read again the included "75 Things That Cause Unnecessary Fatigue" in this cool little bonus scene collection.

If this book and Owen King's first, We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories are any indication, we can look forward to a brilliant career for the writer.

Well done, sir.
Profile Image for Short Storyshort.
1 review2 followers
March 20, 2013
I love this book because it keeps the promise that a storyteller makes his or her audience; it successfully evokes all the experiences and moments a novel should deliver. There are laughs in abundance. There are unforgettable scenes and set-pieces. There are brilliant details, like the faux B-Movies with delightfully preposterous characters such as hero Professor Graham Hawking Gould. Some of the lunatic images that Mr. King has dreamed up will be seared into my memory forever. Thankfully, most of those images are of the abundant-laugh-delivering variety so I am not so very worried about the long-term effects of exposure to Mr. King's imagination.

Underneath all of the humor and absurdity in the story, however, there is an underlay of sorrow and acknowledgment of human fragility and resilience by which we are reminded that though an entertainment, this is not a cheap one. Mr. King is certainly not above delivering cheap thrills and cheap laughs here and there (there are many more thrills and laughs though from the story's cleverness and originality), but he does so in the service of a call for us to regard each other --and those who make our arts and entertainments -- perhaps a bit more forgivingly, a bit more generously. As it unfolds, Double Feature throws into question the dichotomy between high and low art, serious and unserious work, good and bad people.

But ultimately this is a story about family and finding a home in the world. You may not always like the father-son duo of Booth and Sam Dolan, you almost certainly won't always approve of them, but you will be interested by them and may even love them a little by story's end. Transforming mere interest into imperative is part of the magic of storytelling -- as it is after all part of the magic of love. Mr. King channels that magic towards a worthy far shore. By the end of the first act, you will need to know what becomes of Booth and Sam Dolan. And you will not regret the at-times crazy journey to find out.

Here is hoping that you enjoy reading Double Feature as much as I will enjoy rereading it. (This review also appeared on Amazon.com)
Profile Image for Bennett Gavrish.
Author 26 books137 followers
March 18, 2013
Grade: D

L/C Ratio: 90% Literary / 10% Commercial

Thematic Breakdown:
35% - Filmmaking
25% - Family
20% - Love
15% - Dreams
5% - Humor

Addictiveness: Low
Movie Potential: 2 Thumbs Down
Re-readability: Medium

To put it bluntly, Double Feature is a catastrophe. There's no question that Owen King (son of Stephen King and brother of Joe Hill) is carrying the family's literary gene, but in his debut novel, he squanders that talent with a pretentious, haphazard, and at times disturbing story that sorely needed an editor with more gumption.

Not a single character in Double Feature speaks like a normal human being, and the scenes written from the perspective of children are extra clumsy. King pairs that unnatural dialogue with a plot that jumps around needlessly, which dampens the moments that are meant to feel poignant.

The greatest failure of Double Feature is the mindset of its narrator, an ambitious young filmmaker who hates his father for two reasons: because the man was too busy starring in bad Hollywood flicks to be a good parent, and because he cheated on the narrator's mother. Both are valid grudges on the surface, but King leaves gaping holes around them. He never explains why the narrator's family stays in New York when his father works almost exclusively in Hollywood. And to the second point, the narrator himself sleeps with a married woman throughout the novel without ever recognizing his own hypocrisy.

Perhaps that's the point. Maybe King wants the reader to be frustrated and annoyed and turned off by the main character. But if so, it's a poor strategy for writing a book that you hope people will enjoy.

One final note – King has gone on the record to say that Double Feature is not meant to be interpreted as autobiographical in any way. But that only makes his literary choices more confounding. As the son of a famous entertainer, how can you write a book about a man with a famous entertainer for a father and then not expect people to draw a connection?
Profile Image for Bill.
1,509 reviews104 followers
November 17, 2017
Life is a snapping turtle in the middle of the road.

There’s a lot going on here all at once. It was fast and slow and deep and juvenile. (Yes, I liked the juvenile parts.) I’m still not sure wtf just happened here. But, I liked it.

Canning jars full of shaved foot warts, Orson Wells idol worship, one-hair mole prosthetic proboscis, 75 Things That Cause Unnecessary Fatigue, penis shaped floral arrangements, botched Mucinex overdose suicide attempts, duck call flatulence, mail-order airline catalog swag, a GTO in a maple and a goat horned tripod Satyr.

I am glad I gave this one a go. Owen has skills. Not just because “he’s a King” skills, but genuine writing chops. Otherwise, this thing would have been a total mess. I’m still not sure how he held all the moving parts together long enough to make it as entertaining as it was. Some truly classic and well-drawn characters here. Surprisingly funny at times with plenty of wit bantered throughout as well. Very nicely done.

4+ Stars and Highly Recommended. (If you are strictly looking for an SK-esque or a Hill tale, then this may not be your huckleberry.) Definitely not horror and should not be compared to his King family namesakes’ previous works, but alas, I don’t think he will ever get away from that, unfortunately. That’s the life of a King, I suppose.
Profile Image for Елена Павлова.
Author 107 books233 followers
May 8, 2018
Изключително топла, сладка и красива книга. Да я перифразирам, не претендира да бъде "изкуство", но е безстрашна в прямотата, дързостта и доставянето на удоволствие.
Сравненията с татко Стивън Кинг не могат ��а се избегнат, разбира се, още повече, че винаги съм се питала как ли би изглеждала прозата на Кинг Старши, ако й се извади хорърът - и винаги съм си мислила, че в такъв случай би бил велик съвременен писател. Боже мили, колко е грандиозна "То"...
Е, алилуя, ето отговора: синчето Оуен Кинг демонстрира цялата палитра и умение за боравене с думичките на татко си, но е създал "добра", трогателна, разтърсваща книга за живота, вселената и всичко останало.
Излишно е да казвам, че ме направи своя фенка и с интерес ще следя творчеството му оттук нататък.
Освен това в книгата има доста пениси :) и поне пет невероятно велики сцени, които ти късат сърцето.
Profile Image for Сибин Майналовски.
Author 67 books142 followers
July 12, 2018
Две звезди само от куртоазия. В сравнение с „Формата на водата“, която също е елитарна книга, тези „Красавици“ са средняче в най-добрия случай. Излишно философстване, излишна преекспонация на метафорите, излишно отплесване по ненужни теми... Една от малкото книги, които не съм дочел. И най-вероятно няма и да дочета. Колкото тати е гениален, толкова синчето все още търси себе си... и не се открива засега. По-добре от Джо Хил, определено, но... Тц. Не.
Profile Image for Lee Klein .
785 reviews830 followers
April 28, 2015
An amusing, enjoyable, self-critical, post-metafictional romp featuring a film involving a Santa-bearded satyr doing a tree, a cuckolded German Yankee catcher, talk about the mimes in "Blow Up," and consistently clever/kinetic riffs and scenes in part about father/son issues and many other pairs, or "doubles."

Here's a little review I contributed to the Philadelphia Review of Books: http://philareview.com/2013/03/20/som...
Profile Image for Jean.
Author 1 book10 followers
November 24, 2017
I wanted to like this book much more than I did, perhaps because I am a fan of Stephen King. His son Joe Hill is also quite a good writer, a bit more sentimental than his Dad. But this book from Owen King was hard for me to finish, I really couldn't get into it.

The main character, Sam, has a somewhat famous Father who made a career out of making B horror movies, and Sam is trying to raise money to film his first movie. He has to beg and bargain, and finally gets enough cash, and one "known" actor to play a role. The film is "Who We Are" and it is about a few days in the life of a bunch of college kids who live on campus. So all in all, that wasn't very interesting. There are a few twists, and the second part of the book gets a little better. But it could have used a big edit job, and I didn't feel I got anything out of it. Maybe I missed something.

Owen King swears the book is in no way autobiographical, but Sam is jealous of his Father and has abandonment issues regarding him. Then he goes into the same field of work. Hmmm...? As far as I know, the King family gets along well enough.

Others liked it, maybe the plot was not my cup of tea. But Sam is determined to be miserable, in spite of having parents who love him and try to understand him. He is having an affair with a woman he used to love who is now married and a Mother, and they are still seeing each other. I thought the whole plot stunk, there was nothing worthwhile about it.

Maybe other readers will feel differently. Apparently Owen has written other books, had a great education, and teaches some writing classes in tony colleges, so it could just be the topics didn't grab me. I would be interested in any insights on this book from other readers.
Profile Image for Andrew Lennon.
Author 81 books255 followers
November 16, 2014
I really enjoyed Owen kings other book "we're all in this together " so I was quite looking forward to this one.
Sadly I've given up. When you get to page 100 and not a single thing has happened that interests you or grab your attention, then I think it's time to give up.
Profile Image for Knigoqdec.
910 reviews142 followers
August 21, 2019
Сам е млад режисьор, опиянен от идеята да създаде един прекрасен, смислен филм. Дава всичко от себе си, за да събере средствата, работи неуморно и... накрая един негов помощник съсипва всичко.
Сега всичко, което е останало на Сам, е един филм, пълен с вулгарности и отвратително подреден сценарий. Животът му изглежда безнадеждно съсипан. Сам загърбва режисьорския стол и се спуска по течението.
Годините минават, Сам води посредствен живот, светът му е мрачен, унил и сив. Но спускането му към тъмната бездна на отчаянието все някога ще си има край. И, когато го достигне, той ще тръгне отново нагоре. Ще види семейството си с нови очи, ще преосмисли мечтите и надеждите си, ще срещн�� хора, които да го оценят.

"Двойна прожекция" е книга, която лично аз отново мога да сложа в графа "В търсене на пътя към щастието". Въпреки че е остра, вулгарна (малко прекалено за моя вкус), в известен степен американизирана, оказа се, че е добра книга. С най-прости думи казано - тя е модерна, кинаджийска, чалната не в лош смисъл.
Ще вземе да се окаже, че този кингски син пише много, много по-добре от другия, въпреки че още нямам голяма база за сравнение. Този поне не се опитва да граби от трилърско-фантастичното езерце (а на Джо Хил много му се иска това да му се получаваше), поне що се отнася ��о "Двойна прожекция".

ПП: А, с оня пич и неговите неща, които предизвиквали ненужно изтощение, ще се караме. Как смее да слага такива стойностни неща в такъв ужасен списък! Че и "Аниме"-то било "ненужно изтощение"... падни ми, Уесли! xD
Profile Image for Kathy.
396 reviews88 followers
April 18, 2013
It took me a few days to think about this book once I finished it....and it's still making me think. One thing Owen King is is a master at characterization! This novel is completely character driven and he has a knack of painting these characters so realistically, that I could almost swear that I met them personally!

This book tells the story of Sam Dolan, from a young boy to the grown, cynical man he becomes. Sam has wanted to be a director since he was young, partially as a response to his father's being a famous B-movie actor. Sam actually sees life as though it was one big movie. From scene to scene, zoom in, zoom out. Life is often times a comedy, a drama and even a tragedy. The story is both extremely realistic, but at the same time a bit absurd and funny at times.

I really enjoyed this book! It's very difficult to say more than that without giving something away to the story. There is just so much going on, and something you might see as being a small part of it, actually ends up being very important in the long run! I will definitely be looking for more Owen King in the future!
Profile Image for Stephen.
173 reviews9 followers
February 8, 2016
My first intro to Owen King. No disappointments. the story of a up and coming movie maker , with his trials and tribulations. Surrounded by family and friends, Sam Dolan paddles his way through feelings from a pompous B movie actor father, a heart breaking memories of his mother, Allie, being ignored and emotional drained by his preoccupied father. Nefarious affairs with a friends wife, and a woman who truly cares for him but is ignored by Sam at times. An eccentric friend who can't get out of his own way, and a godfather, Tom, a builder of sorts who continually adds on to his existing home of perpetuity. The characters well drawn, with their confusing personalities. Owen writes like a seasoned veteran, the prose was amazing. A well drawn out story that will please any reader of intelligent prose. I was amazed at his talent. He comes on the scene with a knockout punch.
Profile Image for A. E. S..
367 reviews51 followers
April 20, 2018
Pros: Owen King weaves an interesting story about a young film director and his dad, an aging actor. Their relationship as well as his younger sister is detailed, and it definitely has its ups and downs. When the film director's first movie is botched and turned into a viral Internet sensation, it's up to him to reinvent himself. But does he want to?

Cons: There are no words to describe how much I hated this book. The way it was written made me want to throw this book at a wall, and once it was over I did throw it across the room. Every character in Double Feature is basically pathetic, but the ending really made me angry.
Profile Image for Catherine O’Neill .
Author 1 book15 followers
October 27, 2013
If Double Feature isn't made into a movie, something is terribly wrong with this world. This is such a witty, crazy, laugh-out-loud funny novel with such exquisite language... Philtrum, simalacrum, opprobrium, mimesis, kibitzing, contrapuntal, coxswain! If nothing else, read Double Feature for the bonus: Wesley Latsch's List of Seventy-Five Things That Cause Unnecessary Fatigue. It's really all there.
Profile Image for Amber B.
127 reviews17 followers
December 18, 2014
**Update** I think about this book all the time, so I'm giving it another star for its staying power.

This book was seriously difficult to get into, but I ended up sort of obsessed with the characters. There is no way people like this exist, but at the same time, I know people just like every one of them, including me. For film fans, there's a lot of fun stuff, the ending is smile-inducing, and I laughed a lot. I just wish it had been friendlier when I first met it.
Profile Image for Tanya.
61 reviews
May 16, 2013
What a wacky twisty story, hehehe. I especially loved "Wesley Latsch's List of Seventy-five Things That Cause Unnecessary Fatigue"
Profile Image for Nicole.
136 reviews
May 24, 2013
I was quite pleased by this book. One that once you reached it's end, you're a bit sadden because you wish it would go on forever.
Profile Image for Stewart Gardiner.
8 reviews44 followers
September 5, 2013
I've made a couple of quite awful short films, that nevertheless had some good bits in them. The good bits were inevitably what everybody else brought to the table. In one unfocussed and oddly sprawling short I at least had the good sense to have my fine filmmaking buddy Paul (who is more than capable of making short films consisting of more than just a few good bits) dress up as a sort of cheap Orson Welles from F For Fake. He later pronounced Wellesian statements as we strolled down a street in the centre of Glasgow. (This more than good bit wasn't even in my little movie). All of which is to say that if you have a less than healthy love of motion pictures this book is most certainly for you. If Orson Welles makes a corpulent presence in your life (even if he's sometimes one of your friends in costume) then again, you must read this book. If you like your American novels large-hearted, yet tinged with despair and longing... you catch my drift.

Jump cut to: I loved reading the script pages from Sam Dolan's fated student film. It's like Less Than Zero with Woody Allen jokes and Paul Giamatti dealing drugs from a bathroom stall. That it becomes less Less Than Zero and more The Secret History - if by The Secret History I mean outtakes from a snuff recreation of The Wicker Man - is nothing short of miraculous. Miraculous here meaning tragic, with all the associated emotions.

But it's not just about birthing a movie. It's about having parents, realising that perhaps being so sure of yourself in your early twenties isn't perhaps such a good thing. It's about love and art and noses. Double Feature is a damn fine book and as for Owen King - well, you can blame him for my slightly narcissistic, overly rambling excuse for a review and praise him for his wonderful book.

End credits: whilst reading I thought that I should finally get around to reading the copy I have of Rosebud, my favourite film critic David Thomson's book on Welles. Lo and behold, Owen references it at the end. So read it I must. But not quite yet, I feel I couldn't do it justice without wearing a cape and snout. And I find myself sadly out of both.
Profile Image for Rafe.
Author 5 books52 followers
June 16, 2013
I have more mixed feelings about this book than four stars might suggest, but it has stuck with me. So. Four.

One of the challenges of a book like this, about a rather snarky young man and his famous, irritating father, is that two-thirds of the criticism of it has been speculation about whether or not we're meant to read Sam as author Owen King and Booth has Owen's famous father Stephen King. I did not care about this problem as I read the book, but I was deeply aware of it as I read, and I found having to think about it (even to dismiss it) annoying and distracting. So I wish that Owen (whom I interact with on Twitter and like) had written a book that did not lend itself to speculation this way.

About the book itself... There are moments, especially among supporting characters, that are just spot on terrific. The narrative is a little squirrelly, moving backwards and forwards in time asSam experiences the now or remembers the then. I'm not sure it needed to be quite so weavy. Sam is not a particularly sympathetic character - and because almost all the other characters are also not very sympathetic, sometimes one gets tired of dealing with them.

And yet. I kept reading, and I think about the book a lot. It's not a perfect novel, but as Sam comes to terms with (some) of his past, the story comes together more smoothly. It finally starts to make sense, and the points that Sam makes throughout the book with themes, scenes, and lines from his favorite movies finally gel into something resembling resolution. I can't say much more without spoilers, I guess, but I should mention that I will be thinking about the movie-within-a-novel that circulates on the midnight movie circuit, about that sad, odd Satyr, for a long time.
Profile Image for Evelyn.
87 reviews16 followers
April 11, 2013
Originally I planned to just put a part of the review from my blog here, but it turns out I am not done with my thoughts about Double Feature. I'll start out by saying that I haven't read any other reviews of it, really, just skimmed them. Because I find the surest way to destroy my enjoyment of a book or movie is to know too much about it going in. It raises expectations in a way that never seems to work out well for me.

So I'm going to try not to give too much away here.

I'll just say that while a lot of people seem to have gotten "enjoyable read" out of this—and that's what I expected, actually—I connected with it deeply. Viscerally.

Yes, it's well-written. Very witty. Very smart. Near the beginning, in fact, I thought maybe it was *too* well-written, a little glib. Right at that moment it veered (except "veered" suggests an uncontrolled motion; this was more the kind of graceful curving and swooping at which professional ice skaters excel) into territory that resonated deeply. Forgiveness, redemption, self-awareness: those are all pretty big deals to me. And the journey that Sam took with Booth is one I would give a lot—a lot—to be able to take myself.

One last note: A friend of mine didn't care for the ending, and I get that, but I thought of it as kind of an homage to a certain kind of movie, which is all I'm going to say.

Also: Orson Welles. ORSON WELLES.
Profile Image for Larry Berthold.
119 reviews
April 5, 2013
Have been anxiously awaiting this book's arrival since reading 'We're All in This Together' and seeing a unique spirit, touchstones to my favorite writers, a kindred twisted humor in reflection, and all kinds of literary promise in Owens King's writing...Double Feature takes all of that promise and promotes it to the next level...DP is about relationships and perspective...the blurred lines between perception and reality, that thin line between self hate and congratulation, extended family and the ways they congregate and prescribe meaning, and, above all else, to me, that maturation is about recognition and acceptance of whom we are and where we land...and our role in getting there and getting up and going forth...that 'settling' for happiness isn't always the easy thing...

Double Feature is brilliant in ways that will leave you recognizing your own reflection and thoughts in places you didn't know they were kept...where we are all intricately confused layers of scar tissue and twisted sinew ...spending time trying to turn ourselves into the butterflies that we will mostly never be...while we strive to hopefully recognize the usefulness of our resiliency, our beautiful dissymmetry and the warmth we can accept and provide.

Funny, tragic, character-driven, thought provoking, necessary. Buy a copy for yourself and then for someone else you love.
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,096 reviews129 followers
April 16, 2013
This is a hard book to describe, and it's definitely not for everyone---it's a little rambly and all over the place and more than a little weird in the best way. But if you're someone who loves movies and clever dialogue and books that make you laugh out loud so much that you don't notice that you're reading a book that's actually really, really GOOD until you're a several chapters in and you're absolutely enthralled...well, this is the book for you.

As the synopsis says, these are for fans of Joshua Ferris and Sam Lipsyte, but I'd add Jonathan Tropper. Like Tropper, I would laugh one minute and tear up a few pages later.

Of course, for me, the best part was the fact that Sam was obviously a huge fan of movies. While we don't agree on everything*, we agree on enough that I want to see everything that Sam loves. He's a huge fan of the movie Dog Day Afternoon, which I haven't seen (yet). I can't wait to see it. And yes, I realize that I'm talking about Sam like he's (a) real and (b) my friend. But shut up, he sort of is. Except that he doesn't like ET.

I love this book and I want to make everyone read it. Highly recommended.

* = Sam is not a fan of ET. I don't understand this.
Profile Image for Jay Nichols.
Author 6 books4 followers
June 20, 2013
Haunted by his ruined student film, Sam Dolan stumbles through his 20's and early 30's, directionless and ambivalent, trying his hardest not to get too worked up over anybody or anything. When he meets tenacious Tess, he comes to terms with his past and learns that, hey, life isn't half bad. If you stick around long enough, things can even take a turn for the better.

I know this novel is supposed to be funny--and in many places it is--but I couldn't help but feel sorrow for the protagonist, mainly because he had every right to be bitter and angst-ridden.

What King achieved here is a meandering (and I mean that in a good way) tale of acceptance and letting go.

Was the ending too syrupy and perfect? Maybe--but, like in movies, isn't that how you really want your stories to end?

So, Double Feature by Owen King?

Yeah, I'd take it.
Profile Image for Paul Anderson.
Author 37 books57 followers
July 20, 2013
Owen King and his novel DOUBLE FEATURE are responsible for me getting absolutely nothing done today. I have not sat down and just read a book because it's that compelling in Christ knows how long. DOUBLE FEATURE did that today.

Do you need more than that?

Then you should read the book, shouldn't you?

(And, as an aside, if you happen to read their review over at the AV Club, they kinda missed the point. Just sayin'.)
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