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The Player (Griffin Mill #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  335 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
"Just as Griffin suspected, there was a meeting in Levison's office without him." With this opening, we are taken into the mind and life of Griffin Mill, senior vice president of production at a major Hollywood studio. It is a mind full of paranoia, duplicity, and guile--and a life full of money, power, and fame. It is the movie business.

Griffin Mill is ruthlessly ambitiou
Paperback, 193 pages
Published March 24th 1997 by Grove Press (first published 1988)
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Glenn Russell
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wait a minute, Michael Tolkin! Am I reading a novel published as part of the 1980s Vintage Contemporaries series or a movie script in the form of a novel? Since this is a story of Griffin Mill, a bigtime studio power player within the Hollywood movie industry, it is hard to tell. I sense the best way to write a review is to let the glitz and glamour sparkle and do a top 10 Tinseltown countdown: Here goes:

10. The set. This is Hollywood with serious name dropping going down, Clint East
Clare Carter
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
So this is another book that I had to read for class (the final one of the semester, in fact!), and I actually really enjoyed it! To me it was such an interesting read because of how utterly insane the main character was. The ending, too, was perfect for what the book was trying to say with its satire. I can't wait to watch the movie!

I don't really know why this isn't five stars; I liked everything about the book, but that doesn't mean it was life changing or anything, ya know?
Sarah Sammis
Jun 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: released
The Player is one of my favorite films and probably one of Robert Altman's best films. I've read the screenplay for college (back in 1994) so was curious to read the book that inspired the film. Interestingly Michael Tolkin wrote both the book and the screenplay and produced the film.

With Tolkin having worked on both versions of The Player it is interesting to see how different the two versions are. While the basic plots are the in that a producer murders a writer and gets away with it, there ar
Jason Coleman
May 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Readers coming to this book after seeing the film version (are there any other kind?) will find a main character, Griffin Mill, who is far more deliberate in his crimes than what Tim Robbins played in the Robert Altman movie. They will also find a stronger interior dimension. Not surprising where most novels-into-films are concerned, perhaps, but I was frankly surprised that Tolkin, mostly a screenwriter by trade, had it in him. Having said that, I think it was in the film version that Tolkin's ...more
Jason Edwards
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this one a few weeks ago, maybe a month, so this review will be sparse. I apologize. I've read a few other books since then, and reviewed them, and what with one thing and another, I’m only getting to this review now as a disciplined approach to dividing my day into productive chunks. I’m in the middle, almost exactly the middle, of another book at the moment, and I don’t want to not get anything else done because I’m only reading it.

I saw the movie version of The Player years ago, back i
Stefan Fergus
Sep 24, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5*, and that's being generous. Writing is fine, the Hollywood stuff is good, the "thriller"/crime bit is not good.
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tolkin, Michael. THE PLAYER. (1988). ****. I remember seeing Robert Altman’s film version of this novel in the theater when it came out. It starred Tim Robbins and Greta Scacchi, and I don’t recall who else was in it. The novel is about Hollywood and the people who inhabit it with big jobs in the film industry. Griffin Mill is one of those people. He is an assistant producer on his way up, but he has routinely shafted lots of people on the way, so many that he can’t even remember them all. Now h ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I never saw the movie, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I enjoyed the book. Griffin Mill is a high level Hollywood exec who is being stalked by a disgruntled writer who blames Griffin for his failure. Griffin's paranoia at being stalked mixes with his fear of losing his status in Hollywood due to some changes within the studio he works at. This state of mind pushes him towards trying to contact the Writer who is following him, and in attempting to do so he contacts another failed writer a ...more
Perry Whitford
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Completist fans of the film.
Like most people who have read this book, I suspect, I had seen the film by Robert Altman first, which is a classic of its kind, a shiny, nasty subversion of the Hollywood fairy tale; delivered in the directors incomparable style of over cutting dialogue and clever camera work.
The author Tolkin also wrote the screenplay to that film, so its no surprise that they are very similar, containing only a few notable differences. The cool, self-obsessed producer Griffen Mill still has his cake and eats
Nov 29, 2008 rated it liked it
The Player is one of my favorite movies, so I thought I’d read the book. Usually it’s read the book first then see the movie, and usually I’m disappointed by the movie because it veers too far from the book. (One exception is Wonder Boys: the movie veers quite a lot from the book but both book and movie are high on my list of favorite novels/films).
Anyway, the movie The Player stays fairly consistent with the novel (though the ending veers somewhat) with only minor changes mostly made—it seems—
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For those of you who have never seen the movie or read "The Player", this book is a real delight for fans of Hollywood or murder suspense stories. Fortunately, I saw the movie so many years ago that I couldn't remember anything after the first act.

To me, what makes the book work is how Tolkin gets into his protagonist's head and presents his paranoia and justification for committing a heinous crime. What makes Griffin Mill's crime most despicable isn't the act itself, but the aftermath. If there
Casey Black
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-school
I read this book for my adaptation class, so my vision of it is clouded by the fact that I watched the film when I was only 50 pages into it. I hated the film. And then as I was reading the rest, I loved the film and I was unimpressed with the book. So... I just don't know how I feel about either anymore. The film was unappealing, but had an overarching philosophical intention, while the book was more approachable, but the author seems to have lost a clear sense of purpose after the major turnin ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never seen the movie version of Michael Tolkin's 'The Player', but I enjoyed the novel very much. The story follows ambitious Hollywood executive Griffin Mill as he deals with the consequences of his... let's call it "cutthroat" business style. Hollywood and the movie business in this novel is symbolic of the vacuous obsession with money and image, where the only real winners are the executives who stanch creativity to make a buck. While that thought can certainly be applied to today's Holl ...more
A good LA read. About the movie business, and well-known enough I won't summarize. I have to say that this is the sort of culture many people told me to expect here. Cynical, calculating, superficial, etc. My experience in LA has been much different. Hah, a long story. What this DOES directly remind me of is what I saw in the real estate business in New York. For starters, I am thinking that BE Ellis lifted the basics of this character Griffin Mills to make Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" ...more
Michael Flick
Mar 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst
Satire requires a reality that is wholly missing in this book. The book is unbelievable until the last 5 pages, when it turns to outrageously unbelievable just to wrap things up. This isn't a book about Hollywood, movies, murder, cops, relationships--it's only the fevered imagination of a writer trying to wrestle a book out of a senseless psychopath. And, so, it's senseless, with no philosophical, intellectual, emotional, or any other kind of arc.

Not a single character you can care about for eve
Jun 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Biting Hollywood satire, not quite the tour de force of the author's "Among the Dead". Perhaps my lone complaint is that very bit of querulousness I've scoffed at so many times before, that there are no appealing characters. Tolkien refuses to drum up a bit of sympathy for anyone in the cast, who are all infected with the superficiality and vanity of the business: self-hating sell-out screenwriters, scads of yes-men, and the eponymous producer.
Although it is far less gratuitous, "The Player" echoed faintly of "American Psycho." Much of the novel is written as the central character's internal monologue, which can grow tiresome, but it's a compact, well-paced story. I found myself kind of hoping he'd get away with it.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-paced, somewhat satirical look at Hollywood and power. Don't expect revelations or angelic choruses accompanying some kind of deep epiphany - it's just a solid murder/mystery/satire taking place in an setting crying out for a detailed takedown.
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked it better than the movie, and it actually made me like the movie a little less for heaping on the irony and self-reference. Ultimately, they're separate entities. But one had to be made by the same people it threw over the coals.
May 19, 2009 rated it liked it
I probably would've liked this a lot more if I hadn't seen the movie first, because Tolkin is a pretty solid writer. But as it stands, it mostly feels like a framework of plot that was filled in later by Robert Altman.
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, cinema, movies
A high concept approach worthy of the movies melding the paranoia of senior executives with that of the murderer on the run. Disturbing and funny.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
I remember really liking the movie but in reading the book I didn't care about the characters.
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Julian Davies
Sep 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: B. P. Schulberg
Save the Rialto! (Even tho the New Bev is the muse theater in question.)
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
See the movie instead

This is one of those rare cases where the novel isn't even close to the movie. More like a rough first draft
Andrew Pierce
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
You never knew what he was going to do next, and that was surely interesting to follow. But I will say it was almost too cynical, too dry. Still an interesting read.
Katie Lynn
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Random and incoherent actions from the characters... just... odd.
Apr 29, 2010 marked it as to-read
Peter Oresick
rated it really liked it
Nov 20, 2009
rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2013
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Michael Tolkin is an American filmmaker and novelist. He has written numerous screenplays, including The Player (1992), which he adapted from his 1988 book by the same name, and for which he received the 1993 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. A follow-up book, Return of the Player, was published in 2006.

Tolkin was born in New York City, New York, the son of Edith, a studio executive,
More about Michael Tolkin

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