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Harlan Ellison's Watching by Harlan Ellison
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really liked it

Harlan Ellison is a bitter old crumudgeon, but that's why I love his writing. His poison pen is somehow full of charm and wit. He has a uniquely direct style, conversationally straight to the reader. And he is very convincing, he truly writes from his heart - in what he believes and what he believes important. This book is a collection of essays about cinema, particularly science fiction cinema, republished from a few different magazines. As writer (professional liar, he argues in a later essay) who has had a great deal of experience in movies and television - a lot of it amazing, check IMDB and be surprised - he shares some great insights into the absurdities and difficulties that writers face in the movie industry.
This book begins with some typical movie reviews but gradually (d)evolves in to a kind of episodic, foaming rant on the miserable state of (mostly 80's) cinema. The final essays are post modern-ly self-reflexive as he shifts away completely from film reviews (totally ignoring an earlier promise to dedicate a section to Cronenberg) and takes on the numerous dissenting readers who unwisely chose to write to the editors of the magazines. These wickedly funny diatribes directed toward Star Wars, Star Trek, Stephen King (movies), Robocop, Gremlins, science fiction "fans", agitated readers and anyone who has an "opinion" (as opposed to an "informed opinion") is pure delight to read.
Which is not to say he does not find ample words to praise movies, actors, cinematography, and other works he truly does like. And somehow, even though he detested Evil Dead 2, I couldn't help but agree with him - usually.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 2, 2008 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed this book years ago, lisa_emily. Thanks for reminding me.

message 2: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan Whoops! I meant, thank you, Scott, not lisa_emily. Please excuse the slip.

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