Noticed at the bookstore tonight that Down and Dirty Pictures : Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film by Peter Biskind was out in paperback. It’s seems like an interesting book and I really enjoyed his Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. I seem to remember that Down and Dirty didn’t get that great of reviews when it came out in hardcover. Anyone recommend it?
I read it. It was all right - definitely not as in-depth a cultural study as Easy Riders - mostly it was anecdotes about what an asshole Harvey Weinstein is (with a few anecdotes about what an asshole Robert Redford is thrown in). Lots of first-hand impressions on the whole independent film movement (and its demise) from Kevin Smith, Ethan Hawke, Matt & Ben, Steven Soderbergh, and executives from (former) independent film companies - though again, much of it turned around to Miramax and their business practices. A nice easy read, but not a lot of in-depth analysis. I guess it depends on how interested you are in the industry side of things.
I read it and I thought it was very good. Robert Redford doesn’t come across as a jerk like Harvey Weinstein but as too lazy and distracted to put the kind of effort into running the Sundance Institute that it required. Part of the point of the book was that the American independent film movement of the 1990’s didn’t really accomplish much. There isn’t much more of a market for diverse independent films now than there was 20 years ago. The few cases where an interesting independent film got a wide distribution in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s now seem like random pieces of luck rather than the beginning of a trend.
Thanks for the input. I’ll probably read it when I get a chance. I was surprised to hear about Robert Redford being an asshole. However, I have no problem believing him to be lazy and distracted. I might have to read it just for that. I am kinda sad to see what Sundance has become. A playground for beginning filmmakers to get into the studio system and sell out.