Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: Silver Screen Fiend

There is something unbelievably satisfying about checking an item off a list – whether grocery, to do, or bucket, the simply act of saying “Yes, I’ve done that” is a deceptively simple action, but one that can lead to unexpected consequences.

In Patton Oswalt’s follow-up to Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (2011), he focuses on a four-year period during his mid-twenties where he became addicted to watching classic movies, a simple enough habit that led to all sorts of problems both professional and personal before he kicked the habit in 1999.

Unlike his first book, which read more as a collection of humorous essays, Silver Screen Fiend looks at a period in his life where he go carried away with a hobby, and, considering we’re not dealing with alcohol or drug addiction issues here, it does get quite personal, looking at his career during the period (from staff writer at MadTV to film and television work, all the while working on his stand-up comedian work), I found an awful lot to relate to – from the joy of finding that he could check a movie off of two (or even three) lists at a time after seeing it, to the way films connect and use visual language to speak.

As a guy who works his way through lists all the time (Oscars, Hugos, World Fantasy, Best SF, 1001 Movies to see before you die, etc.), I can definitely relate to how addicting it can be to move through a collection, and to be fair I’m a pretty big fan of his work, so I may be more than a little biased, but I definitely found this to be a pretty great read.

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