Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas

Sep 7, 2012

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Joe Eszterhas’ memoir Hollywood Animal. I tried to read this book with an open mind, but in the end, ended up just about despising the author. In his zeal to portray himself as a player on the Hollywood scene, Eszterhas instead reminded this reader that sleaze just isn’t all that amusing.

In addition, this book is more than 700 pages long; it should have been HALF that. I guess, though, that if you're the screenwriter who wrote Basic Instinct, plus a lot of other films that altogether have grossed about a billion bucks (that's not an exaggeration), then you get to do pretty much whatever you want to do when you write your memoir. Eszterhas, for this project, desperately needed an editor to tell him when too much was getting to be ... well, too much. But perhaps I was expecting too much. This is the guy, after all, who wrote Showgirls, quite possibly one of the five worst films of all time.

Since this volume was published, Eszterhas also has written Crossbearer, a memoir about his return to faith. That book has gotten far better reviews than this one, so perhaps I should try it, and see if the author's rediscovered religiosity has made him a more sympathetic subject. As for Hollywood Animal: Don't bother. I'm no moralist, but this book is repulsive.

Reviewed by Library Staff