I'm in the middle of reading Peter Biskind's Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, and it's some fascinating stuff. Generally, this is the kind of gossip I eat up like nobody's business: the stuff that has to do with, y'know, the fucking films. I'm taking it all with a grain of salt (Biskind definitely seems to have an axe to grind against certain individuals), but learning about stuff like how Dennis Hopper was psychotic even then, the trials and tribulations of Hal Ashby, or the battles between Coppola and Robert Evans over The Godfather is gleefully fun.
Which got me thinking: what are some of the other great tell-all books on movies? I haven't read Evans' The Kid Stays In The Picture, sadly, but I've read some other, quite excellent ones, and I'm curious to hear other people's picks. A couple of mine:
The Devil's Candy-Julie Salamon documents the slow, painful unraveling of De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities. What's impressive is just how thorough Salamon's reporting is; you get the feeling that almost no secrets are left hidden, no frustrations left unsaid. The diva-like behavior people like Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith exhibit here astounds me. By contrast, Tom Hanks comes across rather well, even if he's brutally honest about why he, say, didn't think Uma Thurman would be a good match for him onscreen. And further and further the production spirals out of control, particularly when they keep having to do massive, expensive shots that are unceremoniously thrown out.
Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops-It's not perfect. James Robert Parish indulges in some "Death of Hollywood" haranguing on occasion, but overall it's a terrific look about some of the most legendary bad movies out there. I particularly love the chapters on Cleopatra, Ishtar, Paint Your Wagon, Last Action Hero (which I myself don't think is out-and-out bad, but it certainly has problems) and Battlefield Earth.