Tuesday, February 27, 2007
David Mamet’s “Bambi vs. Godzilla” teaches Hollywood a thing or two
My favorite anecdote regarding playwright, filmmaker and all-around man of letters David Mamet involves an interview when he discussed in detail his working habits. Told that I was impressed by his set up of a writing shack behind his home; a workplace void of even the most basic connections with the surrounding world, including a phone line, Mamet acted surprised.
“You’re a journalist,” Mamet said, expressing surprise. “Isn’t this the way you work?”
My response was a matter-of-fact “No.”
Mamet’s advocacy for quiet and privacy when writing continues to make an impact on me. Currently, I’m reading his latest book, “Bambi vs. Godzilla – On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business,” a collection of brisk essays offering his insider’s opinion about the rights and wrongs of Hollywood moviemaking. “Bambi vs. Godzilla” is a tough love book; a series of slaps from someone who knows his target intimately. But Mamet pokes Hollywood because he cares about movies passionately. That’s an important lesson to remember in an age of instant gossip and far-reaching tabloids. Movies do matter and they’re worth discussing intelligently. That’s what Mamet is reminding us in “Bambi vs. Godzilla.”