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GOING HOLLYWOOD
By JOSH BECKER (Point Blank Press; 2009)

This book, written by the director of such cinematic masterworks as LUNATICS: A LOVE STORY and ALIEN APOCALYPSE, is required reading for anyone considering a filmmaking career. A fiercely honest and oft-hilarious chronicle of Josh Beckerís youthful attempts at becoming a director, this is a cautionary tale illustrating just how incredibly difficult it is to break into Hollywood, yet itís also curiously inspirational. Why? Because no matter how spectacularly you may screw up trying to make it in tinseltown you canít possibly do worse than Josh Becker, and he eventually accomplished his goals!

     In 1976 Josh Becker, aged 17, decided to leave his home in Michigan and relocate to Hollywood. He moved into a cockroach-infested apartment across the street from Paramount Pictures, whose hallowed gates he never managed to penetrate. He did, however, briefly attend the Los Angeles City College, endure a succession of low paying jobs, smoke lots of pot and get scurvy(!) due to an all macaroni and cheese diet.

     Mr. Beckerís other misadventures include getting bitched at by Peter Bogdonovich, making an ass of himself during a Robert De Niro Q&A and befriending a pair of pot dealing lowlifes, one of whom accompanies Becker on a cocaine-fuelled car trip to Florida in an altogether futile effort at reconnecting with a flighty ex-girlfriend. Beckerís luck with women in Hollywood isnít much better, as a two week fuck-a-thon with a gorgeous neighbor results in her abruptly taking off without even a good-bye. The most enduring female companionship Becker makes herein is with an Asian whore he pays with Christmas money from his family--apparently ďthe best Christmas present I ever got. Gotta make sure to thank the grandparents

     Things get so bad that after a year of subsiding in Hollywood, Becker, having read a lot of Jack London, decides to hitchhike to Alaska. Like most of his exploits, this involves a lot of pot smoking and eventual disappointment, as upon arriving in Alaska he realizes he has no idea where to go or what to do! After near-starvation and death by swarms of giant mosquitoes Becker comes to the realization that heís best off returning to Michigan to make movies with his childhood pals. A good idea, as those pals happen to include Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell--although Beckerís later work with them occurred outside the scope of this chronicle, which concludes in mid-1977.

     If this book has a weakness itís bloat, with an over-concentration on incidental details (a good editor could likely whittle this manuscript down to around thirty pages without losing any of the nuances), but Becker nearly makes up for this with his unerring frankness and honesty. As cranky and opinionated as he is about others, Becker reserves his harshest criticisms for himself, and delivers them without excuses or apologies.

     

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