Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film by Patton Oswalt

Silver Screen Fiend: Learning About Life from an Addiction to Film
by Patton Oswalt

The backcover blurb:

New York Times bestselling author, comedian, and actor Patton Oswalt shares his entertaining memoir about coming of age as a performer and writer in the late ’90s while obsessively watching classic films at the legendary New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.

Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakeable addiction. It wasn’t drugs, alcohol, or sex. It was film. After moving to L.A., Oswalt became a huge film buff, absorbing classics and new releases at least three nights a week at the New Beverly Cinema. Silver screen celluloid became Patton’s life schoolbook, informing his notions of acting, writing, comedy, and relationships. Set in the nascent days of the alternative comedy scene, Oswalt’s memoir chronicles his journey from fledgling stand-up comedian to self-assured sitcom actor, with the colorful New Beverly collective supporting him all along the way.

Lots of filler. Around 30% of this book is a list of the movies he watched over a period of time in the 1990s. That’s it. Just a list. If you care that Patton Oswalt watched The English Patient in 1997 at the Vista Theater then you should definitely read this. If you don’t care that he watched Swingers in Encino in ’95, then you’re all set and can move along.

I fell into the second category. I just didn’t care. There are touches here and there about his career and friends but for the most part it’s just a long list of old movies in theaters you’ve never heard of before. I love lists as much as the next gal but if I had paid money for this book I would’ve been very disappointed.

Otherwise enjoyable stories are bogged down with movie and other pop culture references that take away from the book rather than add to it. Oswalt is a funny and talented guy. Sadly, little of that comes across in this piece.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced copy for review.

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