Friday, March 07, 2008

Can't Wait to Read This!

It takes a lot to get me excited about a book, but to say I'm giddy with anticipation about HELLRAISERS: The Inebriated Life and Times of Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris and Oliver Reed is a massive understatement.

Check out this synopsis...
At their career peaks, these four controversial actors had the whole world at their feet and lived through some of the wildest exploits Hollywood has ever seen. But all that fame had a price; Richard Burton’s liver was shot by the time he was 50, Richard Harris’s film career stalled for over a decade. Peter O’Toole’s drinking almost put him in the grave before his 43rd birthday, and Oliver Reed ended up dying prematurely.

This is the story of four of the greatest thespian boozers who ever walked — or staggered — off a film set into a pub. It’s a story of drunken binges of near biblical proportions, parties and orgies, broken marriages, drugs, riots and wanton sexual conquests. And yet these piss-artists were seemingly immune from the law. They got away with it because of their extraordinary acting talent and because the public loved them. They were truly the last of a breed, the last of the movie hellraisers.
Speaking of O'Toole – one of my favorite actors of any generation – be sure to check out two recent performances that should convince even those late to the game that the man has still got "it", whatever "it" is. VENUS is a terrific tale of an aging actor (O'Toole) who falls for the rough-around-the-edges niece of an actor chum and the veteran gives it his all in what might be his last great on-screen role, though he has a half-dozen things in various stages of production so one never knows.

He's also great as the vicious food critic Anton Ego in RATATOUILLE, the recent Pixar flick about Remy, a food-obsessed Parisian rat voiced by Patton Oswalt (who once heckled a group of friends and me from the stage because we got up during his set to go see a midnight show of EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN). The flick is too long (aren't they all?) and some plot points – like the romance between Linguini and Collette – seem shoehorned in to give the flick more story for the adults, but it really doesn't need it.

I think it was Anthony Bourdain who called it the best film about cooking ever made and I think he's right. The story captures the joy of cooking, the pleasures of eating and experiencing new flavors, and – from everything I've read, heard and seen – the fragile politics of the kitchen.

Thanks to WP Tandy for the tip!

1 comment:

John said...

Heheh, I loved Evil Dead 2. Loved the stage version (Off Broadway in NYC, now closed but still playing in Toronto) in a totally different way. I got so drunk before the show, and what was worse, they let me bring the drink in with me. The one song that sticks me was this funky dance number "Do the Necronomicon" - like "The Time Warp" only much darker, and done by dead people possessed by demons.