#50BookPledge – 4: It’s Only a Movie

February 6, 2012 — 7 Comments

Another Mark Kermode book! Only this time I actually read it. No audiobook crap on this one. Amazingly, I could pretty much hear Kermode’s voice in my head as I read it, so it wasn’t too unlike the pleasures of an audiobook. It’s Only a Movie is essentially a memoir. Kermode talks about growing up, falling in love with movies, becoming a journalist, doing journalist things, and watching Werner Herzog get shot.

Once again, Kermode is a great storyteller, but there is just something less interesting about hearing his life story than there is in hearing him use stories to rant about everything right and wrong with modern filmmaking. The Herzog story is incredibly entertaining, as any story about Herzog undoubtedly would be, but that kind of reveals the problem. When the most interesting story in your memoir is essentially about a completely different person, well, maybe you aren’t the greatest subject for a memoir.

It’s Only a Movie is an easy read, and quite fun, but it just doesn’t hold the interest or weight of his follow-up. It’s the kind of book I could only recommend to huge fans of Dr. Kermode, and even then I’d probably give them a little warning. All in all, a decent book, but not one that comes with a high recommendation.

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7 responses to #50BookPledge – 4: It’s Only a Movie

  1. 

    Yeah, it was fine but just lacking a bit of punch. Personally, I was a bit thrown by the way Kermode seemed to overplay his own ineptness in the whole sequence.

    • 

      I guess it was part of the style of the book for Kermode to exaggerate his own ineptness. I found it funny, but I suppose he could have given himself a bit more credit. That Herzog story never gets old, though.

  2. 

    I haven’t read any of his work but I’ve seen lots of clips of him reviewing movies. He’s never not entertaining.

  3. 

    “there is just something less interesting about hearing his life story than there is in hearing him use stories to rant about everything right and wrong with modern filmmaking” – this is pretty spot on, I think.

    I heard this book in audio form, and I did appreciate Kermode himself reading it; it added to the entertainment value, though as you say, for those of us who know him well enough, you can read his voice into the book even if you are interacting with words on a page.

    So I’m with you – an entertaining read/listen that his fans will enjoy, but I’d still choose his film reviews interspersed with connections to his personal life over it.

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