Sunday, March 18, 2007

Miscellaneous: Links

Over at the Mystery*File blog, Steve Lewis takes my thought on the Michael Shayne films and runs with it. So it’s decided. I will travel back in time to cast Ken Tobey as Brett Halliday’s private eye in a series of movies. And do some other stuff.

By now you’ve probably heard about the secret FBI file allegedly linking Robert F. Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe’s death. What I find most interesting is that this new evidence was unearthed by the filmmaker behind The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf. I refuse to weigh in on the matter until the director of Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest is heard from.

Book: The Sound of No Hands Clapping, by Toby Young (2006)

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the first book by Toby Young, chronicled his doomed attempt to break into the front ranks of American magazine journalism at Vanity Fair. Young, who can be what the English refer to as a “wanker,” has no one to blame but himself for his lack of success, self-sabotaging his efforts at every turn. (For example, it is not a good idea to ask the actor you’re interviewing for a puff piece if he’s gay.) But Young’s willingness to own up to his every stupid move – and his decision to stop chasing after models and commit to a woman who’s smarter than he is – made him strangely likable.

The second memoir cribs the structure of the first, pairing another ill-advised pursuit for fame (in the movie business) with massive personal changes (impending fatherhood). Like most sequels, it’s not as satisfying as the original. But Toby remains an affable chap, in spite and perhaps because of his penchant for boneheaded plays. (For example, it is not a good idea to approach an established Hollywood player by having your paparazzi friend tail him to the Ivy. Particularly when the player has Halle Berry in his car.)

I like Toby because his goals sound awfully familiar. He has no delusions of creating the next Citizen Kane. “I wanted to write something that would be regarded as a fine example of its type, like a good screwball comedy or a well-crafted thriller.” Later, he says that “being hailed as a genre master ... (is) the highest compliment I could imagine.”

Sometimes you meet yourself in the oddest places.