📑 Review: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind
Hollywood in the 1960s: the studios are in decline; aging moguls are frantic to attract an audience distracted by TV; and, in severe contrast, an explosion of creative energy in European cinema is shaking the foundations of film-making convention. By the 1970s, Hollywood falls to a new generation of filmmakers who usher in a renaissance of bold and influential films. But, as the personal visions of this "New Hollywood" flourish, drug abuse and egotism threaten to overturn its rule.
Rating: 🐉🐉🐉.5/5 (review might make why this is clear)
This book is an absolute must for anyone interesting in film, film-making or just an avid fan of popular culture. For me personally, with a history of being smitten with cinema, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how a young Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas developed Taxi Driver, Jaws and Star Wars.
If you have any secret passion for creating your own film, it’s a good reminder that all the people involved in the process, that we might now think of as legends, are very much real and flawed humans. I find myself inspired by this book just because by humanizing the great directors and film makers, with their nuances brought to light, suddenly I feel like I could relate to the mass of intrepid drugged hippies.
Overall I found the book engaging and caught my attention but I have to admit that at times it could be a lot to keep track of with all the different characters and names thrown back and forth. While I truly appreciated the amount of detail and all the anecdotes put into the book, it occasionally felt overwhelming trying to remember exactly who is who as each different characters’ stories stops and pickups throughout the chapters. This made the pacing alternate between feeling fast and then slow in some areas. Additionally, while some details and side stories felt necessary, others ended up becoming a bit redundant.
The general sentiment you get from the book is that almost everybody involved in the film industry from the 60s-80s was part of a giant group of incestuous frenemies, on one end oozing with passion and art and at the other end arrogant, sleazy, megalomaniacs. But really, is that surprising?
Easy Riders, Raging bulls was a very revealing and well documented piece on the transformative effects of the people involved in the film industry and the pop culture impressions their work have left. Maybe all you really need is to let go of your inhibition and embrace your vision (as well as abundant access to money and drugs) to follow that dream and make it a reality.