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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Bogdanovich Epilogue: A Word About Biskind and Cher


Because everybody loves a nice, incestuous film blog reach-around (especially on Valentine’s Day), allow me to direct you to my good friend Looker, who follows up my Peter Bogdanovich/Targets dispatch from last week with perhaps an even more rewarding batch of comments smuggled out of Film Forum’s post-screening Q&A.
And once again, Peter Biskind absorbs the brunt of a filmmaker’s hot auteur wrath:

On Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls:

That book is so full of shit. It’s not to be believed. I leafed through three pages of it—I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach, and I never opened it again. Coppola wanted to put a hit out on him. I’m not kidding. I spent seven hours with that guy over a period of days, and he got it all wrong. He believed everything my ex-wife (Polly Platt), who at that time was a drunk, said.

Cher gets a little lighter love tap in Bogdanovich’s assessment of Mask (except for that part explaining, “She liked Sonny after he died.” I mean, go ahead–shudder. Take as long as you need), which you will need to click through to browse in its entirety. Now, if you do not mind, I think it is time Looker and I had a cigarette.

One Response to “Bogdanovich Epilogue: A Word About Biskind and Cher”

  1. Looker says:

    Mmm, that felt good.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook