Sunday, July 13, 2008
Admit One: A Journey Into Film by Emmett James
This book starts with a fun premise: Emmett James' life has revolved around the movies, so he tells his stories in the context of the movies. From his first family outings to the cinema for Jungle Book to his appearance in a soft-core porn film, he manages to tie his significant life experiences to the movies. (Not surprising for an actor - you can check out his work at IMDb.com.) This idea works best when there is some tie-in to the actual film, whether it's one he watched or one he appeared in (talking about his junior high ezcema in the chapter on The Elephant Man was a bit of a stretch). James was quite the little juvenile delinquent and his family stories aren't always happy, but he isn't bitter or trolling for sympathy. Some of his stories about his early days in Hollywood - especially the stories about crashing Oscar-night parties - are hilarious. He has a very straightforward style, whether he's talking about wetting his pants (literally) watching The Wizard of Oz, the filthy streets of South London or using his tuxedo as a blanket during his leaner days living in an unfurnished Hollywood apartment. I found it refreshing. There's a bit of British slang; not enough to make it difficult, just a bit of flavor.
The book could have used a bit more editing. As a former proofreader, it pains me to read "doing the thing they new best", which is not the only grammatical error that's been overlooked. (This may have been addressed in the final version.) This review copy came to me autographed by the author, which is a very nice touch, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. You can order your copy here.