more mcmurtryPosted: April 28, 2010
Finishing Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, Larry McMurtry’s autobiography and musings on story telling, led me to look at his Film Flam again, a collection of trenchant, sometimes vituperative essays, almost all outlandishly funny, on films, Hollywood life and screenwriting. He has much to say about la viva Hollywood. He’s a quirky, prickly writer, quick to dissect motivation, to deflate pomposity, to exact revenge, which gives these essays a white-hot power in the critical, high irony mode of Vidal. Regardless of what he thinks of his books Hud, The Last Picture Show, and later Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove, they all made very good movies, a mighty, although secondary, achievement itself. His dour assessment of his early novels, Leaving Cheyenne (Loving Molly), Horseman, Pass By (Hud) and The Last Picture Show, all written before he was 26 and made into movies, underscores the complexity of Bloom’s theory of misreading. The writer is the last person to look to for an accurate judgment of the work. In one essay, he mentions an unfinished, run-away novel about Hollywood. Let’s hope that he gets it under control and publishes it sometime. He knows Hollywood like he knows the West.