Silver Screen Fiend : Learning about Life from an Addiction to Film
by Patton Oswalt

Overview - "New York Times" bestselling author, comedian, and actor Patton Oswalt shares his entertaining memoir about coming of age as a performer and writer in the late 90s while obsessively watching classic films at the legendary New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.  Read more...

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More About Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt
"New York Times" bestselling author, comedian, and actor Patton Oswalt shares his entertaining memoir about coming of age as a performer and writer in the late 90s while obsessively watching classic films at the legendary New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.
Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakeable addiction. It wasn t drugs, alcohol, or sex. It was film. After moving to L.A., Oswalt became a huge film buff, absorbing classics and new releases at least three nights a week at the New Beverly Cinema. Silver screen celluloid became Patton s life schoolbook, informing his notions of acting, writing, comedy, and relationships. Set in the nascent days of the alternative comedy scene, Oswalt s memoir chronicles his journey from fledgling stand-up comedian to self-assured sitcom actor, with the colorful New Beverly collective supporting him all along the way.
Ideally timed for awards season, when everyone s mind is on Hollywood, "Silver Screen Fiend "follows up on the terrific reception of Oswalt s "New York Times "bestselling debut, "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland." Already a beloved fixture on the comedy stage, on television, and in film not to mention his 1.87 million Twitter followers Oswalt announces, with this second book, that he s also here to stay on the page."

  • ISBN-13: 9781451673210
  • ISBN-10: 1451673213
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company
  • Publish Date: January 2015
  • Page Count: 240

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Entertainment & Performing Arts - General
Books > Performing Arts > Film & Video - History & Criticism
Books > Performing Arts > Comedy

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-02-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

In this dynamic memoir, comedian and author Patton Oswald writes of his obsessive four-year love affair with film. Arriving in LA to chase his dream of standup stardom, Oswalt was seduced by films, from classic to contemporary, and spent four years racing from theater to theater to catch everything from latest blockbuster to Hammer retrospective. Oswalt's celluloid odyssey provides a framework for his education as an artist and human being. A brash suburbanite when he arrives on the West Coast, Oswalt endures one humiliation after another – bombing onstage in San Francisco, getting fired from MADtv – on his way to success, and still manages to keep his soul. Silver Screen Fiend serves as a sort-of a sequel to a previous memoir (Zombie Spaceship Wasteland). Two memoirs in quick succession from a, relatively, young man might raise doubts but Oswalt's unique voice and offbeat conceits save him from any danger of a sophomore slump. While he does indulge in the typical Hollywood smoke blowing – every peer is a genius! Prodigy! Seventh Wonder! – his sardonic self-awareness and fascination with the minutiae of film history are seductive. Oswalt's sentences crackle with energy and humor; this stand-up comic is also a sit-down one. (Jan.)

BookPage Reviews

Film junkie

Patton Oswalt’s career has ranged from earnest stand-up comedy to material that requires an encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture to simply follow along. In Silver Screen Fiend: Learning about Life from an Addiction to Film, he describes how a lifelong love of cinema led him from hubris to humility and back on more than one occasion.

Moving to the West Coast to pursue a stand-up career, Oswalt ends up in Los Angeles, writing for television and complaining about his cushy job. When he’s not there or onstage, he’s hunkered down in an old theater, watching movies and telling himself it’s all research for an eventual career as a director. Instead, he gets work in movies and TV and continues to hone his stage material, and finally notices that’s not such a bad life after all.

Silver Screen Fiend is funny, but more for Oswalt’s connect-the-dots streams of consciousness than any straightforward jokes. Many stories hinge on his behaving like an entitled ass and then learning his lesson, but the know-it-all tone still dominates. Has he really learned? Or is the tension between feeling like both the smartest guy in the room and the weakest link the engine that drives great comedy? When Oswalt breaks his film addiction and comes blinking back into the light, it’s with an awareness that real life has been passing him by while he was at the movies. Still a film junkie, he now manages to find time for things like marriage, family and reality.

Oswalt writes in a foreword, “This will be either the most interesting or the most boring addiction memoir you’ve ever read.” Fans of his skewed take on the world will scarf up Silver Screen Fiend like a tub of popcorn at a Saturday matinee.


This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews