If You're Talking To Me Your Career Must Be In Trouble: Movies, Mayhem, and Malice

NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW  

409 words

Title: If You're Talking To Me Your Career Must Be In Trouble: 
Movies, Mayhem, and Malice;  by Joe Queenan; Hyperion; 
Published February 1994; ISBN 1-56282-788-X; Hardcover; 
282 pages; Can$28.95, U.S. $22.95. 

Reviewer:  A. T. Connellan, "Joe Queenan writes very, very 
funny stuff. This is social commentary with a twist and comedic 
writing on the outer edge of shocking. Even the index is off the 
wall.  If you don't love this one your funny bone must be in trouble." 

Queenan tweeks twits

Home base for Joe Queenan is Movieline Magazine where most 
of the essays chosen for this volume, were first published. In 
preparation for the book, the author wrote to 75 actors and 
actresses requesting interviews. Only 2 responded; "Liza Minnelli's 
and Raul Julia's publicists wrote back to say no." That is hardly 
surprising, considering the treatment they received from him in the past. 

Humor is the most difficult form of creative writing. Few do it well, 
although P.J.O'Rourke and Dave Barry come to mind. Joe 
Queenan writes very, very funny stuff. This is social commentary 
with a twist and comedic writing on the outer edge of shocking. 
Even the index is off the wall.

Hilariously juxtaposing preposterous images, vivid word-pictures, 
and outrageous similes, Queenan examines moviedom and it's 
habitues with a wickedly sideways slash, leaving no ego un-bruised. 
He is unstinting in his sarcasm and condemnation to the deserving.

No wonder Mick Jagger and Madonna aren't his pen-pals after 
being described as"...the anorexic, simian...", and "Casting Madonna 
as a girl who is supposed to be pixielike is like casting Heinrich 
Himmler as the Tooth Fairy."

This is mild stuff compared to what he says about Christopher 
"the worst actor who ever lived" Reeve, and Diane "...who cannot act..." 
Keaton. You will have to read the book to see what he does to 
Kiefer Sutherland, Barbra Streisand, and Mickey Rourke. 

No one escapes; in "Clerical Errors" he analyzes the manner in which 
the Catholic Church, and it's quirks, has been depicted in film. The 
church's association with ethnic groups and organized crime is rich 
fodder for Queenan. By clerical rank, he rates the best and the worst 
movies, and then charts the two worst movies by mortal and venial 
sins. Sacrilegious, you bet! Funny? I challenge you to read this 
chapter with a straight face. 

This is a "pick up and put down," lend-to-a-friend, pass it on, book. 
None of us will have the opportunity to actually choose in advance 
what goes with us if we are marooned on a desert island, but we 
can select the array of reading for self-imposed exile to the cottage. 
I defy you to make a better choice.  
        
Not every essay hits the mark, but then even "the great one" has his 
off-days. If you don't love this one your funny bone must be in trouble.    


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