As I trudge throw my stack of books to read, I should not go near a Half Priced Books ™. If my car drives by, the money flies out the window and into a register. I picked up 5 new books, one of which is about the master, Stanley Kubrick. Now I love me some Kubrick movies, but there are all kinds of myths about him as a person. This was a book written by the screenwriter of EYES WIDE SHUT.
This book stirred some controversy because it was hurriedly published right after Stanley’s death in 1999. Kubrick’s family immediately denounced the writings as playing up all of Stanley’s eccentricities while downplaying his normalcy. In the documentary his family put out, they went to great lengths to portray Stanley Kubrick as a normal person, which he was for the most part. He was obsessive-compulsive, perhaps even clinically so, but he was not a freak of nature.
The book paints the screenwriter as more of an ass than it does Kubrick as anything other than a very controlling director…. As if no one could have guessed that before reading the book. I like hearing Kubrick’s voice. I have obtained his screenplay draft of NAPOLEAN, something I still haven’t read yet. I also got FEAR AND DESIRE, his first feature, and some of his early documentary work. Fantastic stuff. Stanley had a great eye. His still photography from LOOK magazine blows away a lot of people’s lifelong pursuits in stills.
One of the things in this book that’s great is reading how much he loved PULP FICTION and Quentin Tarantino. I don’t know if Q ever knew this, but I’m sure he’s heard this. Kubrick was also very competitive with his contemporaries, but by the 1990’s, very few of them were making movies. He never considered someone like Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, or George Lucas as “competition” because they were still young upstarts, but they also worshipped Stanley from before they were in Film School; he liked that, obviously.
As a kind of “answer” to this book, I had already read Michael Herr’s book on his experience writing a screenplay with Stanley. It was far kinder than the current book’s view. Still, Michael Herr based FULL METAL JACKET on his own experiences, plus he had already worked as a writer on APOCOLYPSE
Anyways, I do like reading anything about Kubrick. It’s interesting to see his world from various people’s points of view.