Everyone can name a couple of actors, a few directors, maybe even a producer or two; but how many screenwriters can you name? This is the question Phil Brody asks in his debut novel, The Holden Age of Hollywood.
Why does Tom Cruise run so fucking funny, yet you still manage to put a running scene in every one of his movies?
In The Holden Age of Hollywood Sam Bateman finds his recently departed father’s six screenplays, eleven short films, a play, a few short stories, and a stack of form rejection letters from a Jon Foster film company. He sells everything and moves to L.A. to uncover the reason for rejection.
Bateman takes a job at the agency where his father’s letters originated, Foster Films, and sets up shop. He soon grows weary of the L.A. lifestyle and attending a party one night over hears the legend of Meyen Holden.
Holden, a famous screenplay writer and blockbuster success, is at the top of the game right before he disappears. Although his words netted millions, Holden had grown tired of Hollywood making a backdoor muddle of his plays for the betterment of mass-market makeups and declares: “No more.”
Mysteriously, screenplays begin showing up under different pseudonymous authors. The Rising Sons of Mourning and The Living End…Boom. It’s Holden back for one last stab at Hollywood. This time, like Willy Wonka tickets, Holden submits his manuscripts at random to Hollywood slush piles waiting for that one lucky reader to take hold.
Holden is the antithesis to Sylvia Plath’s first go around with Bell Jar…damn thing just wasn’t any good again until people realized it was Plath’s work. Maybe they both suffer from autotheism.
Regardless, Tinseltown, Hollywoodians, people from the place of the Whales Vagina… ‘Anchorman reference’ if you didn’t understand…go on a witch hunt for the next Holden golden screenplay. Bateman leaves Foster Films in search of Holden and the second act takes shape.
Brody does a good job at keeping pace in his novel and the story cruises by. I particularly like Brody’s adaption to other well-known Hollywood films when using his method for uncovering what makes a good film.
As the legendary Hunter Thompson said, “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”
Clearly, Brody takes a stab at Hollywood executives fist fucking the readers and writers and The Holden Age of Hollywood is propelled forth.