In Lindy West’s new e book, “Shit, Really: The Definitive, 100% Goal Information to Fashionable Cinema” (Hachette, $27), many essential cinematic questions are requested. Resembling, why is Laura Linney sporting a woolly hat to a church marriage ceremony in “Love, Really”? Does the Hogwarts Categorical within the “Harry Potter” motion pictures run year-round, or is it simply twice a yr to take the Hogwarts youngsters to and from faculty, and in that case how does the witch who runs the snack trolley pay her payments? What precisely does being king of regardless of the lion is the king of (in, duh, “The Lion King”) entail, and why ought to zebras and antelopes belief a lion to look out for his or her finest pursuits? And the way might a wedding probably survive a husband saying, “Honey, I shrunk the youngsters?”
Sure, this can be a very foolish e book — in one of the best of how — and West, the Seattle-based creator of the bestselling nonfiction books “Shrill” and “The Witches Are Coming,” is aware of it. Within the introduction, she describes the e book as “this foolish, inconsequential, ornery, joyful, obsessive, impolite, and very silly e book.” However silliness is strictly what we want nowadays, notably once we can’t collect our buddies to giggle and throw popcorn at a TV display.
“Shit, Really,” whose title is a play on “Love, Really” (a film West likes to hate, as do I; why does Linney put on that hat anyway??), is a group of about two dozen film critiques/essays; a few of them revised from West’s days writing about motion pictures for Jezebel and GQ, a few of them newly written. A lot of the motion pictures are blockbusters from a few a long time in the past: “Jurassic Park,” “High Gun,” “Titanic,” “Face/Off,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and extra.
West was midway by way of the venture when the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this yr — and instantly, it appeared all of the extra pressing. “It pressured me to consider what this e book is for, in a extremely critical approach,” West stated, in a phone interview from her Seattle dwelling this month. “It was actually cathartic for me to put in writing it, to have this escape from gloom and doom and being terrified … Fascinated with sending one thing into the world that will make individuals snort, that was very nice.”
Researching the e book concerned lots of time on her sofa, together with her affected person husband Ahamefule J. Uluo (“I roped him into watching each single one with me!”), streaming motion pictures she typically solely faintly recalled. “A few of the stuff is a lot worse than you keep in mind,” West stated, “and a few of it’s genuinely excellent.” She particularly loved “The Rock,” “Pace,” “Face/Off” (“They take their faces off they usually swap them! It’s unimaginable!”) and “Rush Hour.” And, after all, “The Fugitive,” which West calls in her e book “the one good film.”
The entire motion pictures within the e book are rated on a scale of 10 DVDs of “The Fugitive.” (“Love, Really” scores zero DVDs.) Studying the essays — that are lengthy, sprinkled with ALL CAPS and crammed with scrumptious asides — looks like being on West’s sofa together with her, having giggly conversations. Why, for instance, doesn’t any person rewrite the Harry Potter saga from the perspective of Hermione? (Consider the eye-rolling!) Was the pocket book in “The Pocket book” actually Tom Riddle’s diary? Can we please have a fan edit of “Titanic” solely that includes Leonardo “I Am Undoubtedly Carrying Lipstick” DiCaprio’s pal Fabrizio?
Writing the e book took West again to her earliest days in journalism, as a staffer at The Stranger within the aughts. For a time she was the alt-weekly’s movie editor, reviewing motion pictures usually. “I used to be younger and I used to be type of winging it, however I had a extremely good time and I discovered so much about writing and criticism and about what sort of author I needed to be, by way of trial and error,” she stated.
After seven years at The Stranger, she moved on to basic freelancing for nationwide shops and commenced writing extra about politics. “I grew to become type of a full-time information digester quite than a tradition digester, which was type of unhappy,” West stated. “It was actually nice to do that e book and type of return to the place I began as a author.”
These days, West’s writing has been extra for the display than the web page. She co-wrote the screening to Oluo’s made-in-Seattle film “Thin Skin,” and is a producer and author for the Hulu TV adaptation of “Shrill,” which simply started taking pictures its third season in Portland.
“We wrote the entire season remotely over Zoom,” West stated of the present, which stars Aidy Bryant of “Saturday Evening Stay!” After some pandemic-related delays, manufacturing has begun — “an enormous sophisticated operation with actually a bare-bones crew,” West stated. She’s not on the set — just one producer might be current — however is following the method carefully. “Everybody’s tremendous cautious, to date it’s working.” The season will premiere, she thinks, within the spring.
On the books entrance, she doesn’t have a particular venture lined up but, however is toying with one thing that may be “a memoir or possibly a one-woman present that can be a memoir.” And she or he’d love to put in writing one other movie-review assortment finally, if individuals like this one.
“It’s truthfully type of stress-free,” West stated, of writing about motion pictures. “It simply makes me really feel like myself.”
Lindy West will talk about “Shit, Really” at a digital occasion hosted by Elliott Bay E-book Co. at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Tickets are $35 and embody a duplicate of the e book. Data: elliottbaybook.com