Reviews > Published on January 2nd, 2015

Bookshots: 'Silver Screen Fiend' by Patton Oswalt

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


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

Who wrote it?

Patton Oswalt – stand-up comic, actor, writer, Twitter king

Plot in a Box:

'Silver Screen Fiend' is a must read for obsessive movie moles and the psychologists who treat us.

A memoir of the period in the author’s life in which he saw movies obsessively and went kinda nuts.

Invent a new title for this book:

They Drive by Night to Remember the Dawn of the Dead Man Walking Tall in the Saddle

Read this if you like:

To spend a lot of your life alone watching movies.

Meet the book’s lead:

Patton Oswalt – stand-up comic, actor, writer, Twitter king.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

Patton Oswalt, cast against type.

Setting: would you want to live there?

I lived there when I was in film school – double features every day in addition to films for classes. As Norman Bates correctly observes, “We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”

What was your favorite sentence?

In my film debut, I walk off of a submerged submarine.

The Verdict:

This is a great read, especially for those of us who have spent a lot of days and nights in dark, dank movie theaters gazing up at… it doesn’t matter what, only that it fills the screen and takes over our minds and souls.

Oswalt has great taste in films. He gets what’s good about the good ones and bad about the atrocities. He starts off with a killer double bill – Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard and Ace in the Hole. They don’t get much better than these two, as his subsequent descents into turkeyland attest.

But the book is more than just a movie diary. Oswalt takes a hard look at his youthful self and finds much to criticize, but he does so in a wry and sympathetic way. Silver Screen Fiend is a must read for obsessive movie moles and the psychologists who treat us.

About the author

Ed Sikov is the author of 7 books about films and filmmakers, including On Sunset Boulevard:; The Life and Times of Billy Wilder; Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers; and Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis.

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