Hits, Flops, and Other Illusions: My Fortysomething Years in Hollywood

Gallery. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781668046999. $28.99. MEMOIR
Zwick, the director of films including Glory, Legends of the Fall, and The Last Samurai, reflects on his career in this entertaining memoir. He started in the industry as an assistant to Woody Allen and attended the prestigious AFI Conservatory, where he met his lifelong friend and collaborator Marshall Herskovitz. Together, they created the groundbreaking TV show thirtysomething, earning critical accolades and launching Zwick’s feature-film career. The memoir shares plenty of juicy stories about big-name stars and Hollywood execs, but they aren’t there for mere titillation; Zwick focuses instead on how the stressors of filmmaking impact both the creative process and a filmmaker’s personal well-being. He has a disarming way of relating the most glamorous highs of his career, followed by setbacks, disappointments, and lingering self-doubt. Although Zwick’s accomplishments are numerous, he eschews self-congratulation in favor of arguing for the power of storytelling to enrich the lives of both audiences and creators. His disappointment with the current Hollywood preference for profit over artistry is palpable and affecting.
VERDICT A frank, entertaining insider look at the film industry from the perspective of an Oscar- and Emmy-winning director.
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