I Blame Dennis Hopper
What was delivered in I Blame Dennis Hopper was a conversation with a type of person you'd meet at a party. You know, the sorta party you initially planned to just zip in and out of long enough to tell the host you were there. But then, while trying to down the one drink you told yourself you were entitled to for making the effort, you find yourself standing next to this great conversationalist. She's funny. She's knows all this trivia. Great stories. You're laughing your ass off. And does she know her shit when it comes to movies!
Before you're consciously aware, one beer turns into two. Then hey, that scotch sounds good. Know what? It tastes good. Keep talking. I don't want to stop listening. Is there anyone in Hollywood you don't know? And then you laugh. You laugh because she says something funny that you secretly did as well but you aren't going to spoil the moment by telling her that because she has nailed the experience for every artist out there.
There are surprises in this book. Outside of takeaway, nowhere in the book is there an example of Illeana Douglas using her grandfather's influence to further her career. I'm sure it didn't hurt but she didn't use it like a club to those who might stand in her way. Kudos.
While there are great antidotes and behind the scenes information on almost every page of this book, two stories have stuck with me. Probably not the ones she would guess. And I can't explain why, other than they were such poignant moments they left an impression.
The most important one involves her encounter with Lee Marvin in NYC. She approached him like a fan and he responded with grace. (Probably a term the soldier in him would hate but grace it was). I think I have thought of that incident every day this week.
A second story is the one involving Rudy Vallee. I think there was a show business lesson there for all of us. And by the way, how I wish I could've visited that old theater. (Read the book, you'll see what I'm talking about.)
I also want to point out something else in this book that is RARE. She doesn't dis the famous people she's encountered. Not fellow actors/actresses. Not lovers like Scorsese. She doesn't delve into the personal tidbits of he said, she said. The book is stronger for it.
While I know some of the author's movie work (I always think of her in To Die For), I initially picked up the book because I thought it had a kewl title and her grandfather had a tie to one of my cousins. But I am so happy I got this book. I had trouble putting it down when I needed to be writing - that's how good it is.
This is an easy, funny, delightful read. If you like movies on any level, you're going to enjoy this book. There is also a podcast with the same name. I intend to make it a point to start listening. I Blame Dennis Hopper rates a five out of five on my scale.