Sunday, December 17, 2006

The sharpest satire on Hollywood

Joe Keenan, whose television credits as a writer and producer include "Desperate Housewives" and "Frasier," is the author of My Lucky Star.

He named five books with "the sharpest satire on what some people do to make it in Hollywood" for Opinion Journal.

One of his picks:
The Player by Michael Tolkin

Not having moved to Los Angeles until my 30s, I find that certain novels that might once have struck me as scalding satires of Hollywood amorality now read more like restrained journalism. Michael Tolkin's book is a meticulous dissection of studio politics, with a protagonist worthy of a Patricia Highsmith thriller. High- but not top-level exec Griffin Mill spends his days crushing the dreams of aspiring screenwriters. When one of his victims begins sending threatening postcards, Griffin--hoping to settle his karmic debt--resolves to apologize just this once. But the writer mocks the apology, prompting the enraged Griffin to strangle him. The exec proceeds to woo the deceased's girlfriend even as his career jitters are compounded by fears of discovery and downfall. Tolkin understands that the primary emotion driving Hollywood is neither egotism nor greed, but dread: Even those riding high fear that they're has-beens in waiting.
Click here to see the other four titles on Keenan's list, including the book I named here as my favorite comic novel about Hollywood.

--Marshal Zeringue