House of Games by David Mamet

Reading the original script of David Mamet's debut 1987 movie is a delight. A brilliant playwright and a brilliant filmmaker, Mamet's con men story keeps you glued to the pages, on the tip of your toes, anxious to move forward. A short 60+ page masterpiece.

A perfect read on a bench in the park. I need to watch this movie again – and soon.


China Doll by David Mamet

Now, man, what are the chances? After a long biography of Marc Rich which I had finished just yesterday, when I picked up China Doll, David Mamet's last play, to read it queitly in the park this Saturday morning, I had absolutely no clue that it was a book about a local governor using the vast power of US federal government to strike a crushing sledgehammer-strong and disproportionate blow against a retired billionaire/adversary of his over a tax saving scheme that turned sour.

Not David Mamet's best play, but I would interested to see it on stage, Al Pacino playing Mickey. The Premiere was in November 2015, it got a lot of poor press – but is it still on? I'll check it out.

The Anarchist by David Mamet

Somehow, it's been a while since I last read a new Mamet's play. And it's always been a treat, with very few exceptions.

This time, the book caught me a bit off guard. Set up entirely as a dialogue between two women, one a prisoner, and the another, a warden of sorts, it was a bit difficult to plow through it at the beginning.

A third or so in, this Raskolnikov-like story caught up with me, and I did enjoy it. Not Oleanna, but still, quite nice. Sad no Mamet available in Moscow theaters – and I'm not sure he translates well.


David Mamet Shorts

A nice collection of three Mamet's shorts by L.A. Theatre. Less profound than his typical long works for the stage and cinema, however these 2 hours were worth it.

I would say that Bobby Gould in Hell is extremely funny, like classic Mamet funny. I would love to see that on stage.

The Reunion was nothing too great – or maybe just not my kinda thing.

And The Shawl was, umm, unexpected. Enjoy!

P.S. I realized L.A. Theatre is available on Russian iTunes at 1/2 of audible price, huh. As much as I love having all on the same platform, greed rules.


Speed the Plow by David Mamet

I just love David Mamet – and truly enjoyed Speed the Plow dramatized by Jeff Goldblum and Adam Arkin.
Written on a topic Mamet is so knowledgeable about – the movie business. The fun version of Bambi, huh 😉 And it's just 1 hr 20 mins. Bought it on audible as a trial book maybe 2 years ago – and now got my hands on it. Grrrreat.
As far as I know, Madonna played the leading female role on Broadway – shall I search YouTube for the record of the performance? Hm

Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business by David Mamet

Mamet's non-fiction book on the movie business is one big piece of sheer cynicism – and intellectual superiority. Be prepared. A true cinema buff like myself, I was humbled by the vast amount of names and movies I have missed entirely or haven't seen at best. And many things I didn't know – well, I don't know some of them still.

The book is smart, but it ain't an easy ride. When you have every line as a punch line, I tend to miss a few punches. Like some say, your brain is a muscle, and here you are forced to train it.

The most interesting part – the section on Genre. You can read all the Cinema Scope, Sight & Sound, Искусство Кино, etc etc – but this bit is obligatory reading for all the movie zombies like me. You could've skipped War and Piece at school (like I did, miraculously), but you mustn't miss this.

If the shark makes us say “ooh”, it has earned our few dollars. If the filmmaker can make us say “ooh” of a shot of the empty water, give him his private plane.

The observed rule in Hollywood is: “Feel free to treat everyone like scum, for if the desire something from you, they'll just have to put up with it, and should they rise to wealth and power, any past civility shown towards them will either be forgotten or remembered as some aberrant and contemptible display of weakness.”


The Cryptogram by David Mamet

Can't say I truly understood what this book was about. I didn't read it as child's coming of age or betrayal related to family breakup, as some reviews claimed.

It seems I am falling out of grace with Mamet – second play in a row that I don't like much. Frankly, Keep Your Pantheon one was funnier and easier to dig.

I reckon I should stop reading his drama and start hitting the theater more often – sad no Mamet available in Moscow though.

Or audio books. Downloaded Speed the Plow for Kindle – will see how it goes.

P.S. Am reading Bambi vs. Godzilla in parallel – also, not an easy read, though it's non-fiction – but it has it's moments, I guess.


Keep Your Pantheon (and School): Two Unrelated Plays by David Mamet

You have to agree – the title is a smart-ass pun of words, huh?

Keep Your Pantheon is Mamet's 2008 play about a troupe of poor Roman actors struggling to make a buck (well, a few hundred sesterces) and keep not even their pants – their heads on.

Frankly, as much as I like Mamet (by all means, the man is a great playwright), while the book is quite readable (and, god is merciful, short: just 70 pages), it's just not as much fun as, say, Glengarry Glen Ross or Oleanna or even more recent Race.

It is witty and it is about ancient Rome, a very trendy topic recently, but not something I could relate to in full. It probably had something to do with the fact that I view Mamet as a quite contemporary author, and all his attempts at pre-XXth century settings are not exactly my favorites, movies inclusive – take The Winslow Boy, for example – weak.

School is way too short – plus it lacks a meaningful story for me to like it – thought it had a funny quote for me to steal.

B: No, we “won” the war. Though, while not debatable, it is ironic. That the cars we drive. Are made by the nations we obliterated. That's ironic.


The death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave (finale)

Part 3: Deadman

Strangely enough, Cave turned out to be quite a thrilling read. I know it resembles Welsh a lot, by both content and to certain extent style, but still, quite gripping. Part 3 is madness and rage, death and repent. Oh well.

The death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave (continued)

Part 2: Salesman

I keep on slowly turning the pages – while part 1 was all Irvine Welsh and stuff, now, part 2 is all Glengarry Glen Ross, which I like like like like like like like. Basic rules of the trade, sonny. Ain’t no John Galt – simply put – I want your dollar, I want your dime. Goes on like this:

‘It’s like this, Bunny Boy: if you walk up to an oak tree or a bloody elm or something – you know, one of those big bastards – one with a thick, heavy trunk with giant roots that grow deep in the soil and great branches that are covered in leaves, right, and you walk up to it and give the tree a shake, well, what happens?’ […]

‘I really don’t know, Dad,’ says Bunny Junior, listening intently, retaining the information and knowing, in time, he will probably understand.

‘Well, nothing bloody happens, of course!’ says Bunny, and he slows the Punto to a halt. ‘You can stand there shaking it till the cows come home and all that will happen is your arms will get tired. Right?’ […]

‘But if you go up to a skinny, dry, fucked-up little tree, with a withered trunk and a few leaves clinging on for dear life, and you put your hands around it and shake the shit out of it – as we say in the trade – those bloody leaves will come flying off! Yeah?’

‘OK, Dad,’ says the boy, and he watches as one of the youths pulls back the edge of his hood and reveals a white hockey mask with a human skull printed on it.

‘Now, the big oak tree is the rich bastard, right, and the skinny tree is the poor cunt who hasn’t got any money. Are you with me?’


For those who want to steal the book (in Russian) – here’s flibusta link.

For those who want to buy – awesome iPad App on iTunes.

I did both )))