20070328

If Chins Could Kill

Bruce Campbell - If Chins Could Kill.

4/5

There are, basically, two kinds of people in the world: those to whom Bruce Campbell is Jesus, Schwarzenegger and the Three Stooges rolled into one, and then the rest. (Most of the rest, amazingly, have never even heard of him.) As he observes at one point in the book, the difference between a mainstream movie and a cult movie is that the former might be seen by 100,000 people 10 times whereas the latter is seen by 10 people 100,000 times.

His autobiography is one of the most fun - and funny - books on the movie industry I've read in some time, which makes sense considering his career. (There really isn't much to tell by way of drugs, debauchery and swimming-in-champagne when your biggest movie ever gave you a net annual salary of under $50,000.) Instead, this is the movie business as seen from the lower rungs; Campbell goes just as fanboy as everyone else when he finds himself sitting opposite Chuck Heston, and later on he spends an entire chapter on the career of one of his assistants on the set of Brisco County Jr. It's the little guys that keep the business turning, as a b-movie actor from Detroit would know. He got into the business almost by accident – he acted in a movie (Evil Dead, of coursewith a couple of childhood friends and suddenly he was apparently an actor (his account of his first interview with an actor's agency is a hoot). Where his characters on screen are often loud, obnoxious and funny, Campbell himself comes across as a genuinely Nice Guy trying to make a living simply by honest hard work in an industry that doesn't exactly encourage niceness or honesty. But still funny.

He's no great writer, but he can spin a yarn. I'd say reading his anecdotes from movie sets, fan convents and his personal life (man, Sam Raimi comes across as the most lovable utter asshole ever) feels almost like spending an evening just shooting the breeze with Bruce Campbell, but... well, it's such a quick read, it basically IS an evening shooting the breeze with Bruce Campbell. Lots of fun. 4/5.

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