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Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker Hardcover – March 10, 2020
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"If I went to prison, and I saw that Barry Sonnenfeld was going to be my cellmate, I would think, 'Oh, this will be a breeze.'"―Jerry Seinfeld
"Barry Sonnenfeld's new book is all the feels. Can't recommend it enough.....He's... an absolutely remarkable storyteller."―Neil Patrick Harris
"Writing a book this sharp, [Sonnenfeld is] puncturing the myth of the Director as God....A wild account of his life and times....Here we have not only a new entrant in the movie-director memoir genre but an even rarer beast: a book by someone in the entertainment industry who is neither self-aggrandizing nor self-important but uniquely, and painfully, candid."―The Wall Street Journal
"Hilarious."―Ryan Seacrest, "Live with Kelly and Ryan"
"Barry's memoir is amazingly honest and brazenly hilarious. Now excuse me, I need to take a shower and try to get some of those images out of my head."―Cheryl Hines
"Sonnenfeld's autobiography is laced with funny, sometimes absurd, moments.―WBUR
"Anyone who has encountered Barry for any length of time has wondered how he came to be the way he is. The answer is hilariously, poignantly, and forthrightly told through various stories that resulted in me feeling nauseous, laughing out loud, blushing, and repeatedly saying under my breath, 'Oh my God, Barry.' Sometimes all of those things at once."―Allison Williams
"Barry Sonnenfeld's memoir is not unlike many of his films. It's an incredible story about an unlikely hero. There is action, adventure, comedy, horror-and just a little bit of porn."―Kelly Ripa
"Hilarious, full of heart, and there are no typos."
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For me, though, this didn’t transfer over to the book, which I didn’t think was nearly as funny or as entertaining as the interview by a wide shot.
This is a Hollywood insider memoir, told by a nice-sounding, smart guy who started out in porn and the Coen bros. If you’re a film nut and/or a fan of Sonnenfeied and/or the Coens you’ll like it. The field of scope is narrowish, without gossip about Big Stars (fine), but I never really got a feel for things.
The writing style is competent but not entertaining or interesting; which is unfortunate is what’s trying to be a funny book.
Basically, this book just never grabbed me. I couldn’t have done any better myself, I’m sure, but I feel like I wasted my time and $.
There are so many better books out there, it’s not worth giving your time to this one.
And as much as I enjoyed the interview, the book was another level. Sonnenfeld's anecdotes and delivery are hilarious (my associations with champagne are forever tarnished, 'nuf said). But the memoir is bookended by a stomach-knotting recounting of child molestation and parental neglect. "You'll laugh, you'll cry" might be a cliche, but like most cliches some of its longevity is the result of the truth at the heart of it, and yes, this book did make me laugh, then cry, then laugh again.
Ultimately Barry Sonnenfeld, Call Your Mother is a story of triumph--of love, of compassion, of insight--and my final tears at the story's conclusion were of joy. Sonnenfeld is what novelist and child protector Andrew Vachss calls a transcender (as opposed to a survivor). And that is perhaps the greatest triumph of all.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that my God, "The Ballad of the Kosher Cowboy" (written by actor Jeff Daniels), which rolls along with the closing credits, is both touching and hilarious. Other than that now I can't get it out of my head, it was the perfect coda to a wonderful memoir.
1. Barry is a VERY funny writer, though my favorites were the pictorial asides
2. Some wonderful insider stuff that proves the business is as insane as you might suspect
3. I'm left wondering how many roles Warren Beatty had to turn down for being "too good looking?"
MANY, I hope.