Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Either You're In or You're In the Way by Logan and Noah Miller

Either You're In or You're In the Way by Logan and Noah Miller is one of those odd but true Hollywood Cinderella stories. The Miller brothers, identical twins, make a promise to their father that seems impossible but all the more so because, after their father dies in jail, they step up their commitment and decide to fulfill their promise in one year's time. The promise? Make a movie from their as yet non-contracted screenplay. But they up the ante by wanting to fulfill their father's vision that Ed Harris should play the role that is based on himself. So without any money, no backers, and no experience, the two brothers set out to make a movie from their own script. The very audacity of what they want to do almost precludes their success and yet, from the first page, the reader knows that they will succeed. That they two manage to write an engaging story in spite of the obvious happy ending foreshadowed is commendable. Unfortunately, the book reads a lot like everything that is cliché about Hollywood, those superficial perceptions that I had hoped would be disproved and yet seem to be proven, even reinforced, with every turn of the page. Short quick clips of narrative that cut from cute to charming to redundant, this is a book that is easy to finish and even easier to put aside. For someone with a short attention span, the form is ideal. For a reader seeking more depth, there will be a letdown. Also, for some reason, the brothers choose to use the plural first person (we) with the oddly disconnected shift to third person (Logan/Noah) which is a peculiar and distracting stylistic choice. I did not see the movie and am still oblivious, although I recognized many of the names that were too often dropped. Most of the book focuses on the off camera reality of movie making--the ego stroking, the money seeking manipulation, the tedious mechanics. Very little of the book is given over to the celebrity of behind the camera moments or even the rehearsal dynamics. I am not complaining. This is how it is to make a movie. Hour for hour, the most time is spent far removed from the camera when a movie is being made. But ultimately the superficial façade, of which Hollywood is often accused, if not wholly guilty of presenting, is perfectly reflected in the lack of emotional impact this memoir provides. It is possible most of it was already spent in the script and then drained of its last life's blood on the screen. It's a pity; the memoir would have greatly benefited from giving the reader a reason to deeply care about seeing this movie made. This emotional connection between the writers and this reader was never achieved and sorely missed.

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