Picks and Pans Review: Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes: a Guided Tour Across a Decade of American Independent Cinema
by John Pierson
Such are the out-of-whack economics of Hollywood that, for the cost of one Waterworld, a plucky independent filmmaker like Kevin Smith could have made more than 6,000 Clerks, his 1994 debut. Low-budget dreamers and schemers like Smith are brought to life in this quirky book by Pierson, a film nerd who sank $10,000 into Spike Lee’s first feature, She’s Gotta Have It, kick-starting his own career as a producer’s rep. His indie flicks include Michael Moore’s Roger & Me, Richard Linklater’s Slackers and the lesbian-themed Go Fish—hence the book’s silly title. Pierson’s years spent watching movies helped sharpen his skill at turning the dry subject of film financing into a fresh, funny, even suspenseful story.
Chapters on last-minute distribution deals and film-festival intrigue zing along, buoyed by Pierson’s fondness for “credit-card, family-money, film-stock-in-the-refrigerator” directors like the gutsy Lee. But Pierson knows that the passion and innocence of his beloved art-house auteurs cannot last. He warns that many directors dubbed the Next Big Thing can expect a life of compromise once they’re caught in the clutches of Hollywood. (Hyperion, $22.95)